Friday, May 26, 2017

Fotos(s) Friday!

Nandi Statue at Pattadha Kallu, Karnataka (8th century.)!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Overwhelming Taj, Beautiful Baby Taj And The Majestic Bibi Ka Maqbara...Tombs Of The Mughal Era - I

The Taj Mahal! Overwhelmingly beautiful! Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built this as a memorial for his wife, Mumtaz in 1653.
At last it happened on 18th March, '17! I had been dreaming of visiting the Taj Mahal for so many years now and it was like a dream come true! I was just standing on the platform and gaping, really gaping at it for many minutes! I was expecting it to be an old/ancient monument now, hearing so many stories about it becoming dull because of pollution etc.  Though the monument is given mud pack etc. for cleaning it, part by part, it looked good for me even now.  Work is still going on, you can notice from the minaret being covered with scaffolding.  Detailed story with more photographs will come later, in another post!

A close up shot of the Taj! People look so tiny beside the structure!
We visited this place twice that day, once in the morning and again in the evening. Visited the Baby Taj in the afternoon. The entrance to the Baby Taj was beautiful and seeing the main building,  I was stunned by its beauty.  I felt it was the most beautiful building I have ever seen! Lot of intricate art work could be seen on the walls ...Hmmm...I had taken many many pictures of the  beautiful designs in my Mi5 mobile, but it was stolen that evening at the Taj Mahotsav festival there near the Taj:( The camera was very good in that mobile...

 'Mausoleum of Itmad-ud-Daulah' Agra....the most beautiful building! Every inch is with beautiful designs carved and studded with coloured gemstones. This was built by another Mughal Emperor Jahangir's wife, Nur Jahan for her father around 1628.

A close-up shot of the tomb! This is called the 'Jewel Box', 'Baby Taj' and also as the 'Taj of Deccan'!

This is also described as a draft of the Taj Mahal.  The walls are made up from white marble brought from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations like cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx and topaz formed into images of cypress trees and wine bottles or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. Light penetrates to the interior through delicate jaali  screens of intricately carved white marble. The interior decoration is considered by many to have inspired that of the Taj Mahal, which was built by her stepson, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. More details are available here!

Every inch is colourfully decorated!

Bibi ka Maqbara (Tomb of the Lady), Aurangabad, built for Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's wife by her son Azam Shah around 1661. The majestic building was built without much stone/gem work but looks simple and elegant.  Our guide said that this was built by Aurangzeb who was against spending his subjects' money unnecessarily!
The above structure resembles the Taj but in a simple way.  The architect of the tomb, Atah Ullah was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the principal designer of the Taj Mahal. More interesting details can be read here!

My son took this panoramic shot....the place looks so beautiful!
I tried to club all the three mausoleums in this post! More pictures and details of the Taj will be written in the next post!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Movie That Made Me Emotional Today - McFarland USA!


I watched this movie, 'McFaland USA', which was recorded from TV, just now! Felt emotional and wanted to write about it immediately!  As my readers know by now, I am a sucker for 'based on true story' movies! Have written a few posts on them too! This one also goes into that list!

I first watched Kevin Constner, long back, in 'Tin Cup' which was based on another sport, golf:) I liked him a lot then and used to call him 'Tin cup' actor, since I was not watching too many English movies then and was not familiar with the actors' names!

In this movie, Kevin Costner (as Jim White), plays as a football coach in an American school.  He loses his job because of his short temper and pushed to take a job in a small town High school, McFarland, California.  The Principal of the school also knew his background but needed a football coach very badly, offered the job to him.  The town was very backward, full of immigrant population,  so the school was getting second grade teachers who were reluctant to stay in the town and teach in the school.  Jim White's wife and their two grown up daughters were very reluctant to shift to an old small house.  They faced some goondas also when they tried to have lunch at a local restaurant on their first day of shifting.  They settled down reluctantly.

The children in the school were mostly Spanish immigrant children.  Insecurity made them rude to people/teachers.  They helped their parents who were mostly pickers (fruit & vegetable pickers in the fields) and the children helped them in the morning and evening.  The parents were of the opinion that the children can finish school and join them in their job full time. One father tells his son that too much reading will spoil eyesight! Jim White notices a boy, Thomas, running in full speed to school in the morning and run back home/fields in the evening. He was running like an athlete.  He talks to him but he is rude.  Jim White meets the Principal and asks him to give permission to coach children for the upcoming Inter-school cross country race.  The Principal says that they had never participated in those sports before.  Jim assures him that the children are good in running than any other, so they will win the race.  Jim thinks that the Spanish food which is full of carbohydrates and their hard physical work in the field plus running, will help them win the race.  The Principal agrees reluctantly.

Some parents are not happy to send their children for coaching classes since the time they spend in the field will come down.  Jim himself one day joins in cabbage plucking and experiences the difficulty in bending down and doing the work.  He is convinced once again that these children are very healthy and mentally strong too.  Then the team forms with 4 brothers from one family and others.  Jim buys them the first set of shoes, shirts and shorts, though he is not well off.  The white man and immigrant gap comes down because of Jim's friendliness with the children and their parents.  Slowly Jim shows them by blending with the locals that he was not like others who want to leave the town as early as possible.  He tells them that he will train the children to win the race and many more in the future. The locals are very innocent people and take Jim's family into their fold.  He forgets to get a cake on his daughter's birthday, but later on, the locals celebrate her 15th birthday grandly.

I loved the way Jim gave the children the reasons to join the team and participate in the race.  This will get them scholarships for joining colleges too (and they did join colleges in real life later!). I liked the way the locals raised funds to help the children buy shoes, dress etc. to participate in the race.  The whole town was celebrating the participation of their children in the race.  It was interesting.

They win this race (naturally!) and 9 more races later on. Jim was the coach for all the races. The story never got bored till the end.  Well, we have seen some sports oriented movies earlier too, but this one was very realistic.

Have a look at the trailer.  Watch it when it comes again in TV!

Believe in yourselves, team work will win the race, were the slogan for the game!
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