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Visiting the Juggernaut

July 24, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

After relocating to Singapore this year, I find I am able to visit India more frequently. My first stop was Calcutta, in which I have not experienced the monsoon in more than 12 years. But while the weather held much foreboding, it held up well. It was relatively cool and despite the lack of rain the humidity was not stifling. One Wednesday afternoon, I decided to visit the Strand and found to my delight that little had changed (for the worse) since my last sojourn. One thing did, however, stick out like a sore thumb. The ruling party, in power for a mere 5 years since ousting the erstwhile Communist party that had ruled for over 3 decades, had decided to brand every inch of municipal property with its colors of blue and white and its three-flowered symbol! A luxury, to my mind, that smacks of reckless extravagance and public apathy!

Even lamp-posts are potent symbols of the Chief Minister's power. LX100.

But the Hooghly remains what it always was, a large and majestic river that runs at its own sedate pace. The LX100 performed admirably and was bale to capture the colors of a cloudy sunset perfectly.

The river runs on forever. LX100.

I was also able to take in Prinsep Ghat (Wharf) and it surroundings and indulge in a little street photography. Despite the failing light, the LX100 was able to produce great files because of its fast and stellar lens.

Nothing like a selfie in an historical monument. LX100.

Who says adults can't join in the fun? LX100.

From Calcutta I took a drive South along the peninsula to Puri - which affords both a lovely beach and a lot of history. On the road, we passed Dhauli, close to a very historic battlefield and a stone inscription that began the spread of a major world religion. It is said that in about 262BCE, the emperor Ashoka decided to wage war against the kingdom of Kalinga and in so doing began a conflict that was to end in his victory. But the conflict took such a toll in human lives that he was sickened by the prospect of war and turned to Buddhism. As a result he made Buddhism a state sponsored religion and sent missionaries to Burma, Sri Lanka, China, Afghanistan and Central Asia.There is a very famous rock edict at Dhauli that speaks of his grief and conversion and above this memorial is a statue of an elephant - a symbol in India associated with the Buddha and Buddhism.

​The elephant marks the spot. LX100.

Often a place or monument takes on a life of its own in the human imagination because of what it connotes in the popular idiom. Such is the case with the word juggernaut. This magnificently Germanic sounding word actually derives from the word Jagarnath - an avatar of the God Vishnu - and more specifically came into vogue when it was discovered that the image of the God (in the Jagarnath Temple in Puri) was pulled in a giant chariot with long ropes measuring many kilometers by thousands of devotees each year in July. This ancient custom goes back many centuries, but I like to believe that its likeness is forever enshrined in the Konark Sun Temple, some thirty kilometers from Puri. Despite the ravages of time, it has lost none of its magnificence.

The original chariot of the Juggernaut. LX100.

One of the seven steeds that pulled it through the cosmos. LX100.

And its giant Sundial Wheels. LX100.

The local tourists make for some great juxtaposition. LX100.

And the local residents make for some great portraits. LX100.

We finally repaired to the beach where we spent a few days soaking it all in. The LX100 made for a fantastic camera right through the trip, holding its own in sunny and cloudy weather, in low light and bright, in haze and rain. I really am beginning to believe that this is one of the best all-round travel cameras on the market today.

Early risers. LX100.

Monochrome. LX100.

Environmental Portrait 1: Where the smaller sensor of the LX100 shines.

Environmental Portrait 2: LX100.

One with the original Fuji X100. The old girl still performs.


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