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Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

20 November 2017

Traveller of the Week: Prakriti Varshney

Prakriti Varshney is a 22-year-old adventurer whose physical state resides in the Delhi plains but her soul lingers throughout the Himalayas. According to her father’s retellings, she has always been the one with the fiery adventure streak. Brought up against the typical feminine norms, her father acknowledged the latent strength in her in the early years itself. He moulded her into a self-sufficient human, and she owes a lot to him for this.

 

Prakriti Varshney

 

A graduate in Fashion and Apparel Designing, Prakriti realized during her very first work experience with a start-up that this is not her cup of tea! Living a life with a mundane, robotic routine is not what she desires. There was sufficient money but always a restless mind. Overworked, she was in a perpetual dilemma “What am I grinding myself for?” and she couldn’t find a suitable answer. That’s the day she quit a life with a routine to start a journey without a specific road-map.

 

Adventure and Exploration are the two terms that drive her to do things-let it be about trying a new cuisine or learn about a new form of art.  Her first solo trip was to Spiti Valley on a shoestring budget. The trip covered a span of 8 days on a budget of mere 4000 rupees. She carried along certain essentials like a tent and a sleeping bag, commuted in roadways, hitchhiked from one village to the other and interacted with new people around. It was a phenomenal experience for her.

Her next planned trip is to North East for a month starting next week, followed by two months, January and February in Leh and Ladakh. She prefers travelling solo because then you’re all about your own self and at your own ease.  She loves solo trips because she can have her own plan of action and there is no room for friction due to disagreements. It is certainly risky to travel alone, but the liberating experience is worth the risk.

 

Prakriti is a full-time traveller. On being asked about her first and foremost confrontation with her family regarding her profession, she did reveal that apart from her survival in harsh climatic conditions, her parents were worried about her safety when she planned her very first expedition, to which she agrees to some extent. Being a girl, one has to face some sort of unnerving experiences every day, and hers was a decision to travel thousands of kilometres away from home.  Her priority is not to tick off the places on her bucket list but to travel to learn, grow and absorb whatever is out there. She is open to change and doesn’t necessarily follow a schedule during her travels. She mentions, “If I like a place more than the others, I might decide to stay for a longer period to satisfy my soul than to keep following the itinerary.”

She lists down some of her favourite destinations from India: Spiti Valley – Closest to heart, this land has everything to offer, from larger than life landscapes to exquisite art to never dying culture to the sweetest and kindest people.  Even after 6 rounds in the same year, it always feels like something more to explore. Auroville – A place where in the middle of chaos, you will find calm. If you seek serenity and fun together, this place is a must. Ride a bicycle, do meditation sessions, chase butterflies in the botanical garden, try different cuisines, grab some eateries & head to the beach to witness the spellbinding sunset.

Uttrakhand – The state is a wholesome package for travellers. It is famously termed “Devbhoomi” (the abode of Gods), for Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath maintain that chaste aura. Whitewater rafting and Yoga in Rishikesh, legendary Ramjhula and Lakshmanjhula, serene blue lakes in Nainital, presence of wild animals in Jim Corbett National Park, around 500 species of flowers in Valley of Flowers, and land of some of the highest mountain peaks in the world – Nanda Devi, Kamet, Hardeol, Chaukhamba, Trishul- in short, a pit stop for most of the adventures you seek.

Kanyakumari – The southernmost point of India surrounded by sea on three sides, the place offers one of the most scenic sunset and sunrise views.

Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh – It is a spot known as the highest paragliding site one would never regret having a bird’s eye view.   Her travel essentials include her LifeStraw (not when travelling in the Himalayas), a diary and a pen to journal her excursions, sunscreen lotion, a waterproof bag, and of course her camera and earphones. Prakriti enjoys the most her moments of solace. She could sit in a corner of the road for hours and observe everything that is around her. She is also fond of meeting strangers in unknown places, with a myriad of stories and experiences.  She hasn’t travelled around a single state in an exhaustive manner as of now but has covered certain towns, cities and even villages in around 17 states so far. She has planned to cover two more in the next two months. She feels it is essential to roam about every niche of a state to be thorough with it, and not just pay a visit to certain famous tourist spots. Although she has been to Dubai and Oman in her teenage years, she has decided to take up international travelling only after she has explored sufficient amount of her own country.

 

Travelling has transformed Prakriti’s core as a whole. According to her, it is an essential method or resource for learning which teaches you what you cannot grab through books. Bonding with strangers, having faith in your instincts to trust, give in to the universe, and never give up even when you fall apart. A lesson she abides to is “We can go way beyond our limits.” She recounts an anecdote of her visit to Shrikhand Mahadev, one of the toughest pilgrimages in India. During the initial phase, she made her mind to give up due to incessant exertion and injury in her knee, but she was determined to complete her journey. The sight of the 72 feet tall Shivling after the commencement of a tedious journey was definitely something to vouch for!

 

Chandertaal Lake

Bir Billing, Himachal

Chandrashila Top, Uttrakhand

Kanyakumari

Langza, Spiti Valley

Last light, Kanyakumari

Mane, Spiti Valley

Mt. Dronagiri, Uttrakhand

Spiti Valley

Trekking in Himachal

 

Varshney shares an interesting tale from one of her travel adventures.  “While I was in Spiti Valley for two months, August-September, I decided to hike to Key Monastery which was about 14 km from Kaza. After walking for about 6 km, I witnessed a splendid view at the turn of a road. I remained frozen to that spot for almost two and a half hours. I was unaware of the curiosity I created among passers-by, until a couple passing by on a motorbike decided to halt. They too were on the way to Key Monastery. At first, they thought that I might be taking a break due to exhaustion, but they saw me sitting at the same spot while returning hence they stopped by and asked.  I burst out laughing and had no answer to their query! They even offered a ride back to Kaza but I was completely embarrassed by now.”

Words by Laveena Behl
Images by ©Prakriti Varshney

 

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Blog | Travel

4 November 2017

Travel Photo Story: Dondi – Penance For Prosperity by Ritesh Ghosh

West Bengal is renowned for its various rites and rituals and is one such ritual among the many. Every year during April this event is executed on the occasion of Shitala Puja. The devotees, particularly women, go through this rigorously self-punishing task to offer their gratitude to the Goddess for keeping them guarded against ill health.
The Goddess is also believed to bless her devotees and help the newlywed women to conceive. Thus infants and children are often seen to accompany their mothers during the course of the ritual.
Kalighat is one such place in Kolkata where you get to witness this event every year. It begins with the devotees taking a dip in the Holy Ganges before taking a mile long walk to the temple of Goddess Shitala. En route, they lie flat face down on the burning hot streets and repeat this several times till they reach the temple premises. The local volunteers pour buckets of cold water on them to prevent the women and children from getting burnt by the hot asphalt.
The event culminates at the temple where the devotees perform a fire ritual by balancing burning clay pots on their heads and hands. It is undoubtedly one of the toughest rituals one can fathom.
I’d like to share some exhilarating and breathtaking moments for your visual understanding.

 

 

Photo Series by Ritesh Ghosh

 

Check out his full feature in June’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#39 – Download Free.

 

 

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Blog | Interviews | Photography

2 November 2017

Interview with Photographer: Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi

Dr. Tabeenah, a senior journalist, is presently the Bureau Head of Deccan Herald in Rajasthan apart from being a vivid photographer. Born and brought up in the valley of Kashmir, Qureshi pursued her master’s and Ph.D. in Jaipur, Rajasthan, which she now calls her second home.
She chased her passion for photography diligently and went on to win the National Award in Photography conferred by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India. Dr. Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi is the first woman photographer from Rajasthan and Kashmir to bag the imminent award.
Camera for her is a co-traveller as she ventures out to click some of the most stupendous photographs. Her usual style follows the monochrome school of thought. Her work on Kashmir Floods was displayed in APPRA international conference in Kathmandu, in 2015. After completion of her doctorate degree, she was venerated with the prestigious UNICEF Media fellowship under which she researched on ‘Impact of Swachh Bharat Campaign in Tribal areas of Rajasthan’.

Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi

 

Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you start creating?

– I call it the experiences of ‘a mountain girl wandering in the desert’. I won’t call it matter of chance but I owe a lot to Jaipur, my current residential city for pursuing the hidden passion of Photography. In the second year of my course, 2009, I participated in a three-week photojournalism workshop and that’s how the journey started. That time I did not have a camera to use, so I captured the photographs with the borrowed camera of my teacher Prof, Sanjeev Bhanawat, Head Centre for Mass Communication. It was my first exploration of Jaipur city with a camera. I started seeing new things. I would stop and observe. Looking through the viewfinder was an entirely different experience. When I returned to Kashmir in summer vacations, after seeing some prints of the photographs from the workshop that were later displayed in the exhibition, my parents gifted me a canon digital camera. I would roam around the city, into unknown lanes, revisit places, with my cotraveller. It was like revisiting my birthplace. So all through my vacations I would keep a camera in my bag and photograph everything. Then there was no stopping it. The camera became an ornament for me. I would wear it around my neck and feel proud.

 

Inspiro India: Did you face any kind of problems while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?

– Since photography is not just my profession but a fulfilling hobby and passion. It is a form of expression for me. I teach photography and photojournalism in colleges, university, and schools. It is always good to strike a conversation with new entrants, it feels as if one is revisiting her beginning days.

 

 

Inspiro India: Can you talk about your photo documentaries and ways of working?

– My style is both Documentary and Photojournalistic. Since I am a journalist and end up working on news stories, so gradually it has taken a form in the style of my photography. I love to capture people, subjects from the street, issues and of course, there are traces of abstract photography too in most of my work. For first three years I would capture everything randomly but with time I realized that there should be a body of work.
One major difference between Rajasthan and Kashmir is that the desert is more colourful. In the last 7 years I have travelled to most places in Rajasthan and being a woman photojournalist has helped me in terms of getting lovely portraits of women who otherwise get conscious in the presence of men.
I love black and white photographs. I believe they make our subjects more powerful. But sometimes colours too are important.

 

Inspiro India: How would you describe your photography style?

– Mine is a freestyle photography work. I love to capture emotions, geometry and off course every photograph has a story behind it. Autumn is my favourite month and I have captured it the most, especially crimson chinars in Kashmir. Besides this, I love to capture the bond between generations, women through veils, and practices of faith through photographs.

 

Inspiro India: If not this, What would have Tabeenah been doing? What did you aspire to be as a child?

– Well, I think that even in an imaginary world I would be doing exactly what I am doing right now! I say this because recently a friend of mine in Kashmir shared a page of a slam book with me. It mentions that when I had filled that, I was in class 7th. Interestingly, There is a question which says 1. What do you want to become in your life? And my answer which I had completely forgotten was ‘ Journalist, Teacher or a Doctor’. I am blessed that I am all three.
Recently I’ve earned a doctorate degree as well. My thesis was on Social Media. My inspiration to be a teacher came from my mother, the aim to become a doctor comes after seeing my grandfather who was a doctor treating patients, and I wanted to be a journalist because my hometown was always a center of attraction.

 

Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing workflow? What camera/s do you shoot with? And your favourite lenses and other equipment that you use?

– To be honest, I don’t do much post-processing. The only bit of contrast and conversion into Black and white. I stick to the basic principles of editing that was allowed in darkroom editing. I use canon 600D, and two lenses 40 mm and 18-135 mm. I bought it in 2013 and have not changed my kit since then. I believe more than the gadget one needs to learn and adapt the art of seeing. Gadgets are important and compositions are important as well. Also, I believe that a creative mentor is important to polish your skills, and for that, I am thankful to my friend and mentor Mr. Himanshu Vyas for being there.

 

Inspiro India: You are the recipient of prestigious 4th National Award in Photography (Amateur category), Conferred by I &B Ministry, Govt of India. Do you believe Awards and recognitions make any difference?

– Yes, that way I have been lucky enough. To some extent, they do make a difference. I believe that one should participate in as many competitions as he/she can. This way your photographic work gets reviewed as well. Otherwise, they just remain confined to our laptops and hard drives.

 

Inspiro India: Your favourite series and story behind it?

– One of my favourite series is on Kashmir flood – ‘Resilience- Kashmir Floods’. A photo story of 24 photographs which were displayed at APPRA international conference in Kathmandu in 2015. I have captured them in the autumn of 2014 when Jhelum breached its banks and swamped not only the golden Chinar leaves that were still falling in Kashmir but just about everything. People, cows, houses, trees…all were swept away by the river, flooded with incessant rains. The strong wooden pillars of Kashmiri homes that were inundated, weakened and worn off.
The photo exhibition was a depiction of life just after floods in a resilient valley. The strength and grace with which the people of Kashmir faced their fate are palpable. Photos show quiet and calm on hurt faces just as there was warm coming together of families and extended relatives. There was a struggle of migration but there’s also peace and surrender manifest at the doors of the shrines.
A year after the valley took one of its worst disasters in its stride; the social, economic and political impact of the floods are now woven into its fabric with some permanence. With a greater degree of permanence, autumn’s ripe in the valley again. As the golden Chinar leaves glide through nippy October air, lotus blooms are smugly afloat, canoes are ferrying & nadru, across and people are patiently rebuilding their lives amidst many rounds of Kahwa. Jhelum is flowing in its familiar rhythm.

 

Inspiro India: You are a journalist and working with a national newspaper, how does your passion help you in your career?

– Well, nowadays, it’s important for a journalist to have knowledge of all fields. It gives me an extra mileage as I can capture photographs from the story I am doing in my newspaper. It is always good if you know both the arts.

 

Inspiro India: Out of all the photographs you have ever taken, which is your favourite and why?

– There are many. Most of them are from the month of Autumn and by the sides of river Jhelum, in Srinagar, one of my favourite and only places to hang out in Kashmir. One photograph has the reflection of houseboats and chinars floating over the river. Then there is one of my initial photographs, a chinar in midair. Also, a frame with chinar on the mouth of Verinag, the source of river Jhelum.

 

 

favourite photograph

Resilience – Kashmir Floods – Photo Series by ©Dr. Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi

 

Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?

– There is just one advice, keep clicking and ‘practice patience’. Don’t just treat your subjects merely as elements in your pictures. Try to be friendly with them. Also, I believe that Photography is an art, a photo might take seconds to form but a real good photograph takes sense and a mind of the photographer. Discuss your photographs, with your fellow photographers, friends, and parents. Discuss.

 

Check out his full feature in May’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#38 – Download Free.

 

 

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Blog | Photography

31 October 2017

KANDASSANKADAVU: Boat Race | Photo Series By Binto P Anto

The Kandassankadavu Boat Race is a kind of the popular traditional boat race in Kerala, called Vallam Kali. It is held in the Enamakkal Lake and Conolly Canal in Kandassankadavu of Thrissur District, Kerala, India. The race is conducted on the Thiruvonam day of the Onam festival followed by a 10- day festival. The trophy is known as Chief Minister’s ever-rolling Trophy.
Competitions are held for a few specific types of boat categories, namely the Iruttukuthi and Churulan boats. The tradition started in 1955 when the state of Kerala was formed. Due to fiscal problems, the boat race was discontinued by the organisers for a long time. In 2011, with the support of Government of Kerala, Thrissur istrict Tourism Promotion and Manalur Grama Panchayat the race was allowed to commence again. This popular boat race is an absolute delight.
Shot on: Nikon D750 + Tokina 16-28 mm | Tamron 70 – 200 mm.

 

Photos & Words by Binto P Anto

 

Check out his full feature in July’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#40 – Download Free.

 

 

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Blog | Travel

30 October 2017

Traveller of the Week : Kamya

Kamya is a 25-year-old travelling hippie who has been on the road for 2 years. She studied economics and has a strong interest in development economics, which she wants to combine with her love for travelling to make a difference in society. She is interested in issues of waste management and environmental awareness. She has always been a traveller, “From a young age, I used to walk off into the forests and explore new places, coming home late to a scolding from my parents,” she says. Though she is Indian by origin, she was born and brought up in the UK, and now considers herself a universal being.

 

Kamya

 

Travelling over the long-term has allowed her to explore herself and forge her direction in life. After studying economics at Warwick University, she decided to take a break to give some time to herself and that’s when she started off with her first trip to South East Asia. Now, travelling has become her way of living.

 

Kamya has been mostly travelling solo for the past two years and prefers it to travelling in groups because it allows her to expand as a person. A full-time traveller, she sustains herself by online tutoring and working in the places she travels to. The traveller partly attributes her nomadic nature to her parents, who moved house every year or two when she was a child. She hasn’t faced any objections when it comes to her lifestyle.

 

Travelling for Kamya goes both ways, planned and spontaneous. She does a meticulous research about the place she wants to visit and prepares an Excel sheet which helps her book things in advance and save money. Once she is in the place, she is open to changes, “I’ll spontaneously change my itinerary depending on what feels right, but it’s good to know a lot about the place to be able to make informed decisions and go beyond commonly traversed routes,” she claims.

 

 

Out of all the places she has travelled too, she suggested these give as those which were most memorable:
Spiti And Kinnaur: “Travelling through Spiti and Kinnaur is no easy task; the roads are some of the most dangerous, but the scenery is mind-blowing,” she says. Travelling here has made her fearless, stronger and humble towards nature.

 

East Java: Indonesia has everything: vast jungles, gigantic waterfalls, and volcanic craters. Mount Bromo and ljen Crater were places that she found particularly unique.
Switzerland: “This is probably my favourite country on earth,” she says. It’s so small which makes it easy to get around, and has tons of hikes, lakes, and mountains.

 

Tuscany: She fell in love with the rolling hills, soft sunrises and vast fields of grapevines. “The wine here is the best I’ve had,” she says. It’s a scenic place with clean energy.

 

Khao Sok National Park: This is a huge national park which is only accessible by boat. Here you can stay in wooden huts in the middle of the lake, hike in the jungles, and rent a kayak.

 

For Kamya, 5 must-haves whilst travelling include her tea bottle, her waterproof bag, extra debit cards, her Sennheiser HD25 headphones, and camera. She shoots with the Sony A6000 and the 16-50mm standard lens that comes with it. “It’s a good idea to carry two or three cards with you in case you are stuck, because getting money in a foreign country is extremely difficult,” she says.

 

Kamya lived in Banglore for two years and has covered a lot of South India during that time. Her favourite place in India is Himachal. She likes to spend a lot of time in one region to explore it fully rather than trying to cover as many places as possible. Internationally, she has travelled mostly around South East Asia and Europe.

 

Atrani, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Dolomites, Italy

Grimsel Pass, Switzerland

Ijen Crater, Indonesia

Kinnaur, India

Koh Phangan, Thailand

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Dolomites, Italy

Luang Prabang, Laos

North Bali, Indonesia

 

Travelling has transformed Kamya in a lot of ways and one of the most important things that she has learnt is to forgive, forget, and let go of things. “We often get caught up in unfulfilling activities, people, and ideas about ourself. Always being on the move means there’s no space to hold onto things which don’t serve you.” She says that long-term travel has taught her to be herself and not worry about other people. “It has taught me that I have everything inside me and that I am completely in charge of my experience of life.”

 

For now, Kamya is planning to stay in Himachal during the summers to work a campsite and a waste management system for the villagers and to work abroad for the remaining time.

Words by Swati George
Images by ©Kamya

 

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Blog | Travel

21 October 2017

Chandernahan Trek: A Hidden Paradise in Himachal Pradesh

Intrigued by an Instagram post on Chandernahan trek, our adventurous traveller friend Harish Sharma was fast to elope into the throes of beauty at Chandernahan. With backpacks, a childhood friend and a cooked up story about leaving for a friend’s sister’s wedding to convince his parents,  Harish left home with quite an itch in his feet.

 

He boarded an HRTC bus from Shimla to Rohru and the journey was filled with bumpy rides, unplanned night stays, the random surprise of a new company, and unknown paths.

After a bus to Rohru, then Rohru to Chirgaon followed with another two-hour journey from Chirgaon to Tagnu village, they commenced walking to a nearby village called Janglikh. That is where they had to start trekking for Chandernahan via Dyara Thach and Litham.

 

It hadn’t been a smooth journey as it is, with collapsed bridges, long walks, heavy rainfall and unplanned delays. It had already been half-past five in the evening and the villagers recommended that they stay the night there as they can’t reach Dyara Thach the same night. Being the rebels they are, Harish and his entourage started trekking right away and they were glad to have done so as the trek up was lush with greenery and the beautiful landscape enveloped them with magnanimous streams of water flowing down the mammoth mountains. The dense forest with deodar trees and the green meadows were worth the trouble.

Finally, they reached Dyara Thach around 8 pm and set camp with packed paranthas from Chirgaon and a sky full of stars. That’s everything they needed to devour!

After a well-deserved slumber night, they started out early the next day to reach Litham and yet again, everything around left them spellbound. It was no less than the landscapes they see in the movies, except it was even better to experience the cool breeze and the raw beauty of nature, in reality, the trek seemed easy and upon reaching Litham within two hours, they got into a conversation with an amiable Shepherd with interesting stories to tell. He guided them further to reach Chandernahan. That 2 km trek was a steep climb up the mountains and took them about an hour.

 

 

Finally, Harish and his friends reached Chandernahan and what they saw from up there can’t be put into words, they say. At an altitude of 4000 metres, they were surrounded with snow in the month of June. Except for beautiful brooks flowing with a delicate magnanimity, there was nothing to touch their own sweet solitude.

 

There are seven lakes in Chandernahan and mostly, the people of the valley walk on the frozen lakes barefoot and never go beyond three lakes because of a religious belief that all their Gods originated from these lakes. When Harish and his friends went to the frozen lakes, there was nobody to see if they went without shoes but they decided to respect the beliefs and launched into the lakes bare feet.

They were like kids running and chasing each other on the glacier with feet all bare and well, it was indeed fun and adventurous.

 

By noon that day, they had found and enjoyed all the lakes, breathed in the stupendous view, filled their lungs with air as pure as it gets and finally, decided to head back.

 

The journey back was as eventful and tiring as before, or even more. But this time these boys were taking back what they had come for. An experience where they followed their heart, treated their eyes with everything heavenly and satisfied their souls.

Words by Aishwarya Choudhary | Photos by Harish Sharma

 

Check out his full feature in July’17 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#40 – Download Free.

 

 

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16 October 2017

Traveller of the Week : Akhtar Shaikh

Akhtar Shaikh, a simple human being who seeks happiness in the little things in life, loves to see the smiling faces of people when they see him like a twinkle in the children’s eye when he holds their little hands! ‘Connecting with nature, open skies, green boulevards and streams of water, birds chirping, colours of the mountain and the diversity in the culture of this country attracts me’, says the traveller.

 

A creative thinker, Akhtar loves to ride his Royal Enfield Classic motorcycle and has been an enthusiastic biker for 10 years now. A lover of creative forms of art, music, travelling and riding his motorcycle, he says, ‘I put my mind and soul into exploring new places and meeting new people and witness new culture, their living, food, personalities and all that while I ride to these places’.

 

Akhtar Shaikh

 

Riding solo is not only a sense of freedom for the happy traveller, it also helps in self-healing and self-development. Riding has not only been a hobby or a source of transport to move from one place to the other, it has also developed into a passion over time. Riding his 535 cc Royal Enfield Classic changes his interpretation of being a just a biker!

 

The traveller prefers travelling solo, group travel prevents him from self-reflecting which is vital in improving himself.

Riding solo is not only a sense of freedom for the happy traveller, it also helps in self-healing and self-development. ‘There’s a certain beauty in riding alone and engaging into your possibilities are limitless’, says the rider.

 

Travelling wasn’t full-time spree, ‘Initially, I used to travel on weekends or 1-2 days for an extended weekend and complete my rides. However, now I am fortunate and have the liberty to plan and travel as much as I can and whenever I can’ adds the solo rider. His family has been an immense source of inspiration and believe in him more than he himself would. A great support system and understanding from the domestic front have actually allowed him to perceive his passion and endure his dreams!

 

My family has been the most important source of inspiration and their Belief in me is more than myself and in fact that their complete support and understanding has actually allowed me to perceive my passion and endure throughout.

 

A planned traveller, everything ranging from servicing his bike, finalising the route and booking accommodation is a must. A checklist helps to minimize any breakdown and helps in a hassle-free trip. The traveller does believe impromptu trips to be a challenge for oneself and thrilling as well. Offroading into most of the hilly terrain of Maharashtra, Goa and Bidar come under the spontaneous trip category for Shaikh!

 

Akhtar has covered Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Goa, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala.

Topmost locations worth every traveller’s while according to Akhtar are Leh, Spiti, Jammu, Rann of Kutch, Uttarakhand, Old Goa and Rajasthan.

 

 

The motorcycle traveller also directs in investing in a riding jacket if one’s a rider or a nice weatherproof jacket to keep oneself warm and cosy along with cash, camping equipment including a tent, good sleeping bag, water bottle, outdoor chair, a stove, kettle and maggi. Not to forget a good mobile phone for photography and videos, a GoPro or DSLR will do too!

 

‘Never ever give up and keep trying’ advises the rider! A lesson he has learnt during years of motorcycle trips, he also believes ‘Happiness is only real when it is shared’, a very famous quote by Christopher McCandless.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Akhtar Shaikh

 

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14 October 2017

Jageshwar Temple: An engineering marvel of 8th century

It’s never enough for the heart to just be able to travel, it seeks the will to do it. To be able to walk, run, fly, explore and discover!
And that is exactly what I felt as my cotraveller Kamlesh drove us amidst the dense forests of tall Deodars almost touching the clouds, amazing weather & majestic landscapes. Intrigued by the beauty around, I almost went into a trance, searching deep within myself. I was abruptly brought back as the car took a sharp curve and a huge architectural marvel appeared out of nowhere. The moment my eyes landed on the beautiful creation in front of my eyes, rain god Indra welcomed us with a loud, heart shaking clap of thunder. I was awestruck after looking at this majestic feat of design, but to my surprise, there was a sign board that said: ‘Temple ahead’. The thought that an even grander building lay ahead thrilled and elated me as I wondered about the magnificence of the main building.
We drove down the enticing curves of the valley for around 2 more km and emerged in a small village with tiny houses and shops. As we passed them all we found ourselves right in front of a marvellous wonder of medieval engineering.
The famous Hindu pilgrimage, Jageshwar is the 8th among the 12 Jyotirlingas which are stated to exist in the forest of Deodar and Daruka. It is believed that Lord Shiva resides there. The temple consists of 124 large and small stone temples dating from 8th to 13th century. Many of them are preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India. The oldest Shrine is Mrityunjaya Temple and while the biggest one is Dandeshwar temple.
The main temple has two Dwarpalas (door guardians) in the form of Nandi and Skandi. In the west facing temple of Lord Shiva, he is worshipped in the form of Nagesh or Jageshwar. While in the Santorum of the temple, the Shivalinga is divided into two parts – the larger one which depicts Shiva and the smaller one for his consort Parvati. An immortal flame (called akhand jyoti) burns in the temple that illuminates the whereabouts with its glow.
The huge mega structures of the temple amidst tall deodar trees are living proofs to our medieval engineering and the supremacy of nature in life.
Jageshwar is located at 1870 meters above sea level on the banks of Jataganga river and is around 35kms from Almora.

 

 

The Jageshwar monsoon festival takes place from 15th July to 15th Aug which is the month of ‘Shravan’ according to the Hindu calendar. The annual Mahashivratri mela
takes place during spring and is an important event for Hindus and the people of Kumaon region.
History says that the Katyuri kings donated villages to temple priests for better renovations, while the Chand kings of Kumaon were also the patrons of the temple. Two Ashtdhaatu statues of Chand Kings Deepchand and Tripalchand are established in the standing posture behind the Shivlinga. It is also believed that Adi Guru Shankaracharya visited Jageshwar and renovated as well as re-established many temples before leaving for Kedarnath.

Jageshwar is open for visitors throughout the year. One can make this soulful journey via roads as well rail. There are plenty of staying options at Jageshwar. One can easily stay in Almora and enjoy a scenic drive to visit the temple. Kathgodam, the next big city, is about 125 km from Jageshwar.

One must make a visit to Jageshwar even if devoid of religious sentiments for the sheer beauty and sublimity of the place.

Photos & Words by Amit Kakkar

 

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Blog | Interviews | Photography

22 June 2017

Interview with Photographer : Auditya Venkatesh

Meet the man behind Audi Photography, always encouraged to create.

Auditya Venkatesh

 

Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you start creating?

– Right from when I was a kid, I was always encouraged to create. Initially, I used to sketch and paint a lot. It was a lot of fun trying to put down the little thoughts I had on my mind on paper.

 

Inspiro India: How did you develop interest in this field?

– Back in the day, our families would only take pictures of important occasions or festivals, and those pictures would fascinate me a lot. I loved how you could relive one exact moment in the past with all those memories rushing back to you by just looking at one picture. So much in fact that when I was still too young to be trusted with a camera I would sketch people, a little negative along with it, put a time stamp on it, and then put it in an envelope like they used to back in the day. But I’d never thought it would’ve become a career.

 

 

Inspiro India: Did you face any kind of problems while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?

– As with anything there were definitely challenges, but in retrospect it made me stronger and made the journey more memorable.

From not knowing where to start because it was still “unconventional”, to having to convince everyone around while hearing negative things about your choices, people taking me for a ride in my initial days in the name of “opportunity” and a “platform”, there’s been a lot. But I think I’ve learnt from it, and that’s the most important thing. I love doing what I do! As long as I’m getting to learn, travel and interact with interesting people I’m a happy man.

 

Inspiro India: What is it about Travel-photography that interest you the most? What are your top three favourite photography locations? And Why? 

– My dad was in a job where he travelled often, and so whenever he’d come back to town he’d take us on a little trip, that is when I fell in love with travel. This is why any place I went to felt like home away from home. So when I took up photography, I looked to travel for inspiration because that’s how it all began. It’s really hard for me to put down just 3, but for me I’d say Kashmir, Sikkim and Gokarna so far.

 

Inspiro India: If not this, What would have Auditya been doing?

– I dropped out of CA to be a photographer, so I’d probably have been a not very happy auditor or accountant somewhere.

 

Inspiro India: What is typically in your camera bag while travelling?

– One camera body which is my A7R2, and 3 lenses, namely the 16-35, 55, and the 70-200. My hard drive, ND Filters, a mini tripod and a Rode mic make up the accessories.

 

Inspiro India: Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in travel photography and wedding photography (both)?

– It works in 3 steps for me. Creating the narrative/story in your head, capturing it as best as you can on the camera which means being well versed with your camera and the technicalities, and then polishing it all up in post.

 

Inspiro India: Can you please explain how one should go for Mobile Photography?

– I love smartphone photography. It takes photography back to the basics for me and helps me create more with challenging restrictions.

We get very used to equipment we have and sometimes that may make us lazy without us realising, we don’t end up shooting if we don’t have a particular lens. But with smartphone you know this is what you have, so it makes you think as you create, you have one fixed lens so you move in and move out, and do everything you can to come away with a good image. As it must always be.

 

Inspiro India: Describe your post-processing work flow And the equipment that you use?

– I usually import all my images into their respective catalogues in lightroom, and then keyword them. If there needs to be more work done, I work on them in photoshop and then save them back on here. That simple. There is no specific equipment that I use for processing.

If I’m just posting it to social media though, a lot of the times I just transfer the files from my camera via wifi to my phone and just upload it directly.

 

Cover by Auditya

Photos by ©Auditya Venkatesh

 

Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?

– That you need to be happy doing what you are, and you get to define what that happy is. Because if you aren’t it’ll show on your work.

 

Check out his full feature in June’16 Edition of Inspiro India Magazine issue#29 – Download Free.

 

 

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18 January 2017

Best of 2016 | #inspiroindia

Best of 2016 Inspiro India.
Posting Pictures from #inspiroindiabestof2016. Top 36 Pictures from 1100+ Submissions.

~ Follow us on Instagram @inspiroindia and use hashtag #inspiroindia or write to us at info@inspiroindia.com ~

Congratulations to all the winners:

 

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Blog | Interviews

29 March 2016

Interview with Landscape Master: Debraj Chakraborty

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Inspiro India: Tell us something about yourself and how did you get started creating?

– Nature has always attracted me with its vastness, vistas, moods, colours, extremities. It is an endless list and so in my early days I used to be a Landscape painter to express my vision and love for it in canvas. I started taking photos about 5 years ago as when I started my own business I found it difficult to devote time to paint landscapes. Later, when I again thought to start with painting, by coincidence the camera was the medium most available to me then as a medium of artistic expression so, I happen to be a photographer.

 

Inspiro India: How did you develop interest in this field?

– As i told before, I was initially a painter and liked painting landscapes a lot. This went on till I started my Business after studies which presented with shortage of time in nurturing the hobby further. Later, when I again thought to start with the same, by coincidence the camera was the medium most available to me for portal of landscape which i previously used to paint in canvases . I am into a Business of IT and sale of Electronic appliances and selling cameras is a part of my business. As i started to explore the possibilities that the camera can offer which will help me to be a better salesman on selling this product, I just got amazed by its possibilities and thought it can be a way of artistic expression which i was for so long doing in a canvas with paint and brush.

 

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Inspiro India: Did you face any kind of problems while pursuing this field ? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?

– Though i have not faced any problem while working in this field but risks are always associated when i travel to some remote locations and that too in odd hours and in extreme weather conditions. I am very satisfied after working in this field as i love doing it for the memorable experiences it brings. I find myself really fortunate enough to listen to my heart’s call and pursue my dream.

 

Inspiro India: What is it about Landscape photography that interest you the most? What has been your favourite photo location in North East India?

– Well it is an endless list but constantly searching for those rare magical moments when the Perfect Light embraces nature in all its glory is what interests me in landscape photography the most. Even the dynamic character of Landscape that can me captured like movement of water etc. North East India is a treasure chest for landscape photographers and nature lovers alike and i keep on exploring it ,few places which I like near where i stay has always exited me to come back over and over gain is Meghalaya and two seasonal wetlands in South Assam Sonbeel and Chatla.

 

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Inspiro India: Please describe your post-processing work flow and the equipment that you use?

– Camera alone is not capable to replicate the scene which we have seen or experienced in the field. As it lacks such a wide dynamic range where we can see details in both dark and light areas of a scene unlike human eye. No one tool is perfect so a photographer has to take the help of Darkroom techniques and now with the advent of digital world, Its Digital Darkroom. The process in this pursuit of mine involves to pay a meticulous attention to details and technique in the field , along with some precision work in today’s digital darkroom. To further optimize, fine tune and adjust contrasts, colors, tonalities, luminosity, etc. of the picture, in an endeavour to better present the viewer the sense of being in the place. Regarding the equipment, I use Digital SLR with an ultrawide lens primarily apart from that Mid range zoom lens, telephoto lens and prime lenses depending on the situation. But i prefer to be in ultrawide while shooting landscapes. Regarding to accessories, i use a solid stable tripod along with remote release and depending upon situation use filters like Neutral Density and Circular polarizer.

 

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Inspiro India: What did you want to become as a child?

– As a child i always wanted to be an Artist-sometime creative like a painter or sculpture.

 

Inspiro India: If not this, What would have Debraj Chakraborty been doing?

– Artists will always find ways of expressing themselves by whatever means and skills are available to them. I would have been Businessman which i am still now and a painter painting landscapes to fulfil my passion for art and love for landscapes.

 

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Inspiro India: What advice would the artist inside you like to pass on to our readers?

– As a landscape photographer I believe whatever may be the photography technique or process, being at the right place at the right time to capture that perfect light and that stunning split second moment is the key to make a perfect picture. No photograph can ever be eye-catching unless it obeys the golden rules of photography which crafts the art in it. The rule of third is the most commonly used theory of composition in photography. Sometimes stunning images can also be created by breaking these golden rules too but knowing the rule first then breaking the same will set us apart. Shoot Shoot and shoot- the more time we spend on the field, the better we are in producing great work. Identify places near your residence which have great potential and visit them over and over again. Some of my best shots happened near my hometown.

 

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Image00009©Debraj Chakraborty

Inspiro India: What do you think about Inspiro India Magazine?

– At the onset, I must congratulate for this great job of bringing all the creative talent that our country posses under one roof. With the beautifully done layout and showcase of art and creative talent, this is definitely going to promote lots of Indian artists.