Gol Ghumbaz – An Echo

Bijapur, a small town in South India’s Karnataka State but, this historical monument gave a recognizing identity to the town. India’s largest antiquated dome is Gol Ghumbaz. The name finds it roots from Gol Ghummata meaning circular dome. The majestic structure is a mausoleum of Mohammad Adil Shah, the 7th emporer of Mughal Dynasty. A grey basalt structure sits proudly on a big platform and one of the grand royal dome constructed in 16th century. It is widely known as the TAJ MAHAL of South India.

The architecture style of the building is Deccan – Islamic which is a perfect combination of Indo – Islamic and Dravidian architecture. Deccan rulers produced an independent style of their own, largely ignoring the local predominate styles and were primarily influences by the Persian and Mughal architecture styles.

The tomb is a square base hemispherical dome. The dome is second largest in the world and one of the largest single structure chamber in the world, also largest one to cover single space. ( almost 1700 sq. mtr. )

Beautiful petals are carved at its base. staircases at the four corners of the structure leads to seven storey octagonal tower. On each floor, arches opens up and projecting cornices can be seen. A broad eight storey is a space around dome, measuring 3.5 meter. This space is an acoustical marvel, also called as ”whispering gallery”. This amazing echo system reflects the sound for seven times !!! It has been designed in such a way that one can even hear the finest tick – tick of watch across the distance of 37 meters within the vast dome area. And the mastermind behind this design was an architect Yaqut of Dabul…

 

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cornices on each floor
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arch openings on each floor
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petals at the base of dome

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staircase tower

 

Until next time,

Preeti

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Tadoba – An Untold Story

28th January 2017. “Tadoba” was our most memorable trip to start 2017 with !! Tadoba Andhari Tiger Project is one of India’s 50 Tiger Reserve Project. And yes, its a big success. It is in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra and largest national park in a state.

My trip to Tadoba with my beloved made it so much exciting and adventurous. I am an Environmentalist. I love to keep myself into earth activities and eco – friendly things. Whether is a conservation of architecture, environment, our living planet, wildlife or culture. I am an Enthusiast. This trip was specially to study the environment, life cycle of wild animals, conservation of them and people and their life around national park.

Three days trip and five open jeep safaries were much enough to roam around in national park and run behind tigers to see them. First day was of hard luck. No sighting of tiger but, herds of deers, indian gaur, bear, wild dog,  different reptiles, number of species of birds were welcoming me in their territory. Rich in flora was an amazing eye treat.

Tadoba lake is the life national park. The water in a lake never dries up. Its the lifeline all of all the wild citizens of national park in summer. Once this lake was the crocodile breeding center but, after failure of the project, its closed now.

Today, 86 tigers are in the national park. At last day of our safari, Sonam tigress came out of the bushes and made my morning a worth. Of course, a young tigress made us to wait almost one and half an hour just to see her catwalk. It was a thrilled experience to see a tiger in person and capture in camera. Sharing this with your loved one is the cherry on the top !!!

Sonam tigress will be our all time favourite and we both hoping to see her again !!!

Until next time

Preeti.

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Jewel of Jaipur : Jal Mahal

171107_10150097382814121_7542007_oDSC01769DSC01770DSC01808DSC01811DSC01813DSC01814DSC01793DSC01803For nearly 300 years back, Jaipur’s visionary founder, the great ruler Sawai Jai Singh II built up the festive gathering place for generations of Jaipur’s royal families i.e. The jewel of Jaipur, Jal Mahal.

Jal Mahal which literally means the ‘’water palace’’ is a palace located in the center of the Man Sagar lake in Jaipur city. Jal Mahal is considered as one of the most beautiful architectural palaces that was built with the Mughal and Rajput craftsmanship. The palace provides a charming view of the Man Sagar lake and the Nahargarh hills that border it. The palace’s architectural beauty considered as a best example of combination of Mughal and Rajput architectural styles.

 

I visited this palace on 2nd February 2013. To attend the workshop of restoration and conservation of historical buildings by international expertise. It was hard to imagine that just a few years back the lake was an environmental disaster and palace a derelict ruin. Today, as Jal Mahal rediscovers its magic, it transforms into a pavilion of pleasure once again. It is a 100 acre mixed – use land tourism development project, which is environmentally, sustainable and regenerative. It has been meticulously restored as a part the on going restoration projects.

The complete palace is made of red stone and is 5 storey high. The 4 floors of the palace stay under the water and it is only the 5th floor that is visible. There are 4 chattris on all the four corners of the palace. These are octagonal in shape. The palace has some exquisite marble carvings which denotes the royal touch and the palace has twenty pillars which are the cenotaph of the royal family of Raja Jai Singh II.

For the first time, the Public and private sectors have joined hands to revive a Heritage site in Rajasthan. It provides a requiring environmental revitalisation, historic monument restoration and tourism development. The restoration of Jal mahal started by Jal Mahal resorts Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, has been a phenomenal effort involving the skills of international experts, traditional master craftsmen, architects, historians and authorities on art, culture and design. The research and study of structural elements, forms, details and ornamentation allowed the monument to reveal itself, which then began to rebuild its jetties and stairways, arches, corridors and alcoves with traditional knowledge, materials, techniques and artists.

Chameli Bagh, the lush garden on the terrace has been traced from surviving elements of the original patterns and recreated in the best of Rajput and Mughal traditions. The beauty of the white marble walkways and carved platform, to sit in the shade of tibaris gilded with exquisite miniature paintings or to be refreshed with a stroll through the fragrant garden.

Chameli bagh has been designed by the internationally renowned heritage garden expert and anthropologist, Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites. Built in the traditional charbagh style, each of its four quadrant flaunts a beautiful raised marble flower bed shaped like a scrolling floral arabesque and is planted with a fragrant flowering shrubs.

Water, the other hallmark of such gardens, cascades down thinly over the traditional chinikhana walls of the platform and flows through lotus lights and fountainheads to create a constant changing play of light and glitter.

The central feature of Chameli Bagh is raised octagonal platform with elaborate marble work that lights up to create a dramatic stage for dance and music performances. Under the open sky, the beautifully restored tibaries and even the chattris that stand sentinel over the Jal Mahal, is space to seat an audience of up to 225 guests.

The four different tibaries represents four different styles.

1st is the most opulent tibari at Jal Mahal is resplendent with graceful floral motifs in red, blue and gold.

2nd reveals the magical frescoes depicting Lord Krishna and his consorts romancing in a wooden grove abundant with fruit trees and framed by jaipur’s most celebrated landmarks.

3rd tibari is on process which will feature pink and white decorative stucco.

4th tibari , with its dark clouds swirling across the ceiling, raindrops patterning the walls and lily pools blossoming in the panels, will bring all the colours of monsoon of life.

The interiors of each chattris, located on four corners of Chameli bagh, is designed to be unique. Its is with the rare distinctive Jaipur technique of blue glazed finish pottery. One of created with complex jaipuri brasswork that involves embossing, cutting, enamelling and filigree work and dedicated to Hindu Sun god, Surya.

The conacept and design : Heritage garden expert and anthropologist, Mitchell A K Crites

Creation of Chameli Bagh : Expert marble carver, Kalu Ram Saini.

Tibari and Chhatri Artwork Curation : Eminent Historians Dr. Vibhuti Sachdev

A colourful, multimedia experience that celebrates Jaipur’s artistic heritage, Painted pleasures. Water palace, traditional style gardens, brings together the vision and works of Jaipur’s leading artists and craftspersons to take visitors on an increadible journey of the senses as they have never been on before.

 

Citadel of Orchha – Jahangir Mahal

IMG_5461IMG_5473IMG_5475IMG_5476IMG_5481IMG_5488IMG_5492IMG_5456IMG_5482IMG_5478Orchha is a place of marvelous heritage. This citadel is located in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh state, India. The beauty, craftsmanship, location, topography and serenity all are just perfect. Jahangir Mahal is the citadel of Orchha. This was built in 17th century and this structure was built by the regional ruler Vir Singh Deo as a symbol of warm welcome of the Mughal Emporer Jahangir.

Jahangir Mahal is a three storey structure and built on the highest contour of Orchha. The symmetry of facade is just a magnificent treat to eyes. Domes on the four corners of mahal adding the more beauty and were built according to Timurid customs. It’s grand lawns are large enough to accommodate the entry of war elephants. This is the most classical example of Mughal Architecture. I have explored this place in very much hurry as i need to catch up my train from the nearest Railway junction Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. ( 18km) But next time, I am going to take out plenty of time to explore and to enjoy the light and sound show at night.

Until next time,

Preeti.

Hidden Beauty of Hyderabad

Hyderabad is one of the major metropolis of India with great historical background and architectural touch. This city was founded by Nijam and ruled it for more than century. Architecture of Hyderabad have great influence of Islamic, Persian and Pashtun Architectural styles.

Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah was the Fifth Sultan of the Qutub Shahi dynasty of Golkonda and founded the city of Hyderabad. The architectural miracles in Hyderabad were built by him in 16th century. Central masterpiece – Charminar, Golkonda Fort and many palaces were constructed in his observation. Till today it is standing proudly.

Quli Qutub Shahi Tombs

Sulatn Quli Qutub constructed first tomb in 15th century and later on another 6 tombs were constructed for his son and begum in 16th century. The tombs form a large cluster and stand on a raised platform. The tombs are domed structures built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches, a distinctive style that blends Persian,Pashtun and HIndu forms. The tombs are structures with intricately carved stonework and are surrounded by landscaped gardens.

Now the conservation and restoration of structures is taken care by Aga Khan Trust.

Until next time ,

Preeti

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An Emerald Beauty of Andaman Island

April 2016. My trip to Andaman island with my two sweetheart girls, Tejasi and Gauri was one of the lifetime golden moments. My love and fascination towards Environments, Nature and Sea was the main purpose to visit. What is biosphere ? What is nature ? What is an oceanic ecosystem ? What is life without wifi and technology ? what are tribes ? What is Vernacular Architecture in 21st cen. (literally mean it) How life is purely dependent on the nature and ecosystem. I have Experienced all the answers to these questions.

Blue water, white sand, green forests and black Jarwa Tribes. Diving deep down in blue Bay of Bengal and watching colourful fishes, coral was my adventurous experience. Driving a car from dense forest with police security and keeping eyes out to see “Jarwa Tribe” was the experience full of excitement. Their is no any architectural style here, nothing defines houses or colony, nothing explains the function or forms of design. Because of heavy rainfall, dense forest, small area of islands and uncertain climatic conditions are the major factors behind messy lifestyle.

Andaman & Nicobar are the group of 500+ little islands and only on 65 islands human existence is seen. Why I am mentioning human existence, because here are number of tribes living on each islands and they havn’t changed their lifestyle yet.

While traveling to Baratang island, we transverse through reserved area for Jarwa Tribe. This area is reserved by Indian Government, for almost 400 – 450 Jarwa tribe population. These people literally don’t have any contact with the outer world and if we try to make contact with them, then it will be self invitation to your death.

Jarwa tribe is different from Indians. Those are having physical structure of Negritos ( Nigro). It is totally different to find Nigro in an Indigenous region. Dark skin, Curl hair, stature. The physic itself distinguish them from other Andamani Tribes. Jarwa believes in the traditional knowledge and traditional culture. Staying in the core part of forest with natural built structures, sustaining on food available at forest and living life depending on forest and nature. Jarwa have refused to explore themselves to outer world. Not even a medical help they ask for. They cure diseases from medicinal plants at forest. The daily routine is to sharpen their weapons like bows, arrows, stone arrows, wooden arrows and make them ready for hunting. They are strict hunter – gatherers, do not believe in cultivation. They are skillful in designing weapons and practicing different types of methods for hunting. Still ignition of fire is done by stone strucking.

 

And what a dressing sense they have ! Creeper rounded up along the waist to carry useful tools and arrows when they go out for hunting. On other side women carry leaves held by the belt. Everyone paints their body by natural colours. Chamoflaging themself with forest is one of the way to protect by animal attack and identification. From 16th cen. or may be before that till today their lifestyle haven’t chnaged.

Just imagine a week without smart phone, wifi, cozy bed, comfortable cloths, tasty food, no cosmetics will be hell for us. Lets conserve them and set them free to live their life.

Being an Architect and Urban Designer, its my role not only to study architecture but also lifestyle, living culture and people. These are the basics of Architecture to flurish.

Blessed with calming turquoise waters, lush green mangroove forest, rich sea life, white sun kissed sand and warm people this small piece of land on earth is a big bundle of happiness !!!

Until next time ,

Preeti.

 

Life Lessons From A Visionary

“STEVE JOBS”. I think this name clears the big picture of bite apple and series of all iproducts. The person behind big change and betterment of our lives in technology. Who literally made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. Steve was fond of saying that he lived everyday like it was his last because he did. He transformed our lives, redefined entire industries and achieved one of the rarest feasts in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

Recently i have read a book, Steve Jobs – Life By Design, very well written by famous author “George Beahm”. This book is about Steve Jobs first and only “Commencement address” to a graduating class of 23,000 students at Stanford University. The book begins with Jobs’ own words from his historical speech and unfolds from there, giving insights into his personal and business philosophies. It illustrates the vision behind his ideas and the multitude of lessons to be learned from Life By Design.

“Apple, at the core, its core value believes that people with passion can change the world for the better. ”

– Steve Jobs

I found his philosophy behind life and business is very practical and positive. This story is in three parts. First part is when you are young – full of enthusiasm. Second part is Love, Family and Business. and third is our final destination – Death.

In first stage of life we should run behind our dreams and work hard to chase them. Here are some highlights from his “commencement address.” These are absolutely inspiring for me. Hope, this will help you too !!

  • Have the courage to live your life, not the one imagined for you by well – intentioned parents or other authority figures. You will know whats best.
  • Cultivating curiosity for its own sake can lead to unexpected results in ways that are unforeseen – life can be delightfully serendipitous.
  • Think like an artist to create great works of art that people will want to own and that will also stand the test of time.
  • Where you start doesn’t matter, what matters is where you end up.
  • Place your trust in Life’s processes and let life run its course. In time all will become apparent.

In second phase of life, its all about Love. A love of fulfilling work and a love for the people closet to him.

  • Find the work that you love – and then relentlessly pursue it. That’s where you will find your fortune.
  • To be successful, work hard; and when things get tough, work harder.
  • In your life personally and professionally, find people whose values you share and whose vision matches your vision.
  • Failure is life in disguise trying to teach you a lesson: Iterate until you get it right.
  • Reinvent your life. Start living or start dying.
  • Keep your dream alive by keeping the faith – be reborn like a phoenix rising.
  • You can’t find love ; instead, open your heart and let it find you.
  • You are meant to do great work. Make it so.
  • Learn from your mistakes and constantly work to improve your life.

Third phase is the dark theme that gives it an unforgettable resonance. We should therefore gracefully accept it and focus on Life’s journey, not its end.

  • Time is priceless because it can not be replaced . So strive to live each day to your fullest potential.
  • The reality of the situation never changes ; you can only change your perception of it. Consider all the facts and then choose wisely.
  • Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.
  • Follow the open road and follow your heart. It will show you the way.

Very short borrowed time from life, he lived his life in a true sense. He is the source of inspiration for many more upcoming generation. This is my small tribute to “iMan” STEVE JOBS.

 

Untill next time

Preeti.

Indian Temple Architecture

One of the India’s architectural traditions is Hinduism – a religion that focuses on the worship of powerful gods and godesse. It is hardly surprising that diversity of building materials and techniques in India. Temples have always taken an important place in people’s cultural and spiritual life, from the early times and till now a days. Temples were usually built in marked places of special holiness. The legends associated them with the acts of Vishnu, shiva, Durga and other gods.

The main structural elements of the temples were plinth, sanctury and superstructure. The stone base of temple itself symbolises Attar, on which temple itself was sacrifice to  a deity. The temple Architecture is a scientific phenomenon. The basic concept the determines the worthiness of the structure and form of temple is, ”layout of temple is synonymous ( similar ) to the layout of Cosmos.” Technically, the plan called as ”Mandala” or “Vastu pada” with the grid of spaces of equal dimensions.

The distinctive architectural styles of Hindu temples have so developed due to its broad geographical, climate, culture, history and region differences which are specially significant in two major plains North and South of India.

  1. Nagara – North Indian Temple Style
  2. Dravida – South Indian Temple Style.

Following are some photographs of South Indian Temple style or Dravidian style.

Location – Hampi, Karnataka State.

It is a World Heritage Architecture Site by UNESCO.

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Ceiling

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Light

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Detailing at plinth

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Shikhara

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its ME

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Small temple at Hampi

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Ornamented Columns

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Space

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Ornamentation
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Gopuram
The piece of land upon which the temple stands is itself a sacred location “Tirtha” and this site selection is only the first step in building a temple. Another important aspect is the “Vastu – Purusha Mandala” that is the rough architectural blueprint for the foundation. It serves both practical and spiritual foundation of temple.

The temples in India are found everywhere varying from small village to metropolitan cities. It not only forms a link between God and Man and a place of worship but also the cradle of knowledge, art, architecture and culture.

The elements of Hindu Temple are, Gopuram ( Southern Style ), Mandala, Garbhagriha, Sikhara.

Gopuram can only be seen in Southern India. it means a entrance gate to the temple. Those are often richly decorated and tapering height.

Garbhagriha is the dark sacred place where statue of God or Godesse is placed. It is often highly ornate and replete with thousands of sculptured images. The simple darkness of the sanctum reflects its function as a “womb house” one of the meaning of Garbhagriha.

Sikhara means the mountain peak. A rising structure over the garbhagriha. It means that deity is at a high than the others and its connection between deity and universal space. Sikharas of North Indian temple style are curvilinear / beehive shaped and in South Indian temple style sikharas are progressively smaller storeys of pavilions.

Following are some photographs of North Indian Temple Style or Nagara Style

Location – Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh state

It is a World Heritage Architecture Site by UNESCO.

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The Hindu Temples has been a subject of study for nemerous historians, architects, archaeologists, art historian, religious scholars, photo – journalist and common people for their interest. The scope for study of temple is not bound only in regions of India but also the form, transformation, building techniques, structural analysis and safety analysis.

Hope this short description of Hindu Temple Architecture was helpful to you and of some interest.

Until next time,

Preeti.

 

 

Jewel of Jaipur – Jal Mahal

For nearly 300 years back, Jaipur’s visionary founder, The Great Sawai Jai Singh II built up the festive gathering place for generations of Jaipur Royal families i.e. Jal Mahal.

I have visited this place in february 2013 and after four years i am reminding those beautiful memories of Jaipur. My special visit to Jal Mahal will always be vital in my herat. Jal Mahal which literally means the ”Water Palace”, is a palace located in the centre of the Man sagar lake. it is considered as one of the most architectural palaces that was built with Mughal Rajput craftmanship and proves that the splendid architectural beauty of both the styles.

I was quite lucky to attend the workshop of restoration and conservation of historical buildings by international expertise. It was hard to imagine that just a few years back the lake was an environmental disaster and palace a derelict ruin. Today, as Jal Mahal rediscoveres its magic, it transforms into a pavillion of pleasure once again. It is 100 acre mix land use, tourism development project, which is environmentally sustainable and regenerative.

The complete palace is made up of red stone and it is 5 storey high. The four floors of the palace stay under the water and its only 5th floor is visible. The octagonal shaped Chattris at its each corner enhancing the beauty of palace. The palace has some exquisite marble carvings which denotes royal touch and intricately carved twenty pillars which are cenotaph of the royal family of Raja Jai Singh II.

Chameli bagh, the lush garden on the terrace has been traced from surviving elements of the original patterns and recreated in the best of Rajput and Mughal traditions. A typical charbagh style, each of its four quadrant flaunts, a beautiful raised marble flower bed shaped like a scrolling floral patterns and its planted with a fragrant flowerring shrubs.

The central feature of Chameli bagh is raised octagonal platform with stunning marble work that lights up to create a dramatic stage for dance and music performances. Under the open sky, the beautifully restored tibaries and even the chattris that stands proudly over the Jal Mahal, is a space to seat an audience of upto 225 guests.

The four different tibaries represents four different styles –

1st – is the most opulent tibari; represents graceful floral motifs in red, blue and gold.

2nd – reveals the frescoes depicting Lord Krishna and it consorts romancing in a wooden grove of fruit trees.

3rd – is a beautiful pink and white decorative stucco.

4th – tibari with its dark clouds swirling across the ceiling, raindrops, lilly pools and all the colours of monsoon life. The interior of each Chattris, located on four corner, is designed to be unique. It is with the rare distinctive Jaipur technique of blue glazed finish pottery. One of created with complex brasswork that involves embossing, cutting, enamelling and filigree work and dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya.

For the first time, the public and private sectors have joined hands together to revive a heritage. It provides a requiring environmental revitalisation, historic monument restoration and tourist development. Phenomenal efforts have been put together by international expertise, traditional master craftsman, architects, historians, authorities on art, culture and design. The research and study of structural elements, forms details and ornamentation allowed the monument to revive itself. It began to rebuilt its beauty with traditional knowledge, materials, techniques and artistry.

Now its time to pledge that we will conserve, protect and restore our heritage. We will bring back the era of our ancesterors by conserving our historical buildings and their memories too !!!

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