Pompeii – Ancient Mystery and Intrigue

•October 9, 2016 • 2 Comments

Entering the cobbled walkways and ruins of Pompeii is to be transported back to the time of an unimaginable tragedy that befell its inhabitants from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius close to 2,000 years ago.

Though it is difficult to grasp, looking at the volcano – towering over this ancient city, it is easy to see just how vulnerable Pompeii was.

I visited Pompeii during my recent trip to Rome and it was, without doubt, one of the highlights of my trip. The strong contrasting light and dramatic cloud formations provided a perfect backdrop for photography – and I would simply like to share some of my images from my visit, with you. I’ve chosen black and white as opposed to colour, because it somehow feels more appropriate, more able to suspend time…

Pompeii was an ancient Roman town near Naples that was mostly destroyed and buried under volcanic ash in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

The site was lost for around 1,500 years until its first rediscovery in 1599 and subsequent rediscovery nearly 150 years later, by the Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre in 1748. The objects that lay beneath the city have been preserved for centuries because of the lack of air and moisture and provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of the city.

For over 250 years, Pompeii has been a major tourist destination and has UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It is amongst the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors each year.

Currently, there is an amazing exhibition of around thirty huge bronze sculptures by the late artist Igor Mitoraj in various locations throughout Pompeii’s ancient archaeological site – they perfectly blend with the historic ruins and setting. The sculptures will be exhibited until January 2017.

Enough words – the photographs will give you a flavour of this historic place.

All my images were captured on a Fuji XT-1 and processed and edited in Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC.

I hope you enjoy…

Michael

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

Pompeii

 

ALL IMAGES ©MICHAEL DAVID 2016

 

A Flower Show Fit For A Palace

•July 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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The 2016 Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, is the world’s largest – and one of the most prestigious, annual flower shows. Held within the magnificent splendour of the grounds of historic Hampton Court Palace, the show is vast but every bit as creative and colourful as its counterpoint, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.   

This was my first visit (though I go to Chelsea each year) and I simply wanted to share with you some of my images and highlights from this year’s show.

As always with any major show of this kind, my advice is to get there well before the gates open – though Hampton Court’s show does have more space and you can actually walk around many of the Show Gardens.

For the technically minded, all images were shot on a Fuji XT-1 and processed and lightly edited in Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC.

Enjoy.

Michael.

 

 

These first two images are of the brilliantly creative, yet simple, World Vision Garden – a Gold Medal Winner.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

World Vision Garden

 

 

Another Gold Medal Winner – The Near Future Garden featured intriguing wooden sculptures representing the sun, wind and water. 

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Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

 

 

The Japanese Summer Garden – a Silver Medal Winner, is very tranquil and elegant. Three important philosophies in Japanese garden design are represented here – ‘Simplicity’, ‘The Beauty of Shadow’ and ‘Asymmetry’.

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A Silver Gilt Medal Winner, Striving for Survival is a striking and thought-provoking garden that aims to raise awareness of cancer survival rates.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

 

 

Our Lives in Time’s Hands won a Silver Gilt Medal. The giant wave was hand-crafted from more than 500 pieces of steam-bent wood, and represents the passing of the moment – inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet 60.

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Lives in Time's Hands - Hythe Garden Landscapes

 

 

Plenty of encouragement and inspiration for everyone to get into their own garden! And from some illustrious figures too!

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Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

 

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

 

 

The RHS Greening Grey Britain campaign was being supported at Hampton Court Palace. It aims to tackle the growing number of grey spaces and turn them into beautiful green places!

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

 

 

Yet another Gold Medal Winner, the conceptual Rolawn: Why? garden depicts the complexity and wonder of the universe and human brain.

Rolawn designed by Tony Smith

 

We’ve all been there! 

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The Dogs Trust – A Dogs Life Garden won a Gold Medal for its garden celebrating its 125th anniversary and marks the charity’s commitment to finding new, loving owners for thousands of homeless dogs every year.

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A Breath of Fresh Air – a Silver medal Winner, this sensory garden celebrates 60 years of The Abbeyfield Society, the design has created a calming space for older people, specifically those living with dementia.

A Breath of Fresh Air Garden

 

A stunning Calla Lily is my final image from the show…

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All images © Michael David 2016

Impressions of Chelsea

•May 28, 2016 • 1 Comment

 

 

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

 

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 has been another stunning display of colour, creativity, design and great humour!

Busier than ever, it is impossible to get round to every show-garden, every display and every stand. Instead, I always choose the things I want to see beforehand and aim for them first, on the day. Then, I can just relax and drift along – quite happy to get swallowed up in the enthusiasm of the day and chance upon whatever comes my way!

And that’s my advice for anyone who has never been and plans to go next year – and this way you will enjoy it and not get frustrated. Also – buy your tickets very early (keep your eyes peeled in the media and the RHS website for when tickets go on sale). Finally, if you are lucky enough to bag tickets – get to the show early if you can! By around 1pm it is incredibly busy and obviously more difficult to move around and get to the places you want to see.

So, here’s my photo diary of this year’s show. It’s not comprehensive – just a selection of images from my favourite things this year. I hope you like it too. If you want to see more of my work, visit my website: michaeldavid-photography.co.uk.

For the technically-minded, this year I shot everything with a Fuji XT-1 and 18-135mm lens (that’s the DSLR equivalent of a 27-200mm lens). I did the the lightest editing in Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC.

Enjoy.

Michael

 

Chelsea is all about colour – and there’s nowhere better to experience this than the brilliant displays inside the Grand Pavilion…

Pink Rose

Calla Lillies

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

 

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

 

 

Chelsea Flower 2016

 

 

 

The Show Gardens are one of the highlights of Chelsea – here are a few of my favourites from this year…

The Imperial Garden Revive

The Imperial Garden – Revive

 

Cloudy Bay - Chelsea Flower Show 2016

The Cloudy Bay Garden

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital

 

God’s Own County – A Garden for Yorkshire

The People’s Choice Award winner: God’s Own County – A Garden for Yorkshire

The Winton Beauty of Mathematics Garden

The Winton Beauty of Mathematics Garden

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

The Brewin Dolphin ‘Forever Freefolk’ Garden

 

The Telegraph Garden

The Telegraph Garden – Winner, Best in Show

 

Of course, The Chelsea Flower Show is nothing without the people that attend – and this year, a poignant display of Poppies too at the Royal Hospital Garden…

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A Chelsea Pensioner enjoys the Poppy display

 

Poppies at Royal Hospital Chelsea

Amazing Poppy creation at the Royal Hospital Garden Chelsea

 

Grand Pavilion Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Crowds of people and lots of Iris inside the Grand Pavilion

 

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Until next year then…

Michael

 

All images © Michael David 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wonder of Kew Gardens

•February 22, 2015 • 1 Comment

Kew Gardens

Kew Royal Botanical Gardens – but everyone knows it as ‘Kew’ – is one of the world’s great botanical gardens – for science and conservation, as a major attraction for tourists and a treasure trove – and great escape, for Londoners to enjoy too. An early highlight this year, is the Alluring Orchids 2015 festival – and if you hurry, there is still time to see it – it is on until March 8th 2015.

I visited Kew recently for a few hours and I want to share with you a few images that give a snapshot of what you can see at Kew and a taste of the colour and extravagance of the displays. Of course, there is so much more to see when you visit, and I’ve included a few other images from the places I saw on that day too – do click on the links to find out more. I’ve tried to capture just some of the wonder of Kew.

For those that are technically minded, all the shots were taken on a Canon 5D MKIII + 17-40 lens, and edited and finished in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

Enjoy.

Michael

These first few images are from inside the The Princess of Wales Conservatory – where the Orchid festival is taking place.

Orchids at Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

Orchids at Kew Gardens

Orchids at Kew Gardens

Orchids at Kew Gardens

Of course, all year round there is plenty more to see at Kew – you need to make at least several visits to attempt to see everything on offer!! Here’s a few shots of the Palm House. It is considered to be the most important surviving Victorian iron and glass structure in the world and was designed by Decimus Burton. It was built – to accommodate exotic palms – between 1844 and 1848.

You can explore this amazing building, inside, from above, and walk around at the top, by climbing the beautiful spiral staircase. It feels like you’ve suddenly entered the tropics once you’re inside – which is exactly what you have done, as tropical climates are recreated to allow the plants to live in their correct habitat – it can get pretty steamy!

The Palm House, Kew Gardens

The Palm House, Kew Gardens

Climb the ornate spiral staircase inside the Palm House and you’re in for a treat…

Spiral Staircase at The Palm House Kew Gardens

The Palm House, Kew gardens
The Palm House, Kew Gardens

On the ground level of the Palm House, you can look up through the giant plants and see plants hanging from above…

The Palm House, Kew Gardens

Giant Palm leaves at Palm House Kew Gardens

Close-up at Kew Gardens

One of my favourite places to visit is the Davies Alpine House – opened in 2006, it was the first new glasshouse to be commissioned for two decades. Impressively modern yet harmonious within the gardens – I love its simple, clean design.

The Davies Alpine House, Kew Gardens

The Davies Alpine House, Kew Gardens

So, just some of the wonderful things that await a trip to Kew – anytime of year, if you’re in London for a few days, you must try and visit.

Kew Gardens

All images © Michael David 2015

Salisbury Cathedral: A beautiful place of prayer and contemplation

•June 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral was formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, Wiltshire. It is a leading example of early English architecture and one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions. The main body of the cathedral was completed in only 38 years, from 1220 to 1258. It has the tallest spire in Britain (123m/404 ft) and if you’re feeling brave enough, you can take a tour of it. It also has the best surviving of the four original copies of the Magna Carter, all of which are in England. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration.

It’s towering architecture and ambition is matched only by the calm serenity once you step through its doors ( a very humble route leads you into the main part of the cathedral). If you are visiting Wiltshire, it is a must-see, and Salisbury itself is a very attractive and welcoming town. Personally, I love the architecture, detail and scale of these great edifices, and that’s why I enjoy photographing them.

Enough words from me. I simply hope you enjoy the images. All were taken on a Canon 5D MKIII with 17-40 lens, no flash, and then lightly edited in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 5.

Michael

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

The three images below show the Cathedral Font. It is very popular and you need to arrive when the gates open if you want to get a shot without anyone around – or, be very patient! Cruciform in shape, it has a 3-metre span to allow total immersion baptism. It is made of bronze and stone and was designed by water sculptor William Pye. It was funded by Salisbury residents Sir Christopher and Lady Benson and The Jerusalem Trust, which promotes Christianity through evangelism, education and art. Installed in September 2008 and dedicated by Archbishop of Canterbury during the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral.

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

These next images show some of the early Gothic vaulting of the cathedral

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

The tomb below is of Richard Mitford (died 1407)  who was an English bishop of Chichester from 17 November 1389, and consecrated on 10 April 1390 and then Bishop of Salisbury.

 

Tomb of Richard Mitford, Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

The next two images show the stunning beauty and detail of the Quire

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

The extraordinary figures that you can see in these next two images are ‘The Apostles Speaking in Tongues Lit By Their Own Lamps’ by acclaimed British artist Nicholas Pope; a grouping of terracotta figures, representing a dramatic re-enactment of the events narrated in the New Testament when the Holy Spirit came amongst the Apostles in the ‘form of cloven fire’. They were first shown at Tate Britain, in London, in 1996-97, and now have been installed here in the Trinity Chapel of the cathedral for Pentecost (8 June) and will reside here until 4 August 2014.

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

These final images show the Cathedral Cloisters

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

 

Salisbury Cathedral

 

ALL IMAGES © MICHAEL DAVID 2014

 

 

India: the colour and character of everyday life

•May 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

 

Old Woman, Jaipur, India

 

Everywhere you turn, everywhere you look, the women (and sometimes men) of India’s cities and villages add jewel-like flashes of colour with their clothing; dotted throughout everyday life like splashes from a paintbrush. Equally, the hard labour of survival is all too apparent, wherever one travels…

During my trip to India, between the cities of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Amritsar, I’ve tried to capture the flavour of traditional life in India today. I wanted all the shots to be completely candid; therefore, nearly all of them were taken in a small rickety coach, on the move, using fast shutter speeds, timing, and luck!

The images are in a random order, and I’ve chosen to simply let the images do the talking, rather than add more words.

As always, you can click on each image for a larger view.

For the technical minded, all images were captured with a Canon 5D MKIII, using Canon 70-200 f2.8 and 24-70 f2.8 lenses.

Enjoy.

Michael

 

 

Indian Villagers

 

Jaipur, India

 

Indian Villagers

Indian Village life

 

Indian Village life

 

Indian Village life

 

Indian Village life

 

 

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Indian Village life

 

India street life

 

Jaipur, India

 

Indian Villager

 

India street life

 

Locals transport groceries; Jaipur, India

 

India street life

 

India street life

 

India

 

India

 

India street life

 

India street life

 

India street life

 

India

 

Indian Traveller

Indian Village life

 

 

India

 

India street life

 

Indian Village life

 

Indian Villagers

 

Family on a Motorbike, India

 

 

ALL IMAGES © MICHAEL DAVID 2014

 

 

The Magic of India – Amritsar and the Golden Temple

•March 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Golden Temple Amritsar

The Golden Temple dazzles at night… stunningly beautiful, sacred, a symbol of brotherhood and equality.

Amritsar’s Harmandir Sahibunderstandably known as the Golden Temple, is the spiritual centre for the Sikh religion, its main ‘Sikh Gurdwara’, meaning the gateway to the guru. It was always intended to be a place of worship for men and women, from all walks of life, from all religions, to worship God equally. And over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine every day – more than visit the Taj Mahal. Yet it is serene even at its busiest times.

Amritsar was founded in 1577 by Ram Das, fourth Guru of the Sikhs, on a site granted by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Ram Das ordered the excavation of the sacred tank, or pool, called Amrita Saras (“Pool of Nectar”), from which the city’s name is derived. A temple was erected on an island in the tank’s centre by Arjun, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1801–39), the upper part of the temple was decorated with a gold-foil-covered copper dome, and since then the building has been known as the Golden Temple.

Whether pilgrim or tourist, the Golden Temple is the highlight of anyone’s visit to Amritsar, which is in Punjab, in north-western India, around 20 miles from the Pakistan border. You can reach Amritsar by train from Delhi in about six hours.

I was lucky enough to visit this fascinating and beautiful Temple during both the day and at night. I hope you enjoy the photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Remember, you can click on each image to see a larger version.

Enjoy

Michael

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Worshipper at Golden Temple Amritsar

(Below) Sikhs from all over the world come here to find peace of mind. Many take a bath in the holy tank to purify their bodies.

Worshipper at Golden Temple Amritsar

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Golden Temple Amritsar

 Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Worshipper at Golden Temple Amritsar

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Worshipper at Golden Temple Amritsar

Within the complex is the Langar Hall (free kitchen). Here, everyone – regardless of faith or background – sits and eats together on the floor as complete equals. It’s this equality across caste, creed and religion that makes Langar so special. An astonishing 50,000 are fed each day at the temple, 365 days of the year. This incredible feat is made possible through donations and volunteers.

Mealtime at the Golden Temple Amritsar

Most of the staff are volunteers (known as sewadars) that assist with food preparation.

Making Bread at Golden Temple Amritsar

Preparing Food at Golden Temple Amritsar

Preparing Food at Golden Temple Amritsar

A traditional meal of lentils, rice, vegetables and roti is served. Everyone must sit on the floor as equals, so all people are on the same level and nobody is ‘above’ anyone else.

Worshipper eats at the Golden Temple Amritsar

At night, the temple and its surrounds become tranquil, even more spiritual and calm…

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

ALL IMAGES © MICHAEL DAVID 2014

The Magic of India – Agra…and the Taj Mahal

•March 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

Taj Mahal at Sunrise

The Taj Mahal glows at sunrise

I admit that even though I’d barely got over the thrill of seeing a Tiger in Ranthambore, as we made our way, the next day, to Agra, I could not contain my excitement and anticipation at the prospect of seeing the dazzling Taj Mahal again. My only thought was to not run out of battery power as I knew my camera would be in overdrive! It has a magnetic pull, like no other…

Agra is the former capital of Hindustan and lies on the banks of the Yamuna river in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh; it is located 124 miles south of New Delhi. It hosts many stunning Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. I visited each on my stay here; the highlight, undoubtedly, being my return to the majestic Taj Mahal. A peerless and breathtaking example of Persian design and architecture it is perhaps the most recognisable and iconic structure in the world.  It was built, entirely out of white marble, by  Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Construction began around 1632 and it was completed in 1653; it was built by over by 1,000 craftsman.

Enjoy.

Remember, you can click on each image to see a larger version.

Michael

The first two images show the grand entrance to the Taj Mahal

Entrance to Taj Mahal

Entrance to Taj Mahal

Though I have visited it before, the Taj Mahal has, for me, lost none of its magic. And once through the huge gates you are accosted by its sheer beauty and elegance – it is absolutely mesmerising and impossible to take one’s eyes away from it, let alone my camera. In this series of images of the Taj Mahal, you can see the way it reacts to light as the sun reaches higher into the sky. At sunrise, I saw it bathed in a hazy warmth but then it took on a richer hue as the sun grew stronger; as the day progressed it became brighter in appearance…though the light continued to strongly model and show the fabulous design and architecture. The final image is taken from Agra Fort, and is a less familiar view of the Taj showing its position near the banks of the Yamuna river. It is a breathtaking homage to love…

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

My next series of images features Fatehpur Sikri, it lies around 30 miles from Agra. This hauntingly beautiful deserted walled city built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only a decade. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.

Fatepur Sikri, India

Fatepur Sikri, India

Fatepur Sikri, India

Fatepur Sikri, India

Fatepur Sikri, India

Fatepur Sikri, India

Fatepur Sikri, India

My final collection of photographs shows the third World Heritage Site of my visit to this part of India – the Agra Fort. An imposing structure, close to the gardens of the Taj Mahal, this fortress of red sandstone encompasses the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises exquisite architecture, and many scalloped arches.

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

ALL IMAGES © MICHAEL DAVID 2014

The Magic of India – Ranthambore’s Natural Wonders

•March 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Tiger, Ranthambore National Park

Young Male Tiger

Ranthambore National Park is located in south eastern Rajasthan, about 80 miles from Jaipur; it is one of the biggest and most renowned in Northern India. Famed for its tigers, of which there are just 42 within a 300 square mile area, it was a former hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur. It hosts many other wildlife and has incredible landscapes too.

Here are some images of the other wildlife I saw and an idea of the landscape. At this time of year the terrain is arid and very dry.

Remember, you can click on any image to see a larger version.

Enjoy…

Michael

Hanuman Langur, Ranthambore National Park, India

Hanuman langur

Samba Deer, Ranthambore National Park, India

Sambar deer

Ranthambore National Park, India

Indian Treepie bird

Crocodile, Ranthambore National Park, India

A crocodile loiters on the riverbank while a bird flies by…

Ranthambore National Park, IndiaRanthambore’s arid and skeletal forests make for an eerie landscape

Bird in Flight, Ranthambore National Park, India

An Egret takes off

Every visitor to Ranthambore wants to see a tiger, of course. Seeing one is a rarity. But, we got very lucky; privileged, in fact. Just as we were heading out of the reserve before it closed we got a radio call from the other truck that was nearby. They had spotted a male tiger! We raced to their location across bumpy tracks, almost being catapulted out of the truck! And then, our guide turned to us, and said, “Hush’…the driver switched the engine off and we coasted towards the other truck – we could see cameras out. And there, to my right, 20 yards away, a magnificent young male tiger. It was an emotional moment; but no time to lose. I took as many shots as I could – he was barely there for 5 minutes before gently getting up and walking away…Here are two more shots of him; we were indeed privileged to see, what is sadly now, a very rare sighting, in the wild.

Tiger, Ranthambore National Park

Tiger, India

 

ON THE ROAD TO RANTHAMBORE

India’s village and street life is fascinating; an insight into the heart of India, and a life that for many hasn’t changed over 1000s of years. During our travels between cities – in a small coach, I tried to capture candid images of life ‘on the road’. No stopping to get more composed shots; just grabbing images with a fast shutter speed and a fast lens. Here’s a small selection; more to follow in later blogs. In his blog I wanted to capture the flavour of India’s heartland…

Indian Farmer

Indian Village life

Camel, Jaipur, India

Jaipur, India

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Indian Villagers

We happened upon this scene as we were nearing the park; our guide told us that it was guests and family members, making their way to a local wedding – bearing gifts that they were carrying on their heads…it presented a lovely photo opportunity.

ALL IMAGES © MICHAEL DAVID 2014

The Magic of India: Jaipur

•February 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Palace of the Winds, Jaipur, India

The Palace of the Winds, Jaipur

My second visit to India gave me the opportunity to try and capture – in a series of photo blogs, some of the amazing sights, architecture, nature and people of this unique country. I visited some of the familiar cities of the tourist trail and Ranthambore National Park, famed for its Tiger conservation.

My first stop was Jaipur, in Rajasthan, perhaps India’s most romantic region. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and embodies much of the mystique and tradition that we associate with India. It has some remarkable buildings and is also known for the incredible palette of colours that can be seen worn by women (and sometimes men) throughout the whole region. The most recognisable structure in Jaipur (known as the ‘Pink City’) is the Hawal Mahal, literally the ‘Palace of the Winds’. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, it is an elaborate five-storey ‘royal box’ from which women could sit, unobserved, and watch festivals in the streets below.

The imposing Amber Fort is a must-see when visiting Jaipur. Begun in 1592 and modified over the next 150 years by successive rulers, it is the largest building in Jaipur, with interiors that beautifully contrast stark and ornate designs and structure. Perched high on a hill within a classic Rajasthan landscape, the Amber Fort sits above a stunning lake and has fantastic views over Rajasthan. The fort is also famed for the elephants, which can be ridden within its grounds.

These were but a few of the wonderful places to visit in Jaipur. There are many other great cities within Rajasthan; it would probably serve as a great region to stay, all of its own.

Enough words from me. Enjoy the images.

Michael

This first set of images is of the Amber Fort, which sits high on a hill top about seven miles from the centre of Jaipur.

Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Elephant at Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

The images above show the main square of the Amber Fort. Elephants abound, offering tourists a ride around the grounds or up the hill to the fort.

Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Ceiling Detail, Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Maharaja's Palace, Jaipur, India

The four images above show some of the detail and design of the interiors of the fort.

Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

Colourful Women of Jaipur

Typically vibrant Rajasthani colours in the saris of the women in the two pictures above.

The next series of images is of the City Palace, in the centre of Jaipur. The City Palace includes the Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal palaces and other buildings. Though partly a museum now, it still retains a private Royal residence. It was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur and contains an impressive and array of courtyards, gardens and buildings. It was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, with later additions made right up until the 20th century.

Maharaja's Palace, Jaipur

Maharaja's Palace, Jaipur, India

Maharaja's Palace, Jaipur

Maharaja's Palace, Jaipur, India

Jaipur, India

Maharaja's Palace, Jaipur

The final stop on our tour of Jaipur was the incredible Jantar Mantar observatory, or collection of observatories, shown in the six images below. Jantar Mantar is a collection of very accurate, architectural astronomical instruments built by Sawai Jai Singh, a Rajput king particularly interested in learning about the sky above his head. He constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the one at Delhi. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. Further information can be found on the World Heritage List, where the structures are described as “designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations”.

Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, Jaipur, India

Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, Jaipur, India

Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, Jaipur, India

Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, Jaipur, India

Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, Jaipur, India

Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, Jaipur, India

My final image of Jaipur is the Jal Mahal Palace, located on the lake beneath the Amber Fort and showing the beautiful Rajasthan landscape.

Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipur, India

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, the first in what will be a series of photo blogs from my India trip.  Coming soon – Ranthambore National Park.

Michael

All images © Michael David 2014