Altar of the Old-New Synagogue in Prague

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge — Worship.

We recently visited the Jewish Quarter in Prague. One of the (many) stops was the Old-New Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in Central Europe. The building — constructed in 1270 — is in the gothic style and was build by hired Christian workers since Jews were not permitted to participate in the building trades.
The photo below shows a raised platform used for Torah reading during services. The large red banner was given by Charles IV, in honor of the Jewish community’s service.

An interesting aside about this synagogue is that, in around 1600, Rabbi Lowe is said to have created a creature — called the Golem — to protect the ghetto. This creature, the world’s first “robot,” is said to be hidden in the attic of the synagogue.

The Flower Seller

One of the byproducts of religion in India is the use of beautiful flowers. Our favorite stop in our first day in Bangalore was at the Flower Market. There is a sense of real life there that seems missing in places oriented towards tourists. It is beautiful, squalid, chaotic, and organized all at the same time. The people are there to live their lives and they are fascinating.

The typical photo of the market is this one, taken from a second floor balcony. It is beautiful but every tourist takes it.

We prefer this one showing an individual seller in an instant of time going about her life.

The Dome of St. Peter’s — Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Arch, Dome or Half Circle

Here is another entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Arch, Dome or Half Circle.

We took an eight week around the world trip in 2013. To structure the trip, we decided to visit as many religious sites as possible. Our trip included ancient Egyptian temples, cathedrals, Hindu and Jain temples, a Jewish synagogue, and Buddhist shrines.

One of our stops was St. Peter’s Basilica. It was breathtaking. The following is one of our favorite images from that stop. This is the view looking straight up at the dome with light streaming through the windows.

This photo was taken on February 19, 2013.

Langar at the Golden Temple — Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Kind and Caring

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Kind and Caring.

The Sikh people serve free hot meals in their temples around the world to anyone who comes, regardless of religion. When we visited Amritsar in the Indian state of Punjab, we ate the communal meal at the Golden Temple with hundreds of other fellow travelers. The langar hall at the temple is the largest free kitchen in the world. Dozens of volunteers work continuously to prepare the food in a gigantic kitchen. The photo below shows volunteers preparing the freshly baked roti just prior to serving.



Diners sit cross-legged on the floor in long rows. Each row contains more than 100 diners and there are rows and rows in the hall. The meal was simple but very good. We felt a deep sense of kindness and caring from the Sikh people who serve these meals as a labor of love.


These photos were taken on October 25, 2014. Specs are:

First photo: Olympus TG-3, ISO 100,  f/2.8, 1/160 sec, 4.8mm

Second photo: Olympus TG-3, ISO 800,  f/2, 1/25 sec, 4.5mm


Weathered in Angkor Wat

This is our second entry in The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Weathered.

Most tourists only visit the famous restored temples when visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia. However, there are many unrestored temples hidden in the jungle. When we visited Cambodia in 2013, we included a visit to the weathered ruins at Prasat Beng Mealea. As opposed to the main temples where one has the opportunity to make thousands of new friends, some of the outlying temples allow for an undisturbed view of temples long abandoned to weather and time.

This photo was taken on March 25, 2013.  Specs are:

Olympus TG-1, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/60 sec,  4.5mm.


Smoky Serenity in Bagan

This is our entry in The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene.

This post highlights another photo shoot in Bagan, Myanmar, with the international award-winning photographer Maung Maung Bagan.  (The first photo shoot is described at Bagan Photo Shoot 1: I need a map.)

This is a temple we visited in the late afternoon. It was locked, but Maung Maung had arranged for a “key man” to let us in for about $4 US.  He had also arranged for the novice Buddhist monk to be our model for another $4. 

We know that there must be particles in the air to capture sun rays in photos.  In the West, either a smoke machine or a can of spray smoke is used to illuminate the sunbeams. These normally come with strict warnings about allergies, safety, etc.  Gavin Hoey, one of our favorite presenters on YouTube, carefully describes these warnings each time smoke is used.  Maung Maung brought small bundles of some kind of dried grass, tossed them in the window behind the little monk, and lit them. The smoke was both photographically effective and choking.  After the shoot, we stood in the window where the monk is seen in the photo. We had difficulty breathing and our eyes watered.  Only then did we realize what we had just put the little novitiate through.

This photo was taken on February 8, 2017. Specs are:

Canon SL1, ISO 1600, f/7.1, 1/80 sec, focal length 18 mm

The Sun Peeking over the Mountains in Kyaiktiyo

This our entry for The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Peek.

This photo shows the early morning sunrise from our room in the Mountain Top Hotel in Kyaiktiyo on the day we visited the Golden Rock Pagoda. The photo shows the sun barely peeking over the mountains in the distance before the start of a glorious day.


This photo was taken on February 6, 2017. Specs are:

Canon SL1, ISO 100, f/22, 1/15 sec, 90 mm full-frame equivalent.