This is more of a personal post than I typically write. Everything I usually post here is about the work I am doing, but obviously there is much more to life than just work, and sometimes there’s even more to it than photography! (eeek)
I have traveled around much of the USA and everyone who knows me is aware of my love of Paris. I recently had just enough down-time to make a quick trip somewhere….. I didn’t have to be anywhere or shoot anything for almost two weeks. Paris is great and there’s so much to see and do there that it can be a great get-away, but I was not in the mood to ‘get away’ so much as I was in need of ‘getting in touch.’ I had often thought of making a pilgrimage to one particular ashram outside of Bangalore, India, in the small city of Puttaparthy. It had been on my mind for over a decade, but I never really felt like it was the right time to go until now. Within a day of having the thought, I applied for an Indian Visa and I bought my plane ticket for the following week. It was a bit nerve wracking waiting for the Visa to come, since without it, my non-refundable ticket would be worthless. Luckily it came in six days…one day before I left.
I chose the most efficient route, which was from LAX to London, then straight on to Bangalore, India. Because the layover in London was only two hours, it worked out to almost 24 hours of travel time to India, covering 10,500 miles. I made the same journey in reverse on the way home. I didn’t end up sitting next to another person on any of my flights, and the general rule in the ashram is silence. For me, this meant that from the time I got on the first plane, to the time I got home, I had very little conversation. Try going for 7 days without talking sometime! It turned out to be a valuable experience for me.
In any case, photography in the ashram itself is prohibited, but I did bring one camera body and lens to grab a few shots during my last afternoon in India, outside the ashram. Over the whole trip, I shot less than 75 frames, so this was definitely a trip about looking within much more than my usual looking through a viewfinder. Even on the other side of the planet, I found myself having many of the same thoughts and preoccupations that I had before I left, which goes to prove the title of this post!
I love the quality of light…leaving L.A., just turning back to the coast after take off.
As the sun goes down over the Pacific (above), it’s coming up in India on the other side of the world.(below)
This is the public gate to the Ashram, known as the Ganesha Gate because of the shrine just inside.
Looking to the right:
If you stand just outside the Ganesha Gate and look across the street, this is what you see:
The ashram has it’s own dairy full of cows. At the entrance, you will see this statue of Sri Krishna.
My only picture of myself in India..shot from the back of a rickshaw scooter.
On the rickshaw tour, I visited the specialty hospital near the ashram, where all services, including surgery, is performed at no cost to the patient. Even if I had a major procedure there, I would not recieve a bill.
The entrance to a temple
My favorite number..a classroom in a very rural school outside of town.
I saw the monkeys around the ashram quite often, so I was happy this one happened to be on the ashram wall as I passed by. Aside from all the bats hanging up in the trees, the monkeys were the most interesting to watch!
This is the other gate to the ashram known as the Canteen Gate. I asked for permission to take a photograph and it was kindly granted.