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Monumental India presents breathtaking panoramic views of North India's famed monuments and sites as well as little-known architectural gems. Produced in a landscape format and including stunning multipage gatefolds, it covers many fascinating varieties of styles and periods and features sprawling Hindu and Jain temple complexes, imposing Islamic tombs and mosques, serene Buddhist monasteries and stupas, colonial and royal palaces, and majestic forts. The camera enters magnificent darbar halls where maharajas once held formal audience, and the opulent interiors of their private apartments, with mirrored decorations, chandeliers, and luxurious brocades.
Beginning high in the Zanskar Mountains, Amit Pasricha photographs the 13th-century Thiksey Monastery that clings to a hillside in Ladakh. In Chandigarh, he captures Le Corbusier's revolutionary design that altered the course of modern Indian architecture, and in Agra and Delhi, the iconic Taj Mahal and the colonial North and South Blocks. He travels across the deserts of Rajasthan to the massive 15th-century Rajput fort of Kumbalgarh, and crosses the plains to Madhya Pradesh for the sparkling Jai Vilas Palace and the 2nd-century BCE Sanchi stupa, ending this incredible journey at the prehistoric Bhimbetka Caves
Amit Pasricha enlists the elements - sun, snow, mist, and cloud - to give the photographs cosmic drama, and his mastery of the panoramic format underscores the majesty of nature and the glory of manmade structures. His images capture the broad sweep of an edifice along with its finest, most intricate details. Aman Nath's insightful text completes this beautiful collection of photographs, making Monumental India a limited edition to be preserved and treasured.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Many years ago, while I was still at school,my father, then photo-editor at
the American Centre, asked me if I would liketo emigrate to America.I was
already a photographer and even way back then,there wasn't a shadow of
doubt in my mind. No, I said, I belong hereand my instincts work so much
better here in my homeland. Photographically,I could recognize and respond
to every subtle nuance of the Indian canvas,every intangible could seep
into my images - the dark quality of an overgrownruin, the breaking of the
monsoon on hot ground, the call of thebrain-fever bird on a humid hillside,
the shriek of the peacock over thesun-bleached ramparts of a fort, temple
bells across holy rivers, the murmur ofpraying monks, even the march of
modernity over an ancient country - all thisto me was familiar, even when I
was seeing something for the first time. Itwas all spun from the same
thread that had spun me, and I wanted tophotograph it.
Many years on the road as a travel and tourismphotographer, shooting India
in bits and pieces - art and culture, historyand tradition - left me
yearning for a more complete vision. I soondiscovered that panoramic
pictures in many ways set the subject within acontext.
My brief for this pictorial book on themonuments of North India was a
difficult one. I was to shoot unpeopledlandscapes - 'sanitized' was the
word used. There are few countries morepeopled or less sanitized. I was to
give the image the mood of an old lithograph,where very large and dramatic
monuments were occasionally offset by one ortwo traditionally-attired
persons. Now, traditionally-attired personsare a lot harder to come by than
you would imagine, in present-day India'sfast-changing society. I thought I
would photograph while India sleeps.Unfortunately, I found, Indianever
sleeps. Yet somehow, in my long months waitingupon these monuments to
reveal themselves to me, each one of them did.None failed me.
Indian history tells us how this country is a greatconfluence of diverse
cultures. Traders, missionaries and armiespoured in through the Western
Himalayan passes down to the dusty plains.Some of them were permanently
caught up and held in the valleys and troughsof Kashmir and Himachal,
creating a beautifully erratic patchwork ofcultures - Mongols in one
valley, Aryans in the next; Buddhism in therainshadow, Islam by the
glaciers; burqa-clad women on one mountain,polyandrous ones on the next;
courtly Persian spoken in one village, aTibetan dialect in the next.
Europeans came in from the ports and theremains of colonial occupation can
be seen in the churches and bungalows of mistyHimalayan hill-stations and
in the cantonment towns and garrisons of thenorthern plains. In Delhi,
grandiose edifices stare down their imperialnoses at India'steeming
As I educated myself about each of mysubjects, I found that each monument,
despite the attrition of time, or despite itbeing swamped by urban sprawl,
or despite the sometimes over-enthusiastic'restoration', nevertheless
preserved its character. You just had to waitinside it, or outside it, long
enough, until you saw it. I also saw thatwhile average Indians have a
reverence for just about everything in nature- even animals, stones and
cow-dung - their reverence does not extend tohistory. They will happily
colonize or cannibalize historical buildings,incorporating them into the
present, often to the horror of the Westernviewer. As a wise Indian once
explained to an upset Englishman, "You mustunderstand sir; in Indiawe burn
Nevertheless, in India you are never very far fromhistorical ruins.
Hundreds of medieval forts are silhouettedagainst every horizon of
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh -their crumbling contours rise
out of deserts, sandstone scarps, ravines andmustard fields. At every turn
there are cenotaphs, memorials to forgottenroyals. Small thorn-choked
temples bear the palm prints of a *sati*. Allthis is part of the terrain,
scarcely noticed by the villagers except whenstories are told on summer
nights as the men sit, passing around the*hookah* and slapping away the
mosquitoes. Descendants of princes unable tomaintain their palaces and
forts sold them to the government, where theywere turned into shabby
citadels of bureaucracy. Some simply abandonedtheir hilltop fortresses to
the elements, or left behind an old retainerto shoo away the cattle that
tried to take up residence in the royalboudoirs.
The last two decades have seen India breakaway aggressively from its
post-Independence socialist foundations.Heritage has been rediscovered as a
paying proposition. Many palaces and fortshave been dusted off and
resurrected for lavish 'maharaja' weddings.Cash-rich urban Indians and
foreign tourists have made heritage hotelscommercially viable. But many
archaeological treasures still remainundiscovered. Most times there are no
records of these fiefdoms, their wars andalliances. Their history is
chronicled only in the wistful memories oftheir royal descendants.
In order to do justice to the physical andmetaphysical scale of India's
monuments I needed to* * extend manyparameters of perception. I needed to
fit into my frame even more than the eye couldsee. I shot each panorama
part by part, scrupulously maintainingperspective, and then digitally
`stitched' the images together, to create anever-seen-before vista of the
monument. Views that sometimes stretched to360 degrees, so that the viewer
could be everywhere at once. In some of theimages, there is even a small
time-lapse between one section of thephotograph and the next, resulting in
subtle light variations. Just as it isexperienced in real time.
However in the final analysis, it is to themonument itself that credit must
go. When I was a very young photographerattending a Photographic Workshop
in Maine, a professor looking through myportfolio refused to critique it,
saying, that with a subject as exotic asIndia, I would have to be
completely incompetent in order to take a badpicture. And now, even at its
widest angles, India allows no space forhubris.
About the PHOTOGRAPHER
Amit Pasricha lives in New Delhi, India and comes from a family of photographers. He is a remarkable architectural and social documentary photographer, and specializes in the panoramic format. His photographs have been published in several books, including Dome over India: Rashtrapati Bhavan, Horizons: The Tata-India Century, and India: Then & Now. His work has been exhibited in India, London, and New York.
About the AUTHOR
Aman Nath has a master's degree in history. He has traveled extensively in North India and is engaged in the restoration of historical properties now run as a heritage chain of Neemrana non-hotel” Hotels. Nath has also been actively involved with India's contemporary art since the 1970s. He is the author of several books including Jaipur: The Last Destination, Dome Over India: Rashtrapati Bhavan, and Horizons: The Tata-India Century.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Vendome Press, 2008. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0865651973