I have always believed that our life is a continuous journey and a culmination of numerous transient moments. Time never stops – but the good news is we are the pilot. All we need is to live these moments and enjoy this gift of life.
This is a picture of a small, unknown railway station of a village, glimmering from the sunshine of a new day – taken from a moving train while travelling – symbolizing the unknown, transient moments of our life.
“Bridges” – we all know about them right? They are used mostly to cross strong rivers, deep gorges, between two cliffs etc. How many types of bridges do we know? Pontoon bridge, cantilever bridge, suspension bridge – and many more. But ever heard of a bridge made of living roots?
Yes, this unique wonder exists in Meghalaya, a north-eastern state of India and a plateau geographically, placed just on the “shoulder” of Bangladesh. This is the place receiving the most amount of annual rainfall in the world (the village in Mawsynram). Being situated at the windward side of Eastern Himalayas, this place is gifted with lush green vegetation of tropical evergreen rainforest. Numerous streams run through the rough terrain, creating a lot of waterfalls on their way. These waterfalls and the streams are normally gentle but becomes pretty rough during the monsoon rains – creating troubles to cross them, for the indigenous tribal people of this area – the Khasi tribe.
In order to overcome this barrier, the elders developed a unique way around 200 years back. Rubber tree roots are collected and made to grow at one side of the river, through the Areca Nut trees, commonly found in this region. These roots are supported firmly with the help of sticks, stones etc. so that they get a strong hold of the ground. Then these roots are gently nurtured and guided to the other side of the river. The whole process of building a web of roots from one side of the river to the other takes 15 to 20 years to get completed.
The most interesting fact about these bridges are they grow stronger with time – in contrast to the conventional bamboo bridges which worn out fast. These bridges are capable of handling around 500 people and last nearly 500 years. Age of most of the strongest bridges present here are 100 years or more. The most spectacular and famous one is the Umshiang double-decker bridge – on the river Umshiang. This bridge is about 180 years old.
Today’s prompt “survival” goes so well with this unique strategy of devising natural solutions to survival issues – that’s why I selected this topic for today.
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India is the land of one of the oldest known civilizations of the world with her history dating around 5000 years back. It’s no wonder that the whole country is full of very old heritage sites, many of them being categorized in the UNESCO world heritage list. One of such places is Mahabalipuram, a coastal city situated at the coast of Bay of Bengal.
Situated at a distance of around 60 km. from Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, India, this coastal city served as a bustling port in India from 1st CE and became one of the major ports during the rule of Pallava kingdom (7th – 9th CE). The city is also known as Mamallapuram, named after the great Pallava king, Narasimhavarman I – popularly known as “Mamalla” (the great wrestler) because of his huge military might.
Pallavas are known for producing one of the finest architectural specimens of ancient India and Mahabalipuram has got some of the finest specimens of Pallava art. One of the unique features of these architectures is, all these are monolithic, free standing, rock – cut sculptures. The “Group of Monuments” present here are UNESCO world heritage site. Apart from this there are other exquisite pieces of carvings as well, all being rock cut. All these architectures are found within 1 km. radius, spaced out distinctively.
This is one of the most famous, most exquisitely carved monument known as “Descent of the Ganges”. The story goes like – the river Ganges, the most important river in northern India, descended from heaven to the Earth after extreme penance of Bhagiratha, the king of Koshala, a kingdom in ancient India.
Another exquisite carving inside a cave situated here – showing God Vishnu in a reclining posture, sleeping on the serpent, “Ananta”, thus the name “Anantashayan Vishnu”.
There are numerous caves here, each of them an example of wonderful architectural and historical value. I am only showing very few pictures here.
These five most famous rock cut monolithic monuments are in UNESCO heritage list. Though commonly named upon the characters of the Indian epic, “Mahabharata”, practically there is no such resemblance. Sometimes these are referred as ancient temples, but it’s not true as well. These were built just for the sake of art. These buildings show the examples of typical “thatched roof” style of Bengal and multi-storied structures.
Situated just a few paces away from the group of monuments, this temple is situated just beside the Bay of Bengal. It is presumed that there were seven temples in total once – six of them now submerged in the sea. This temple now contains a broken “Shiva Linga” and a “reclining Vishnu” idol. The whole complex overlooking the sea is a beauty to watch.
I visited Mahabalipuram when I was a child – some 20 years back. The place was very desolated at that time and the solitude had a different beauty. Recently I visited there last year. Tourists have increased a lot and that calmness and deep quietness is missing now. But still, these architectures, more than 1500 years old, are standing just like they were – bearing the wrath of time but standing tall, glorifying the ancient heritage of India.
The setting rays of the Sun, reflecting from the surface of the never ending waves – creating an imaginary pathway, leading to the point where the sky and the sea ends.
This photo was taken before the sunset and around two years back. I used this photo in one of my previous photography blogs as well, but for this prompt “reflection”, I am using it again as it’s an appropriate one.
The mighty and dangerous lion – once the king of the jungle – Now, Caged.
This picture was taken a year back. This experience was pretty memorable one for me – because the situation was a little scary.
The enclosure was not much crowded when I was there. When I was trying to observe him closely, somehow he became angry with the other lioness (not in picture) present in the enclosure. The lion started roaring – and the anger and fury in the roars can’t be described in words. It seemed he was angry with his caged life – which he never deserved. He was a king, and it was an insult for a king to stay behind bars. Other visitors around backed off immediately, but I didn’t. Probably I could identify myself with his anger and rage and I couldn’t take my eyes off the dangerously gorgeous sight of the lion’s approach. I waited and got this shot when he roared the loudest – I guess the whole sanctuary heard it.
So I am at the end of my vacation today. For last two days, I was trying to get some good shots but the cloudy weather messed up everything. Still I did try to take some pictures and I am sharing them with you
These are all I could get in this trip. In my next trip, I will share more. In the mean time I will try to share photos from my archives.