22 November 2010

Weekend in Daman

Went to the tiny former Portuguese enclave of Daman in the Indian state of Gujarat* with office colleagues for a quick weekend trip.

Here's a few photos of some of the Portuguese structures that dot the city -
The smaller city fort known as Nani Daman

Above the main fort of the city known as Moti Daman,
the next 7 photos are of structures within this fort....

The old lighthouse at the seaward edge of Moti Daman

The beautiful ruins of a Dominican Monastery

Church of Bom Jesus, with its richly carved doorway and the highly decorated interiors.The above and below photos are from the inside the Lady of Rosary Church (which is just next to the other church) has very elaborate carved statues and grand paneling done in an interesting blend of Gothic and Byzantine aesthetics.And to end this post here's a few photos from the city's famous (but horribly dirty) Devka Beach
* Technically Daman is a union territory of India and not part of Gujarat, but for all practical reasons its too small to exist on its own and is a part of Gujarat.

28 October 2010

'Happy Marriage' in Chennai

Spend yesterday at a dear friend's wedding in Chennai and I had no idea that it was going to be an awesome (big fat) Tamil wedding ...

The guy who got married - Arasu - is my one of my oldest friends .. in fact we studied from kindergarten to the end of high school together in Dubai... and it was great to go for his wedding ..

Here's a few photos from the wedding..

Starting with a couple of photos of the wedding hall:

....as expected the gods were present to look over the events of the days ..
.....but I was completely unprepared for a freaking elephant attending the wedding !!!
... the elephant however was kind enough to give blessings to everyone !!!

Like most wedding in India the main reason to attend here too was the feast - some Great South Indian food in this case..
...then there was a lot of music which was oddly kinder to my eyes than to the ears... :-)And I'll end this post with an image of people lining up for their turn to go up on stage to wish the newly weds a 'Happy marriage' ...

24 September 2010

Ming tombs + Great wall

Today we took a day trip to the outskirts of the city of Beijing to see the famed Ming Tombs and the Great Wall of China. 

Here's a few photos from the two world heritage sites, starting with the Ming tombs :

The Ming tombs is a huge site where 13 Ming Dynasty Emperors were buried in their individual complexes with elaborate pavilions and gardens.
The sequence of spaces/gardens reminded me a lot of the Mughal tomb complexes found in the Indian sun-continent.

Moving on further - here's some photos from the Great Wall 
(this is the Badaling section of the Wall)

The way in which this massive stone wall snakes along the contours of this beautiful landscape is really impressive.

As you can imagine the wall being one of the most popular destination for both local and foreign tourists was super crowded and I had to spend a lot of time and effort in trying to capture these photos that make them look almost empty :-)

23 September 2010

Contemporary architecture in Beijing

In this post I'd like to share photos of the contemporary buildings that we saw over the last two days across the city.

Starting with the impressive Beijing Urban Planning Museum.
Ever since it opened this museum has become the starting point for all architects/city planners who visit this city.

Zooming in on the new CBD of Beijing

The CCTV HQ designed by OMA, sadly this buildings isn't really open to the public! Would have been interesting to see if there more to it that its wacky outer form. 
The main stadium of the 2008 Beijing Olympics - popularly known as the Bird's nest - is one of most known icons of the 21st century. It was designed by Swiss firm Herzog de Meuron in collaboration with artist Ai WeiWei.
It is a befitting design for the larger than life event that was the Olympics.
The transition spaces between the large Olympic park and the actual games arena is very interesting.
View of the different stadiums from the Olympic park
The Watercube designed by PTW architects is too kitsch for my liking and lack are architectural merit from the inside.

Here's a snap from inside the cube .
Digital Beijing at the edge of the Olympic park designed by Studio Pei-Zhu
The Linked hybrid designed by Steven Holl
Although this is one of Holl's most celebrated projects, I think he really struggles to do anything meaningful at these large scale projects!
There are some interesting ideas here but the overall project is not as interesting as the concept.
Some new office towers
And I end this post with this photo of the Sanlitun Village designed by the Oval Partnership. This is a very interesting shopping complex that takes inspiration from the scale and relationship seen in the traditional Hutongs of Beijing.

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