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Travel With Fujifilm X100S : Portrait of Dhurba & Raj

I met these gentlemen on our road trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara. It was just near the roadside where people stop for toilet, tea or just to have some fresh air near the Trisuli River. By the time I got out from the car, I knew that I want to photograph them. But I took my time building up some confidence for both of us. He thought I was attracted with the lady who was nearby making local delicacy, the Sel Roti. Made of rice flour, deep fried to make crispy outer but puffy inside.

Sel Roti

After spending few minutes photographing the lady and the food, I made my move to communicate with him. Mr. Dhurba, 36, is a lorry driver coming all the way from Kathmandu like us, heading further beyond Pokhara. I took a look at the lorry and quite surprise to find the interior look like you were sitting in our living room. It was well decorated. Accompanying with him is his assistance, Mr Raj, 51, who came to and join our conversation. After gained enough trust between us, I ask permission if I could take their portrait. Without hesitant they agreed to my request.

Mr. Dhurba, 36

Mr Raj, 51

I was using Fujifilm X100S belong to a friend of mine during this trip. The classic appearance of the body makes other feel this was old camera and nothing serious about it, people feel more comfortable compared to the big black DSLR with its bulky lenses. Nowadays, people thinks that you make big money when you took photo with DSLR. I have been using Fujifim system more than 1 year and never thinking of turning back to other DSLR, this is there camera system that suits me well especially for travel.

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Madrasa Islamiya School, Kathmandu, Nepal

On our Day 2 of our trip in Nepal December 2014, after made a discussion with all members, we decided to go and find a mosque in Kathmandu. Alhamdullilah, we found 2 mosques (Nepali Masjid & Kashmiri Masjid) near Ghandahar, Kathmandu. We soon discover a boarding Islamic School in Nepali Masjid which added a bonus to this visit. Muslim in Nepal is only 4% of its total population. About 97% muslim living in Terai Region, while only 1% living in Kathmandu. According to the history, it was the Kashmiri traders who bring Islam into Kathmandu Valley in the 15th century during the regime of King Ratna Malla. Madrasa Islamiya School was established year 1996 B.S (1940 AD). Located just behind Nepali Masjid in Ghandahar, Kathmandu. The principal, Mr. Subhan Ali, 42, were very happy to bring us around the Madrasa. Unfortunately, there were no classes on Friday so we can’t experience the classrooms and the teachings.

Mr Subhan Ali, 42

We were introduced by a security guard to the principal of the Madrasa, Mr Subhan Ali, 42. He was very happy to bring us around the Madrasa.

Madrasa Islamilya School

Madrasa Islamiya School

As I explore the Madrasa, I found a kitchen where I met Mr Abdul Kadir preparing Dal Bhat for the student and teachers. I went inside the kitchen and spent some time to get to know them.

Nepali Jame Masjid’s Muazin, Mohamad Ilyas

The Cook of the School, Mr Abdul Kadir

Mr Abdul Kadir

Mr Abdul Kadir and Mr Mohamad Ilyas

It was a good experience to have this opportunity to visit a Madrasa in Kathmandu and surely will make another visit if I ever step in Nepal in future.

Nepal Photography Trip 25-31 Dec 2014

Alhamdulillah, another trip to Nepal has been done just a month ago. Total of 6 pax including me, even though not as many as on my February trip, but there is no less the fun. This trip which I can consider too late to push in the beginning however has attracted 5 interested participant including one repeating participant from the February trip. For me, I never thought of visiting Nepal twice in a year. We spent 2 night in Bhaktapur, 2 Night Pokhara and 1 Night in Kathmandu.

The itinerary has been improved compared to February trip which we stayed 2 night in Bhaktapur instead of Kathmandu. I’m expecting more photo opportunity in Bhaktapur. Guide greeted us upon our arrival, we then to go Thamel for lunch before proceeding to Bhaktapur. It was already dark when we finally reach Bhaktapur but still we can see some people chanting outside the temple. On day 2 supposed to be our free activity the whole day at Bhaktapur, but after made a discussion with the group, we decided to go find a mosque in Kathmandu as well as the Monkey Temple. We made our way to Pokhara on Day 3 and stayed near the top of Sarangkot. On day 4 once again we ask our guide if we can find any mosque in Pokhara, boating at Phewa Lake in afternoon. Back to Kahtmandu on Day 5 where everybody exhausted of the long journey. The last day we went to Pashupatinath and did some last minute shopping before leaving to airport.

There will be several post to come next. By then, thanks to all participant of your trust, hope to see you again on other trip in future.

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Photo Credit: Mas

 

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From Left: Affaindi, Rosli, Hatta, Mas, Me, Nur Hafidzah | Photo Credit: Affandi

 

 

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Photo Credit: Affandi

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Photo With Mr Dhurba & Mr Raj. | Photo Credit: Nur Hafidzah

 

 

How To Go Nepal Embassy In KL | Submit Visa Application

If you planning to go to Nepal Embassy’s office in KL, please note that the no longer operate at Wisma MCA, Jalan Ampang. Nepal Embassy’ Office is now located at the new address below:

SUITE C-15, WISMA GOSHEN (TOWER C)
BANGSAR TRADE CENTRE
NO.5, PERSIARAN PANTAI BARU
OFF JALAN PANTAI BARU
59200 KUALA LUMPUR

For those who wants to submit Visa Application Form, here’s few note for you:

  • Bring Original Passport & It’s photocopy
  • Passport Sized Photo
  • Download Visa Application Form (here) and fill it.
  • RM95 for 15 Day Visit. Click here for more info about the rate
  • Check their holiday as they will close during Nepal Public Holiday too. Check at their main page
  • Operating Hours:  (Monday – Friday) from 09:30 to 12:30 hours and collect their passport with visa the second day after 14:00 to 16:30 hours. So for submission, you should come around 0930hrs to 1230hrs.

 

If you are not familiar with the new address like me, here’s the guide how to get there (I started at KL Sentral)

  1. Get to KL Sentral
  2. Take LRT to Kerinchi Station (Kelana Jaya Line). Cost is RM1.60
  3. Once you reach at Kerinchi Station. Go to the exit. 
  4. You will notice there’s 7 Eleven on your left.
  5. Go towards it and then turn left (this will lead to food court).
  6. At the corner, there is a cafe and you can see there is an exit.
  7. Go to the exit and turn right. 
  8. Look for entrance with “WISMA GOSHEN”. The same building where you exit. 
  9. Take the lift to the 15th Floor
  10. Say Namaste to everybody. 

 

An Official Receipt will be issued and you should keep it to collect your passport, your visa should be ready on the next day.

 

 

Travel Photography With Fujifilm X100 | Destination: Nepal | Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur is one of our destination during our recent trip to Nepal with my fellow friends. In 2012, I have spent much time with wide angle lens. Since established shot was not my aim for this trip, I decided to use only 1 lens looking for any chances for portrait.

On our way from Sarangkot down to Bhaktapur, a friend of me, Leanna Chong asking me if I dare exchange our camera. So she will be using my Fujifilm X-Pro1, and I will use Fujifilm X100. I have no hesitate to take that as a challenge.

I struggled for half an hour to understand how X100 works. A lot of guessing within the menus and finally I get the some basic understanding how does it working.Basic means to know simple setting like aperture, exposure, shooting modes, shutter speeds and ISO. I believe X100 provides a lot of features, but I don’t want to spent so much time and perhaps missed any potential shots along the way.

Entrance Ticket

 

Group Photo at Bhaktapur | Fujifilm X-Pro1

Travel Photography | Destination: Nepal | Swayambhunath Stupa (The Monkey Temple), Kathmandu

Swayambhunath Stupa (The Monkey Temple)

 

Swayambhunath, is among the oldest religious sites in Nepal. The complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples.  Swayambhunath is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in the north-west parts of the temple. From Thamel, it cost about Rs400 one way with tiny taxi ride. When you ride this kind of taxi, please don’t expect they will use the main road. When we use the taxi back in 2012, I felt like I was playing game which we run away from getting caught and there is an urgency to use your skills to go back side of the building passing local market, shops, residence area, temple, shops, and another temple and then the driver said, “Sir, this is Swayambhunath Stupa”. 

“I think we were scammed, there is no temple here”. But thats before we see a staircase leading to the temple. The entrance is Rs200 per person.

Federation of Swayambhu Management Conservation Ticket

 

Steps to Swayambhunath Temple, the point where you have to buy the conservation ticket & take your long breath. You don’t want to know how far is it from the bottom

 

I found this quote to express the experience climbing these steps:

We were breathless and sweating as we stumbled up the last steep steps and practically fell upon the biggest vajra (thunder-bolt scepter) that I have ever seen.” – Allione, Women Of Wisdom. 

Well this is true enough, one of our member even vomiting just about 5 minutes after reaching to the top.

A monk circling the Stupa

 

 

For the Buddhist Newars in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice, Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it is second only to Boudhanath.

 

Each morning before dawn hundreds of Buddhist (Vajrayana) and Hindu pilgrims ascend the 365 steps from eastern side that lead up the hill

There are carvings of the Panch Buddhas (five Buddhas) on each of the four sides of stupa.

Tibetan Praying Wheels

 

Visitor enjoying spectacular viewing of Kathmandu

Praying Candles

Praying Candles

Praying Candles

A women lost in her own world reading newspaper, neglecting people passing by or even being photographed

Portrait of women at Swayambhunath Stupa

Portrait of women at Swayambhunath Stupa

 

 

These set of images was taken during my first visit in 2012 and my recent 2014.

Thank you for your time viewing this post.

 

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Travel Photography With Fujifilm X-Pro1 | Destination : Nepal | Doors of Nepal

This post is simply about collection of doors that attracts my interest during our recent travel photography trip. They came with various characteristic. Some with stricking colors, while other with seasoned feature. It can be just a simple doors like what we can see in our hometown. Doors with padlock are common in Nepal especially when visiting Bhaktapur & Patan.

I haven’t done any research about the doors role against local community here in Nepal but I suspect it must be related to Buddhism practice. The way they paint the doors with striking colors, amazingly detailed hand carved woods tells us how important the doors are related into their life. Only the windows and doors are mainly painted or decorated while the other part of the house or building left seasoned.

From photographic viewpoint, it is very easy to photograph the doors or windows. There is no need to deal with people so you don’t think about your life and death of asking people to photograph them. You can do it even with your phone’s camera. No special technique and if you like me, no need to carry any lighting equipment to get this done. Often time when travelling, I will pack as minimal as I could so that I don’t clutter my mind of taking care of my gears in my bag while moving around. The less the better.

These are my collection : Doors of Nepal

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

-Walt Disney-

Travel Photography With Fujifilm X-Pro1 | Destination: Nepal | Boudhanath Stupa

If you happened in Kathmandu and you have nothing in your plan for that day, I will suggest a visit to Boudhanath Stupa. The largest stupa in Nepal, ranked no. 3 interesting places to visit in Kathmandu written in Lonely Planet Travel Guide Book.

Located about 7km of east of the downtown Kathmandu, if you from Thamel, Kathmandu’s tourist spot, it cost you about Rs350 (in 2012) per way with a small, cramped sized taxi. It took about 15-20 minutes to reach here. Entrance fees applied at the gate with the cost of Rs150 per person.

Boudhanath Stupa Entrance Ticket

Boudhanath is both an eye of calm within capital’s dusty pandemonium and a sancutary of Tibetan Buddhist culture amid a nation dominated by Nepal Hindus. Throughout its narrow streets, you can see posters of smiling Dalai Lama, Tibetan folk-medicine stores, traditional artisans’ workshops, and restaurants. It has been announced as World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1979. Buddhists walk around the sacred monuments clockwise, the same direction a prayer wheel spins. The monasteries near the stupa have become a global centre of Tibetan Buddhism.

Prayers at Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa With Golden Layer At The Edge Of The Horizon

If you planned to make a visit, I suggest to go here arround 3-5pm. If you come earlier, the you will have all the time for visit all the shops inside, of have a cup of coffee or two at one of the roof top cafe surrounding the big stupa. I’m suggesting to visit at that time so that we are can target for the sunset and the blue hour. Well I don’t really mean that sunset but to have Boudhanath with nice golden layer at the edge of the horizon. During blue hour, when they started to lid the prayer candles and put it around the stupa is something not to be missed too. I didn’t manage to wait until all prayer candles fully completed arranged around the stupa, but for now, that will be in my “must-have” list on my next visit.

Boudhanath Stupa

A Lady Preparing Prayer Candles And Boudhanath Stupa

View From One Of Monastery Around Boudhanath

Prayer Candles getting lined up arround Boudhanath Stupa

Travel Photography | Destination : Nepal | Bicycle

Education is a continual process, it’s like a bicycle… If you don’t pedal you don’t go forward. – George Wea

The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own. – Susan Sontag


 Life is like riding a bicycle: you don’t fall off unless you stop pedaling. – Claude Pepper
 

Traditional Nepalese Carved Windows & Doors

While in Nepal, I’m pretty sure you will attracted by the detailed carving on doors and window at homes and even at their shops.

Even you’re in streets of Kathmandu, this exotic looking windows & doors are everywhere. For locals, they even don’t notice about that rich carved doors because it was just normal to them but not “everyday” to me. You can see this even in impoverished homes or building.  Their little doors say so much about where they have come from, their struggle and their optimism for the future. These are “an inevitably essential part of the architectural complex and received considerable embellishment in spite of the limited scope offered by the trellis-like tracery of the window-panels. They are examples of artistic perfection within the confined frame-work of geometric precision.” Wood-carvings on a window or door is not only a decoration, but there are religion, myths and tantras (mysticism) interwoven in it. You may not imagine that there are technical names for the component parts of a window. But there are meaningful words for them. Every part of a window represent something of religious significance. (click here for further reading)

These are some my collection of the beautiful work of Nepal. The Traditional Nepalese Carved Windows & Doors

 

While travelling, it is easy of me to neglect such detailed carvings. These are kind of boring shots. Most of the time, I will wait for someone to enter the frame to add more point of interest as well as to provide better story telling. I do have some of it in my collection. For this post, I would only present it without any subject so that we can appreciate those amazing work of Nepalese.

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