Churches built in post-colonial India


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Vividly-coloured and shaped like stars, ships and castles, several churches in Kerala appear to defy one of the basic tenets of architecture as set by the influential American architect Louis Sullivan – “form follows function”.

Read Why are some Kerala churches shaped like stars, ships and castles?

Artist converts beach rock into a great white shark


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When mixed media artist Jimmy Swift traveled to India in March 2015, he saw a jagged rock on the beach. He immediately knew what to do with it.

“When I first saw this rock it looked like a perfect place for a great white. It’s truly amazing how mother nature can carve out such a perfect shape.”

But creating a three-dimensional lifelike shark wasn’t easy. He braved an ocean of buffeting waves to get the first draft done. “This was the hardest thing I’ve ever painted. I was literally beat up by the waves and rising tide and forced to stop before it was finished.”

He returned two years later to repaint it for Instagram-obsessed beachgoers.

Read more about the work on My Modern Met and follow Jimmy on Instagram.

Blurry on purpose 


Photo by Wells Baum

It’s in the moments of deliberate unfocus, scattered attention, that make an imperfect photo more interesting than manual focus-peaking.

What’s the point of taking another high-resolution photo that can be Googled?

What’s unique always stands out, just like a purple cow.

India 2014

Sarathy Korwar – Bhajan


Photo courtesy the artist

Sarathy Korwar is an American-Indian producer and drummer. While born in the United States, he spent most of his childhood growing up India where he listened to American jazz records in local record shops.

‘Bhajan’ is the first song on his debut album, Day To Day, which weaves together both Indian folk and jazz music into a unique sound that Korwar can call his own.

’Day To Day’ is an exceptional debut by this multi-percussive artist fusing jazz, electronic and Indian harmonics.” — Gilles Peterson

Fakear – Jonnhae Part 2.


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Image courtesy the artist

Fakear is the artist name for Théo Le Vigoureux, an electronic producer based out of Caen, France. His most recent album Vegetal: Offshoots was recorded at the same time he crafted his debut album Animal.

Says Fakear on his Bandcamp page:

‘The fulfilment of the circle of life. Animal is nothing without Vegetal; written at the same time and with the same will.’

Taking influences from around the world, Fakear this time focuses his palette on India. Of the seven track spiritual journey, the last track ‘Jonnhae Part 2’ may be the most uplifting and ethereal.

India 2014


Namaste

The world isn’t flat just because everyone owns a mobile phone. The world is still as round and as varied as ever. Culture and customs are still intact. Below are some of the highlights and learnings from my travels through four cities in India’s largest state by area: Rajasthan.

Jaipur

Jaipur is known as the Pink City. One of its rulers thought it was a good idea to pick a color. But what you’re more likely to see is a hodgepodge of vibrant colors, especially among the women wearing their saris and the men with their turbans.

One of the most memorable ways to travel up the Amber Fort is by elephant, whose pace gives you a steady, birds eye view of the beautiful landscape below. Above Amber Fort sits Jaigarh Fort, a more traditional military fort designed to be the last bastion. Nahagarth Fort sits further down the road. It too overlooks the city but it also offers an equally stunning view of its own. Visitors can walk on top of the roof and see all of intricately designed rooms below.

Walking the Jaipur bazaar is an experience in itself. As a Westerner you get heckled by everyone from shop sellers to little kids begging for change. You get good at kindly ignoring them. The best way to capture the sights and sounds of the bazaar is to pause and let traffic dance around you. Indian cities make New York look calm.

See Jaipur pictures


Johdpur

India is perfect for car photography. If you travel between cities, you’ll drive through many small towns and may notice any one of these interesting scenes: men peeing in public, people lighting fires, people squatting and using their knees as an armrest to read or smoke, loose cows and street dogs, a whole family on a motorcycle, packed cars, and lane-hogging tractors.

Unlike most parts of the world, honking in India is compulsory. Drivers use their horns to pass other cars rather than signaling left-right. It sounds like disorder and it is. Our driver got into a bumper! But all the honking keeps one billion people moving along while traditional road rules would slow everything down.

Jodhpur is similar to Jaipur in density. The bazaars are filled to the tip. Jodhpur also has its own fort called the Mehrangarh Fort, known for its intricate lace-like window patterns. Just down the hill from the fort is Jaswant Thada, a mini Taj Mahal. Probably one of the more spectacular buildings though is the Umaid Bhawan Palace, which also happens to be a ridiculous hotel. Stop there for coffee/tee and mind the animal decor on the wall.

See Jodhpur pictures


Jaisalmer

Jaislamer resides in the second largest desert in the world, Thar, a stones throw from Pakistan. The city’s main fort, Golden Fort, encapsulates the entire city and still serves as homes for many people and more recently, hotels. The fort’s biggest threat today is all the water use pressurizing the fort’s raw materials. Be sure to check out the Gadisar Lake for some calm, stunning photography.

Camel riding safari in the sand dunes of Sam makes you feel like you’re in Star Wars. We went when it was extra gloomy and chillingly cold which added to the ambiance.

See Jaisalmer pictures


Udaipur

Udaipur is a city built around lakes. The central lake, Lake Pichola, comprises five star hotels like the Taj and runs by the second largest palace in India, City Palace.

City Palace is similar to the other palaces we viewed, displaying war weapons, intricate architecture, the reign of rulers, and offering some aerial views in the city. But the best place to see all of Udaipur and its lakes is the Moon Palace which sits atop the hills. Just beware of all the monkeys.

Udaipur has both an old and new city, both of which felt tame in comparison to the chaos that embedded Jodhpur and Jaipur. Maybe it’s the cleaner streets, the greenery, the lakes, the cute girls, and the 70 degree weather that give Udaipur its chill vibe. I could live here.

See Udaipur pictures


Mumbai

I only spent one day in Mumbai and happy it came at the end of my trip, otherwise my perception of India would’ve been skewed. Mumbai felt like New York: Bigger cars, skyscrapers, and better road infrastructure than anything I saw in Rajasthan. The world is flat if you’re sole interpretation of India is Mumbai.


Get Unfamiliar

There’s a TV ad in India that says “Be the first me.” Unlike the American Dream, the Indian dream seems to be yourself and see what happens.

India is an explosion of culture and contradictions. Ten feet away from the tranquility of your hotel are waves of chaos and poor people in the streets. Yet despite the extant caste system, India’s poorest are some of the happiest in the world. Meanwhile, the finest homes look mediocre from the outside. Indian mannerisms like the head bobble seem to suggest disapproval when in fact it’s meant as acknowledgement. To top it off, “Namaste”

is meant to greet people and say goodbye at the same time.

India makes all the stuff we worry about at home feel so small and stupid. Our biggest worry is water and wifi. I went to India to be schocked, not to pursue familiarity. India is a whirlwind, spinning the world to its own beat.

Blind Eye


It doesn’t matter how big or small the cage, if you close the door the dog still wants to roam free.

Barking, crying, and scratching persists for as long as you stay near.  The dog will go on until it hears complete silence, acknowledging that no one is there to help. 

Many of us turn a deaf ear to many of the global events going on around us.  You may be aware that there’s a civil war going on in Syria?  Or that half of India just lost power for days. By the way, you can invest in Africa now.  Are we simply too far on the big island of America to care?  

We can’t help out everyone but we can show acknowledgement and concern by listening to the people are living in it.     

Here a starter:  Follow @SyrianDeveloper on Twitter for behind the scenes real-time Instagram photos.  

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