Sunday, March 31, 2013

A short trip to Wai

It was the same beautiful sunrise on Easter Sunday, 31 March 2013. The sun rises in a languid fashion over the buildings of Pune and as we are on the tenth floor of the building, the view is very impressive. The rising sun is not required for the birds to wake up and prepare for the day, but I think that they too pause on the heights in order to look and admire the sight. At the height that we were staying, pigeons are pretty common. I do not get to see the exotic varieties of birds that I have become used to in the Godrej Colony in Mumbai. It is surprising that a place in Mumbai can have more birds than a place as laid back as Pune. But such is life.

Sunrise over Pune
Pigeon over ledge
Admiring the view over the garden

In any case, the day should be utilised in a proper manner; this is what was the unanimous decision of me and my father in law. He loves to travel and shoot pictures like me. The initial plan was to go to a place called Bhor. According to my father in law it would be a good place to go a visiting. We did not know what to see at Bhor, and so treated this entire trip as a big adventure. We set out at about quarter to seven in the morning and merged into traffic on the National Highway towards the city of Bangalore which lies about 800-900 kilometres to the South.
Fried chillies to spice things up
Vada of vada-pav fame
Freshly fried pooris
Bhajji - fried onions in gram batter

I do not know when it happened, but somewhere along the way as we were discussing stuff in the car, we decided to go to Wai instead. The town of Wai is about ninety kilometres from Pune and would take between an hour and a half or two hours to reach. I think that the decision was made slightly before we partook of the following snacks in a roadside eatery just after the Khambatki Ghat section. The stuff is oily, sometimes unhygienic depending on your standard, but very tasty. You can see some of these savouries in the preceding photographs.

Wai is the source of the river Krishna and has a number of temples situated on the banks of the river. The Krishna river has always fascinated me since childhood. I remember waiting up for Vijaywada station in Andhra Pradesh while on our summer train trip to Kerala to experience that vast bridge that spanned the river outside the city. A quick search on the internet will reveal that Wai is very famous for a lot of other things as well. I will not get into those things at the moment. What the f-i-l and I decided was that we would go and check out some temples and the Mahaganapati temple was our first target.

Shikhara of the Kashi Vishweshwar temple
Nandi at the Kashi Vishweshwar temple
Taking some pictures for 'Facebook'.
Things seem to have gone satisfactorily
While entering the town I did notice various boards saying 'Krishna Nadi' or Krishna River, but I never expected to see what looked like a drain to be the progenitor to that vast body of water before Vishakhapatnam. What was even more shocking is that this drain flowed outside the temple. I do not have pictures to show, but having pigs around a holy place is not very nice to see. What interested me more was the temple close to the Mahaganapati temple called the Kashi Vishweshwar temple. The temple is well maintained and kept clean. I was packing my 180mm Macro in anticipation of birds and insects and as I was not carrying my second body or other lenses, did not get wide landscape shots.
The F-I-L in front of the Nandi
Unknown statue. Possibly 'Vitthal'
Offerings left at the feet of the nandi
Carving at the doorstep in front of the shrine
Solitary cana
Note the level of detail.

I noticed the intricate carvings on the temple shikhara and the Nandi bull outside the sanctum of the main deity. I also noticed the devotion amongst the people that came to worship. The cleanliness of the temple was set off by a solitary cana growing next to a tulsi bush. The old doors and chains showed up the workmanship of the days gone by.

Nandi facing the shrine
Ganesh carved on the shikhara
An elderly devotee
Kartikeya, carving to the right of the Ganpati
Old is still gold.
Ready made offering

In the temple, the f-i-l got talking to a gentleman who talked about dams in the vicinity and one of these dams was the target once we were done with seeing the temple. The Dhom Dharan is built on the Krishna and unfortunately for us was locked and low on water. The day was hot and we could take a limited number of shots. Again, the lack of a wide angle limited my ability to take wide landscapes.
Low water levels were no fun
Notice the bright sunlight

On the way back, we stopped by a field to buy a couple of watermelons and local spices. In all a trip in which I could not shoot as much as I liked in the way I wanted. I also realised that I knew very little of the place that I was going to to. I have passed Wai on a couple of occassions before as part of an office trip, but I was never aware of the significance and the rich history of this place. I was also in a hurry as I had to get back to work on the following day.
Buying spices from the road side
Watermelon by the road side. Each was a 100 rupees
Have been seeing a lot of raw mango
Those water melons were like canon balls
Cut open; the fruit was not very tasty though
Road side spices - turmeric and lime pickle
Tractor idling in the fields

Some take aways from the trip:
  1. Take a couple of lenses to cover focal range. Always.
  2. Learn more about the place you are going to. Even, or especially if, it is a snap trip.
  3. A relaxed state of mind lets you shoot more calmly.

All photographs were shot using a Tamron SP AF 180mm Macro mounted on a Nikon D7000. Shots were in RAW and these were in turn processed on Corel AfterShot Pro.

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