An old volcano wakes up.

The Bárðarbunga volcano under the Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland has just stirred sending magma juices coursing through its subglacial conduits. Over five thousand earthquakes have been recorded during the past week, a few registering 4.0 and above. Whether an eruption is imminent is anyone’s guess but the Icelandic authorities are taking no chances.

The Icelandic Meteorological Office is actively monitoring the situation and collecting data. A couple of pages maintained by volcano enthusiasts are keeping watch, here and here.

A live cam feed trained on the volcano can be seen here.

A word on pronunciation:
Bárðarbunga –> Bowr-thaar-boonga (‘ow’ as in ‘cow’, the r is trilled, ð is like the ‘th’ in them).

Vatnajökull seen from Höfn, Iceland

Vatnajökull glacier seen from Almannaskarð pass near Höfn
5D Mark II, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II


Headgear of Rajasthan.

The pagri (turban) is an important adornment of the Rajasthani male. Every region has its own distinct style and even within a region there are subtle variations across caste and communal identities.

Jodhpuri style turban, Rajasthan

Jodhpuri style
5D, 70-200L f/2.8 IS

At Jaisalmer fort, Rajasthan

At Jaisalmer fort
5D, 24-105L

At Mandore (Bhopa playing the Ravanahatta)

Bhopa in Mandore
5D, 70-200L f/2.8 IS

Khetolai village near Pokaran, Rajasthan

In Khetolai
5D, 70-200L f/2.8 IS

At Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

At Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur
5D, 24-105L

In Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

In Jaisalmer
5D, 24-105L


This final image is of Joginder Singh who is not from Rajasthan. He served as my driver throughout my travels in the state. A more wonderful human being would be hard to find.

Joginder Singh at Pushkar, Rajasthan

Joginder Singh-ji at Pushkar
5D, 24-105L


Check out this video for a demonstration in wrapping a Rajasthani turban.

  • Arun - August 21, 2014 - 4:24 am

    Nice series! Though for a brief moment, I was taken aback, you see, I read “Turbans” like “Sunderbans” :) ReplyCancel

Remote and deserted.

The abandoned farm and church of Unaðsdalur lie on Snæfjallaströnd (“Snow Mountain Coast”) in the Westfjords of Iceland. We were treated to a sampler of the harsh conditions the region is exposed to; these photos were taken in the midst of a raging gale.

In the first image, the lighthouse on Ædey (“Eider Island”) is seen in the distance to the left of the frame. As the name suggests, Ædey is a major breeding ground for Eider Ducks.

Unaðsdalur church near Kaldalón, Westfjords, Iceland

Unaðsdalur on Snæfjallaströnd, Iceland
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

Unaðsdalur church, Snæfjallaströnd, Westfjords, Iceland

Clouds of fury
5D Mark II, TS-E 24L II

  • Jackson Frishman - August 15, 2014 - 11:24 am

    What a beautiful sweep of cloud you captured!

    For all the Iceland photo mania going on these days, you seem to be the only photographer doing much in the Westfjords.ReplyCancel

    • Rajan Parrikar - August 15, 2014 - 11:49 am

      Good to hear from you, Jackson. The Westfjords are off the main tourist circuit (thank God!) and somewhat difficult to get to.ReplyCancel

The series continues.

The next chapter in the Vetals of Goa theme features the deity from Sanvordem. My introduction from the first post in the series is excerpted below:

From The Vetals of Goa: Amona

The ancient deity of Vetal, its iconography and associated rituals, are important elements of, and unique to, Goa‘s Hindu tradition. The deity was most likely worshipped by the Austric Gauda tribe, Goa‘s earliest settlers, and later embraced by the Nath Panthis between the 10th & 13th C. Eventually it came to be absorbed into the larger Hindu pantheon.

A mere 50 or so out of the hundreds of ancient Vetal sites in Goa survived the iconoclasm by the Portuguese. Every single site in the Bardez and Tiswadi talukas was destroyed. For instance, before the foreign invasion, the village of Taleigao was a strong centre of Vetal worship, but I doubt you will find a single current resident of the area with any memory of this past.

The Vetal praxis serves to define the circumference of Goa‘s cultural influence which extends beyond its current geographic borders. Vetal worship is prevalent in the Sindhudurg district of southern Maharashthra and unsurprisingly, the people there have strong emotional and cultural bonds to Goa.

Traditionally the images of Vetal were cast out in the open with provision for a simple roof overhead. After all, as the village protector, he was expected to be out on his nightly patrol. To this day, offerings of footwear are made at his temples. Buffalo sacrifice was once common but is now far less so. Fowl and goat are still routinely offered.

The evolution of the depiction of the Vetal image itself is interesting. Traditionally, he preferred to go au naturel, and so the idols were displayed that way. But nowadays the ‘naked truth’ makes people somewhat uncomfortable, and therefore in several temples he has reluctantly taken to wearing the dhoti. (Reminds me of Bertrand Russell who wrote that whoever coined the phrase “the naked truth” must have perceived the connection that nakedness is shocking to most people, and so is truth.)

During the years 2006-2008, I set off on Vetal‘s spoor and checked off 45 of the surviving old sites in Goa (around 5 still to go).


For an introduction to the Vetal mythos, see this. All the posts in this series are consolidated here.

Vetal of Sanvordem, Goa

Offering by poojari Laxmiprasad Ghaisas
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

Vetal of Sanvordem, Goa

Vetal of Sanvordem, Goa
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

Shobha Parab at Vetal temple in Sanvordem

Shobha Parab, temple sweeper
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

  • S P Naik - August 12, 2014 - 5:14 am

    In our Village temple of Paliyem, we have two deities of Vetal standing one next to the other.ReplyCancel

    • Rajan Parrikar - August 13, 2014 - 12:06 am

      I have photographed the two Vetal images from Paliem. They will be featured in a future post.ReplyCancel

Volcanic bakery.

Basalt columns in Skagafjörður, Iceland.

Basalt columns in Skagafjörður, Iceland

Lava cooked
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

  • Jackson Frishman - August 10, 2014 - 7:52 am

    Beautiful, haunting shot, Rajan! I love those grim basalt formations floating in blue and ghostly white.ReplyCancel

    • Rajan Parrikar - August 13, 2014 - 12:05 am

      Thanks, Jackson. The formations are striking but their beauty does not come through fully at this small size.ReplyCancel