A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed, and is, thereby, a true manifestation of what one feels about life in it's entirety. . . I believe in photography as one means of achieving an ultimate happiness and faith! - Ansel Adams

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Peace

A person meditates on the Murud beach early in the morning. Check out the sand around him. Most of the people going to Murud go for revelry to the Kashid beach, which was covered in one of earlier posts.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Bow to you

Bow of a fisherman's boat captured while it was anchored. B&W brings out the striking geometry in the picture.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Lonely at the top?

The dove, spotted near a light house next to Korlai beach, perhaps symbolises the adage that as one goes higher he gets lonelier!
Conversely an optimist might say - dream bigger, soar higher and rest-a-while to enjoy the view from the top :)
While at it, let me add that Korlai (located between Alibaug and Murud) has one of the most scenic beaches (though rocky in parts)...what's more, there is a large fort atop the mountain next to it. A gravel road leads to the top of a hillock (behind which is the mountain) where the light house is located and from where steps take you to the fort.

Get in the dock

A fisherman trying to dock his boat at the Rajpuri port. Just sitting at the dock and watching the locals go about their chores is a great experience...telling us the simplicity of life beyond the financial world. This is also the place from where on can hire a sail boat to the Janjira fort (covered in my earlier posts).

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Silhouettes of time

The small house below (uninhabited) presents a picture of loneliness and adds mystery to the picture. The lifeless tree conveys a feeling of been mauled by time and yet standing there trying to provide a semblance of shade to the house. Picture was taken next to the Sutarwadi lake near Kolad (covered in an earlier post).

Gandhigiri to politics to melons

It is said that if one wants to truly relish sugary watermelons then he should buy them from the vendors in Panvel, on the highway to Mumbai. This shop belonging to one Munna Bhai is typical of the many lining the highway, each with a unique name-plate.

Nawab's palace / Purani Haweli



Residence of the Siddi Nawab, Ahmedganj Palace, is located in Murud on a small hillock overlooking the Arabian Sea. Entry to the palace is unfortunately not permitted. The descendants of the royal family currently reside in Mumbai. Though the palace is clearly visible from the outside, I took a picture from the arch on the side entrance to give it an out-of-bounds, mystical & haunted appearance - considering that quite a few Ramsay's horror films like Purani Haweli were shot over here.

Arch - aeology


Inside the Janjira Fort


At the Gol Gumbaj

Gol Gumbaj at Khokari (5 Kms from Murud, 1 Km from Rajpuri) is another place to see on one's visit to Murud-Janjira. Believed to be some 5 centuries old, they house the tombs of the Siddi rulers. Though the structure is well preserved (restoration was in progress when we visited there) it has suffered from neglect over the years and the spot is not on the to-see list of many visitors to Murud-Janjira for want of publicity.

Sweet child-o-mine

Upon disembarking from the sail boat that took us to the Janjira fort, we were walking back to our car through the winding lanes of Rajpuri when we spotted school kids returning home. As I was pointing my camera at the twins (in the background), this naughty kid thrust his face into the frame and I ended up capturing him while the the twins ran away.

Inside the majestic Janjira Fort


At the entrance
Ruins of a once bustling settlement

Guns of Never-on: I decide to take my own shot at an approaching boat. There are almost 120 odd canons inside the fort today, the silence of which eerily conveys the battles they have once fought.

Sweet water lake amidst sea water

Haunted Palace?: The guide nonchalantly mentions that earlier, when the Government permitted, quite a few horror films were shot over here!

Continuing from my previous post...The fort, spread over approximately 20 acres on a rocky island, was built over a period of 22 years. The ruins tell the story of grandeur that once existed and the many battles fought. Of the several canons, the largest is Kalal Bangadi. Close to the entrance is the tomb of Panch Peer Panjatan Shah Baba and inside the fort one can see the remains of a temple, mosque, graveyards, minister's residence, and palace (pictured above). A highlight of the fort, that has intrigued visitors, is the presence of a sweet water lake (pictured above) considering the fort is in the middle of Arabian Sea. Until very recently, the fort was inhabited with locals who were shifted to Rajpuri village after the archaeology department took it over...they carried the ancient doors, windows and then some more along with them!

Travelling to Janjira Fort


Rajpuri Port


Outline of the fort as seen from the port

Imposing walls of the fort

Sail boats that take visitors to the fort

Boatman aims his own canon at the impregnable fort

Visit to the mystical Janjira fort was the highlight of my recent trip to Central Konkan. The fort, built almost 4 - 9 centuries ago (accounts vary) amidst the Arabian Sea, was the bastion of local Siddi rulers and has the reputation of being unconquered (ajinkya) even by the likes of Shivaji Maharaj, the British and the Portuguese. One can read a good detailed account here  http://www.murudjanjira.com/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murud_Janjira
Journey to the fort begins from the old Rajpuri port (about 4 Km from Murud) in sail boats. For an extra fee, the boatman also doubles up as a guide. Even as one approaches the fort, its imposing walls tell the story of invincibility & quality of engineering. One can spot several canons thrusting out of the windows giving the appearance of being on their radar. It is said that it is difficult to make out the entrance of the fort from a distance (especially during high tides) and that a secret tunnel exists 60 feet below the fort that links the Rajpuri village. The fort is a must see site in Maharashtra.
We shall take a look at the interiors of the fort in the next post.

Golden wall

Dried moss growing on the walls outlining the Sutarwadi lake make for an interesting abstract.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Kashid beach


Rang De Basanti


An Aquaman?

An aqua Superman!, this man appears to have propelled himself to hit the moon.

Bathed in gold


Love is in the air


Beach in the evening

Kashid beach is about 30 minutes drive from Murud - Janjira. This beach is a must visit for those travelling to Murud-Janjira. It has clean white sands, blue waters, shacks that serve you hot snacks & cool beverages and a few revellers. As I have been noting throughout this blog, a beach lends itself for a variety of activities, some of which are again pictured here. Beaches are great places to be since one seldom comes across an unhappy face.

Beautiful Kolad - Sutarwadi lake




Pictures have been arranged (top to down) as per time of day, reflected in the changing colours of the lake.
Known for its tranquil, azure blue waters, Sutarwadi lake is located about 12 kms from Kolad. Its a place to spend a leisurely evening. Catch the  flocking birds, indulge in some angling, pebble throwing or just laze around on a hammock. Its truly a Wodehousian experience.

Beautiful Kolad - Kundalika River

Shy Guy

He was waiting for me to go, cause he didn't want to be captured naked on camera. Irritation on his face is apparent.

The bridge on the river Kundalika

Winding through the forest


Fishermen proudly showing their catch


Various pictures of the river Kundalika along its course. Kolad is a sleepy town near Roha, off Mumbai-Goa highway. Kundalika is a perennial river and lends itself for many adventurous activities including rafting (level 3 / 4  - don't you be fooled by the tranquil pictures above). There are couple of adventure camps over here and weekends (during and immediately post monsoons) are the best time to indulge in some gut-wrenching revelry.

Kuda Caves


Kuda Caves were built for dwelling and meditation by Buddhist monks over 2000 years ago. They are located near Bhalgaon about 20 kms from Murud. A traveller to the place faces tough times since there are no signs leading to the place. Many of the locals are also unaware about their location and even existence (!) leading to several false turns and its importance appears lost when one takes a look at the level of maintenance. There is a barely motorable road that leads to this spot in the hills from the village. People travelling to Murud - Janjira and having their own vehicles can make an attempt though, compared to other caves in Maharashtra (Ajanta / Ellora, Elephanta, etc.), they are quite modest and in ruins.

Take me home


Rural women waiting for transport to take them back to their villages after collecting wood in the forest. The riot of colours in their dresses is what livens up these pictures. A friend of mine once told me that colour in one's dresses is inversely proportional to his / her socio-economic strata!

Guns n Cycle

This was shot at the Revdanda fort. Perhaps a reflection of the shocking apathy of the Government! During my numerous tours in Maharashtra I have discovered that the Government has paid scant attention to tourism - an industry which has the ability to provide jobs to thousands of people, bring in revenues and improve the profile of the state domestically and internationally. At various places we have found lack of signages on roads, people living inside monuments, gravel roads leading upto monuments, lack of basic amenities at tourist places (hotels, guides, restaurants), betel plants running over forts, broken structures, no history write-ups (sometimes even the locals were ignorant), et al! If one were to leave aside snow and desert, Maharashtra has everything else...but is unfortunately not on the tourist map!

Its a whale!

Not many people in India are aware that these amphibians exist on our coasts as well. This 45 feet skeleton is located in Therunda village close to Revdanda (about 100 Kms from Mumbai) and privately maintained by a man who dug it out after local fishermen buried it on finding its carcass washed ashore. Viewing is free of cost and the place is a must visit on your way to Murud.

Pole dance

Lush green fields in this village near Kolad (off Mumbai - Goa highway) are a treat for the eyes. Nature dancing naked in all its glory!

Sleeping Beauty

Early in the morning, when there are few tourists at the Alibaug beach, a horse decides to make the most of his idle time. Horse carts are popular on the beach and they even drive you upto the Kolaba fort (located in the sea) when the tide is low.

Alibaug se aya hoon!

A drive from Alibaug to Murud-Janjira is all along the scenic Konkan coast - littered with tiny fishermen colonies, ruins of Portuguese forts, clean white beaches and mountains. Some of the important villages on the way are Akshi (known for Someshwar temple), Revdanda (which has a fort), Therunda, and Korlai (which has a fort atop a mountain). 
Pictured above is an early morning shot of the Alibaug beach against the backdrop of Kolaba fort. Fishermen are seen carrying their nets. One can walk up to the fort wading knee deep waters during low tides or hire a horse cart. Alibaug, 2.5 hr drive from Mumbai, can also be reached by taking a ferry from the Gateway of India upto Mandwa and local transport thereafter. Alibaug is also known for being the birth place of Kanhoji Angre (covered in an earlier post).

Lord of the seas

This statue of Kanhoji Angre, the admiral of Maratha Navy who was known for his daring exploits on the Arabian sea, is located in a busy area in the town of Alibaug, a place where he was born. The place also houses his tomb. Most of the place is in ruins with poor maintenance. One could also spot squatters inside. Truly a forgotten and neglected hero!
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