Sunday, June 13, 2010

Recent trip to Mumbai

Last week I had been to Mumbai for couple of days. The idea was to meet old friends and relax for couple of days. This time around since I was carrying my camera along I wanted to visit areas like Marinlines, Colaba etc... to capture some candid moments.

We started off at 10 AM from Airoli and took a bus to Vashi station and then a train to CST. Just getting out of the CST station I photographed the station building. We then walked till the Metro cinema, where one of my friend had some work. While he was completing his work I roamed round and took couple of shots here and there.

Metro Theatre


We then got into one of the under bridge near Metro theater. Suddenly I witnessed a rare sight. There was not a single person in the under bridge :) and I had to capture this. Just after I took this shot, crowd came in.

Deserted under bridge

I wanted to spend that entire evening at marine drive gazing at the sea, so we walked and walked and finally saw the sea. The pleasant evening breeze filled us with energy. We spent around 2 1/2 hours chatting, gazing at sea and ofcourse clicking few shots.

Urban sunset

Sitting here gives you the true feeling of being in Mumbai and then you realize why it is called the city of dreams. Seeing the sun setting behind the tall buildings left me mesmerized. After the sun was down, we headed back to CST station to face the real Mumbai in local trains. By this time sun was down and the sky had taken a lovely dark blue color. The brightly lit buildings looked beautiful against the sky.

We reached home at 11 PM and were totally tired, but as usual its worth getting tired if your entire day was as eventful as this.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jodhpur - The sun city

During my long leave in the month of Jan this year I spent few days in Jodhpur (Rajasthan). Jodhpur, being my wife's home town, I visit it at least once in a year. This time around I took some time to visit some places inside and around the city with a hope to capture some good shots.

I arrived at Jodhpur railway station on 2nd Jan, 2010 at around 6.30 AM in the morning. When I got out of the station, I saw that the station was beautifully lit and looked very colourful against the early morning dark blue sky. So got my camera out and took a shot. I love this shot solely because of its colours.

In the next few days I visited few well known tourist places in and around Jodhpur and some of the shots take are my favourites.

Mehrangarh fort

The Mehrangarh Fort lies in the heart of the old city of Jodhpur and is located atop a high hill. We reached at the fort at around 3.30 PM in afternoon. The fort was packed with tourists. I especially liked the elevator facility that they have which makes it easy for old people to get in the fort. A walk to the top of the fort is pretty tiring.

Once we were in the fort we visited several small museums that houses an exquisite collection of palanquins (palkhi), cradles, howdas, musical instruments, costumes, weapons and furniture that were used by the Maharaja.

However for me the best part of the Fort was a breath taking view of the Jodhpur city from the fort. Most of the houses in the old city of Jodhpur are painted in blue which gives a unique view of the city. This is also the reason why Jodhpur is also called Blue city. The fort also has well preserved set of cannons. We then went to Mata's temple in the fort and then headed back home.

Mandore garden
Mandore town is located about 10 kms from the city. The main attraction here was the garden that has collection of temples and memorials. I had high hopes of taking some really good photographs here, but I was really disappointed when I saw this place. I felt that this place was not at all maintained by the authorities concerned. In fact some part of the garden had turned to open public toilets and it was really stinking there. However I still managed to find couple of good locations to take some snaps.


After spending some time at Mandore we left for Osian. Osian is a town located about 60kms from Jodhpur. I specifically wanted to visit the sand dunes and the temple at Osian. It was already 6 PM and I wanted to be at sand dunes to capture the sunset, so we dashed to the location of sand dunes. There were few tourists around and a group of localities were provided a camel ride over the dunes. We hired a camel for 250 bucks. It was great fun.

As the sun was setting over the horizon I took couple of shots which also happens to be few of my favourite photographs.

We headed to the temple and then after long tiring but an enjoyable day we were back home.

In next few days I roamed around in the city and visited Ghantaghar and National Handloom. When at Ghantaghar I had the very popular Mishrilal ke lassi. Yes!! this lassi is popular in the city and you should not give it a miss when you are in Jodhpur. One place which many people might not know, as it is not popular like other tourist places is Ganesh temple. The temple is located on top of a hill and one can get a good view of the city from there. Its worth spending an evening at the temple.
View of Umaid Bhavan palace
from Ganesh temple

Jodhpur city at night

There are few more places that I was not able to visit because of lack of time, no regrets though, after all its my wife's home town and I will always be a once in a year type visitor to Jodhpur.

Signing off for now with few more snaps of the beautiful Sun city.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Victoria Park - the lost reserved forest

Not sure if many people have heard about Victoria park, so let me start with some introduction of Victoria park.

The reserved forest (Victoria park) is situated 3 km south of Bhavnagar City, Gujarat State, India. The hot, dry climate supports scrubby and thorny vegetation. It has variety of bird life and is also home of animals like Neel Gai (Blue bull), fox, hynea, porcupine. Just next to the park there is a small reservoir (Gaurishankar lake) where plenty of water birds can be found.

I have spent my entire child hood and part of my adult hood in Bhavnagar and this was one place which I never missed a chance to visit. Even now when I am no longer residing in Bhavnagar and have moved out of Gujarat, when ever I get chance to visit Bhavnagar a trip to Victoria Park is first on my list. I had been to Bhavnagar this year in January 2010 and had made couple of trips to Victoria park with my friend Kalpesh and of course my Nikon D40 camera. Having acquired a new 55-200mm lens few days before the trip I was rearing to try out some bird photography and capture commonly seen birds and mammals in the park.

Trip 1 (Jan 12, 2010)

Started off early in the morning at around 6.30 AM, and headed to the lake. The first look of the lake really disappointed me as major part of the lake was dry. We went down and walked some distance to reach the water and finally we were greeted with a lovely sight of birds of different kind. Pelicans, Painted stork, Black winged stilt, River tern, Shoveller, Darter are few to mention. I was able to capture few of them, though the light was not ideal and would have loved to have little more reach with the lens. Of course this was my first attempt to picture birds and I am no expert. Here are few shots:

Black winged stilt

Spotted bill pelicans in flight

Darter/ Snake bird

After spending some time at lake and finding out that the birds are too far from my camera's reach, we quickly headed to the park for a place called Golden path which is near one of the machans (watch tower). When passing by, I saw a couple of ladies on the machan with camera and big long lens, probably they too were nature lovers like me. I really envied those long lens ;) During our walk we saw many common birds like Green bee eater, tailor bird, ring necked dove, brown shrike, indian robin, red vented bulbul, magpie robin, spotted owlet, common babler, sun bird, drongo and silver bill. Here are some snaps

Red vented bulbul

Magpie robin

Tailor bird

Green bee eater


Ring necked dove

Silver bill

Sunbird - female

Spotted owlet

Finally at around 10 AM we decided to call it a day and headed back home. I was really very happy that my first trip yielded good results (especially was happy with the Spotted owlet).

Trip 2 (Jan 13, 2010)
Today we decided to head straight to the park. Started at around 6.45 AM and this time got in from the front gate of the park. We quickly left the park's main path and went inside the scrub forest expecting to see more birds and if lucky a neelgai. It was a beautiful winter morning and we witnessed beautiful sunrise.

After roaming around for a while without much luck, we got on the main path of the park and suddenly we saw a male nilgai crossing the path. We stood still as it stopped and stared at us. I had my camera ready and quickly took couple of snaps. After this we were lucky again to see a female nilgai along with its fawns.

Male nilgai

Female nilgai

We also saw a fox scampering around but it was too fast for me to take a shot. Finally we called it a day as sun was climbing up and it was getting hot. When returning back to the main gate we saw few rose-ringed parakeets and a shikra which I happily photographed.


Rose ringed paraket

It was also last day of my stay in Bhavnagar and I left in the evening. It is was a satisfying experience and felt happy to spend time at a place which I visited so many times during school and college days. Its always good to recall good old memories.

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