Archive for building

A Revealed Paradise

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2013 by designldg

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“It is this admirable, this immortal, instinctive sense of beauty that leads us to look upon the spectacle of this world as a glimpse, a correspondence with heaven.
Our unquenchable thirst for all that lies beyond, and that life reveals, is the liveliest proof of our immortality.
It is both by poetry and through poetry, by music and through music, that the soul dimly descries the splendours beyond the tomb; and when an exquisite poem brings tears to our eyes, those tears are not a proof of overabundant joy: they bear witness rather to an impatient melancholy, a clamant demand by our nerves, our nature, exiled in imperfection, which would fain enter into immediate possession, while still on this earth, of a revealed paradise.”
(Charles Baudelaire – French poet, 1821-1867)

This amazing mansion gathering classical Indian and European styles stands at Rani ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
This ghat is far from the center, in a very quiet place away from the noise and the turmoil of the city.
On this side of the river many other buildings recall the splendour of the past which once made the renown of the City of Lights…

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Several blasts in Bodhgaya

Posted in Buddhism, Human Rights Violations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2013 by designldg

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This morning on 7 July, 2013, in a terror attack, 9 bombs exploded inside the Mahabodhi temple (“Great Awakening Temple”) complex (a UNESCO World heritage site) located in Bodh-Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar which is the Buddhism’s holiest shrine.
The first blast took place inside the temple at 5:30 am, followed by eight successive explosions in the next half hour, one near the Buddha statue, one near the Mahabodhi tree and others near the Teraga monastery, injuring 5 people.
One unexploded bomb was also traced and defused.
The main temple is intact and sanitised.

This holy site is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.
The site of the Bodhi tree at Bodhigaya is, directly connected to the life of Buddha (566-486 BCE) and attained enlighment or perfect insight when he was meditating under this tree.
The Bodhi tree, which is to the west of the main temple is a direct continuation of original Bodhi tree under which Budha spent his first week after attaining enlighment.
According to the Jatakas, it forms the navel of the earth, and no other place can support the weight of the Buddha’s attainment.

The Intelligence Bureau of India may have alerted state officials of possible threats around 15 days prior to the bombing.
It happens “again” just before some elections in order to raise controversies and disputes which is exactly the opposite of Buddha’s teachings unless it is done in order to mark the Dalai Lama’s birthday who just turned 78 a few hours before those blasts…
Terrorism is not negotiable…Nothing justifies such things…What comes to the mind of those who do such things…???

This insanity is beyond words…I know this place which only inspires love, compassion and brotherhood…
(Last time I went there I took this picture at dawn before anyone came inside the complex)

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In The Footsteps Of The Nawabs

Posted in Timeless Black & White with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by designldg

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“My son, by all means desist from kicking the venerable and enlightened Vizier: for as a costly jewel retains its value even if hidden in a dung-hill, so old age and discretion are to be respected even in the vile persons of our subjects. 
Desist therefore, and tell us what you desire and propose.” 
(From “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis)

This is the entrance of the Hussainabad Picture Gallery in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh.
It was built by the third Nawab of Awadh, Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah in the year 1838 as a Royal summer house.
This place houses life-size portraits of all Nawabas of Awadh providing a good insight into the grand costumes and jewelry favored by the Nawabs.

Of all the Muslim states and dependencies of the Moghul empire, Awadh had the newest royal family.
They were descended from a Persian adventurer called Sadat Khan, originally from Khurasan in Persia.
In 1732, he was made governor of the province of Awadh.
His original title was Nazim, which means Governor, but soon he was made Nawab. In 1740, the Nawab was called Wazir or vizier, which means Chief Minister, and thereafter he was known as the Nawab Wazir.
In practice, from Sadat Khan onwards, the titles had been hereditary, though in theory they were in the gift of the Moghul emperor, to whom allegiance was paid.

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An Atmosphere of the Marvelous

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by designldg

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“The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects.
We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.”
(Charles Baudelaire – French Poet, 1821-1867)

Walking on the ghats along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras) might certainly be the easiest way to be connected to an atmosphere of the marvelous.
No other place in the world compares to this.
I wish Baudelaire came there, his poetry would have been such a masterpiece…
Those buildings standing at Lal ghat are remains of the rich culture of the eternal city and inside each door must open to wonderful dreams…

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Far From The Madding Crowd

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2011 by designldg

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“…Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way…”
(From “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray – British poet, 1716–1771)

This is Nandeshwar Ghat which stands along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
Anyone who comes to this part of the river which is far from the crowd of the center, is walking in James Prinsep’s footsteps in search of a timeless beauty.
Nothing there has changed from his drawings made two hundred years ago.

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A Heavenly Mansion

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2011 by designldg

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“Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.
The intellect of man is forced to choose perfection of the life, or of the work, and if it take the second must refuse a heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.”
(William Butler Yeats – Irish Writer, Dramatist and Poet. Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923, 1865-1939)

This amazing mansion stands at Rani ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
This ghat is near the bridge where no tourist goes, it is a very quiet place away from the noise and the turmoil of the center.
On this side of the river many other buildings recall the splendour of the past which once made the renown of the City of Lights…

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The Gardens of Eden

Posted in Caught up in a Mughal reverie, Islam with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2011 by designldg

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“Hail, blessed space happier than the garden of Paradise
Hail lofty buildings higher than the divine throne
A paradise, the garden of which has thousands of Rizwans as servants
A garden of which has thousands of paradise for its land
The pen of the mason of the Divine Deeree has wrotten on its court
These are the gardens of Eden, enter them and Live Forever.”

This is a Persian poem on the third Mughal Emperor’s tomb complex’s entrance gate located in Sikandra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh from where this picture was shot.
This visual metaphor is a reference to paradise.
It was designed and written on the north facade, the side facing the tomb, by Abd al-Haqq Shirazi who was later known as Amanat Khan when he became the designer of inscriptions on several major Mughal monuments including the Taj Mahal.

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Flags of Truth

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2011 by designldg

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“No doubt Pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument: it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion.
But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment.
It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.”
(C.S. Lewis – British Scholar and Novelist, 1898-1963)

This lady was rowing a boat towards Munsi ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
It was before sunset, she was carrying candles with flowers to sell to the devoteees who were already gathering along the river in order to perform the evening puja.
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“La souffrance, en tant que porte-voix de Dieu, est un terrible instrument; il peut conduire à la rébellion finale et impénitente.
Mais il représente, pour tous les méchants, l’unique occasion de s’amender.
Il ôte le voile; il plante le drapeau de la vérité dans la forteresse même de l’âme rebelle.”
(C.S. Lewis – Ecrivain et universitaire irlandais, 1898-1963)

Cette femme ramait une barque en direction de Munsi ghat au bord du Gange à Varanasi (Benares).
C’était avant le coucher du soleil, elle amenait des bougies avec des fleurs afin de les vendre aux dévôts qui commençaient à se rassemblaient le long du fleuve pour accomplir le puja du soir.

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The Ganges From The Phatuk

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2011 by designldg

The Ganges From The Phatuk

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“In the corner of a cul-de-sac to the north-west of the minarets is a small phatuk, or gate, opening upon a steep flight of steps, at the foot of which extends the ghat of Punchgunga (the five rivers) where a considerable fair is held during the month of Kartik (Oct.-Nov.).
On the opposite side of the river is just visible the commencement of the road to Calcutta”.
(James Prinsep’s description in “Benares Illustrated”)

James Prinsep wrote those words concerning the same view that he drew almost 200 years ago.
His litograph is titled “View Of The Ganges, From The Phatuk or Gate at the top of Punchgunga Ghat”.
James Prinsep (1799-1840) was an Anglo-Indian scholar, architect and antiquary who made many drawings of Varanasi (Benaras) showing realistic views of the city between 1820-30 gathered in a book titled “Benares Illustrated”.
The lithographs published in this collection are showing that many buildings were kept at that time in a worst condition than nowadays.
It is really surprising because anyone can easily believe that many palaces and temples are today in decay and those sketches prove the opposite, in fact as time went by, people preserved and even restored many historic buildings.
It changes the way to appreciate the oldest living city in the world…
Nothing is really what we believe it is…

This is a link to James Prinsep’s drawing: www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/other/largeimage694…

Magnificence and Rats

Posted in The Oldest Living City in the World with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2011 by designldg

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“Evermore in the world is this marvelous balance of beauty and disgust, magnificence and rats.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson – American Poet and Essayist, 1803-1882)

Those words could echo in a few streets of Varanasi (Benaras) but the dreams always overpower for those who want to see the stars through the souls of those who walk there…
I always enjoy to see this building which has an amazing architecture blending so many influences whenever I go from Hathua Market to Nai Sarak in Ramakant Nagar.
There many houses and constructions like this one are holding traces of the splendor of the past when the Eternal city was bathing in opulence and magnificence…

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