It was with great happiness that the Ashirwad Trust for the Disabled was able to open a new centre in the town of Surendranagar. This is the third centre run by Ashirwad (in addition to those at Sayla and Limbdi), and although there was day care rehabilitation being offered in near-by Joravarnagar, this new centre is larger and has greater facilities to help the great need for rehabilitating those with physical and mental difficulties. The building has been completely refurbished to meet the needs of caring for 30+ disabled children that are now enrolled, and was opened in the divine presence of Pujya Bhaishree of Raj Saubhag, as well as dignitaries in the field of disability and local minister Kiritsinh Rana (pictured below).
In association with Raj Saubhag, the Ashirwad Trust for the Disabled operates a wide and comprehensive range of services for physically and mentally challenged persons in and around Sayla. These include day care centres, community based rehabilitation, a physiotherapy centre, self help groups, vocational training, deafblind work, professional training and assistive device distribution camps. Further details can be found here.
Technical details: Sony a850 with Tamron 28-75mm and Minolta 70-210mm lenses.
We spent our first afternoon in Dubai wondering around the old town on Dubai. A long-standing centre for trade for many centuries, the traditional spice shop was a feast for the senses. The Emirati also had an innovative old air conditioning system being used to help live comfortably in a city where the summer temperatures regularly exceed 50C, involving cool air to be channelled into the home through the wind towers shown below.
In the evening, we were lucky to have a dip in the infinity pool at Oceana (set on The Palm) and enjoy the stunning views of the “second” Dubai skyline (Jumeirah Lake towers and Southern Dubai).
Technical details: Sony a850 with Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lens.
How apt that this function was set in the beautifully decorated church hall in Harborne, minutes away from Bourneville, home of Cadbury's - I remember many-a-time polishing off large 200g purple packages with Bal and Shivani when studying in Bath! We certainly enjoyed the great company and the occasion was full of festivities, fun and lots of food. Best wishes to the happy couple for their wedding this Summer!
Technical details: Sony a850 with Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 and Minolta 70-210mm f4 lenses.
A idyllic, picture-perfect winters day at the Oshwal Centre, Potters Bar, London. Amil and Shreena were certainly sporting, braving the snow for some unique portraits in the snow! A big congratulations to the happy couple and wishing them all the best in their futures.
Technical details: Sony a850 and Sony a33 bodies with Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 and Minolta 70-210mm f4 lenses.
A very belated Happy New Year everyone. Apologies for the delay - I've got a several exciting 2013 posts coming very soon!
Wanted to share some highlights of the year in an end-of-year collage.Actually, I've only included the second half of the year (1/2 / 2012 ?) since the blog was started in July. Looking through, I feel privileged to have had so many stunning opportunities to attempt to capture this variety of visual beauty. Click on the images to take you to the relevant posts from earlier this year. Unusually, photos are square-cropped here so not in original shape. Alternatively you can see the images in their normal form in the slideshow below.
Comments / feedback welcome - just click on the "add comments" text at the bottom on this post.
Slideshow of above photos. Hover over the photo and click "play".
Eight centuries old and rich in both architectural and spiritual splendour, Wells Cathedral provided a beautiful setting for testing out the Sony a900.
Some photos have detailed captions - click on or hover over to read.
Technical details: Tamron 28-75mm lens, all unedited and straight from the camera.
Photos taken during a family Diwali dinner.
Last Photo: Sony 18-55mm lens, slightly cropped.
Others: Minolta 70-210mm lens; all unedited and straight from the camera.
Today we are treated to a delightful guest write-up by our dear friend Bal - with whom we had the pleasure of staying and spending time with on this fabulous Autumn weekend.
"The serene county of Gloucestershire is well known for the beauty it nurtures and what better way to appreciate this beauty than a walk in the Forest of Dean? Perfected by the most crisp and sunny autumn day this was indeed a day we will cherish for years.
Friends add humour, fascination and beauty to life. They keep us humble when we get too self-righteous and make us smile when we take ourselves too seriously. Good friends are there to help us when life throws one of its little curves at us and things look worse that they really are. What wise words... it had been many months since we had all spent some quality time together and so much had happened in this time... being able to enjoy a lovely autumn walk whilst catching up was truly one of life’s near perfect moments.
We had all good intentions to leave home at the crack of dawn this lovely Sunday however, sleep engulfed us and we left much later than we planned (the 2am sleeping on the night before is unlikely to have helped). Nevertheless, we were packed and ready in no time... and an hour later we were walking along the forest’s sculpture trail. The trail has along its path, various sculptures, as the name suggests, some more appealing than others. The giant chair is the most obvious and gives a spectacular view of the forest canopy. The autumn colours were breathtaking as the sun reflected the auburns, yellows and reds along the path. The most exciting part of the sculpture trail is that it keeps you searching for its well hidden little secrets – the giant chair, the deer, the rail track and the boats, just to mention a few.
Several hours later and with shoes covered in mud we hesitantly headed back, having explored only half the trail. This is one of life’s greatest realities – we are bound by time and all we can do is make the most of what we have. We left the other part of the trail with the promise to come back... a promise we shall endeavour to keep. "
Technical details: Olympus ZD 12-60mm lens; all unedited and straight from the camera.
Discussion, contemplation, introspection and meditation - a magical weekend away with great company. Today's challenge for like-minded spiritual aspirants: to maintain focus on the glass of water while taking a walk in the quaint village of Oakridge Lynch, in the same way an enlightened soul lives in the worldly sansaarik life around them. A massive thanks to Ajay who organised the trip and to our Guru Param Pujya Bhaishree, whose blessings were (and are) continuously with us, inspiring us and guiding us.
Technical details: Sony 35mm f1.8 lens (except last photo taken using 18-55mm); all unedited and straight from the camera.
It was great for Will to invite us to his school and we had an opportunity to interact with the locals when doing a bit of work and taking some staff photos. Compared to inner-city London, this international school seemed extremely informal and friendly, and it was pleasing to see children of all ages, from 5 to 15 playing together in one playground. The innocence of childhood endures several years longer than it does in London! A selection of the photos are below.
Technical details: Olympus ZD 70-300mm lens; all unedited and straight from the camera (square crops become full when clicked).