In any other city but Agra, home to the famous Taj Mahal, this architectural beauty would be classed as one of the wondrous feat of art and architecture. A pity then, that this beautiful marble building often gets overlooked by visitors to the Taj and Agra fort. And a blessing for providing plenty of opportunities for quiet photography!
The Itmad-Ud-Daulah was commissioned by Noor Jehan, wife of the mughal emperor Jehangir and built between 1621 and 1628. This building is considered to be the precursor of the Taj Mahal and utilises similar design element, albeit on a smaller scale. The relatives of Noor Jehan (including her father) are interred in this mausoleum. Like in the Taj Mahal, the buildings and grounds are built to exquisite symmetry, disrupted only by the positions of the cenotaphs of Noor Jehan’s parents (similarly followed in the Taj Mahal, built almost 30 years later). The building is made of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones.
I recently re-processed a picture of the Taj Mahal that I photographed in 2004. The original photograph was taken as dusk and fog and pollution added to the haziness of the photo. Re-processing the picture has brought out the details, what do you think?
The original photo (before processing) is below.
There is something to be said for the merits of going back and looking over old photos and trying to improve them using modern post-processing techniques.
The Jantar-Mantar is a cluster of 18th century astronomical instruments that formed an observatory for observing the celestial skies in Delhi. These were built by the Maharajah of JaipurJai Singh II. Today these buildings sit as an ochre and green oasis in the centre of New Delhi.
The photo below is that of the Ram Yantra, a cylindrical building that is used to measure the movement of stars.
The Chowmahalla Palace or literally “4 palace” was the residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad. This palace complex served a ceremonial role including coronations and state banquets. The palace is said to be modeled after the palace of the Shah of Iran. This particular palace was built in 1750.
As a first time visitor to Chowmahalla, I was impressed by the grandeur of this palace, immaculately maintained grounds and buildings, and tremendous opportunities for photography. Needless to say I shall be visiting there again on my next trip to Hyderabad.
All pictures from a Nikon D80 camera fitted with a Tamron 18-250mm f3.5/5.6 zoom lens. Photographs processed in Adobe Lightroom and NIK software suite. Larger versions of the photographs are available from my flickr page.
The term verandah has made its way to English via India and refers to an open roofed courtyard around a bungalow or terrace. According to Wikipedia, a verandah “commonly refers to balconies on cruise ships and some hotel properties. It is also described as an open pillared gallery, generally roofed, built around a central structure.”. The following verandah is from the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad, India. Photographed as a single bracketed frame, this image was converted to black-and-white in Silver Efex Pro to add texture and tonal contrast.
I took over 150 pictures at the Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, India on my last visit, which felt like a lot at that time. Now in the comfort of my computer at home, I wish I’d taken another 150-odd. The Golconda fort offers endless possibilities for photography. There are relatively unexplored nooks and crannies and it isn’t too difficult to get away from the throng of visitors to the fort.
It is easy to let the mind wander into imagination of how this place would have looked in its heyday. Now all that remain are crumbling stones that tell a story of a time gone by. Rooms stark with their shorn walls, mute in their silent despair, as they too gradually disintegrate to dust.
In the next installment of this series on Golconda Fort, I shall be covering the journey to the top of the fort. Please click on any picture to see further detail on my flickr pages.
Tamron 18-250 f3.5/5.6 lens
Post-Processed in Adode Lightroom and NIK Color Efex Pro 4.0
No trip to Hyderabad in India can be considered complete without a visit to the magnificent, awe-inspiring Golconda Fort. Situated a few miles out of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secundarabad, the Golconda fort shows a formidable presence in the horizon. The fort itself dates back to original construction by the Kakatiya dynasty (a branch of the Chalukya rulers of south india in the 12th century.
The fort was expanded and further fortified by the Qutub Shahi kings of Hyderabad in the 16th century when they made Golconda the capital of their kingdom.
The fort itself is in many levels, with the imperial residences at the very top of the citadel (120 metres above), while the lower levels served as garrison quarters and administrative offices. The fort is surrounded by a wall 10KM long with many bastions to ward off attackers.
There are over 80 semi-circular bastions in the fort (below) that provided excellent 360 degree view of the neighbouring countryside.
More photographs of the challenging climb to the top of the fort follows in part 2 of this fort. Please click on any of the pictures above t see a larger version. All photographs from a Nikon D80 camera with a Tamron 18-250mm lens. Processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro.