Photo Contest

I have just entered my first photography contest.

The National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest sends me updates every year. In the past I haven’t entered, but this year I felt it would be nice to enter and try something new, come what may.

Please check it out the link below if you are so inclined. It is one of my favorites from Varanasi this year.

🙂 🙂 🙂

PS. The smiley faces are the link. 😉


Never Far

I finally got the Nikon film developed from my trip to Varanasi!

When I held up the slide shots to the light, I was pleasantly surprised. The one shot I had the most hope for, a little Indian girl with bright blue eyes, didn’t turn out as I had hoped.

However other shots jumped out at me. A red tea stall. A snake charmer’s cobra, and a small dog suffering sleeping in the back streets.

I’m thinking of framing some of these. Especially the one of the dog. It’s an element which those who have gone to India would be hard pressed to miss, and with the picture India is never far from my mind.

A tour of Varanasi: Statues

If anyone reading this blog ever makes their way to the Holy city of Varanasi, (aka Banaras) you may enjoy visiting one of the many statue artisans which populate the Ghats along the river.

As most veterans of Indian travel will tell you, statue shops are a rupee a dozen, and their not mad either. Indian image crafting from stone or wood, or clay still thrives all over the country. Almost any image, from a wood-carved pillar of King Ashoka, or a polished marble figurine of elephant, to clay tablets depicting Hindu gods and goddesses, would make an interesting souvenir or gift.

I particularly like the images of gods and goddesses, they hold a lot of character, but after a few month, or even a few weeks of being approached by dozens of street vendors, selling their own images which look nearly identical to the rest, the interest evaporates.

In was a time like this that I was first introduced to Raj Vijay Murtikar, in Varanasi and entered his shop. Vijay is one of many brothers, each who is an artisan and specializes creating images of a particular Hindu god or goddess. Vijay’s specialty is Ganesh, the god with the head of an elephant, and deity of scholars, families, and protector of kitchens. Vijay has made literally thousands of images of Ganesh, through painting stonework, and other mediums, and he is happy to show them to anyone who is interested.


Since then I visit his shop on Asi Ghat every time I visit Varanasi. On my trip I snapped a shot of three Ganesh statues playing instruments, with a Shiva lingum in the back. The arrangement looked like a small concert and I couldn’t resist. Afterwards, after some debating, I bought the middle statue for my room at home. I am very happy with it, and plan to keep it in my kitchen the next time I’m back in the US.