Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Photo Feature: Picture Postcards

On the Dalai Lama’s 85th birthday, a throwback pic of the Eight Holy Stupas at Choglamsar just outside Leh. HH is a frequent visitor to the Jivatsal temple at the gompa here.





A rumination on the paths of life. The paths we took.The paths we didn`t. The paths we could have taken. The paths we should have taken.



Some bridges inspire poetry. The striking cantilevered Firth of Forth bridge on the outskirts of Edinburgh, the symbol of Scotland and a Unesco Heritage site, is one such. In Alan Turing’s famous paper about AI, a challenge ran thus: write a sonnet on the Forth Bridge. No thanks, count me out, the test subject responded, I never could write poetry.  #forthbridge #symbolofscotland #scotland #alanturing #bridgesandpoems



The sinister `Anonymous` at the Vajdahunyad Castle. Turns out this gent was medieval Hungary`s first chronicler. You touch his pen/quill, you become a better writer.

One of the two legendary lions that sit on either ends of the Szechenyi Bridge. Legend has it that the artist challenged anyone to find a flaw in the lions, and he`d kill himself. A child pointed out that the noble beasts did not have a tongue, so Marschalko the artist threw himself off the bridge into the Danube . Except, this is just that, a myth. The lions do have tongues and the artist lived to a ripe old age.


On Gellert Hill at the Citadel is the statue of a young man killing a dragon. The former is new Hungary and the beast is fascism.

This woman stood by the bank of the Danube on the Pest side. Now she resides within the Hungarian National Gallery inside the Buda Castle. The breeze from the river blows her dress gently behind her.


Up in the precincts of Buda Castle stands the bronze statue of the mythical Turul, Hungary`s national bird, usually depicted as a cross between a hawk and a falcon,

The raven atop the spire at the Matthias Church isn`t a real one; it`s a sculpted depiction of the bird that carried off King Matthias` gold ring. After he killed the bird and retrieved his ring, he made the raven his heraldic bird. The blur in the sky? A real raven…or crow.


The Liberty statue at the Citadel. The 45-foot-tall young woman holds a palm leaf aloft and can be seen from virtually everywhere in Buda and Pest.

And this is one of the handful of Budapest`s mysterious tiny statuettes which the alert eye spots all over the city, many on the boulevard that runs by the Danube. Ah, is this the Buda pest, asked a friend.

Budapest is verily the City of Statues, even going by east and central Europe`s love for statuary, a relic of their Communist past. Made of metal and stone, almost all are larger than life and all without exception, are a delight to set eyes on. Here`s one set of sculptures that had me gawping, this time last year.



One of the most beautiful spots in the world, now in the eye of a storm. Pangong Tso, a high grassland lake perched 14,270 ft above sea level and stretching a glorious 134 kms, is also known in the upper reaches of Ladakh as ‘long-necked swan lake.’ While no fish swim in these saline waters on the Indian side, the lake and its immediate vicinity are regularly visited by bar-headed geese, Brahminy ducks, kiang and marmots. Sixty per cent of Pangong Tso flows in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, the remaining forty per cent in India. Wherein lies the rub? Well, the LAC actually passes through the lake. #pangongtso #luminouslake #ladakh






        POSTCARDS: Such serenity after a history of such conflict. This beautiful water wonderland, Croatia’s Plitsvice Lakes, 8 kms of woods and water, 16 lakes sparkling in the sunshine, has been the site of pitched battles between the Ottoman and Habsburg empires, and then, more bloody conflict as late as 1991,  in the Croatian War of Independence.


In several wooded areas in the Cumbria region, people used to hammer small denomination coins into timber, right from the 1700s, hoping the trees would cure their illnesses.
I found this tree-trunk studded with coins while walking up the steep Orrest Head hill overlooking Lake Windermere, a few years ago       

Travel: Lake District, UK







Dubrovnik was the first Mediterranean port to quarantine people, animals and merchandise coming in by land or sea, for a period of first 30 days, then extended to 40 days, back in the 14th century. What’s more, offenders who broke lockdown laws were severely punished and fined, too. These details are to be found in the Archives of Dubrovnik, dating back to 27 July 1377.

All photos by Sheila Kumar. All images are subject to copyright.

Links to my other Photo Features:

Photo Feature: Ullapool on Isle of Skye, Scotland

Photo Feature: Critters of Odisha

Photo Feature: Eden and its serpent!

Photo Feature: Eating Chinese food in China

Photo Feature: Paths in the Kumaon foothills

Photo Feature: China chronicles

Photo Feature: Jaipur`s jharokas and more!

Photo Feature: The Lake District

Photo Feature: The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

Photo Feature: Views from a Bangalore Window

Photo Feature: Kiwiland Calling!

Photo Feature: Himachal Heights

Photo Feature: Scotland

Photo Feature: Cats of Turkey

Photo Feature: A Nilgiris montage

Photo Feature: A Ladakh journey

Alan TuringCroatiaCumbriaDubrovnikfirst quarantine cityFirth of Forth BridgeForth Bridgehighland lakeLadakhmoney trees of CumbriaPangong tsopaths of lifephoto featurepics with curious stories behind thempicture postcardsPlitvice Lakes National ParkScotlandSheila Kumarstatues of BudapesttravelWindermere

Sheila Kumar • May 24, 2020

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