Except as noted, all images copyrighted by and should be attributed to E. Bourland Hawley.
I had become many eons ago a traveling literary gnome, inquisitive about places I had and had not visited,
walking the same paths of peoples from the past, through places once grand and still grand,
photographing images that now show me the places about which I still dream . . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'll See You in Kathmandu.

These fellows waited for a glimpse of the child goddess. She did peer outside her window for a few seconds.

Freak Street was famous for hippies to spend their time (and three dollars per day) during the sixties.

Lighting candles before an image of Shiva, which I found weird and exotic.

Sunset descended upon us too soon.

Agra, Mind Agra

As one walks through the gate, the Taj Mahal appears in the distance.

Photos cannot seem to convey the magnificence of the sight of the Taj Mahal.

Inside the Taj Mahal, marble is decorated with semi-precious stones. The process is time-consuming and requires a life-long commitment to the skills of sculpting by several artists, one to shape the semi-precious stones, and one to draw the figures and sculpt the marble.

Hemender shines a flashlight to show the translucence of the semi-precious stone inlaid in the Markana marble.

Khajuraho, Babe!

One of the exquisite temples built by the Chandela Rajputs between the ninth and eleventh centuries C.E.

The attendant holds a candle behind the head of Vishnu. The effect seems awesome, especially to worshippers of the past.

Images from the inside of the temple of Vishnu.

Graffiti on the plank near the Lakshmi Temple. Looks fairly recent, in terms of centuries.

Images from the kama sutra.

A woman makes the brushes used as part of the renovations of the temple stones. It is now prohibited to replace images, for in one hundred years visitors will not know the difference between 21 C renovations from the original sculptures.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gnome's Palace Life: Chapter One, The Sniffles

Karl stated facetiously that it is now a tradition for one of his fellow travelers to remain at the Rambagh Palace while recovering from illness. Corky was here a few years ago with bronchitis, and now I am here this week with a severe cold. I say that if one travels frequently enough, one is bound to fall ill somewhere in the world; so here I am, enduring my turn in the barrel at the Rambagh Palace.

A lovely doctor, Archana Sogani, the palace doctor, came to see me yesterday and today, and will return tomorrow morning before I leave for Agra.

At the Rambagh Palace, every guest has a personal butler. I have two, depending on the clock: Pradeep works during the day, and Chetan works in the evenings. It was Chetan who arranged for me to have black tea with lemon and ginger, good for colds, and prepared the same way his mother made for him whenever he caught a cold.

I might become accustomed to palace life. I can pour my own tea, and mix honey in it on my own, but I sit patiently while my butler pours it for me, because that’s what he wants to do, that’s what he was trained to do, and that’s part of the experience of staying at a palace hotel. Thoughts of having my own butler at home have appeared roaming around in my mind, a butler who will bring me tea, then, hold his palms together, and, bowing, leave the room walking backwards.

Below, a member of the staff at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur keeps watch over the inner garden. Whenever a bird lights upon the benches or the fountain, he pounds the cloth with a stick. The sound carries throughout the inner garden to my room.

He walks around the gardens for most of his day. His smile is wide when a guest waves at him.

Would he have pounded his cloth to frighten the peacocks? Below, a female jumps over the wall of the Oriental Gardens at the Rambagh Palace, too shy for my camera lens.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Music and Smiles

Nancy, one of my dearest travel companions, has verbalized an observation for me: The people in India seem not only friendly, but happy, as well. In the old bazaar under the clock tower in Jodhpur, countless small merchants sell their wares and spices, every one of them smiling. They are quick to respond to my waves to them. These people at the old bazaar are the real-life, day-to-day working people who face the realities of life in ways I would not know in any way. They sit most of the day by their property, for example, bracelets or spices, and wait for a buyer. When one does appear, the bargaining begins. At the end of the day, a great many bracelets or spices are packed tightly and carried away. Every once in a while did I see a vendor sitting next to her spread with fewer items at the end of the day. The men in the photo below exemplify part of life in India: They sit around a fire by the side of the street to warm themselves -- and they wave at a passing tourist, smiling.

At the Meherangarh Fort, I noticed the commercialized smiles on the faces of the guards and other staff members; if not for my previous experience with smiling faces, I would not be able to know that behind the trained smiles are people who will feel genuine about feeling friendly at any time, not only when called upon by their job to smile at a tourist.

There were at the Meherrangarh Fort and the Jaswant Thada, musicians who played while small children danced. Perhaps aged four, a little boy danced crudely, without smiling at all, squinting in the hazy sun, following the instructions his father spoke from behind his dilruba (fiddle) as he played. He instructed the boy to turn, to raise his arms, and then to hold out his hand for money from the people watching. At the Jaswant Thada, a young woman, scantly past pubescence, danced with vigor while her father played and her little brother danced. Her little brother danced and followed her direction, every one similar to the direction given to the younger boy at the Meherangarh Fort. Closer to the monument, another boy, much older than the previous two, about ten years old, beat the drum while he sang. Whenever tourists approached, his beat began and his voice carried throughout the grounds. Alone, he did not seem to need instruction, and he sang loudly, clearly, apparently well trained to know when he could rest his hands and voice, and when he should begin his music to entertain the tourists. He garnered many tips, in comparison to the other musicians, during the short time I watched.

We came upon four men who appeared to be soldiers at the fort. They sat crossed-legged in a recessed wall, three with shenai (flutes), and one with drums. In contrast to the other musicians, these men seemed to have made an impromptu decision to find their instruments, sit in the recession of the wall, and jam.
Some of the musicians' shoes are pictured below.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Images from Jodhpur

Stairway of the Umaid Bhawan Palace where we stayed. The fellow with the hat is Hemender, our guide.

An old woman sits at the Meherangarh Fort (c. 1459) in Jodhpur.

Halfway up the Meherangarh Fort, we admire the city of Jodhpur. In winter they mix paint with indigo, which fades during the summer months to white.

Musical notes waft throughout the fort.

Walking down the main street of the fort, one can look up to see the intricate architecture. Here, a woman tends to the ladies' room.

Throughout the Meherangarh Fort, guards sit quietly, smiling for the cameras, with colorful and exquisitely carved backgrounds.

The guards off duty at the Meherangarh Fort give the tourists a display on turban wrapping.

Inside the Jaswant Thada marble cenotaph for Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, translucent marble gives light to the memorial.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Gnome Waves Back

For a while now I’ve felt interested in the archaeological aspects of travel. Indians, though, have opened my eyes to see the people who live near the archeological sites. Monuments and the carvings on them that increase their significance become a backdrop to the people who live at their base. In my recently developed view in this regard, India Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, the Jama Masjid Mosque, and the Qutab Minar, loom amazingly above, and yet, it is the people who bustle and hustle next to me that seem the more impressive.
Whatever shyness I had about taking photographs of people quickly diminished this week during my visit to New Delhi. I saw smiles everywhere I turned, and smiling persons would compel me to turn to them to return the friendliness. New Delhians posed as soon as they glimpsed my camera, and stood with smiles, their hands on or around the shoulders of their friends. Pretty soon I learned to not restrain myself with my camera. A high number of the population speaks English, so it was easy, because of both knowledge of the same language and their friendliness, to start conversations on the street, or at the foot of an impressive structure.
I discovered the same friendliness in Jodhpur. Vendors at the old bazaar around the ghanta ghar, or clock tower, smiled up at me, or continued their thoughtful conversations as I aimed my lens at them. Some of them even raised their hands to wave, and kept their position long enough for me to settle on the settings of my camera and compose the photograph.
The experience of walking through the old bazaar was something I would never have imagined, even if Karl had told me about it. It is as beautiful in color as Egypt, and yet, again, the color, like the impressive monuments, becomes a backdrop behind what has become my main focus, the people.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gnome Grabs Shots from a Rickshaw in Old Delhi, Includes Carefully Composed Shots of New Delhi

A dot of henna and a necklace of fragrant orchids -- a traditional welcome to India.

Gnome looks through the pattern intricately-carved from stone.

Jama Masjid Mosque, one of Asia's largest mosques.

Stairway leading to Humayun's tomb.

Visitors to Humayun's tomb walk through the west gate.

Children return from visiting Isa Kahn's tomb.

We pay for the opportunity to take photographs; in turn, the funds they collect help support the monuments and museums we photograph.

A daughter and a father walk through Gandhi's house, now a museum. To their left, a poster depicts Gandhi "walking home."

A minimalist drawing depicting the profile of Mahatma Gandhi.

Let Lovely Turn of Phrase Begin

Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On

Listen, will you? I think that . . . literature, poetry, music and love make the world go round . . . while mathematics explains things; I fill my life with them, then go walking in snowy woods.
Let us go then, you and I
like two etherized patients floating
through life, together feeling prufrockian.
DDB Jr. makes my world go 'round; during his absence, Pachelbel fills it up.
One summer I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, then through the Gulf of Finland to reach Saint Petersburg; I pursued Joseph Brodsky in its alley ways. I dream of making that two summers.
I read “Biking to Electra;” found my way in a Jaguar car, and glanced at the flashing steel grasshoppers at sunset. I’ll follow K.O.P.’s footsteps after he followed N.Scott Momaday’s; find warmth and inspiration on a rainy mountain.
Throw chinese coins for the I Ching.
Save the whales, the spotted owl, the woman in toil.
Cast a fly for trout; my memories of fly fishing under the sunny blue Colorado sky remain; I yearn to build more . . . with more trophy Browns.
Listen for the swan’s calls on the Baltic Sea. Feel KKII's joy, his arms spread wide in Yazilikaya.
Good night, Jimmy Durante, where ever you are.