Changdeokgung Palace , Seoul

This is a photo tour of Changdeokgung  Palace, Seoul , S.Korea – I had visited in February ,2011.  I had, so unlike me , managed to misplace the photos earlier :(

Just today , I was able to locate its Picasa album ( remember Picasa? older cousin of Instagram) which I had uploaded around that time . I downloaded the photos from there but I am a little skeptical that the quality of the downloaded  is not as great as the original photos.But that’s what I am left with.So here they go .

( By the way , its  a simple point and shoot  and the feelings that go behind the pictures :) , so do not try comparing  the aesthetics or technicalities with a DSLR  there )

SL370205So, Welcome to Chang-deok Palace.This is the main entrance from where the English guided tour commences

SL370208I actually don’t remember what it meant ( not good for a photo tour,hmm)

SL370210The deserted looking main entrance behind when all the commotion moved along with the tour

The palace in front.The pointed things on either side of rooftop are actually zodiac animals from Chinese astrology.They are believed to ward off the evil eye.All palaces have essentially these characters on the rooftops.

SL370215Between the palace and the giant entrance is this courtyard , the stones are positioned where the courtmen would stand when meeting with the king here 


SL370216So , the picture has not been taken very properly .What I wanted to capture here is that wherevere there are stairs or an entrance they are divided into three parts -the middle one for the king – and the other two for the courtmen or his bodyguards


SL370217 Look at the lights hanging from the ceiling! Oh , btw,this is the throne of the king  in front

SL370220The next few photos are just to soak in the sheer colours of the palace- quitely 






SL370227Loved the sun rays spreading its wings 

SL370231A room in palace for playing games and casual chats

SL370235Notice the paper doors of the rooms 

SL370237The corridors – little above the head 



SL370242The modern Seoul forming the backdrop of an important piece of history 


SL370246The frozen lake with Royal library in background

SL370244Can’t help taking picture of tress against sky , in this case ,dried by the harsh winter of Korea

Entrance to the library – notice the three part stairs and two small adjoining entrance on either side of main one -and same for the library behind

Minseon and me – I would have known nothing about Korea if not for her 



SL370262Me – Circa 2011 , all wrapped up with my first winter in sub zero degree

SL370269This one is specially for people of India – please take a cue from your Korean brothers , everywhere I saw , they had put special efforts to save every tree they could ,at the same time , valuing people’s convenience and safety

You never get old , once you cross this door -so goes the saying( doesn’t seem to be working although)

A common style of room , a small hollow basement for lighting the fire in winters which keeps the whole floor warm ,the doors are made of paper 


The common man’s house , uncolored 


The red thing hanging from roof top is a fire detector cum sprinkler – since the whole palace is mostly wood and paper.

Rows of rooms – in a common man’s house – found it interesting and odd

The next picture tells what’s so special about the tree


A last photo with the palace door while we get ready to exit 

In the campus , is a museum where these Korean dolls took my fancy 

And paper dolls


Spotted ! “Yoga” 

So that was Changdeokgung palace in short for you .To understand more about the historical and architectural significance of it, read its wiki here .

Meanwhile , I have unearthed a lot of Korean jewels ( read photos) in my Picasa , so hopefully , I’d come back for more .

Till then ,
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A few more nit-picks from Bhopal

This is part two of my Bhopal sojourn .The first part can be read here 

A little more exploration in the heart of Bhopal took me to these places –

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Masajid is plural of Masjid , it means “Crown among mosques”. Its construction was also initiated by Nawab Shah Jahan Begum (source :Wikipedia) and it overlooks the Taj Mahal about which you can read here .

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The other Taj Mahal of India-in Bhopal

This post’s first draft was written in October,2013.But owing to the hecticness that ensued in my life in November and December , because of my brother-in-law’s marriage , the post was pipe-lined.Here I am now on a writing spree tonight , so here it goes.

I am sure the title of the post is a surprise to many .It would have been for me at least.I was off to Bhopal for four days for an official trip for recruitment.I would not have written any post about Bhopal but for the last day of the trip , when our cab driver took us for a little detour towards the old city and introduced us to the ” Taj Palace ” interestingly built by another “Shah Jahan” who in this case was Begum of Bhopal and the palace was her residence.

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Paulista Avenue-The photo essay

Circa June 2k12 .I spent the month in Brazil in a beautiful city of Campinas,which is a suburb of  São Paulo .I had two weekends at hand  to explore the place , one of which was spent in navigating through parks and markets of Campinas which I have covered in earlier posts.One of the days of next weekend was spent in São Paulo , this post is about visiting Paulista Avenue (Avenida Paulista as called by Brazilians) as part of the day-trip.

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The majestic buildings-1

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Graffiti in Brazil

On my maiden visit to São Paulo, the one thing that mesmerized me the most was – the graffiti on the  walls, roadsides, public structures etc. Of course, they deface the public property a little , but these graffiti lend São Paulo its own “culture” element.Graffiti are more prominent in the older areas – where the drab walls with peeling plasters have been taken to an entirely new dimension with these graffiti – which at times are just decorative or at other times carry a strong message or a hint of mindset of the neighborhood.  In the posh areas, the graffiti is quite organized and commercial actually .They have been used  to make the area look artsy and sophisticated .Overall, I found São Paulo very similar to Delhi – an eclectic mix of colors , ethnicity , co-existence of old heritage with fast coming up new building structures , the pot-holed roads , beggars , modest neighborhood in vicinity of posh areas, a number of markets and a culture to enjoy.But when it comes to graffiti , as of June last year when these pictures were taken , Delhi had witnessed much lesser graffiti action than São Paulo,.In São Paulo , if you were to click graffiti , you could end up with numerous of clicks on  a single street itself.In Delhi  , the new breed of graffiti artists ,is now coming to prominence.And the first name that comes to my mind is that of “Daaku”.Have witnessed his work almost in all major spots of Delhi by now , and boy , his work is impressive.Here is the link to an article on graffiti artists in Delhi which appeared in The Hindu soon after I landed to Delhi after finishing my trip.And here is one of the famous work of Daaku at Hauz Khas village ( Courtesy :

Towards the end of photos , is a graffiti of Daku ,at Bacardi NH7 weekender, Delhi edition , 2012 , which I was lucky enough to attend .



A graffiti painted on a public toilet !

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The june fest- Festa junina

The month of June sees whole Brazil celebrating Festa Junina (The June fest).It is a Christian festival.Decorations can be found in malls, schools and all public places.Shops sell traditional clothes , hats , party decoration stuff for  Festa Junina parties hosted by people. The party is called Quermesse.Haven’t been lucky to see some , but it sounds fun .

Festa Junina decorations at office

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Hippie Fair-Campinas,Brazil

Hippie fair is a weekly event at Campinas.An open air market every Sunday till afternoon , where local craftsmen will sell their handicraft or other hand made items.Hippie fairs as I know through internet are held in every city in Brazil.For me , it was a good opportunity to know how Brazil hand-made art looks like.I missed pictures of a few vital pieces typical to Brazil art, but here are the rest.There was a cart selling Indian products too – Bindis, Bangles, figures of Indian Gods and Goddesses, Kurtis etc .It looks like Indian art has quite an influence and are quite hit here.I could find a few shops selling Indian things at very high prices in the malls also.Here are the pics

A painter to sell his artwork

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Lake Tacquaral ,Campinas ,Brazil, Part 2

As I enjoy my first cup of tea  after a week of stay in Brazil, on a rainy day , I believe nothing could be closer to bliss.Even though I am not out exploring the “happening” parts of Brazil, I feel happy as I think the tranquility of this place and weather was exactly what I needed.And I feel happy to have managed to escape the fury of rising mercury level in Delhi for a few days and spend some time with my space , ie my blog in such a beautiful weather.Visit to Lake Tacquaral was an enriching experience.I am yet to find out the names of the trees and flowers I saw there and hope to update the labels soon with their names.Selma , wife of Leo ( who owns the taxi agency which we use for our transportation here ) , accompanied me for the visit.

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Lake Tacquaral,Campinas,Brazil, Part -1

While the warmth of Brazilians touch your heart , the greenery cools down your senses.The first thing you notice as the airplane circles the Sao Paulo airport is the vast stretch of green mountains – intriguing and breathtaking.And Campinas , it might be a sleepy suburb for Sao Paulo, but for me its a green heaven for the landscapes and open green lands will inspire you to go out for long walks or write a beautiful story.

These are few pictures from my visit to Tacquaral park in Campinas.



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Korea Unmasked-Won Bok Rhie

Another Monday and yet another Monday blues(they affect only my work!).This weekend apart from pursuing my usual hobby (that is wasting money),I went on with reading “Korea Unmasked” – by Won Bok Rhie.I haven’t finished it yet though(finishing books is not me anyways).

I came across  this book during my last trip to Korea in library of our Samsung,Suwon office.The best part of the book is ..its first page.No kidding.I have been the one who always used to buy books after reading the plot at the back hand cover of the book.A good friend once recommended me a book, which he had bought after being impressed by a passage on its first page.He read out that passage to me.That turned out to be a  great book.So, my first impulse after having this book in my hands was – to read its first page.Well,more about the first page and the book in later post..Meanwhile,this is a book that can be summarized as Why Koreans are the way they are( and of course,what is the way they are).Makes up for a very fast read.It plays in your mind like a fast moving cartoon movie with a narration in the background.

And including today,its 17 days to go!

Korean taxi drivers

A friend of mine on his blog compared Dilli and Mumbai auto wallahs in terms of their attitude.And I realized how it forms one of the first impressions one would have when he enters a city – the public transport and the public transport Wallahs.

It actually comes natural to us.So, if I was in a particular city  which I knew nothing about, and I had a good or bad experience with the public transportation guys – I’d narrate that tale wherever that city is under discussion.That will be what I would think of that city and its people  till the time somebody else won’t share some more insight.

Long time back ,I started writing about the experiences I’d have while travelling around in Seoul or Suwon in taxis- as in drafts of my blog or small notes in my diaries.But every experience would be so different in itself that it won’t lead to any conclusive thinking.

One of my friends told me that taxi driving is a preferred post-retirement job for top shots of companies in Korea.My face carried so many exclamation marks.I did not believe him since  most of the taxi drivers don’t have good verbal skills with English- not expected from highly educated people in Korea

Next day itself we met a man in around his late 60s who had come to pick up a garbage bin outside a shopping complex.He talked to us in fluent english and while we smiled and nodded at his inquiring whether we were for India – he told us he used to work for the Korean newspaper – The Korean Times from where he retired.

After that,I had to trust my friend on that little Taxi driver information he had shared.

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I had a very interesting question asked by one of my Indian friends in Korea (whose mind is a little overactive)-why are East Asians highest consumers of noodles- Japan,China ,Korea – why do they have noodles so much integrated in their everyday diet.

My answer was a layman answer.I said about culinary habits doing something to do with geography and climate and crops.His next question  was obvious -noodles are also prepared from wheat or rice – the chapatis we eat are also prepared from wheat , and the wheat and rice are almost available in every country for all practical purposes – and so is the concept of noodles – it is known to every country- then why noodles are so popular in east .

I argued that our ancestors might be the one to be blamed for this,so when our ancestors got wheat flour- (North)Indian ones would have thought of chapatis and Chinese might have thought of noodles (and Italians might have thought of pizza??!!).It was so shallow :P

I popped the same question to Minseon over a bowl of Japanese Udong(wheat noodles in a soup) while she was explaining to me the difference between Japanese,Chinese and Korean noodles and the respective countries’ chopsticks’ styles and usage.She suggested me to search about “Noodles of Asia” since she got some interesting articles to read on the same.

So,googling – Noodles of Asia – I read this and this.It is an interesting exploration.

Talking about noodles,this is not why my blog title is “Noodles of Korea”…may be another post on that.

The Farmer’s Band

The Farmer’s dance

We came across these colorfully dressed musician playing some folk music with traditional instruments in Insa-dong.Since we mostly don’t have a Korean counterpart with us when we all Indian friends set out on exploration , we miss to appreciate such folk musics or traditions dismissing them as some street performance.It’s only when we dig deeper that we realize we had a brush with Korean traditions.

It’s actually true what one Indian friend said once – “Korea’s system has been designed in such a way that it’s difficult for foreigners to survive without their(locals) support.You need them at each and every step.”True.

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