An evening in streets of old city… Bhopal #Photoseries

It starts with lakes

But city have lot more perspectives as well

 Streets has lots of stories to tell . Come and explore through my lens.

Patiyabaazi in Bhopal is an old tradition for socialization.

Old city has it’s own dynamics. It’s full of life.

Street vendors adds different flavors to the taste of this city.

Street food is the key element which keeps city alive.

Diversity in markets and shops fulfill everyone’s needs. Be it a daily or any special requirement.

Even technology is not a challenge and life goes on.

It’s just a glimpse.

Behind the scenes of this photostory

Yesterday, I was leading a small group of begginer and amateur photographers along with Harshit Verma and Mudra Keswani in association with team IG BHOPAL.

Harshit is a Lucknow based full time travel photograher, Mudra Keswani a food blogger from Bhopal and IG BHOPAL is an active group and a community of photograher in Bhopal.

We all came together to collaborate and conducted a photowalk with the theme, Let’s fall in love with Bhopal this valentine. 

I decided to stick with black and white streetscape to document the walk through a photostory. This photowalk was very interesting and went smoothly because of active participation of all participants.

I hope you liked and enjoyed the photo series and your feedback, suggestions and constructive criticism will help to grow forward. Looking forward to your comments 🙂 

For more my past work you can scroll and browse my Facebook page Varun’s Pixography

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The Optimistic Rare Celestial event Super Blood Blue Moon Eclipse 31st January 2018

When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator

– Mahatma Gandhi

30th January 2018 was observed for 70th year of the great leader Mahatma Gandhi. And yesterday 31st January 2018 we witnessed a rare celestial event Super Blood Blue moon with full lunar eclipse. The combination of three phenomenon Blood Moon, Super Blue moon and Lunar eclipse took place 150 years ago and next will take place after 170years of now.

Before sharing my behind the shot story, let me brief you about some basics information of this celestial event.

Supermoon occurs when the moon get closest to earth which makes it looks 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual.

Bluemoon is second full moon of the month. It’s also a rare event.

Both of these event concide with Lunar eclipse which made this a rarest and lifetime event. Photograhers and astrologers was super excited and waiting for it from very long. I was also one of those photograhers. 

Okay ! So the story begins….

I was planning for it since the last supermoon of 2017 happened in December. I was regularly posting about this event on my social media handles so I can spread awareness for this phenomenon and can get the company of others to witness it. Last week, suddenly I was asked to travel for some official work which was urgent. So I have to drop my plans to witness and shoot the moon in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. As I used to borrow lenses to shoot events in Bhopal, I was bit upset that I won’t be able to shoot this rarest phenomenon because work tour. Also, traveling to Panna, totally a new city for me, so no chances to get the telephoto lens. On 29th January, I arrived Panna. While entering the vehicle crossed Ken river which is a lifeline of Panna Tiger Reserve. Vehicle kept going and it entered the sanctuary, the road with many turns made my first experience beautiful. These visual full of nature and purity calmed my mind and made me happy. 

Panna is still disconnected from railways. There is no industries and no factories, traffic is also less. Which makes Panna free from all kind of Air pollution. City is full of herritage buildings, ancient temples and famous of Diamond mines. 

As I am the field visit for my office work which is based on a project ‘Digital Democracy: Removing digital devide from rural areas of Madhya Pradesh’. For execution of the project, local teams were alloted laptop, printer, smartphone and a point shoot camera (fixed lens setup). I was training the co ordinators for the effective documentation of this project digitally. During photography session, I got to know that this point shoot camera Nikon Coolpix B500 model has pretty good zoom i.e, is 40X . That was the moment, I got excited. Though I was not sure how the camera will react and work in night time as it’s a point and shoot model with small sensor. But the thought ‘something is better than nothing’ hit my mind and excitement level was maintained with another urdu phrase ‘कुछ न मिलेगा तो तजुर्बा मिलेगा‘ which translates ‘If you get nothing, but you will get experience‘.

On 31st after finishing my work, I asked for the permission from local project coordinator to use the camera, and he agreed. 

Air quality of Panna is already healthy and clean, to increase the chances of more clarity, I hiked up to a near by hill. As the camera sensor is poor as compared to DSLR’s sensor. I decided not to take any chances for quality and I climed up to take the shot. I enjoyed the sunset and was eagerly waiting for moon to show up. As per my research moon rise timing was 5:45pm. Moon starts appearing in the blurr at horizon with a narrow band. Time was 6:05pm when I spotted it. Camera was unable to focus the moon. Gradually, Moon started appearing and it was already red. If you have witnessed it, I am damn sure you were also awestruck of these magical moments. This camera keep struggle to focus. I was more happier to witness the blood moon by my naked eyes. I kept camera aside and started staring the sky. I thought it’s not worth wasting time on camera as I assumed its poor sensor won’t allow me  to capture it. After an hour when complete lunar eclipse was about to end, a fine curvy edge of moon started reflecting a brightest band. Suddenly I realised the importance of this brightness. 7 years ago when I was practicing photography with a basic point and shoot, I dealt with such dark situations hell lot of times. Camera focus on the brightest part in the frame, and I took out my camera, mounted it on my tripod and start focusing on the edge. Camera hinted a green signal and finally focused the moon. Without spending a microsecond I tapped the click and took 4-5 shot. I reviewed the images, 2 shots was free from button blurr. I was amazed and so statisfied with the shots at the moment. 

I witnessed the rest of the eclipse for next one hour and packed my bag and tripod and ran back to my hotel to process and upload the image to my social media accounts @travellust.nomad on Instagram 

During this entire process, I learned the power of being optimistic and positivity. :

Here is the final shot 👇👇👇 check it.

#GoRurban – Initiative to bridge the gap between RURAL and URBAN India.

Aside

Don’t forget where you came from, especially if you don’t even know where you are going. – Sara Marie Hogg 

Year 2017 is about to end, while evaluating personal growth and looking back to the memories I shall share some experiences that I had in the journeys of this year.

Hiking to a hill for a bird eye view of the valleys, trekking around the forest, swimming in a river, cooking and community eating, traditional dancing on folk songs, roller coaster ride in tractor trolley, counting shooting stars, skygazing, witnessing beautiful sunrise and sunsets  and many more such activities. Feeling Nostalgia !

On 26th may to 30th may 2017 an experimental camp named Go Rurban with a tag line ‘Disconnect to Connect‘ is conducted by Ekta Parishad and ANSH Happiness Society in a forest village Bhimkoti which falls under Budhni Block of Sehore District in central India. I will share more about Bhimkoti and it’s geographical details in this article, but first let me introduce about Go Rurban. A youth camp with the objective to know about the life in rural environment. The basic idea is to explore the shortcomings and highlight both of the rural and urban lifestyle. It is only through this exploration that we can build a bridge between both the ends and can actually be the combination of rural and urban, RURBAN.

A youth group of 22 participants from 7 different regions of India were selected through a screening process and sent to Bhimkoti. The village is located in a Budhni surrounded by jungles, a small river and mountains. A perfect scenary for nature lovers.

We all started our journey from Habibganj railway station at 7am. Train halted for 2 mins amidst forests for break testing at Chokha which is few kilometres before Midghat station. We all deborded within 2 minutes and trekked with our backpacks parallel to railway track and then started to follow a narrow trail leaded towards Bhimkoti. 3 villagers were waiting at choka for our group, greeted us with smile and started to walk on trail. After 30min of trekking in the forest we reach the village. Being just 70kms far from BHOPAL the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Bhimkoti is still untouched with so called ‘Development’. Yes trust me ironically, even electricity haven’t reached yet in this village so forget the rest of the facilities.

I was asked to document the camp by Aneesh Bhai (Ekta Parishad) and Mohsin (ANSH Happiness Society) these two are the minds behind this amazing concept.

Camp was designed such a way that both locals and participants can learn and teach from each other. Few govt. Officials, social workers and experts were invited regularly for a session to create a dialogue between participants, locals and govt. authorities to facilitate the local issues for better development of the village. Gandhian leader Mr. P.V. Rajagopal also visited and stayed for night during the camp to listen the experiences of participants and also met and communicated with villagers.

I don’t know what I have taught them but what I have learned from these villagers is precious. For me Go Rurban is a wonderful educational tool and the camp was an eye opener to me and my fellow participants too.

Important points from my observations.

  • In Bhimkoti they don’t put locks on doors, it shows the level of trust and confidence among the community which lacks in our cities.
  • Mutual respect within the community. For nature and animals as well they share a lovely bond.
  • The feeling of sharing resources with known and unknown which clearly shows they are content with warm heart which is very rare in our urban lifestyle.
  • The level of hospitality, “aathithi devo bhawa” is legit in rural lifestyle.
  • Instead of having all the modern facilities like electricity, transportation, internet, technology and gadgets, infrastructure etc. We still complain, cry and feel upset for the things we don’t have, but it rural it’s opposite.
  • In urban lifestyle we are highly literate, no doubt but in rural lifestyle they are highly educated in real sense (not talking academically).
  • They accept everyone who come their way, are we?

On the name of development we are intentionally and unintentionally ruining their homes, livelihoods and culture. It’s a high time to stop displacement of tribal, farmers and producers from their land and forests.  Because they don’t need us but we need them. 

On a concluding note Go Rurban is wonderful and touching education for me and I can’t explain and share everything in this small article because it’s too tough for me to summarize my daily experiences of the camp. It is just a glance. 

Today the second Go Rurban camp is starting and another batch of participants left to explore a village named Basangawa in Tikamgarh Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. I am looking forward to listen their perspectives and experiences.

 

Message for passing out college Juniors. 

Hello everyone, 

This is a small message to the people who finished their degree and now entered to a different world leaving behind a beautiful set of people and place, MANIT

Being from MACT/MANIT we guys share a bonding, an awesome bonding of Senior-Junior relationship carried by generation which I haven’t seen in any other institute yet. So I will be honest here. MANIT taught us hell lot of things which we all know, trust me it will help you throughout your life as I have met many seniors from 1st batch itself. You are prepared enough to face the toughest now. Congratulations ! Welcome aboard, you are going to be alumni now. 

“Never settle down for less”

Yes, you carry a good potential so don’t get settle for less instead keep working for achieving more. Salary is illusion, so don’t get tempted for it. Learn as much as you can from your firm and prepare for higher studies or UPSC (it’s upto your interest). As I got advices from various alumus and other people I met while traveling, till your 30years of age fight as much you can, be persistent and constant for your goals. Ups and downs will come and go, you don’t need to be frustrated or discouraged. 

“Never ever leave your friends, stay connected”

Everyone is going to get busy now on as 4years of vacation ends here and on that side of college gate, world is going to be bit cruel. Whenever you find it tough, just shout out for help and don’t hesitate. People might say no because of situations but you will get help for sure. These bunch of friends will always be there for you and make sure you too will be there for these crazy friends with whom you have spent lovely college days. Make new friends but don’t ignore them. Put your maximum efforts to be in contact with them. 

“Get Inspired and be an inspiration.”

Do whatever you like, follow your hobbies in free time, engage in Social services, make a good network and circle of people who selflessly works for underprivileged. It will help you to become more mentally stronger and energetic. It will keep away from the daily rush and stressful life. We MANITians are known for setting examples so follow the legacy and make solid impacts on others. Naam roshan karo sabka. 🙂

This is it. All the best for future endeavours. Call/text/email me whenever you want. Enjoy ! 

Varun Namdev (2009-13)

varuns.pixography@gmail.com

WhatsApp/call @ 9770789087

Dzukou Valley of wild flowers, Trekker’s Paradise.

Are you also stuck in polluted, noisy and crowded cities?
Do you wanna breath in pure oxygen and wish to drink pure water?
Are you missing the peace and chills ?

If yes, then read it till the end and thank me later 😉

Let me take you to the hidden paradise which exists on the border of Nagaland and Manipur, the two states of North-Eastern India.

Dzukou River bridge

Look ! Liked it? Now keep reading 😉

The place is known as Dzukou valley, which is also called as trekker’s paradise. The word Dzükou is derived from Angami and Mao language, ‘Dzu’ means cold and ‘Kou’ means water, thus it’s cold water valley.

The valley is situated at an altitude of 2452 meters above sea level, behind the Japfü Peak located in Nagaland. The two of the most beautiful rivers run through the valley – the Dzukou and Japfu streams shaped like serpentine  flows through Dzukou becomes frozen during winter.

Mao legend said that when lovers go to Dziikou the night also turns like day and moonlit shines as of the sun.

Dzukou serpetine

Two rivers Dzukou and Japfu in the serpentine form flows through the valley.

How to reach here?

To get to the Dzukou Valley, you have to reach Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland. It is around 74kms from Dimapur which is the only city connected by Indian railways and Airways in Nagaland. You can either hire a private taxi or take a govt. bus to reach Kohima. To enter Kohima you will need the Inner Line Permit.  You have to show it on check post with one valid ID card. For more info about ILP check this link http://mokokchung.nic.in/files/torpage.html

NOTE- Once you get the ILP, you don’t need to pay any money to Policemen at check-posts.

Kohima LoS

Night view of Kohima city, the capital of Nagaland.

 

Where and how to start?

There are two starting points for Dzukou valley trek:
 1) Zakhama Village 20kms away from Kohima.
 2) Viswema Village 24kms away from Kohima.

Both points are ideal bases to start your trek to Dzukou valley which have stone staircases leading to the top point. The trail is moderate and steep climbing  stone and pebble track which take 4-6 hours from base to top. Once you reach the top, you have to walk down hill to reach guest house which will take 30-45 mins. Route is full of lush and evergreen rain forest which gives you an enchanting experience in the lap of mother nature.You will walk across the clean trails, crossing the small water streams, inhaling the pure, fresh and rejuvenating air, blissful environment, golden rays of sunlight penetrating from the green tree leaves and enchanting never seen faces of nature will make you feel heavenly and blessed, will leave you awestruck.

Dzukou Trek Water stream-horz

Climb up, turn around, look back and take a deep breath of pure bliss.

Things you will enjoy doing in Dzukou valley ?

Camping here is an amazing experience here. Carrying your tents.
Explore Caves and relax.
Stargazing in the nights.  Milky Way (click on blue link for my Starstruck experience)
Trekking along the trails and water streams.
Roam and Lost in vast natural garden, because it’s piece of heaven on the Earth.

Dzukou camps

Caving and Camping. Fun amid of Dzukou valley.

Other things like….
*Photography (Don’t forget to carry your gears)
*Reading (Carry your favorite books)
*Painting/Sketching ( Yes ! you are in the paradise, Canvas please ? )
*Fishing ( No Way ! Forget it, no fish survives there 😛 )

Dzukou Burnt Tree

A bit more beautiful set of information about Dzukou Valley.

The valley is famous for its wide range of flower in every season. The most famous one is the dzuko lily. Untouched by civilization and splendiferous in its beauty, this valley otherwise called the flower valley of celestial charm has an tempting appeal to all who gaze it. In summer, wild herbs, flowers and shrubs sprout along the stream banks. Lilies in white and pink, euphorbias, aconitums and hundreds of other botanical species in varied colors adorn the valley in monsoon.

Dzukou purple lily-horz

Which time of year is good to visit? 

The best time to visit Dzukou Valley is from the month of June to September. At this time the valley is flooded with various stunning and vibrant flowers. All the wild rhododendrons and lilies will be in full bloom during this season. It will be ideal time to explore the beauty of this valley. 

Dzukou Flowers

Panoramic view of Dzukou valley carpeted with white wild flowers.

Except the peak monsoon you can visit the valley any time of the year. In winters that is from November to January it will be too cold and give chills to your soul. Temperature can drops to 4 degree Celsius in nights and maximum 10 degree in the day time . It can be different experience. I am planning to witness this one too. 😉

At the top there is a guest house available for shelter. 2 big dorm rooms and 2 private rooms with separate kitchen. Private room costs Rs.600 to 1000 and Rs.50 per person for Dormitory. Blankets and mattress Rs.50 per piece.

If you are carrying your own food, you can cook or you can order the prepared food at the guest house. Very simple meals available in the menu. Meals can cost you double the price compared to the city. Black tea Rs.20, milk Tea and coffee Rs. 40, Noodles Rs. 60 for one plate and meals Rs.250 per plate. Cooking utensils and firewood also provided by staff at chargeable basis. ( Price may differ according to the season ) 

Dzukou kitchen

Small chit chat session in the kitchen with other trekkers. Friends from the valley. 🙂

Note : These are really important TIPS for this trek.

– Carry some warm cloths in your day pack.
You can feel the 10-12 degree Celsius of temperature while trekking. 

– Carry your food and snacks in your bag.
No shop and stalls available as the trek is totally remote. Mind it !

Dzukou Party

Picnic in Paradise.

– Carry a hiking pole or bamboo stick with you.
Trek is moderate but steep and slippery because of rain forest. Stick or pole will support you for comfortable hiking.

– Battery pack and power banks.
There is no electricity, neither at route nor in the valley. Gear up accordingly.   

– Carry rain covers and poncho.
If it rains there is no shelter in the valley except caves. Be prepared !

– Do not litter, leave it clean.
Valley is virgin, free from pollution and super clean. So maintain the decorum, trek clean and come clean. Dump your waste in dustbins after coming back to the base. Request !

Dzukou board

For more traveling related pictures feed check this link too  https://www.instagram.com/travellust.varun/

Still have any question ??? 
Comment section is open for the answers 😉