Mayan Ambition

June 19, 2012

Photography

Pharaohs had the vision to pile up the pyramids thousands of years ago.  Shah Jahan’s  flame of love bloomed out in Taj Mahal centuries back. Maya was molding history at the dawn of the twenty-first century and the saga was far from over when she was plucked away from it. Her ambition was not small.

She loves to call them ‘Symbols of Change’ and there is no denying the truth that they have transformed the architectural visage of Lucknow. Unfortunately, the days of these fascinating structures could be numbered. The bulldozers of Yadava could be raring to raze them back to red dust.

Do have a peek at them while you still can. A nocturnal sojourn is highly recommended.

Copyright © U. S. Pandey

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About umashankar

I am just a watcher then. Sometimes I watch life. Sometimes I watch death. Many times I watch in between...

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102 Comments on “Mayan Ambition”

  1. debajyoti Says:

    speechless!! although I don’t understand photography but it’s been a while since i have viewed a photograph and mumbled ‘whoa!!’ thank you for sharing these breathtaking photographs!!

    Reply

  2. Rohini Singh Says:

    Pretty much the same in Noida.. though they dont light up the “haathi park” now..
    “O’ KURSI! THOU ART CYCLED AWAY TO YOUNGISH CHEIFS. AND MEN HAVE LOST THEIR MAYA” 🙂

    Reply

  3. R.Ramakrishnan Says:

    Spectacular images from the Mayan Valley Civilization ! These monumental architectural marvels must be well preserved ( and especially protected from the fierce Yadava tribes) for the sake of posterity. Maybe some one should take up with concerned organization to get these included in the list of wonders of the modern world !

    Reply

  4. suranga date (@ugich) Says:

    Brilliant photographs, of a place clearly aimed at posterity and history books. And I kept thinking of a young girl coming in to Lucknow from a village where nothing has changed for her, and her wide eyed wanderings here…till reality strikes home.

    Sheelwati
    after a traumatic trip,
    atop a crowded train
    disembarking
    just before the
    Lucknow station.

    Belongings tied up
    with her hopes
    in a piece of cloth
    on her head
    she waits on the footpath,
    debating ,
    if it is to be her home.

    A long walk
    by a grandly lighted place,
    they tell her
    it is Prateek Sthal,
    a sign
    that
    she is allowed
    to have aspirations now.

    Her eyes
    as wide
    as the diameter
    of the golden domes,
    she feels miniaturized
    in the presence
    of an armada of elephants,
    as she walks through.

    Someone pays obeisance
    to the statue of a pointing man
    and a lady with a purse,
    and she too
    does the same.

    Shuffling through crowds,
    she hears
    someone say
    that there is a plan
    to flatten the place with bulldozers.

    Like her life and her mind,
    constantly
    flattened
    by the wheels of
    patriarchal tradition.
    No edutaion,
    in a school
    with a commemorative plaque
    but
    no simple sanitary conveniences for women,
    and so she stays home
    to keep away from prying eyes.

    Really ,
    nothing has changed.
    “B”SP has changed to SP.
    For her,
    its a question of
    To B or not to B

    Reply

  5. magiceye Says:

    Great to see you indulge with your camera!
    Marvelous work Umashankar!

    Reply

  6. Latha Says:

    Never knew pictures at night could be taken so beautifully. For people like me, you have shown Lucknow..:) I always keep telling my husband about how beautifully you write and just read aloud your profile description to him. And here you get another compliment from him: “This guy is no ordinary”.

    Reply

  7. Rachna Parmar Says:

    It’s been a long time since I went to Lucknow. I have heard that the landscape has transformed immensely. I guess political tit-for-tat is common in India. And, her haathis will always remind me of the colossal waste of resources. Pics are fabulous. Do they look a bit hazy or am I imagining things? When I read the title, I braced myself for a historic post :). Looks like the photographer fought his way through the banker ;-).

    Reply

    • umashankar Says:

      Except for the image ‘Let there be light’ where a haze hung in the lit up sky, rest of the images are clear enough. When faced with an extreme range of shadows and brightness, you have to choose the elements you wish to expose for and what you want to keep in focus. That said, image compression by WordPress is nothing to write home about. Lastly, you may need to recalibrate your minitor! 😀

      Reply

  8. Shadows Galore (@ShadowsGalore) Says:

    Wow ! they look so beautiful in the night .. not as vulagar as their builder 😛

    Reply

  9. Nevin Thomas Says:

    Wonderful post. Interesting photos ( you had a tripod? ) and good write up.

    Reply

  10. Rajesh Says:

    Beautiful images.

    Reply

  11. Jas Says:

    Beautiful pictures….

    Reply

  12. Ruchira Says:

    Awesome photography and well written .. Yes I agree the force of Yadavas is going strong these day !:) I see a bit of Mayan Legacy everyday on my way to work in Noida and it leaves me fuming !

    Reply

    • umashankar Says:

      Many thanks, Ruchira. But then I’ve hardly written anything. The camera remains unbothered with the Mayas and Yadavas of this world. It is only the beauty of these structures that impresses its sensor.

      Reply

  13. Deepak Says:

    Aweosme Uma bhai

    teach me how to write like you

    Reply

  14. Bhagyashree Says:

    I had never seen the haathis. During election time the only time that I did see them, they were covered. This place is really as awesome as the pictures or its your photographic skill?? 🙂

    Reply

  15. Alkagurha Says:

    Behenji has given way to bhabhiji …..who rules unopposed. The pics are awesome….my Lucknow looks better than Delhi.

    Reply

  16. Zephyr Says:

    Lucknow vies with the best of the world with such fabulous structures. But all I could see beneath the glitz was what you have portrayed. Indeed, nothing has changed and things are worse, because if these structures guzzled scarce power when the ‘sister’ was in power, now the destruction is going to drain manpower and other resources. God save the country. You have skilfully combined the pen and the camera and hope to see more of these.

    Reply

    • umashankar Says:

      Yes, they are among the best on the earth today. What you have said is all so true, but for the night, it was only the photographic opportunity that had consumed me.

      Reply

  17. Debopam Banerjee Says:

    Marvellous shots!!!! Thanks for sharing……

    http://debnature.blogspot.in

    Reply

  18. makpossible Says:

    If pictures speak thousand words then this be it. The banker has found his way out of those dreaded debris of taxes.
    I had not imagined lucknow to be so beautiful. Thanks for your photographic passion sir.

    Reply

  19. Bikramjit Singh Mann Says:

    WOW sir, beautiful pictures and they look WOW… thank you for sharing…
    they tell a story in itself..

    Reply

  20. jaishvats Says:

    Have never been to Lucknow…Amazing pics!

    Reply

  21. Rahul Says:

    Well captured images of the grandeur of a gross national waste of money, USP:)

    Reply

  22. Sheldon Coelho Says:

    Beautiful pictures.

    Reply

  23. Srini Says:

    Hi Umashankar, breathtaking! The photographs, like your prose, are exquisite. Wow!

    Reply

  24. AB Says:

    Probably it will be as much of a futile act to demolish these buildings as it was to construct them….personally, I will not be sorry at all to see them razed to ground….what a monumental waste of OUR money….nevertheless, beautiful photographs, your camera is as eloquent as your pen

    Reply

    • umashankar Says:

      Why should we stress ourselves with the demolisher’s dilemma, assuming he has any? For the moment, these structures are enchanting enough. Many thanks to you!

      Reply

  25. tangytomatotwistt Says:

    what do i say ??? i just don’t have any words … superb …just out of this world !

    Reply

  26. inducares Says:

    The word Maya -i wish it had been about the Mayan civilization-but this too is an enlightenment…what stupendous structures,and i see no artistry in them…the art is only in your photography…what a colossal waste of resources…are there no homeless in lucknow for whom houses could have been built?

    Reply

    • umashankar Says:

      I’d love to write on the original Mayan civilisation someday. The present day Maya could be bad dream, after all! I feel honoured by your kind words.

      Reply

  27. Akshay Kumar G Says:

    The pictures are beautiful. Would surely want to visit Lucknow now and view these magnificent structures in person.

    Reply

  28. The Fool Says:

    Breathtaking photographs. You seem to be an expert in night photography. The colors are just ethereal.

    Reply

  29. dnambiar11 Says:

    This is a visual treat. Honest!
    We demand more, USP. 🙂
    Beautiful structures. Awesome shots. You use your weapon exceptionally well.

    Reply

  30. haricharan Says:

    Lovely post! Visually extravagant. You just took me on some kind of time travel 🙂 Great post

    Reply

  31. JayadevM Says:

    New light on Maya’s madness!

    You have captured them well … done justice with your images; but has she done the same to the people of U.P.

    Reply

  32. panchali2ali Says:

    Brilliant shots….But, I loved the captions more than the pics….! Very beautiful blog…

    Reply

  33. Neloy Bandyopadhyay Says:

    Fabulous. You have defined the beauty of this in a different way. Awesome….

    Reply

  34. kavita Says:

    These clicks are awesome. Heard and seen Maya ki maya in media so many times but never in this light. Very impressive. For me Lucknow is always about Residency, Chowk, Chotta/bada Imambara, Chowdhury ki chaat (don’t know if it still exists), Faluda Kulfi. You got me all nostalgic , I have not been to Lucknow for more than fifteen years now.Have you done any post on Residency?

    Reply

  35. umashankar Says:

    Many thanks, Kavita! Indeed, Lucknow is still better known for Residency, Chotta/Bada Imambara, Chinhat at al. The Chaat and Kulfi-Faluda still rule the taste buds of the city. Maya’s structures just barged into the topography of the city amidst questionable intentions.

    I have been perennially planning to write a detailed post on the Residency for some time now. All I have managed to write though is merely a paragraph in the short story Going Blind. I partly blame the virulent ASI staff also who shoo away the tripod carrying photographers. It is not that one cannot go ahead without the tripods but they do upset the plan.

    Reply

  36. joshi daniel Says:

    great exposure and cool colors 🙂

    Reply

  37. ruchi jain Says:

    its knowledgeable ..:) the way of expression is nice..

    Reply

  38. Liu Says:

    lovely shot and an impressive insight.. keep up the good work and share them

    Reply

  39. Meera Says:

    If this is dedicated to Dalit leaders how come there are no protests being made over plans to raze it. Normally, such demolitions are fodder for jingoistic speeches for months, if not years. Beautiful pictures…

    Reply

  40. Giribala Says:

    बहिन जी……………..खुश हुई !!!

    Reply

  41. Pradip Kumar Biswas Says:

    I Now believe it is possible to play a tune with a camera when the Maestros click on any thing. Umashankarji you are just like that.

    Reply

    • umashankar Says:

      Pradip da, I am humbled by your compliment. There are many who play hauntingly beautiful tunes with their cameras. However, I am still a bystander on the shores of photography.

      Reply

  42. Privy Trifles Says:

    Lovely pictures…..made me feel proud once again to have such a rich cultural heritage!

    Reply

  43. Jyoti Mishra Says:

    a picture speaks more than million words….
    and such images prove that right 🙂

    immortal memories and emotions are encrypted within them.. awesome snaps !!!
    can stare for hours 😛

    Reply

  44. raju070 Says:

    Wow… such brilliant captures. Outstanding photography filled my heart with delight. I hope these monuments stay and radiate beauty for ever. And you have done your part by immortalizing them through your priceless captures. And loved your short introduction. Was sublime.

    Reply

  45. sudhagee Says:

    When I read the title of your post I thought it was about the Mayan civilization. But after having seen and read your post, just one comment: Superb pics and superb title for the post. 🙂

    Reply

  46. umashankar Says:

    Sudhagee, I thank you humbly for the compliment.

    Reply

  47. deepthiudupa Says:

    Beautiful photography!!! The first time I saw the photos, felt like I was transported to some old …………bygone era….

    Reply

  48. jkhona Says:

    Uma Shankarji, been on your page after a long time. selected this blog due to the uniqueness of its title 🙂 and it was truly a unique title. 🙂 nice clicks that you have done being behind the lens 🙂 like the goldennnesss of the clicks 🙂 🙂

    Reply

  49. adventurousandrea Says:

    Such a lovely place! I look forward to visiting someday.

    Reply

  50. girlseule Says:

    Wow, those are some great photos.

    Reply

  51. Theresa H Hall Says:

    You make me want to walk into your photographs. Well done!

    Reply

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