Kali Mata Mandir – Pathiala

Quite a different athmosphere from GURDWARA DUKH NIWARAN SAHIB when crossing the city we came upon the “Kali Mata Mandir” the “Black mother temple”.

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This beautiful temple is said to be very popular and we preferred to visit it in daytime, before the crowd.

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Devotees are already coming to offer they prayers and ask for the blessings of the black mother. With a bit of discussion with the priest I was allowed to take a couple of pictures of the Divine Mother Kali and the priests (The statue was brought back from Bengal in the 1900’s)

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The Kali shrine opens towards the outside of the compound; through it you enter a courtyard surrounding the temple below.

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At the back of Kali shrine is another shrine of what I believe being the goddess Jyoti; the Hindu goddess of light and the “Vel”. She is the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and is closely associated with her brother Lord Murugan .

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People of the temple are collecting offerings for various causes. I gave some rupees I had left for one of them, although I am not sure what it is for.L1000275

I had none for the next ones which were a bit unhappy about the fact.

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The part if the temple below contains an older Shiva temple that opens once a year only, an old local gentleman told us he visited it only once in his life.L1000285

Finally we found  a group playing music and singing in the temple hall; I cannot tell if they were playing for the gods or rehearsing for later ceremony, but they seemed to be very please of our short attendance.

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You can visit http://maakalidevimandirpatiala.com/ for more information

 

Outside the temple a rickshaw rider waits for customers

All shots Leica M262 with Summicron 50 or 28; Rickshaw rider is Leica M6, Cron 28mm and Kodak TMY400

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Kali Mata Mandir – Pathiala

The Fire Dragon – Part 1

“it all started as a riot”

 

I felt very lucky last week when a friend of my wife told us a bout a fire dragon performance organized by a temple in Balestier area in Singapore. In 9 years here I have never seen such a thing and was very thrilled to see one.

The Fu De Gong temple is located in Kim keat lane, very easy to access by bus. I have been told by the friendly member of the temple that this is a taoist temple. I did not see the actual temple as we arrived at night fall and the premises were covered by the tent hosting the celebration.

There was maybe a couple of hundred people attending, on one side of the tent was a stage with a Cantonese opera (or wayang) on the other side a large shrine and in the middle an area for the performances.

When we arrived a very good quality lion dance was in process and we enjoyed for a good half hour until the riot begin. From the end of the road the Dragon was approaching; with music and flames; until it finally enters the tent (but that’s another story)…

The Fire Dragon – Part 1

Lao Sai Tao Yuan – A Chinese Opera – Singapore

Lao Sai Tao Yuan; is said to be the oldest troupe in Singapore performing Teochew  opera or Wayang.

These shows are generally performed for the 7th month or during Chinese thanks giving during the mid autumn festival.

They are particularly friendly and you can go backstage to take pictures while they dress-up and do the make up.

All shots with Nikon D700 and Nikkor 85mm F1.8.

Lao Sai Tao Yuan – A Chinese Opera – Singapore

Thaipusam 2013

The wheel of time made another full circle and the Hindu festival of Thaipusam is back again. as it is based on the lunar calendar it falls on a Sunday this year which is just great for having a look and taking pictures.

I wrote in the past about Thaipusam and you can find on Wikipedia some information about the meaning of the the celebration. Let’s just say that in Singapore it is a 4 km pilgrimage between Serangoon Road (in little India) to Tank Road, that devotees walk to thank the gods or to ask them for a favor (and then they will do it the following years to thank them). Pilgrims generally carry burdens, from simple pots of milks to heavy Kavadis. The most spectacular aspect of Thaipusam is that the Kavadis often pierce into the bearer’s flesh, but also some other piercing rituals are performed.

Beyond this, Thaipusam is a great opportunity to actually see faith in action. Apart from photography I am looking forward to this event for its atmosphere and just being there. A lot of spectators attend the event, and in Singapore it is a big photography circus.

The event follows generally this schedule:
– the day before, the Silver Chariot carrying a statue of the god, is traveled in town and comes back in the Tank Road temple, where people gather to pray.
– very early in the day itself, devotees go to the Serangoon road temple where they prepare themselves before the pilgrimage, involving the complex construction of Kavadis
– the pilgrimage itself is a 4 km walk to tank Road, Kavadi bearer dance to the sound of music and are supported by relatives
– In Tank Road, pilgrims go inside the temple to ge the blessing
– outside the temple is the area where Kavadis are disassembles and pikes removed from chicks, tongues, and other body part.

This year i was lucky enough to be able to go to Tank Road on the Saturday, then in the Sunday morning to see the first Kavadis being disassembled, then to Serangoon Road and then back to Tank road in the afternoon.

Serangoon road, between 8 and 10 AM is the best spot for me. Nicer atmosphere, enough light, same photographers I see every year.

This year I brought the Hasselblad and these are the Hassie shots you see with this post. It’s not so easy to shot moving people, but I think the keeper ratio for the 2 rolls is fantastic. I used some Rollei RPX 400 ASA film which I find also just great, the grain is so thin.

I also carried the D700 with a couple of lenses, that will be for the next post.

Camera: Hasselblad 500cm
Lens: 80mm F2.8 Planar
Film: Rollei RPX 400 Pan
Digifilm: Epson v500+Adobe Lightroom 3.6

Thaipusam 2013

Temple in Penang

Temple in Penang
Mosaic on temple roof in Penang

This is a close up shot of the roof of a temple in Penang (Malaysia). The mosaic is made of broken piece of coloured china bowls.

Picture was taken with the D700, I have brought along the manual focus zoom Angenieux 70-200 F3.5. Not as practical as the nikkor 70-210 F2.8D, but a bit lighter. I realy like the look of this picture, really film like; the vigneting is out of the box. One funny thing, the focusing works the opposite way to the nikkor lenses so your have to turn your focusing ring the opposite way to what the rangefinder indicates.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Angenieux 70-200 F3.5
Post Processing: Lightroom 3.3

Temple in Penang

Gong Xi Fa Cai – Thian Hock Keng Temple

Gong Xi Fa Cai - Thian Hock Keng Temple
Gong Xi Fa Cai - Thian Hock Keng Temple

A tour downtown for the first day in the year in the rabbit. I carried the Tamron 28-75 F2.8 which is supposed to be a walkaround lens, right? I hate this lens, well ok, not hate but it seems I never have very good shots with it, and i never come to the point where is is sharp enough. Well here is a sharp shot. So keep, sell? Time will tell.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Tamron 28-75 F2.8
Retouches: Lightroom 3

Gong Xi Fa Cai – Thian Hock Keng Temple

Thaipusam 2011

Thaipussam 2011
Thaipussam 2011

Here we are, January again and it’s Thaipusam again, the big Indian festival in Singapore. Devotees walking 4km wearing offerings, some with piercings in their bodies, some wearing structures called Kavadi.
Thaipusam is a great opportunity for photography and there are loads of photogs at the departure of the festival; amazing deployment of hardware. I love Thaipusam, for its atmosphere, sense of togetherness or the people participating. Can’t wait until next year. Thaipusam date if fixed by Hindu authorities and may not not on the most easy day for me to go though, this year I just went 2 hours from 7am after a sleepless night at work.
My recommendation: go at tank road in the middle of the night, to see the first devotees arriving at the temple, get some sleep. Be at Serangoon road about 8am for sunrise and stay a few hours in the temple to follow the devotees preparations. Go back in the evening to follow the procession at night, there are amazing Kavadis with lights!

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikkor 50mm F1.8 ISO2200 1/160 F5
Retouches: Lightroom 3 + PSP elements 4.0

Thaipusam 2011