Kola Bou Snan - Durga Puja

Kola bou snan is the first major ritual of Durga puja. The Kola bou is the plant form of Durga (and not the bride of Ganesha as widely believed) formed by tying eight types of plants to a young banana plant. This group of nine plants or “naba patrika” constitute the Kola bou. The ritual takes place early on saptami morning across the many ghats of Kolkata.

Photo tips

I chose Mallik ghat to shoot the ritual since I could combine it with the flower market visit. (Post on Mallik Ghat flower market) Most of what I discussed in the flower market post also hold true here. There are many aspects of the ritual that you could focus on. Before the puja starts the plants are dipped in the river. Wear shorts and sandals in case you want to get in the water. Then there is the puja itself. And the dhaakis.

Gear Used

All photos shot with the Nikon D500 + Sigma 18-35mm f1.8.

Mallik Ghat Flower Market in Kolkata

Mallik Ghat flower market in Kolkata, near the Howrah bridge, is (probably) the largest flower market in India, and by some accounts Asia. These photos were shot early morning (around sunrise) during Durga pujo. While it is busy throughout the year, Durga Puja triggers a mad rush.

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Jaipur in Monochrome

These photos from Jaipur are 5 year old. Revisited some of those that I still like and re-edited as black and white. Except the Hawa Mahal, it's probably difficulty to identify other places/settings. Some of these are from Amer (the elephants climbing the fort and the step well near the fort), the City Palace (smiling face), roads of Jaipur (the intense gentleman), Bhangarh and aerial view of Jaipur from Nahargarh fort. 

These were shot with the Nikon D3100 and 16-85mm lens.

Alien Landscapes of Cappadocia

Cappadocia (Turkish: Kapadokya) is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Kırşehir, Aksaray, and Niğde Provinces in Turkey.

The name, traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history, continues in use as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage. [Wikipedia]

Pre-historic volcanic activity created mysterious formations across the region. This also made parts of the formations easy to excavate which was used by local tribes and monks to carve out cave dwellings that were occupied as recently as the 1970's.

Shot with the D500 and the Nikkor 17-55mm f2.8 lens.

Streets of Cappadocia (BW)

Cappadocia is technically not a single place but a region comprising of multiple small towns. All of the following photos were shot in and around Göreme. The entire landscape of Cappadocia is unique and pieces of it were captured in this set. But more on that on another post. 

Shot with D500 and the Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8 and 35mm F1.8 lenses.

Balloons in Cappadocia

Here's a collection of photos from my visit to Cappadocia, Turkey earlier this year. There are a few things to note from a photography perspective. You start at 4 am (latest 4:30 am). So make sure you have your batteries charged, everything packed — just to not miss out on what is needed while sleepwalking. Shot with the D500 and 17–55 mm f2.8. (The rides last around 60–75 minutes but are subject to weather conditions for the start.)

Streets of Istanbul (Colour)

Here’s the colour version of Istanbul’s streets. The Balat/Fener neighbourhood (near the wall of Constantine) is definitely off the beaten path, but a must visit for anyone with any interest in street photography or wants to get close to the real Istanbul. It’s not on the tourist trail but completely worth a visit — very interesting photo subjects everywhere.

And then there’s fishing - the national pastime of Turkey. If there is a waterbody, then there will be people fishing. The Galata Bridge is one of the most popular destination for fishing.

Shot with D500 with Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8, 35mm F1.8 and 50mm F1.8 lenses.

Streets of Istanbul (BW)

Istanbul is the most street photography friendly city I have visited. It has everything that a street photography enthusiast needs — people, spaces, transportation and markets. People are friendly, markets are lively, spaces and streets are full of character, mystique and graffiti and transportation varied. And it is not difficult to have interesting characters walk across a nice frame. Just some patience needed. 

Shot with D500 with Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8, 35mm F1.8 and 50mm F1.8 lenses.

Birding in Nilgiris

Here’s a collection of bird photos shot during a recent road-trip to the Nilgiris (Kotagiri to be precise). They were shot with a Nikon D500 and the Nikkor 200–500m F5.6 lens. I’ve tried my best to identify each species, but I am not an expert. Feel free to correct me.