challenges · Photography · Travel

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world.

“Limitless undying love, which shines around me like a million suns, it calls me on and on across the universe.”

– The Beatles

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, love will be at its feverish peak.

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate this beautiful emotion of love than with the Lens – Artists Photo Challenge.

This week, I have the pleasure of guest-hosting it with the theme A Glimpse into your world’. Show us the things you love that makes your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.

In my case, it was my love for travel and music, namely The Beatles that drew me to the picturesque, riverside town of Rishikesh, India. More on the Fab Four later but first, the evening Ganga Aarti at the Triveni Ghat beckoned me.

Flower baskets with lighted lamp and incense to be set float  during  Ganga Aarti
Flowers Aflame!

It was billed as an ethereal experience. Hence, my presence.

The sun had set and stars twinkled in the endless indigo sky. Eleven priests in rich maroon kurtas, white dhotis and masks, stood on high platforms facing the Ganges. They held huge lighted lamps which they twisted and twirled in perfectly synchronized movements with practiced ease.

Smoke from the fragrant incense bellowed in tufts of clouds into the sky. Some seeped in through a tiny gap in my mask.

The fragrant sky!

My eyes greedily drank the grand spectacle of fire and smoke while the air reverberated with sonorous chants simultaneously.

Dance to the Divine!

Was this spiritual trance or blissful love?

Offering to the Goddess.

The Ganga rippled and gleamed with countless lighted lamps in tiny flower baskets that floated downstream at the end of the aarti.

It was heavenly.

The morning brought fresh adventures in the form of white water rafting.

Actually you heard the screams first. Later you saw the thrill lovers sitting in their dinky red rafts. They preferred holding hands rather than their oars, bouncing on the Ganga rapids.

River rafting on the Ganges clucked from a bridge in Rishikesh
Row , row , row your boat.

Downstream, the river became tranquil. There you bobbed in a sea of saffron and yellow robed monks that swarmed Rishikesh’s narrow lanes and wide open river banks.

With a temple in every corner, ghats to go down to the river, it was a town seeped in spiritual mystique. One could neither ignore the sadhus nor the shrines. I found one dedicated to Shatrughan from the Ramayana.

Yes, I irrevocably fell in love with this little town that wore its Hindu faith on its sleeve, nay its heart.

Goddess Lakshmi on a pillar
Blues Hues !

“There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed forever, not for better, some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments with lovers and friends.”

– The Beatles

In this town famed for yoga and the yogis, my favourite place turned out to be a palatial retreat. It was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram or the Chaurasi Kutiya, part of the Rajaji National Park. Today it is better known as the Beatles Ashram.

Wall mural of the Beatles with Guru mahesh Yogi at the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh
Writing on the wall, Jai Gurudev!

Yes, the British musical quartet were here decades ago in the company of their guru, Mahesh Yogi. The ashram was abandoned and forgotten but not them. Their time here was a blip in the grand scheme of things yet their presence lingered.

Somewhere along the way, Beatles love inspired artists to sneak into the abandoned premises. They splashed the ashram’s derelict walls with quotes from their music and art so sublime that it was just a short leap into a heaven of another kind.

Collage of wall art from the Beatles Aashram
Artful Expressions!

“And in the end the love that you take is equal to the love you make.”

– John Lennon

It was a treasure hunt of the best sort because you really didn’t know where you might spot something that made you stop in your tracks.

The beautiful wall paintings gave the dilapidated structures a new lease on life, a brilliant makeover. It paid homage to the magnificence of India and the legendary band.

I spied one wall mural quoting Lennon, “When you look up at the sky and see a cloud, think of me.”

I know I did.

Egg shaped huts with wall art at the Beatles aashram in Rishikesh
‘Egg-citing’ domes of spiritual retreat.

I was especially taken aback by the ‘egg shaped’ huts there. They even had attached, now defunct toilets. I wonder whether the Fab Four ever meditated or created music in one of these igloos of stone.

Standing upright inside one such ‘egg’, I couldn’t resist chanting ‘Om’. My voice quivered and echoed and I literally had goose bumps. The acoustics were fabulous!

I was stuck inside a kaleidoscope of unforgettable sensory experience.

Collage of wall paintings at the Chaurasi Kutiya in Rishikesh
Humming In Harmony!

The Beatles mantra of love had transcended into this glorious art of Chaurasi Kutiya.

Rishikesh was unforgettable. It was a magnet for the weary, the lost, the curious, the adventure enthusiasts and the lovers too.

I wondered, ‘Which was I?’

Perhaps a bit of all.

Ram Jhula Bridge , Rishikesh
Ram Jhula Bridge and its tricolor threads.

Now, it’s your turn to show.

So click new pictures or feel free to choose images from your archives for Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #135, ‘A Glimpse into Your World’. Be sure to link it to my original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG to help us find you. I am excited to see your interpretations and look forward to diving into your responses.

Also a huge thank you to the Lens – Artists Ladies, Tina, Amy, Ann Christine and Patti for this wonderful guest host opportunity! It has been a great deal of fun.

To love, laughter, life,

And music and light…

Pandit Ravi Shankar wall art and lamp floating in the Ganges
Namaste!

156 thoughts on “Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world.

  1. Immaculate description of Rishikesh and connected stories of Ganges and Beatles merged together….absolute stunner of a job , well done, keep it going …👍🥂😍

    Liked by 2 people

      1. What a vivid description of Rishikesh! Memories of my visit to this quaint spot came flooding back in torrents! The Holy Ganga, Lakshman Jhoola – beauty at its best! The connection with the legendary Beatles was something I wasn’t aware of. Thanks for enlightening me on that. Loved the pics! To cut a long story short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Great job, Sheetal.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Anupama , thank you for your awesome comments . Yes, Rishikesh holds on to its quaintness still and over time has included The Beatles into its history. I’m happy, my post brought happy memories back to you. Hope you join in this challenge as well.

          Like

  2. Excellent theme, excellent photos, EXCELLENT quotes. (I love the Beatles.) Things that make me delirious with joy?! Fireball that I am, that might be a very sound sleep. 🙂 What better than to wake from a deep slumber, feeling rested and restored. However, I will meditate…, a la Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, and the Divine Light Mission, (I attended Guru Puja in India for a month, circa 1972), some or all of which I at one time pondered, but less so now, …on suitable waking experiences. To be continued…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What magical photos, quotes and commentary you’ve assembled here! I hope to find some photos for this week’s challenge as well. I’m drawn especially to your use of music and musicians who have made an impression on you and your art. Thanks for sharing your art and yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments . I’m overwhelmed by your kind words. I’m happy that both the musicians and the art came together successfully in this post. I can’t wait to check out your take on this challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Sheetal, Excellent theme, remarkable photos, great quotes…. Beautifully done. Thank you for the glimps of the riverside town of Rishikesh, India. Images of the fragrant sky and offering to the Goddess, Wow!!
    I love your art works, especially the black and white. So glad you share with us. I see a cow painting. This is a year of ox, looking forward to a better year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t stop smiling, your comments always raise my spirits. The Ganga Aarti was a magnificent treat. Perhaps the atmosphere, the chanting , the bells ringing , all came together harmoniously.

      As for the cow or was it an ox, it was real . The surprise was to find one calmly strolling across the bridge. It is perfect for the Year of the ox though. You’ve brilliantly connected the two , Amy. Thank you and best wishes to you as well.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Your prose is like poetry Sheetal, and this one was no exception. We could see and feel your excitement and emotion as you described each of the wonders of your visit. I was particularly enchanted by your musical quotes, as I remember my first and many other experiences from my youth that featured the Beatles songbook. My dad loved them as does my granddaughter – their music appeals across multiple generations and many cultures. How many musical talents can say that?! I will probably never have such an experience in person so your post was that much more fascinating and appreciated. Exceptionally done, thanks so much for making your Guest Hosting post so very special.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beatles mantra of love and peace and their incredible music cut across generations like you said. I remember , I had two song books and one I made in school. Those were simple joys of a before Google era. Anyway it’s amazing to see The Beatles’ legacy thriving in this tiny corner of the Earth. Folks in Rishikesh are very clued -up about them .

      As for my post , your words raise my spirits like no other. I’m happy you were able to feel what I meant to convey and the biggest thanks for giving me this opportunity to not only showcase my work but also meet countless bloggers doing fantastic work all around.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m going to echo what Tina and Amy have said, Sheetal. Your post and enthusiasm are fabulous! Thank you for sharing this remarkable visit to Rishikesh, your wonderful description of it, and your photos with us. I want to go!! (I’ll add it to my never-ending list of places to visit!). I was very moved by the artists who were inspired by the Beatles and created wonderful artistic tributes to them. Wow. Again, thank you! You’ve brightened my world today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Patti, thank you for your wonderful words of praise . Pleased that I’m able to do my bit for the ‘Incredible India ‘ campaign and draw attention to my country. The Beatles Ashram is now pretty much a must see place thanks to its amazing artwork. Happy you loved this trip to my part of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. All you need is love 🙂 🙂 So much love and enthusiasm in here, Sheetal. The Beatles were very much a part of my world when I was young, and their lyrics have stayed with me all of my life. ‘There are places I’ll remember, all my life, but some have changed…’ Great challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo , I’m looking forward to seeing your take on this challenge. Hope you join us this week.

      Also thank you. I’m grinning from ear to ear or as the Beatles said , “Here comes the sun.” Basking in the warmth of your words.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for a great challenge, Sheetal! Love your words, quotes and adventure for us to follow! This is a place I would love to visit, where the Beatles once lived. But your story is a lovely substitute for travels we cannot make. I have always loved the Beatles and I know many of their lyrics by heart. You manage to convey the feeling so well. I went to see a concert with Paul McCartney and the Wings. Awesome. But I was too young to see the whole group live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ann – Christine, thank you for your heartfelt words. I’m on top of the world . Feeling chuffed that my pictures and words were successful in offering a glimpse into my world.
      Beatles of course rocks . Their music and mantra of love and peace are immortal. You are lucky to have seen Paul McCartney. I’ve heard only their cover bands live which were still pretty special . Blame their music , it is spectacular!

      Like

    1. Thank you for your kind words . I tried to fit the brief of offering a peek into my world and at the same time talk about stuff that make me spin with joy. Music , art , travel , books too but will keep the latter for another time .
      Loved your shot of the Sydney Opera House . It was definitely unusual.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi again, Sheetal – and thank you for your wonderful inspiration! I must say I am a bit envious of your fantastic joy and – I can see you smiling throughout your feast and visit to Rishikesh. I had to read it again and again…Here’s my contribution, I had to think a great deal to find out what REALLY makes my heart and mind spin. What is the core of it all. I believe it is this https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2021/02/14/lens-artists-photo-challenge-135-a-glimpse-into-your-world/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ann Christine, thank you for your warm words of appreciation. I’m spinning in delight!
      As for your post , just read it and still feeling basking in its aftermath. Beautiful post, Ann Christine.

      Like

  10. Thank you for sharing your visit to Rishikesh. I was a big fan of the Fab 4 in their day but didn’t know much about their trip to visit the ashram. Your opening image, Flowers Aflame, is beautiful. I am looking forward to sharing my journey on Thursday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John for your kind comments. The Beatles are legendary but their ashram stint as I said was a blip in their history. Wikipedia has much to say and apparently this trip to India inspired a few famous songs as well. Will be eagerly looking forward to your response .

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I especially liked the images in your Humming in Harmony picture, Sheetal. The artists are talented in showing emotion and just the right amount of detail. The smoke in your nighttime pictures has a powerful presence. Wish I could have smelled the incense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What beautiful comments and they echo my thoughts exactly ! The Ganga Aarti with its lamps and smoky incense have to be seen to be believed. It was something like a spiritual bliss watching the lamps move hypnotically, the chants and bells ringing in your ears , the cool night breeze on your hands, Ganga’s water rippling and gleaming under the starry sky. I was enchanted!

      Liked by 1 person

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