Along the Malabar Coast, Silhouettes of the Past

Like winged creatures from the past, silhouetted against the evening dusk, the fish nets stand watch over the backwaters of Kochi, in southern India. Thought to have been introduced by Chinese explorers during the rein of Kubla Khan, in the late fourteenth century, these kinetic sculptures are made from teak wood and bamboo. The nets, counterbalanced by huge stones, dip Into the water when two fishermen run up the long poles.

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Discovering the Escher-esque Chand Baori, Abhaneri , India

Oh my gosh, what a sight. Imagine an ancient Egyptian pyramid inverted and thoughtfully lodged into the ground. Chand Baori is over 100 feet deep and is lined with 3,500 symmetrical steps on three sides allowing access to water regardless of the level. The symmetrical, though dizzying, zig-zag pattern of the stone steps is reminiscent of an Escher drawing.

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To Market in an Indian Mercedes

In Abhaneri Village, in eastern Rajasthan, an unique, homemade vehicle known as a jugaad or chakdi, aka Indian Mercedes, plies the roadways. In Hindi, jugaad means an innovative fix or work around. An apt name for this low cost transport. They are usually made from an old diesel agricultural irrigation pump mounted to a equally old car or truck chassis. A hand crank starts the engine and someone jumping off with a block of wood is often the way to stop it. Simple, cheap and iconic in much of rural India.

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Still Life with Bird Cages

India amazes. You learn to expect the unexpected. To wit, the cluster of empty bird cages hanging in an alcove in the opulent City Palace in Udaipur in Rajasthan, India. Construction of the gigantic palace, or more accurately, series of connected palaces, was started in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh and continued for over 300 years by his successor Maharanas. Apparently one of the royals fancied caged song birds.

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