The Moorish Mosque, Kapurthala (India)

The city of Kapurtalha is 70 km or 1 and half hour drive from Amritsar. Is used to be a princely state in British India, and its late Maharajah, Jagatjit Singh built a certain number of monuments in the 1930’s, making the city a “Little Paris”.

The Mosque was build by French architect M. Manteaux, who had also designed the Jagatjit Palace in the city. The intention of the Maharajah was to offer his Muslim subject  the best place of worship in order to preserve balance between the cults.

The mosque’s architectural design is based on the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh ( Morocco ).

The building is beautiful outside and inside;and in very good condition, we were just surprised to it empty. The man in charge was very nice and happy to show us around.

The courtyard is of marble; the interior patterns were originally made by artists from Lahore.

Kapurthala, looks like a very nice city, probably of 200000 inhabitants, with a lot of other buildings of architectural interest. Among them the Jagatjit Palace (Palace of the Maharajah), inspired by Versailles and the Jagatjit  Club. The palace is now a military school and unfortunately cannot be visited without a prior authorization that we did not get. But just looking around in the street around the mosque a lot of smaller buildings are worth a look.

The other place of interest of Kapurthala is the Rail Coach Factory, but also requires an authorization and our trip organizer was ignorant of it so we could not access it, in spite of the efforts of our guide, bit of disappointment on my side.

All shots with Leica M262 and summicron 28 (mostly) or 50.

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The Moorish Mosque, Kapurthala (India)

St Matthew’s Church – Neil Road

Small walk to Neil Road a few weeks back  to check the intriguing architecture of the old abandoned St Matthews Church.

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Most of the information here is taken from Remember Singapore  a great site about things of the past in Singapore.

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The original church was built in the 1890’s as a place of worship for the British sailors.

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It operated though all the first half of the 20th Century, including the Japanese occupation during WWII.

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In the late fifties, St Matthew’s embarked on a re-building plan of its main church building.

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Designed with a distinctive Modern style, the new double-storey building consisted of a prayer hall on top of a large function room. It also possessed an unique vertically protruding roof that looked like a ship’s prow, and a tall concrete bell tower that was erected beside the main chapel.

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Also, after the war, St Matthew’s Church carried out plans to, expand its premises, including the construction of a vicarage and a kindergarten was also built in the early fifties.

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The new kindergarten was designed in simple Art Deco-style; it had a sloping roof laid with terracotta Marseilles tiles and timber windows with louvers.

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Color pictures Leica M262 ; B&W pictures Leica M4 with Kotak TMAX 100.

Wide angle Summicron 28mmF2 Asph ; normal lens Summicron 50mm F2 type V

St Matthew’s Church – Neil Road

A morning in Myanmar

During our trip to Chiang Rai one of the most exciting activities available is to walk into Burma, for a few hours only. Driving one hour from our resort in Chiang Saen (already one hour north of Chiang Rai), we arrive in the Mae Sai checkpoint where it is possible to cross the border and enter Myanmar at Tachileik.

This in the Shan State; Tachileik boasts 50000 inhabitants.

Crossing the border is allowed provided that you leave your passport at the border and pay a nominal fee. Overnight stay is not permitted and I read that guesthouses in the border areas of Myanmar are not allowed to host foreign tourists.

The area close to the checkpoint has a busy market where Thai and Chinese tourists like to shop, for cheap counterweight of handbags, watches and so on. We rode a tuck tuck outside of this area in a more rural side of the city with its food market.

Aside from the usual colorful street life, a nearby covered market, shows more food stalls.

But also some fashion shops; tailors, housewares,…

A few streets from there, a Buddhist monastery, hosts young and old monks who were having their lunch when we arrived. There we could witness the ceremonial of meals, who its first, who last who eats what is not eaten by the others.

The main attraction in Tachileik may well be the replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda. Situated on a small hill. There are a few tourist / devotee stalls outside and food stalls on the parking.

One of the food stalls around the pagoda.

I tried one of these sweet pancakes, delicious. Grilled for you on the spot on the ground of the parking.

Our guide was very knowledgeable or the area and spoke fluent Burmese which made the experience very enjoyable.

3 hours in Myanmar, a new Stamp on our passports, time to head back in Thailand.

All shots with Leica M262 and Summicron 28mmF2.

A morning in Myanmar