Viewing A Room With A View

In houses and palaces now abandoned, what did the people see outside their windows?


Amer Fort, February 2015
Amer Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan

In Rajasthan, the kings and the queens could see their subjects in the distance. In the immediate foreground, they saw manicured gardens and still waters of artificial lakes.


Padmanabhapuram. August 2014
Padmanabhapuram Palace, (former seat of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore), Tamil Nadu

Here, the king wanted to recreate the same experience as felt while seated on a howdah (on an elephant)


Cave 6 (Second floor), Ajanta, July 2014
Cave 6, Ajanta Caves,

The monks in Ajanta lived a sparse life as prescribed by their order. In the darkness of their caves, the world outside was, literally, a blinding light.


Mani Bhavan, Mumbai, November 2013
Balcony on the second floor of Mani Bhuvan, Bombay (Gandhi’s residence in the city)

Gandhi, when he lived in Bombay, stayed at a house loaned to him by a prominent local business man. It was located in a quiet lane in the middle of one of the most crowded areas – Girgaum. Even today, this lane, called Laburnum Road because of the flower trees growing here, remains quiet and uncluttered giving the thinking man lots of moments of peace on his balcony


Bijapur, March 2013
From the top of Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur

When sultans established their sultanates, they made sure that there were no competitors. This included rival buildings that occupied the skyline. The Adil Shah of Bijapur made sure there were no tall rivals to the Gol Gumbaz


Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad, June 2010
Kasturba Gandhi’s room in the Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad

Kasturba Gandhi had her own hut in the ashram. Gandhi’s hut with its verandah faced the river. Kasturba’s hut was placed the other way round with a window on the side looking out into the ashram’s open area. Gandhi could at least see the waters of the river flowing by.


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Vienna – walking around with photographs

I have never been to Vienna. For that matter I have never been to Europe. But vicariously, using Google Maps and Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet, I have been to all the famous places. For people like me, travel photography, the really good stuff, gives some great kicks.

Like this one.

A multi-cultural group of people living in Vienna stroll around snapping away at life, culture, structures, art and history. There is the majesty of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the silence of the wars in the 20th century, the energy of the present day and for good measure, some abstract lighting art to provide the psychedelic touch.

Photo #14 by Ruxandra is a portrait of an impish looking girl whose eyes suggest some mischief is afoot.

Photo #3 by Ozan captures the rich texture of a city installation. Frankly, if the signboard wasn’t there, I would have guessed a Central American or Mediterranean geography.

Photo #27 by Christoph is, on the face of it, a simple shot of a small figurine seen through a shop window. But on deeper attention, one sees the muted lighting which allows the sheen of the figurine to stand out, the blurry reflection of the outside world on the glass of the shop window and the slight tilt of the head which makes the eyes of the figure stare at a space above your head. The overall visual impact of the photograph reminds one of the great tragedies that have happened in the past.

But my favourite from the set is Photo #11 by Ruxandra. I do not know whether the lady knew she was being photographed or not. But there is a look of surprise, curiosity and a slight irritation on her face. A smile is half-formed, probably addressed at herself. After all, it is quite possible that being the only occupants at the pavement cafe, she finds herself as a part of a photo-op for a girl strolling with a camera.