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Posts Tagged ‘India’

Snapshots – bicycles

Posted by dan on March 3, 2011

Bicycle stunt in Sydney

Bicycle stunt in Sydney

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Ederlezi – the Gypsy Spring Festival

Posted by dan on January 26, 2011

Scene from the film ‘Time of the Gypsies’. Click on link if video doesn’t play. The film was made into an opera and performed at the Milan Cathedral and Opéra Bastille in Paris. See scenes from the opera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUQCNlHYDBo

The Gypsy exodus is very beautifully presented in ‘Latcho Drom’, a film by Tony Gatlif. It shows the journey from India to Europe through music and images only, recorded in Roma  (Gypsy) communities in India, Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain.

Different in style and focus, ‘Time of the Gypsies’ by Emir Kusturica is another classic on the life of the Roma people. Set in Yougoslavia and Italy, it gives a good insight into petty crime and how the Gypsy are victimized by their own people. Music, composed by Goran Bregović and based on traditional Serbian Roma melodies, plays an important part in this film as well. A famous scene is the Spring festival of Ederlezi, also known as Đurđevdan.

About the festival:

Ederlezi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ederlezi_%28song%29
Đurđevdan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%90ur%C4%91evdan

About the films:

Latcho Drom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latcho_Drom
Time of the Gypsies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_of_the_Gypsies

About the opera:

NY Times: Opera With Attitude, Guitars, and a Dose of Mayhemhttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/28/arts/music/28emir.html?_r=1

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Snapshots – Hampi, India

Posted by dan on January 25, 2011

Silence that speaks...

A popular destination with the Goa crowd, Hampi is indeed a magical place. The little town is cute, but the surrounding natural setting is what makes it special. There are ruins of an ancient kingdom, temples, sacrificial places amongst incredible boulders. It is a big area, you could explore it for several days – or just chill out in a nice cafe overlooking the river, like most people do.

More about Hampi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampi

 

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Snapshots – Calcutta downtown

Posted by dan on January 22, 2011

The first time I went to India was in 1991, arriving in Kolkata – then still Calcutta –  from Bangkok. My friend and I said we’d never come back again to India – we were so shocked, even with South-East Asia and China behind us. Yet, a year later I was back, and then again in 2001. Most of the photos here were taken on the last trip, except the one of the beggar who buries his head in the foot path. That was taken in 1991, in front of the Indian Museum. The other images are also from the area (Chowringee, New Market and Sudder street) with the exception of the last one at the train station. Beggars were absent on my last trip; they were pushed out of the city center, although surely didn’t vanish. I wonder how much the city has changed in the last ten years. Massive and run down, I still love it – as much as any other Indian city, it has its own special flavor and vibe.

See also: Kolkata attractions pictures & videos

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Snapshots – three wheelers

Posted by dan on January 7, 2011

Three wheelers in Dhaka Bangladesh

Three wheelers in Dhaka Bangladesh

Tuk-tuks and human powered rickshaws are making their way to the western world. Three wheelers were common in Europe when I was a kid, but somehow they have disappeared where I lived. They never went out of fashion in France and Italy though, where they still make their own brands. Two at the back or two at the front, doesn’t matter – here we go again.

Véléance, Electric Vehicles: http://www.veleance.fr/

About Piaggio APE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaggio_Ape

About the Tuk-Tuk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuk_tuk

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Adivasi – tribal people in India

Posted by dan on December 17, 2010

The Bondo men still carry bows and arrows

The Bondo men still carry bows and arrows

Although little known, there are hundreds of different tribes in India, a country which has more than 10 official languages and, according to some studies, up to 800 spoken languages. One interesting and diverse region is Orissa where there are 62 different tribal groups. One of the most interesting and smallest is the Bondo who live up in the hills of Khoraput district along with the Didayi and Gadaba. Their way of life is under threat – as the case with indigenous groups all over the world – but they still retain much of their culture. You can get in contact with them in one of the weekly markets where they sell sago wine and buy the things they need. The following images were made in the market of the little town of Onukadeli (also written in many other ways), located at the upper end of the Machkund Dam Project. Most of the photos were taken by a local man who doesn’t want to be named. I gave him my camera for the day while I was drinking with the Bondo. Although he had never used a digital camera before, he made some amazing shots in the market. The images in the villages are mine.

Note: Please be respectful when visiting tribal areas. Apart from their lands being taken, the tribal groups are under enormous cultural pressure from Hindu officials and Christian missionaries – no need to make them feel like exotic animals in a zoo.

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Indian fishermen – Puri to Konarak by bicycle

Posted by dan on December 9, 2010

Going out to the sea

Going out to the sea

The Konarak sun temple is one of the main sights in Orissa, and its erotic sculptures are often mentioned along with the sculptures of the Kajuraho temples. From Puri, where most visitors to the area stay, there are a number of ways to getting to Konarak, including on a rented bicycle. Most part the road leads along the coast, where fishermen live. They are not from here; they are sea-faring nomads, migrating over a thousand miles along the coast from Kerala according to fishing seasons and living in temporary villages. They sell the fish right on the spot, with local buyers coming to their village markets. Doing a dangerous job with style, they remain free and happy.


Travel TipOrissa tourism official website: http://www.orissatourism.gov.in

.
“Style is the answer to everything.

Fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous day.
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without style.
To do a dangerous thing with style, is what I call art.”
Charles Bukowski

‘Style’, told by Charles Bukowsky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ekh_GymdgIc&feature=related

‘Style’, told by Ben Gazzara as Charles Bukowsky in the film ‘Tales of ordinary madness’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upL99XQ5_jQ

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Maha Kumbh Nagar – megapolis not marked on any map

Posted by dan on November 13, 2010

Naga Sadhu on horse back

Naga Sadhu on horse back

Happens only once every 144 years in India, the Maha Kumbh Mela is the biggest gathering of people anywhere in the world. In 2001 up to 100 million people flocked to the Hindu festival located between Varanasi and Ahmedabad where three holy rivers – the Yamuna, Ganges and the mythical Saraswati River – merge. On any given days there were at least 10 million people present, with around 20 million people on peak days. With its sprawling tent city (Maha Kumbh Nagar) and temporary citizens who live there for a month this makes it one of the biggest cities in the world – except that at any other time you wouldn’t find there anything.

“The normal Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 4 years, the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mella is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Prayag, the Purna (complete) Kumbh takes place every twelve years, at four places (Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik). The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela which comes after 12 ‘Purna Kumbh Melas’, or 144 years, is held at Allahabad.

The last Ardh Kumbh Mela was held over a period of 45 days beginning in January 2007, more than 70 million Hindu pilgrims took part in the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag, and on January 15, the most auspicious day of the festival of Makar Sankranti, more than 5 million participated.

The previous Maha Kumbh Mela, held in 2001, was attended by around 60 million people, making it at the time the largest gathering anywhere in the world in recorded history.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumbh_Mela

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