Sreeni’s resplendent captures in the Travel Book : Jaisalmer, the golden city

Jaisalmer, the golden city

This book, by parragon publishing, is meant for armchair traveller and globetrotter alike. Stunning pictures transport you to the Golden Fort. It stands high upon a hill, painstakingly built and fought over by Bhati Rajputs. It has the distinction of being one of the few living forts in the world.

Within the Fort stands the palace of the erstwhile rulers and a number of Jain and Hindu temples with extensively carved interiors. The narrow lanes within the Fort throb with life, young artists dancing with castanets; ravanhattas laid against the golden wall accompanied by an artist playing some long lost tune; roof top cafes promising an amazing view of the city, and myriad handicrafts displayed on the walls; all awaiting a tourist’s eye.

In the burgeoning city outside are the havelis of old with overhanging balconies and extensively carved facades. Within, all is plush and leisurely, evidence of a prosperity derived from businesses overseas.

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Jaisalmer, the “Golden City”, is located on the westernmost frontier of India in the state of Rajasthan. Close to the border with Pakistan, the city is known for its proximity to the Thar Desert.

Desert Safari in the sand dunes of Jaisalmer is an unforgettable experience.

The city is dominated by the Jaisalmer Fort. Unlike most forts in India, the Jaisalmer Fort is a living fort. There are shops, hotels, age old havelis (homes) inside the fort area.

This set on my FLICKR covers extensively the ships of desert, Camel safaris, the life inside the fort and Havelis. I am sure you too will love it.

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Incredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful Jaisalmer
Incredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful Jaisalmer
Incredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful Jaisalmer
Incredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful JaisalmerIncredible India! - Royale Rajasthan : Joyful Jaisalmer
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Sreeni’s stunning captures featured in the travel guide : The Golden Triangle – Delhi, Agra, Jaipur

It is raining! It gives me immense pleasure to share that three India-centric travel books that have been published by Parragon Publishing feature quite a few captures of mine from Rajasthan including Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, along with that of beautiful Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and that of Delhi.

The first of the series focuses on the much sought-after tourist circuit, Golden Triangle – Delhi, Agra, Jaipur.

The Golden Triangle – Delhi, Jaipur, Agra

A bustling metropolis, the capital of the world’s largest democracy, Delhi is visited by many. Within it are many ancient ruins, remnants of seven cities, of aspirations made and marred by time. Here marauders became emperors, installed themselves on opulent thrones on the strength of their armies. Even today people from many corners of the country and the world come here to study, transact business or to just travel. Of the many weekend destinations the favourites by a long haul are Jaipur and Agra.

by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The City Palace and Jaigarh and Amber forts buzz with sightseers throughout the year. Taj Mahal. Together the three cities form the Golden Triangle of India, a luscious dollop for those looking to do India in a hurry.

Some of the many reasons you might want to pick up this book : Travelling to Delhi for a short while and want to see some other places as well. No vacations in sight and need some respite from life in Delhi. Lived in Delhi, Agra or Jaipur since forever and still haven’t been inside any of its monuments. Just want to curl up with a book that has incredible visuals and lucid text.

It is a low-cost edition with stunning photographs and is priced an affordable Rs 295. If you happen to be in a book store, just browse and look for my captures. Looking forward to your feedback. Thanks.

A Photostory : Architectural Masterpieces of INDIA on SREENIViews

With a recorded history of over 30000 years, and first urban settlements recorded over 4500years ago, India has been and will continue to be a marvel to humanity.

I have just collated a few of the masterpieces that have been created in the last 3000 years, that I have clicked during my extensive travels across the length and breadth of the country.

Incredible India - Marvelous Madurai

The Marvelous 1000 pillar temple in the 3000 year old Madurai Meenakshi temple complex!

Check out the Photostory of Masterpieces that covers 20 such architectural marvels of India..

Photostory : Magic of the Golder Hour – India Unravelled, on my photoblog SREENIVIEWS

On my regular travels the morning Golden Hour is the time when I am usually on my walks with my camera. Since it is the only time I get for myself, these introspective perambulations have not only shaped my strategies for life, but also yielded me a great number of opportunities to capture the busy life at the tranquil hour.

Here are a sampler of my captures. I just picked one or two from each of the locations to showcase the length and breadth of India and its rich ritual practices and flurry of activities that are connected to the auspices and precious Golden Hour!

I start with the

– Spiritual Varanasi, then go to
– Khajuraho to its east, to celebrate the human spirit
– head to far east Kaziranga wild life sanctuary,
– then come down to Kolkata,
– and to Puri on the eastern coast of India,
– down to Pondicherry,
– then head to Silent Valley in Kerala.
– traversing towards northern direction to Mangalore,
– then to frolicking Goa,
– Financial hub of Mumbai
– then into the desert land of Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Jaisalmer, Ajmer and
– The national capital of India, Delhi
– finally heading to the crown of India – Kashmir and Ladakh.

Happy browsing… Would love to see your comments..

Incredible India! - Varanasi : Finding peace withinVaranasi : Finding peace within

Kindly visit
my photo-blog SREENIViews for the stunning Magic of the Golden Hour, covering the length and breadth of India.

Kashmir – On the verge of realizing its potential …… especially intellectual..

Welcome to the beautiful Kashmir Valley

Welcome to the beautiful Kashmir Valley

“Over two lakh tourists in the valley and only 25 thousand rooms available,” screamed the headlines of a newspaper in the Kashmir Valley. The ever-green tourism sector of Kashmir has seen unprecedented growth in the last 3-4 years. The people of the valley are re-discovering and realizing the potential of the valley to attract tourists from around the world, especially the mainland India. Every person talks about it and says that, “Kashmir will not see the dark days again as we realize what we can be, now.”

What we can be now, is taking a different meaning all together, among the youth of Kashmir. I was once again in the valley for my annual pilgrimage of addressing and motivating youth at its most prestigious venue, SKICC on the banks of the DAL. This conference was with a difference though as it focused on helping youth to challenge the civil services.

Having a young chief-minister is certainly seems to be making the difference. Sharing the dias with Mr. Omar Abdullah in the last years conference.

From one civil services entrant in the last decade, in 2013 J&K sends 17 charged youth to IAS/IPS/IFS. Hundreds want to, now! This is transformational! This is what I meant when I repeated, “We are realizing now, what we can be!”

More youth exceling at the national stage, will see they taking greater responsibility in Kashmir and in India, and resulting in more opportunities and greater integration.

At the conference to facilitate youth to challenge Civil Services, June 2013

While last years conference was inaugurated by the young CM, this years conference to facilitate more youth to get into CIVILS SERVICES, at SKICC, Srinagar on June 7th had Mr. Iqbal, Chief Secretary J&K; MR Wahid ex-VC University, Mr Shafi Pandit first IAS qualifier (1968) and ex-chair J&K public services commission, Dr Shah Faesal first IAS Topper from the valley in 2010; Dr Sehrish Asgar (2011 IPS, 2012 IAS) first woman from J&K to enter civil services) and Dr Ruwida (2012 IAS), another inspiration who qualified this year.

In the last couple of days, I came across a newspaper article in a national daily, that Over five hundred children from Valley have enrolled in various coaching institutions for engineering and medical entrances at Kota, Rajasthan. Over sixty percent of these children are girls. They all want to excel in life. The institutions in Kota have created provisions for classes and their stay, even taking care of their cultural needs like prayers, food etc. This augurs very well for the aspiring youth of Kashmir.

At the Career Launcher centre in Srinagar, I met a young lady, Sumaira, a post-graduate from Kashmir university, very articulate, and got to know that she has been picked up by Saudi Airlines as an airhostess. In all, this year, about 17 young women have been recruited by international airlines from the Gulf to meet the needs of their services. She was so overwhelmed by the facilitation CL has done in infusing her confidence that she even chose to come with us on a spectacular train journey in the valley, to interact more with her mentor Mr. Vijay Jha of CL who was accompanying me, as I chose to get the insights of train travel in the valley for the first time. More about it down under.

While with Sumaira, in the office, another youth walks into CL, asking for the coaching that he could get for Civil services at CL. While interacting, he was very effusive about the education, attitude of co-learners and the environment he got in the last four years of his engineering under-graduation at an institution in Jabalpur. In fact, he was countering the pessimism that Sumaira was expressing, about the outlook of youth in mainland towards the youth from Kashmir. The interaction was very healthy and enlightening.

The Kazigund to Baramullah rail connectivity sees packed trains running all the time…

In 2009, Kashmir was blessed with railways, a long delayed initiative, that could have been at the heart of integration with the mainland. I took time off to experience the train journey in the valley on this visit of mine. The train runs between Kazigund at the southern tip of the Valley to Baramullah in the northern end. The frequency is of every two hours.

By the schedule published, we reached the station closest to Srinagar, on its outskirts and found the station empty as we were an hour before the scheduled train. But we got a great opportunity to see the beautifully decorated station. This station has be declared the most beautiful station of our country and figures in the Limca Book of records.

Within no time the station was bustling with crowd, as we neared the departure of the train. The train arrived and we found it to be jam-packed. Within a couple of years of the introduction of the train in the valley, it has become the most preferred transportation mode for the valley. A distance of about hundred kilometers by road (Baramullah to Qazigund), that used to be covered by shared rickety-taxis on a bumpy road, at a cost of over hundred and fifty rupees, now, gets covered by the air-conditioned train in a little over two hours, in a comfortable way, at a mere fifteen rupees. Why will not this be most sought after?

The whole circuit of Srinagar-Kazigund-Baramullah-Srinagar took us about five hours. But it was a great eye-opener for me in every respect. Each one talks about the difference this train has made to them. As I am writing this article, Dr Manmohan Singh is going to inaugurate the extension of railway track further south of Kazigund. By 2017, the Valley will be completely connected with Udhampur, Jammu and the mainland.

Train connectivity to the mainland is going to make a huge difference. The mobility of citizens for the valley to the mainland is going to be smooth, comfortable and economical and the tourism inflow will be multiplied. That’s when we will see the true potential of the valley being realized.

While on the train, I noticed a couple of youngsters having a few sheets of paper that looked like an entrance exam question paper. I took it from them to have a look, then realized that it was the entrance exam paper for undergraduate programs of Aligarh Muslim University. I had a wonderful interaction with the youth. Realized that over 2000 youth appear in the exam. Vijay had extensive interaction with the students and even helped them figure out what their true scores in the exam could be.

I have been addressing youth of J&K since 2007, almost twice a year. In the last 6 years I have experienced immense changes in the outlook of youth. They now realize that they are as good as anyone across the country and they want to show what they can do. I am sure Kashmir is on the verge of realizing its intellectual potential.

All these developments on the intellectual front, will impact social, cultural, physical and economical development of the valley. We will see many entrepreneurs emerging too, as a couple of our own IWSB students started contributing to the economy there. It augurs well for J&K and of course for India too.

Homage to Pt. Ravi Shankar by Paul Livingstone @ SREENI ON STAGE

I was lost in a different world with rain god, the cold breeze and the roaring Ganges adding to essence of the evening. I felt delighted to have been part of the concert.

Kindly click on Homage to Pt. Ravi Shankar by his disciple Paul Livingstone, to visit my blog on performing arts (SREENI ON STAGE) for the complete article.

Rabaris – The herd wanderers..

Rabari Man heading a flock grazing expedition

As I travel widely by road, I come across huge flocks of sheeps and goats grazed, in the remotest parts of the country, by these colorfully turbaned gentleman. I am amazed at their passion to graze the cattle. They travel all the way from Gujarat and Rajasthan, for a few thousand kilometres on foot, every year, just grazing the cattle.

Kindly visit my travelogue SREENI ON ROAD for the complete story.

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