The city is one of the most sacred places in Sikhism, it is a big hour drive from Chandigarh.
The main Gurudwara is situated on a hill, you walk up from the parking.
It is quite beautiful and offers a great view on the surrounding area.
This place receives a lot of pilgrims as it is the place where the last two Sikh Gurus lived, so it is quite interesting to see the infrastructure. Below a hall were pilgrims can rest.
And below a young Sikh guarding the guesthouse for pilgrims (we unfortunately could not visit one).
The communal kitchen of this Gurudwara is also hudge. They have big pots.
In the kitchen he lady below started singing while making chapatis.
Finally a good shot of the chapati making machine:
Next we walked to a nearby temple with a sacred well a hundred stairs below ground.
From the outside there is a beautiful view on the Virasat-e-Khalsa, the museum of Punjab and Sikhism.
This museum is very well done, interesting and didactic, although it may sound a bit propagandist or proselyte , it gives a lot of information on the history of Punjab and Sikhism. I think it is a must do, to help memorize or clarify the things we learned through our trip.
So here we are on the last day of our trip, on the road to visit the Capitol Complex; the heart of Chandigarh, designed (partially) by Le Corbusier in the late 1950’s. An ode to modernist architecture that we have been longing to visit for years.
Well not quite; aside from the bad planning (in my own opinion) of our travel agent, visiting Chandigarh is a bit more complicated than we thought. So apart from the 3 sites cited in my last post, there is nothing organised to visit the habitations buildings and finally you have to go through a guided tour to visit the Capitol Complex.
This is not quite all : the two main buildings on the Capitol, the High court and the Assembly are in use (why should they not be after all?). So you cannot enter the High Court and you are lucky (we were) to enter the Assembly ( but no photos inside).
Add bye the time the guide assembled the small crowd of tourists we started our visit by mid morning, time was starting to be short and the light was quite bad for taking pictures.
As you can see above the high court is in use with layers in their work outfits.
In the opposite site of the plaza from the Hight court, the Palace of Assembly has a better lighting. It is overseeing a large pond and offers a spectacular view.
The holes in the front walls give nice perspectives and see through views.
Patterns on the assembly walls, reminding that man is the scale of the construction.
Getting out of the Assembly House the inevitable Ambassador car, now a civil servant official car, which used to be common taxis.
Our visit was accompanied by Mister Mohan, from the tourist Police who turned out to be a friendly person.
A few more things:
For the habitations buildings there are no restrictions to go and visit them, ask inhabitants,… we met some passionate french people who were spending a full week there. But Chandigarh is a big city so you better plan for what you want to see.
You can “pass by” on a road at the back of the Open Hand monument, in a certain distance, without getting into a tour and then be able to take picture at better moments (I did not)
The tour of the Capitol Complex is a bit rushed through, you are not welcome to wander around or take too long with your photography nonsense,
You do not see on the pictures, the parking lots, the vans, the 20 Spanish tourists of our tour, the barriers,…
How did I manage to take so poor pictures of a site I longed to visit for decades? It shows (if needed) that some skills need working on.
Camera geekerry : color shots Leica M262, black and while Leica M6, Summicron 28 and Summicron 50
Here we go again, here is my new year message to the world : happy new year to all go out and keep shooting film.
I think 2017 has been another very good year for film photography; the medium is getting more and more momentum. We saw a lot of new films released :Cinestill finally delivered the 120 version of 800T and 50D, Rollei gave us the Vario slide, Kodak is working on reviving Ektachrome, Japan Camera Hunter made more street pan and now has a second line, and more niche brands are creating or reviving special films. Of course Fuji keep on thinning his product line and Film Ferania is still not able to deliver its products. All in all the future of film is bright and it looks we are living more than just a fad. On the down side film camera prices are going up, but for most of it probably just from insanely low to still acceptable. The most expensive gear, Leica like, has not gone up much. Only the lenses that can be used on DSLR or four third cameras has seen unreasonably hikes.
As in the past (2015, 2016) lets see how I plaid my part this year.
I managed to beat my own record once again by shooting 65 rolls this year, 1 more that last year. With both 120 and 35 mm format that should be close to 2000 pictures. I would say that 1 roll per week is a good average, as I also shoot digital.
Below is breakdown of the rolls shot by camera:
Number of rolls
Last year rank
Agfa Isolette III
Kodak Autographic Jr 3a
Heineken Toy Camera
Clearly the Leica’s are the star of the year, now I shoot Leica digital, I always carry the M6 on holidays. Apart from a small issue on the winding side, this is a perfect image making machine and I now have a good set of lenses (28, 50, 90) that are foolproof and cover most situations. The Leica IIIc, is still my most used “lesser” camera, I invested in a beautiful 35mm F3.5 Summaron this year, and despite maybe a small intermittent curtain problem I can now use it without second hesitation. I still love the M4, but lacking meter it stayed home most of the year, until I dig it out this autumn, this one is faultless. I still love the Hasselblad, but I hardly carry it with me on holidays anymore, pity because my fridge is loaded with 120 rolls ,I have a long standing project of portraits that I may finally launch this year… The rest is done with my older cameras which for most have issues now, so I managed to make some odd nice shots but I would think twice before using them again.
This year again I offer you a breakdown of the films I shot :
Count of Film No
Rollei Retro 400s
Kodak TMY 400
Kodak TRI X
Fuji Fuji Xtra 800
Kodak Portra 160
Kodak TMX 100
Rollei Retro 80s
JCH 400 pan
Kodak Portra 400
Rollei Superpan 200
Fuji Superia 400
FilmNeverDies Shirokuro 400
Fuji Velvia 50
Rollei Retro 80s
Ilford Delta 100
Rollei ATP 32
This is a big variety; but as last year majority is 35mm, back and white; but there are about 20 colors rolls (10 last year) and a total of 16 120 format films (7 last year). The surprise may come at the Polypan 50 iso coming first with 9 rolls, these (and more) were given to me by my friend Ray, I like how it goes out and enjoy shooting at iso 50. Kodak and Rollei are still high up in the list.
The news was the Bergger Panchro, the Cinestill 50D and 800T in 120 format, but I did not made anything outstanding with them.
I confirmed this year my attachment to Leica systems, I nearly did not shoot any Nikon, apart on digital for some events. This year I plan to stick to the same program, camera and film wise, I have a bulk roll of Ultrafine Extreme 400, so this will give me 20 roll of 36 shots more or less, and the fridge is still stocked (around 50 rolls in there). I plan to upgrade my scanner, I have the Epson 500 for 8 years now, it served me well, I may have scanned, 300 rolls with it so that’s 1.5 $ a roll for scanning, I think it paid well for itself.
The Gurdwara dukh Niwaran Sahib is situated in the north part of the city of Patiala in Punjab, 80 km from Chandigarh.
It is the place where Guru Tegh Bahadur came to rid the by then village of a serious and mysterious sickness which had been their bane for a long time. The place where Guru Tegh Bahadur had sat under a banyan tree by the side of a pond came to be known as Dukh Nivaran (meaning eradicator of suffering). Devotees have faith in the healing qualities of water in the sarovar (pond) attached to the shrine.
We were very lucky when arriving there late afternoon, as the Gurdwara was preparing for a celebration the next day. Plenty of people where gathering already some very colorful as the young Sikh above. Or the older gentlemen in the following pictures.
The gentlemen on the right was here with his family and used to live in what is now Pakistan before India’s partition in 1948.
I always enjoy seeing people working; here partaking in the cleaning and preparation of the next day ceremony.
We skipped visiting the kitchen this time.
All shots above Leica M262+Summicron 28/50
Below are some film shots, Leica M6, the other summicron, and Kodak TMY 400
Gurdwara Ber Sahib is situated in the Sultanpur lodhi town of Kapurthala Distt.
It is situated on the bank of the rivulet Kali Bein, half a kilometre to the west of the old town; Guru Nanak performed his morning ablutions in the Bein and then sat under a Ber (Zizyphus jujuba) tree to meditate.
Guru Ji meditated at this tree daily for 14 years, nine months and 13 days. While Bathing here one day in Bein River Guru Sahib disappeared and was missing and returned after three days. Upon returning enlightned Guru began his life long mission of preaching Sikhism. (http://www.sikhiwiki.org)
I was most impressed by the pond, the contrast of its green color and the white stones around under the harsh midday sun. The black fish adding to the scenery, but I am afraid I did not manage to capture it properly.
As in every Gurdwara, we had to visit the langar hall, which was quite empty at that time. But being one of the most sacred place for Sikh it is quite big and can host quite a crowd.
The man poured us some massala tea with the device below; which is quite a clever invention to serve the usual crowd.
As an eminent foreign guest after having our tea we were hushed into the kitchen, where a group of volunteers were making chapatis.
A beautiful light was pouring from the windows.
We had to decline the invitation to make chapatis ourselves.
Back in the Langar hall.
Around the pool a enclosed bathing areas for women only.
The living quarters.
Outside the Gurwara, volunteers shining the shoes you have left before entering the temple.
India is a feast for the street photographer, photo friendly people, a lot of color, everything is so different, so many things happening all the time. The tea merchant with his yellow scarf is one of the first pictures I took. Through the window of the car stuck in the traffic jam.
Soon we had to step out and walk to the golden temple as the traffic was so bad on Sunday. I stumbled on one of the many horse carts with the driver standing up gauging the traffic.
After the temple visit looking for our car, I came across this friendly rickshaw driver.
In the afternoon we went to Wagah border ceremony; here also the crowd after the ceremony on the way out offers many photo opportunities.
The crowd after the ceremony is eager to partake in ice cream, pop corns
It gets dark quickly, and there is nearly one km of little stalls stretched along the car parks.
There is not enough time to stop at every stall to take some shots of vendors and their patrons. In this early evening, the lights, the fumes and the colors of the stalls make a beautiful composition every meter.
The lowering of the flags ceremony at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan is a daily event attracting crowds of locals and tourists alike. It is a well oiled affair and when following a few basic instructions if very easy to attend.
From the Indian side, once you reached to the last parking before the border you will have to walk 1 or 2 Km before getting to the venue. You need to carry your passport if you are a foreigner, which will bring you to a separate seating area (more later)
You cannot carry much apart from cameras and wallet. No bags are allowed, I read that bringing in water is not allowed, but you can buy some inside.
I carried 2 Leica M bodies with lenses and the 90mm in my pocket, my passport, cell phone and wallet without problem.Note that cell phones are not working in the area.
The venue looks like a stadium with the actual border being at the center. The crowd can go as high as 2000 people from the Indian side.
The event starts at 5h30pm and last 30 minutes. You need to arrive well in advance ( we were there by 4h30pm ) to secure a seating; I was told that some people were sent back on the day we were there.
The ceremony is a show of rivalry and cooperation between the two countries, It starts with preliminaries of Bollywood style music played full blast, and displays of flags.
After a moment the guards will enter the arena and do their show.
The crucial bit is the seating, the area reserved for foreign passport holders in quite close to the border and on the top of the seats, this has the advantage of giving us some shade (the sun sets in the Pakistani side and it became very hot at some point), but the view of the Pakistan side is quite limited.
Also you are quite far ways form the show; the pictures here are done with the 90mm Elmarit on the M262, they give a good description of the event but are not great. Also keep in mind the light it not great and goes down, I needed higher ISO (400, then 640 then 1000) and also the place is very dusty.
Can you do better? Well yes: hang around until the top sits are full so you can sit lower and have a closer / better view. But the border guards are trying hard to make you sit at the right place.
At the end of the show it is possible to go close to the border and have a shot or two with some Indian guards.
I am not a great fan of demonstrations of national pride, but this was really fun. I was a bit concerned by the security aspect, being so close to the border, but it did some seem to bother the many foreigners that were present and I it did not feel unsafe there.