Category Archives: Travel

My Travels And Short Trips

Nostalgia With “Prisma”

Its been awhile since my last post.

A short month long vacation to my homeland, Kerala, culminated a week ago. Its been 3 years since my last visit home.

This vacation was all about nostalgia. Revisiting familiar places. Meeting past friends.

I have chosen a few images, that brings a lot of memories.

And I have chosen the much hyped “Prisma” app to process these images:

The land of coconuts

And tamarinds

Dewy mornings

Tea Stalls and steamy tea

Rivers

And rivers

The local’s favorite pass time – Fishing

Abundant Paddy fields

Hills

Celebrations

The local bus

And the people

 

This is my home…

The Remains Of A Previous Era

That is  “Historical Jeddah” ! A UNESCO world heritage site from 2014.

A visit to this place is a sharp contrast to today’s modern Jeddah.

What really stands apart are the cobbled pathways and the old architectural style, with coral being a major resource used in their construction.

 

The ornately carved doors and the beautiful lattices, windows and balconies are truly beautiful.

Today the area is mostly left alone, with the few dwellers being poor immigrants and cats. An early morning visit here shows how desolate the place has become.

A must visit place for any immigrant in Saudi Arabia.

I have been here 5 years and this is my first visit. And I know plenty more who have never seen the place. A shame really !

You can learn more here:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1361

Through The ViewFinder, Today

As usual, I don’t get enough time to take pictures or blog.

So I decided to start a ‘ Through The ViewFinder ‘ Today/ Weekly/ Monthly series depending on how much and when I can shoot.

A big thank you to everyone following my blog.

Enough with the rant…..IMG_0620IMG_0624IMG_0621IMG_0646DSCF7492IMG_0628IMG_0643

On The Road…..

A few photographs on the way To Al Lith, approximately 175 kms from Jeddah.

We actually went to visit the National Aquaculture Company, which has the largest integrated shrimp farms in the world.

Unfortunately, I dont have permission to post pictures taken from there.

Instead, here are some images made during the journey. On the road….

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Please do leave your comments.

A Day Trip To Taif…

Taif. We heard a lot about this place. It’s a hill city 180 kms away from Jeddah.

Our trip was sudden and unplanned. So we missed most photographically interesting places. But that’s made us decide to make a more detailed trip next time.

Anyway here are some images of Taif…….

The meandering roads cut through the hills

    

Here’s an almost perfect “S” 

  The hills just before the sun sets

  Lit by lights at night   

A late night camper. Camping and picnicking are probably the most common outside activity in Saudi Arabia  

Taif is a preferred destination for people living in around Jeddah. Relatively lower heat and the view of the hills provide a much needed respite from the traffic heavy life of Jeddah.

There is an old market place called Sook Okaz, a nature reserve and a hillside fruit farm – all of which we couldn’t visit. So we’ve left the good stuff for our next visit. Until then…..

Arabian Off-Roaders.

Deserts may be huge wastelands to most of us living here.
But off roading is a popular leisure activity here.

I recently read somewhere that, over grazing, poaching and frequent off roading are some of the major reasons for loss of habitat for desert fauna.
I managed to snap a few images of some “off roading” and what i feel are human marks in the arid and gravelly deserts of Arabia….

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Arabia – A Rocky Experience !!

First, let me wish everyone a Very Happy New Year.
We were on a vacation and just returned after an interesting trip traveling around Saudi Arabia.
We were traveling with small children and didnt get to explore the desert landscape the way I wanted.
The first few photos are from the area outside Medinah

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But it was a different experience than I imagined. I always imagined the Saudi desert to be filled with sand dunes, once you get past the highways.
But I was proved wrong. The deeper we went, the rockier and more gravelled the desert. Vegetation was sparse. But when we did see vegetation, there was a lot of it.
Most of our travelling were in Medinah and Riyadh areas.
Riyadh was rocky, but deserts near Medinah were more typical with dunes.

Here are a few from the Riyadh area

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I feel it would be incomplete to show how we humans enjoy the desert.
I will pot a few images in the next post.

A Trip To Medinah

It’s been a year since we went anywhere as a family. And we didn’t have enough time to plan a long exotic vacation.
So we decided to spend a few days in Medinah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque.
Medinah is a peaceful city. You have to visit here to understand. Unfortunately I cannot put this feeling into a image. It’s crowded and yet peaceful. There is something about this city. A tranquility I’ve never felt anywhere.
I decided to travel light and thus only took my much loved X100s and the TCL-X100 that I have been itching to try out.

We found a hotel, 5 minutes away from the mosque. The first thing I wanted to see was the view from the window. Not much, except it was just after sunrise and the city was slowly being washed in light.

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Here’s another one, taken a few minutes later. Both were taken through very dirty windows, which I couldn’t open.

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I took my 4 year old for a walk about an hour later and he was perfect to give the place a sense of scale

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He also found this covered man hole interesting

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The hot afternoon sun was perfect for shadows ( always a weakness for me)

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We were back at the hotel during sunset and this was taken from the same position as the early morning shots. But I somehow managed to open the window this time.

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And here’s my favorite camera

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Being A Pilgrim

This year marks an important event for me. My wife and myself undertook the Haj pilgrimage this year.
At first I didn’t want to document this journey as a lot of scholars are of the opinion that anything apart from prayers are against the spirit of Haj
But to me this is probably an opportunity of a lifetime. There might not be a second Haj!

Anyway there were more videos than photos. I didn’t take any piece of valuable equipment with me. So every image was shot using an iPhone.
Again no fancy shots here. Just “documenting” and admittedly I couldn’t whip out my phone every time. For the first time in a very long time my passion for photography took a back seat. After all we were here to pray and in the process, understand more about our religion and what being a Muslim means. Going through around 16 images that I shot, I decided to forgo all the images you routinely see on the web or tv.

Thousands of people walking to The Haram in Mecca.
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Mina: Where pilgrims camp during Haj.

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Prayers In Arafa. The most important place and event for Haj. An entire day of praying:

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Pilgrims patiently waiting for their turn at the public toilets:

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Waiting for the train that transports the pilgrims between Mina, Arafa, Muzdalifha and Jamaraha

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And here is me, trying the best I can to be a Pilgrim and document what I see.

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Thanks to everyone reading or glancing through this blog!!