Remote wilderness.

At the northern boundary of Death Valley National Park in California, the mountains of the Last Chance Range ring the towering Eureka Sand Dunes, the tallest dunes in the park. Another elusive system of dunes is located in the area, the appropriately labeled Hidden Dunes. Eureka Valley is reached via a long drive on a rough gravel route.

Last Chance Range, Death Valley National Park

Limestone bands, Last Chance Range
5D Mark III, 100-400L IS

Last Chance Range, Death Valley National Park

Panorama (click on image for larger view)
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

Eureka Dunes from overlook in Last Chance Range

Eureka Dunes seen from Last Chance Range
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

Hikers at Eureka Dunes

Hikers at Eureka Dunes
5D Mark III, 100-400L IS

Big Pine Road into Eureka Valley

Big Pine Road into Eureka Valley
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II


[Update: It was reported today (08/27/2014) that one of Death Valley’s mysteries, that of the moving stones at Racetrack Playa, has been solved. See this and this.]


Three’s company.

This is the next installment of Panjim Promenade, our series on the heritage of Panjim.

The concrete span across River Mandovi seen in the first two photos below is really two bridges. The original bridge, built in the 1970s, collapsed in 1986. The main reason for failure was determined to be “corrosion of the prestressed cable that attached the precast concrete segments to the piers.” (See this.) Shoddy workmanship, poor technical supervision and corrupt practices are the touchstone of Indian ‘engineering.’

A second bridge was constructed cheek by jowl and the original one restored later. Both are striking eyesores and boast third-rate build quality; other than that they are “majestic” (according to Wiki). Not one to rest on past laurels, the current Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, has pulled another rabbit out of his IIT behind bonnet and commissioned a third bridge. After all, bridges and Indian politicians are natural bedfellows.

The first two images were taken from the roof of the Tourist Hostel building.

Mandovi Bridge, Panjim

Last light on Mandovi Bridge
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

Mandovi Bridge, Panjim, Goa

Panjim on River Mandovi
5D Mark III, 24-105L


The old photos featured here are from the Central Library Archives in Panjim. The ferry was the main mode of transport across River Mandovi well into the 1970s.

Old Panjim

River Mandovi separates Panjim (right) and Malim (left), c. 1900
© Souza & Paul, Central Library Archives


In this image the Idalçao Palace (Adilshah Palace, which served as the Old Secretariat for almost three decades in post-Liberation Goa) is to the right of the frame. The arrow indicates the location of today’s Tourist Hostel from which rooftop the first two photos were taken.

Old Panjim

Panjim on River Mandovi c. 1900
© Souza & Paul, Central Library Archives


Panjim in the 1980s, showing early signs of decay (i.e. the advent of ugly Indian concrete). The original Mandovi Bridge is seen. The arrow again points to the Tourist Hostel.

Mandovi Brige, early 1980s

Panjim, early 1980s

Old Panjim

Panjim, looking towards Ribandar, c. 1900
© Souza & Paul, Central Library Archives


I shot a similar perspective from the second deck of the Doordarshan TV tower in Altinho (see final image below). It entailed going up a flight of rusty stairs inside the dank, dark tube and then praying that the platform on the deck would hold. Prayers and Indian ‘engineering’ always go together.

View of Panjim from the Doordarshan tower in Panjim

A recent perspective, 2007
5D, 35L

Doordarshan tower in Panjim

Doordarshan TV tower
5D, 35L


PS: Check out Ponte de Liñhares, built by the Portuguese in 1632.

  • andrea - September 26, 2014 - 11:09 am

    where is ponte de linares in goa ?ReplyCancel

An old volcano wakes up.

[Update 3, August 29: There was a small fissure eruption today.]
[Update 2, August 24: That was a false alarm.]
[Update 1, August 23: An eruption has started today, according to IMO.]

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.