Tag Archives: Architecture

Paris: Bastille Day Fireworks

July 14, 2009: a friend and I walked towards Eiffel tower to view and photograph the Bastille Day fireworks. Tripods and camera gear on the shoulders, we tried to get in the vicinity of Eiffel tower for photography but to no avail. People sat on the bridges, the gardens, along the river everywhere, with friends, picnic baskets spread next to them sharing laughter and smiles. All routes were packed with Parisians and tourists blocked in their quest to get nearer to Tour Eiffel by Gendarmes.

Having tried three different approaches to the tower, feet starting to hurt and the time for fireworks drawing near, we decided to go towards Passy bridge for the next vantage point. Once there, we found there was hardly any place to even think of setting my tripod without obstructing somebody else’s view.   For that matter, there were people six to eight lines deep and I did not want to shoot without my tripod.   My friend and I parted ways here – he stayed on the bridge not wanting to miss the fireworks and I moved further down the Seine with Passy bridge in the foreground as one looked towards the Eiffel tower.

I was able to set up my tripod farther along the river.   I tried calling him but could not get through.  Even though it was not the best vantage point but I had no choice.  We should have come much earlier to scout a better location.

After the fireworks were over, a hazy smoke loitered in the air around Eiffel tower providing an orange glow as if the structure was on fire.

Larger versions in the form of a slideshow of these pics and some more may be seen in my archive.

On the occasion of Bastille day, I remembered the time and thought of putting these pics for my friends.
To my friends in France, wish you a happy Bastille day!

A gothic architectural gem: Sainte Chapelle, Paris

One of the most beautiful, exquisite chapels that I have ever visited has to be Sainte-Chapelle, in the center of Paris. This gem of the gothic architecture is hidden in Ile-de-la-cite, Paris.

I had seen street signs pointing to this church before; there are so many beautiful churches in Paris that I never thought about going there. Last year, as I sat chatting with a friend over dinner, he casually mentioned Sainte-Chapelle and its beautiful stained glass windows. I have been able to visit it a couple of times since then.

A little history here: Sainte-Chapelle was built between 1242 and 1248 to house the relics of Passion of Christ by the king, Louis IX (later beatified as Saint Louis). Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie, are the only visible remains of the oldest palace of kings of France.

The building houses two sanctuaries – the lower chapel, for the palace staff and the upper chapel, for the king and his close friends and family. The upper chapel is airy, monumental and exquisitely decorated with sculptures and thin lattice framework supporting the stained glass till the ceiling. In every home, there is usually a personal place of worship and/or meditation; Sainte-Chapelle was the royal palatine chapel for Louis IX.

I have tried to record the architecture details, the XIIIth century stained glass, and the beauty that I see in Sainte-Chapelle. Photos are slowly being added to be viewed as a slide show in my Sainte-Chapelle gallery. But, photographs do not always do justice.

Hopefully, when you visit Paris, you will able to experience Sainte-Chapelle for yourself. Happy travels!

Tirthankar Statues on Gopachal Parwat

Gwalior Fort: Gopachal Parvat / Ek Patthar ki Baori

History and Architecture holds a spell-binding fascination for me.  When I visit Gwalior, I try and revisit the historical monuments to relive the countless moments I spent here as a child.  Yesterday, I visited Ek Patthar ki Baori (aka Gopachal Parwat) where artisans painstakingly carved twenty six giant statues of Jain Tirthankars in stone.

The ride on the motorcycle, a converted Yamaha RX100, was a great feeling, as usual, a slow ride with no helmet.  With the warm dusty breeze on my face as I rode along, I reached the rocky terrain at the slopes of Gwalior Fort.

The local Jain community has worked wonders around the monument, having cleaned and landscaped the whole area.  Gardens have sprung up around the base of the Fort, with walls built to harvest rainwater, to irrigate the trees that have been planted.  The area is very clean, quite a contrast to what I had seen before.   I also had to take off my shoes as the community deems it to be a religious holy place.  So, I walked up the small but arduous climb barefoot on the path, landscaped with rough cut stones and cement.  My feet were burning as I stepped on the stones but happily, I climbed to the monument, in anticipation of photographing the beautiful sculptures.

As I reached the monument, I was impressed.  The statues have been cleaned and well-maintained.  There are twenty six statues of Jain Tirthankars in various upright and seated positions.  There is a mention of the monuments being built around 1424 a.d. under the reign of Tomar King Dungar Singh in an inscription in one of the caves.  Built between 1398-1536 by kings of Tomar dynasty, these are quite a spectacle to behold.

Ek Patthar ki baori is in the first cave, a water reservoir carved out of a single stone.  Honey bees swarmed around as I peeked into the locked baori.  As I photographed the details of the statues, a group of pilgrims came up to pray.  I quickly took a couple of photos to show the scale of the statues.

Women in Prayer

The largest idol of Bhagwan Parshwanath seated on a Lotus is the largest single stone carved statue in the world.  It is 47 feet high and 30 feet wide and extremely difficult to photograph in its entirety.  More on this later…

Here is a photograph of the row of statues as seen from an opening in the rock…

Tirthankar Statues on Gopachal Parwat