The forgotten treasure!

In any other city but Agra, home to the famous Taj Mahal, this architectural beauty would be classed as one of the wondrous feat of art and architecture. A pity then, that this beautiful marble building often gets overlooked by visitors to the Taj and Agra fort. And a blessing for providing plenty of opportunities for quiet photography!

Itmad-ud-Daulah, Agra
Itmad-ud-Daulah, Agra, India. Click on the photo for a larger version on Flickr

The Itmad-Ud-Daulah was commissioned by Noor Jehan, wife of the mughal emperor Jehangir and built between 1621 and 1628. This building is considered to be the precursor of the Taj Mahal and utilises similar design element, albeit on a smaller scale. The relatives of Noor Jehan (including her father) are interred in this mausoleum. Like in the Taj Mahal, the buildings and grounds are built to exquisite symmetry, disrupted only by the positions of the cenotaphs of Noor Jehan’s parents (similarly followed in the Taj Mahal, built almost 30 years later). The building is made of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones.

The Taj Mahal – Recovered after 9 years!

I recently re-processed a picture of the Taj Mahal that I photographed in 2004. The original photograph was taken as dusk and fog and pollution added to the haziness of the photo. Re-processing the picture has brought out the details, what do you think?

Taj Mahal, Agra
After re-processing! Click on the photo for a larger version on Flickr.

The original photo (before processing) is below.

Taj in the Mist
Before reprocessing! The haze overwhelmed the Taj!

There is something to be said for the merits of going back and looking over old photos and trying to improve them using modern post-processing techniques.

Star Gazing!

The Jantar-Mantar is a cluster of 18th century astronomical instruments that formed an observatory for observing the celestial skies in Delhi. These were built by the Maharajah of Jaipur Jai Singh II. Today these buildings sit as an ochre and green oasis in the centre of New Delhi.

The photo below is that of the Ram Yantra, a cylindrical building that is used to measure the movement of stars.

19877566_d200aa1f6d_o
Inside the Ram Yantra – a star observatory at the 18th century Jantar Mantar complex in New Delhi. Click on photograph for a larger version on Flickr.

 

Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad

The Chowmahalla Palace or literally “4 palace” was the residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad. This palace complex served a ceremonial role including coronations and state banquets. The palace is said to be modeled after the palace of the Shah of Iran. This particular palace was built in 1750.

DSC_0716
Khilawat Mubarak or Grand Hall
DSC_0694
The grand hall, adorned with crystal chandeliers
DSC_0696
The long red carpet corridors above the grand hall
DSC_0688
A Belgian crystal glass chandelier in the grand hall (Khilawat Mubarak)
DSC_0675
A chandelier against a beautifully decorated door
DSC_0685
Details of the ceiling in the grand hall of Chowmahalla Palace

As a first time visitor to Chowmahalla, I was impressed by the grandeur of this palace, immaculately maintained grounds and buildings, and tremendous opportunities for photography. Needless to say I shall be visiting there again on my next trip to Hyderabad.

DSC_0669
A front view of the Khilawat Mubarak
Technical Details

All pictures from a Nikon D80 camera fitted with a Tamron 18-250mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens. Photographs processed in Adobe Lightroom and NIK software suite. Larger versions of the photographs are available from my flickr page.

The Royal Verandah

The term verandah has made its way to English via India and refers to an open roofed courtyard around a bungalow or terrace. According to Wikipedia, a verandah  “commonly refers to balconies on cruise ships and some hotel properties. It is also described as an open pillared gallery, generally roofed, built around a central structure.”. The following verandah is from the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad, India. Photographed as a single bracketed frame, this image was converted to black-and-white in Silver Efex Pro to add texture and tonal contrast.

DSC_0712-Edit
Pillared and beautifully decorated verandah at the Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad, India

Related Articles

Doors to perception

The Indian Marketplace

India, the land of colours, none more evident than in a marketplace.

DSC_0411
Bags on sale. The tree becomes the shop window. Anjuna Beach, Goa, India
DSC_0407
A riot of colour. Anjuna Beach, Goa, India
DSC_0358-Edit
Roadside hat seller. Panjim, Goa

All photographs from a Nikon D80, 3-shot bracketed exposures processed in Photomatix Pro and Adobe Lightroom 5.0.

Related Articles

Goa – A beach experience

Goa by night