It has been hard to get back to regular posting. To break our mental block, we decided to go through each day in our last trip to South India and find a picture from that day to post.
It took us a full day to get from our home in the US to Bangalore, our first stop in India. Bangalore seems like it might be a good place to live but — from a tourist perspective — the most interesting location seems to be the modern international airport. Bangalore was a capital city in times past which has been renamed Bengaluru to help confuse visitors. Today, it is a modern place known as the “Silicon Valley of India.” If you have ever called customer service in the evening for help with an electronic device, it is likely you have spoken to someone in Bangalore.
The first day of our trip was a drive around to see the few remaining historical sites in Bangalore. Being driven in Bangalore is like riding in an amusement park thrill ride. Two or three inches separate cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians that are bobbing and weaving while constantly blowing their horns (except for the pedestrians, but they would if they had them).
One site we stopped at, which is really atypical of modern Bangalore, was the Kote Venkataramana Temple. The guide said we’d be seeing a lot of temples in India (he was right) so we saw this one from outside only. It is part of the Tipu Sultan Fort complex. According to an eBook we bought on Amazon, the tower in the left of the photo represents a mountain where gods live. A god comes down the mountain to a sanctuary, representing a cave, that is reached after passing through the tower. In this “cave” there is an idol of a deity that the god inhabits during worship. The worshiper gazes at the idol; the god, through the eyes of the idol, gazes back at the worshiper. In this way, each benefits. (Note: This is probably 100% wrong, but it is enough to get past American tourists.)
We did a temple tour during a 2017 visit to Chiang Mai, Thailand. We took literally hundreds of pictures of Buddhas housed in the temples, including this picture of the feet of a reclining Buddha in Wat Chedi Luang.
This photo was taken on January 31, 2017, and was converted from color to black and white with selective color using Silver Efx Pro.
Sometimes we think that there are too many sunset photos. Then we find ourselves in a beautiful location with a magnificent sunset and we can’t resist capturing the image. We climbed the steep, handrail-free, steps of the Shwesandaw Pagoda with several hundred very new friends (all of us in our bare feet) to take this shot. When we finally got back to the ground, we agreed the climb had been worth it.
This photo was taken from an upper level of the Shwesandaw Pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar, on February 9, 2017. Specs are:
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.
Prasat Beng Mealea
This photo was taken on March 25, 2013. Specs are:
We visited Bagan, Myanmar, in February 2017. On our first day there, we went on a photo shoot with a self-taught photographer named Maung Maung Bagan, whose stunning photos have won numerous international awards. Near the end of our afternoon shoot, Maung Maung drove us, with our young hired monk, to a small square temple at the end of a small dusty road. The temple was locked, but the caretaker and two helpers were waiting for us. A 5000 kyat bill (less than $4 US) passed from our hands to the caretaker, and we all entered the temple. On the western wall of the temple was a small alcove framing a perforated stone window, with light radiating from the setting sun. What a beautiful place for meditation!
Radiation for Meditation
This photo was taken on February 8, 2017, just before sunset. Specs are:
Wat Saket is a popular Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand. Also called Golden Mount or Phu Khao Thong, because of the gold chedi on top, it is an easy visit, with 300 well-paved shallow steps winding to the top. The steps in the photo are marked with an up arrow; there are similar “down” steps.