Just finished these two portraits for the Restaurant @ Samode Haveli in Jaipur. They now adorn a wall in the central hall of the restaurant.
The portraits were made from old black and white photo prints. I copied the old photographs with my camera, cleaned them and then digitally printed them on museum grade canvas using my Epson Styluspro 9900 printer. I then hand painted the canvas using acrylic paints.
In May 2004, on a sudden whim, I signed up for the Basic Mountaineering Course at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling (HMI). In retrospect, it was a great decision. Although I was well past my prime, I was older than most of my batch, I was also physically quite fit and very keen. I enjoyed the course and I have very fond memories of the time I spent at HMI.
Sunrise over the Himalayan ranges, as seen from Chaukori.
While reorganising the images stored in my backup disks I stumbled upon these pictures from a long and leisurely road trip across the Kumaon Himalayas.
Just completed a set of four black and white prints for a wall in the Restaurant @ Samode Haveli. The prints feature images of traditionally dressed Indian women walking into temples.
We reached Janakichatti on a clear and crisply cold December evening at 4pm, about and hour and a half before sunset. Janakichatti is the road head for the trek to Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna river, and one of the four major centers of Hindu pilgrimage in Uttarakhand (The other three being Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath).
While traveling in the Himalayas one is never very far from flowing water; every valley has a river, even the smallest have their own personal streams. The sound of flowing water, be it the soft murmur of a brook, the conversational babble of a stream or the full-throated roar of a waterfall, is a constant companion.
This trek was the result of another off beat assignment. I was asked by a relative, who is also a publisher, whether I would be interested in working on a coffee table book covering the Forest Rest Houses of Uttarakhand. I jumped at the opportunity and volunteered to shoot the remote and less accessible Forest Rest Houses (FRHs). The first trip was to the Northwestern regions of Garhwal and the trek to Har-ki-dun was a part it.
A chance conversation with a friend resulted in a short visit to Darjeeling, the “Queen of the Hills”. The idea was to commemorate a course I had attended at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling many years ago. Because of the incessant monsoon rains early September is not a good time to visit Darjeeling. But as we this was the only time slot available I decided to chance it.
Forest clad hills, huge trees, clear bubbling streams, strange bird calls, springs trickling from dense bamboo groves, men with bows and arrows; we are at Sarai Deeh, a small sleepy village populated by the Paliha tribe, deep in the jungles of central India. Sarai Deeh can only be reached in a 4×4 jeep with a good driver, and that when the weather is good. The nearest petrol pump is more than a hundred kilometers away, and modern India some light-years beyond the horizon.
We reached Kheechan by first light and made our way to the terrace of a building next to the “Chugga Ghar” (literally feeding house) in the semi darkness. It was a typical cold and silent pre-dawn of a desert village. After ensuring that we had a good vantage point, Ram Narain, our guide went downstairs to organize tea for everyone. Soon we were enjoying a steaming cup of sweet masala chai (Indian milk tea) and biscuits while we waited.
This portfolio contains images of beautiful dining areas.
These images were made over a span of many years while photographing professionally for my clients.
A tributary of the Sutlej, the Baspa river originates at a point near the tri-junction of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Tibet. It flows due west for about 60 kilometers before joining the Sutlej at Kharcham. This is the Baspa valley.
A part of the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, the Baspa valley lies in the lap of the great Himalayas. Sangla is its largest town, and therefore the Baspa valley is sometimes also referred to as the Sangla valley.
It was late in September 2011. I was in Leh on a dream assignment. The assignment was open ended. I was to make my own itinerary and travel to places of my choice at my own pace. The idea was to make a nice portfolio of images from Ladakh. I was alone in my trusty Bolero 4×4 jeeep and I had already covered the main Indus valley and the Nubra valley.
I was planning to leave for Zanskar when, I came to know that my friend Tribhuvan was in Leh. We met at his favourite restaurant for dinner. When he told me that he and his friend, Charles, were also planning to go to Zanskar, I proposed a joint “expedition” to Zansakar.
The Bandhavgarh National Park boasts of the highest tiger density in the world. It is also tourist friendly, easily accessible, has good visibility and has well made jungle tracks. In short, it is the best place in the world to see tigers in the wild.
During the last couple of years I have had the good fortune of visiting this park many times. I was photographing the Samode Safari Lodge, Bandhavgarh, and my work involved repeated visits.
I must have made at least 25 jeep safaris into the park during this period. Given the number of safaris and the “highest tiger density in the world” one would be forgiven to think that I would have seen a huge number of tigers during this time. Not true. Seeing tigers is not as easy as seeing their more exhibitionist cousins, the lions. In fact the Indian jungle is very different from the staple diet of the “African Savannah experience” tabled by the TV channels every day.
While in Leh, in September 2011, during a chance meeting with an officer from the Forest Department, I asked him whether it was possible to see wild Argali (Marco Polo sheep, Ovis Ammon) in Ladakh. It won’t be easy, he said, but it is possible. He told me that there was a small population of Marco Polo sheep in the Tso Kar Wildlife Sanctuary. Numbering about 150, this flock lived in the northern regions of the sanctuary. But, he added, the Argali were very shy and difficult to locate. He said it might be a good idea to look around for the Marco Polo sheep in the Tso Kar wildlife sanctuary on the way back to Manali.
A young male Ladakh Urial
I started from Leh at about 8 AM. I was alone, as nobody was ready to join me on this wild goose chase. My plan was to head to Gurudwara Pattharsahib and look for Ladakh Urail (Ovis orientalis vignei). During a chance conversation, a forest officer in Leh had informed me that there were a couple of flocks of Urial (a kind of wild sheep) which lived in the hills near the Gurudwara. The drive from Leh to Pattharsahib takes about an hour. I was there at 9 AM after an uneventful drive.
The Jal Mahal (literally “Water Palace”) is a beautiful Mughal-Rajput style palace located in the center of the Mansagar lake a few kilometers to the north of the city of Jaipur. Designed a pleasure resort, the Jal Mahal is an approximately 60m square multistory building which has chhatris on each corner. When the lake is full only the top floor remains above the water level and the Palace can only be reached by boat. The terrace has a typical Charbagh style Mugal garden. Located on the tourist artery, the Jaipur – Amer road, Jal mahal is one of the iconic sights of Jaipur.
I made an early season trip to the Spiti Valley (Himachal Pradesh) in April 2011. The plan was to survey the valley for Bharal (Pseudois nayaur) and Ibex (Capra ibex). We did have some success with our mission. You can see some images of Ibex from this trip in the “Ibex (Capra ibex) in the Pin valley – Spiti” post. As we were early in the season we saw a lot of ice and I spent some time photographing the ice with my macro lens to get some abstract images. The images presented in this gallery are a selection from these.
The Himalayas are one the few truly wild spaces left in the world where one can spend weeks without coming in contact with civilization. I try and escape into the Himalayas for a few months every year. Trekking, mountaineering, birding, observing wild animals or just driving through. Some of the most cherished moments of my life have been in the Himalayas, many in the company of wild creatures, especially birds. These images are mementos of such moments. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed photographing them …..
I made a short trip to the Spiti valley, in April 2011, before the summer tourist rush started. The plan was to survey the valley for Ibex (Capra Ibex) and Bharal (Pseudois nayaur). If lucky we might get to see some before they started moving to higher altitudes. If not we would at least have the snow covered Spiti valley to ourselves and enjoy the stunning scenery.
We based ourselves in Kaza (at the only hotel that was open) and we spent the days driving around, enjoying and photographing the stunning landscape while on the lookout for wild animals.