Archinect - Indo Inquisition 2014-04-20T15:21:36-04:00 http://archinect.com/blog/article/64698215/the-taj The Taj amlocke 2013-01-02T20:12:00-05:00 >2013-09-08T01:40:15-04:00 <p> And alas we reach the climax, the zenith of a journey and the symbol of a country. When one hears the name India uttered, it is the like image in all minds of which transpires. It comes to rest on travel brochures from here to kingdom come, and is plastered across every tourist office billboard in India. It is the most threadbare, misrepresenting, beautiful photo in all of India, and I shudder to think how many copies of it exist in the world. If one has not the image in mind to which I speak, I applaud ones bohemianism in refusing to ever read a travel magazine, frequent an Indian restaurant or surf the Internet.</p> <p> Stone white edifice, grand arches and a colossal dome flanked by four solemn minarets, two of which retreat into perspective. Resting boastfully atop their plinth, as the reflection in her lotus pool lures the mind away from reality, to a dreamy childhood fantasy. Then one meets the shoulders of two Lithuanians, is cut off by a Korean, and told to abandon frame by an I...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/63164091/the-ghats-of-varanasi The Ghats of Varanasi amlocke 2012-12-11T00:15:00-05:00 >2012-12-17T22:41:34-05:00 <p> It's a temple and a trashcan, a crematorium and a food source, a bathtub and a highway, a swimming pool and an art gallery; the local hang out and the workplace, the water fountain and the sewer. It is where the Ganges meets metropolis, the Ghats of Varanasi. Yes, this Ganges is an efficient machine of nature, carrying multitudes of duty with ease, constant and steadfast, it is the lifeline of the city.</p> <p> Varanasi lies on the west bank of the Ganges and on mornings where the fog is on holiday, it basks in a warm yellow light. A five am boat ride is the tourist highlight and was no doubt in due course. For three hundred rupees one may lease a boat and boatman for two hours time. Amidst the dim streetlights and eerie brume the ghats grow with vitality. The volume of bustle commencing along the Dasashvamedha Ghat at such an hour may pleasantly bewilder one. Perhaps Ganga, the goddess of the Ganges, holds strict time, for at this unearthly hour prayers were in full swing.</p> <p> The prepon...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/62687242/khajuraho Khajuraho amlocke 2012-12-04T13:03:00-05:00 >2012-12-28T05:35:40-05:00 <p> India is riddled with temples. Their locations are recurrently amidst dwindling towns and cities, the remnants of ancient empires. Khajuraho is as unequivocal an example as any of this trifling phenomenon. She rests in the state of Madhya Pradesh, the geographical center of India, and was abandoned for 700 years until rediscovered in 1838. It would not be a temple in India if it were not known for one peculiarity or another, or for enshrining the incarnation of the same deity in its atypical form. Khajuraho is renowned for her superiority in craftsmanship of flagrantly erotic sculptures.</p> <p> There are three groups of temples in Kahjuraho: the West, East and South groups respectively. Although, after surveying the bounties of what this majestic India has to offer, the West group is all that requires one&rsquo;s attention. Once veiled in dense woods, it now lies unveiled to the heavens with lustrous lawns of green. It is India's Parc de la Villette in depths of its pavilions only. And from ...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/62142426/forts-of-rajasthan Forts of Rajasthan amlocke 2012-11-25T23:30:00-05:00 >2012-12-03T22:27:43-05:00 <p> If Rajasthan were as flat as a lakebed the aeries of stone and lace would loose half their height and matching palatial guise. They occupy only the rocky protuberances of her greatest cities, their thrilling palaces hailing precedent to strategic military propriety. I would like to meet a man whose eyes fall upon such a sight as he exclaims, "I shall conquer this mighty obstruction!" for it would take the courage of ten thousand men, or the inflated ego of one, to take such a fort.</p> <p> The most foreboding fort by far is Mehrangarh in Jodhpur. She stands erect upon a hill of red sandstone some 250 ft from her base and possesses only a single gate. An army of any size must run an unforgiving pitched and winded gauntlet of at least a half-mile in length before learning of its overbearing presence. Any surrogate venture to invade requires an army of Chris Sharmas, as these clever engineers excavated the hill into a sheer cliff, then stacked its blocky excrement atop, adding to its heigh...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/61462407/spaces-of-the-working-class Spaces of the Working Class amlocke 2012-11-15T18:48:00-05:00 >2012-11-25T00:15:10-05:00 <p> On occasion one may sense a genuine sincerity from the multitudes of infinite jabber excreted from these Indians, and one must act accordingly when this is found. A simple three-minute gab is all one must endure before chai is posed, and the docile little shop boy shouts away towards some unknown fountain of infinite chai. But it is by this custom of habitual chai tea breaks, that one may witness the workspace and dwellings of India's working class.</p> <p> A common stroll through Udaipur's tourist district (distinguishable by its English signs and lack of actual Indian patrons) affords one multitudes of 'friendly' encounters. One may simply edge a toe past the threshold and a man will tear through his methodized towers of merchandise, turning the hall of records into the rubble of Babylon, to afford a meager pittance. But while he gallivants through his petty abode you will already have received your chai and are well on your way to studying up the place.</p> <p> These boutiques are multifor...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/60066849/anti-monument-the-stepwell Anti-monument: The Stepwell amlocke 2012-10-26T00:34:00-04:00 >2013-02-27T07:17:35-05:00 <p> Although Stepwells in Western India are somewhat trite, few exist in reputable condition. A visit to three of India's best may quench the thirst, so to speak, of said particular desire. Quite simply, to ensure year round water supply in the aired West, wells were dug, and stairs placed for ease of access. And when the women (who are the pack mules of hydration) wished to thank a particular deity for the quenching beverage, they ordered up a proper effigy for them. It seems however, that wall space became a scarcity before they ran out of deities.</p> <p> She is an ingenious typology, though, and the only ancient monument in India, to which I am aware, that stemmed from practical necessities, rather than religious or governmental sanctimony. And in further incongruence, she also functioned as a social and recreational space, inviting children for afternoon swims as women washed clothes.</p> <p> One need not mention specifics pertaining to the ceremonial progression of any particular stepwell, ...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/59536653/gandhinagar-vs-chandigarh Gandhinagar vs Chandigarh amlocke 2012-10-18T04:19:00-04:00 >2012-10-21T21:31:00-04:00 <p> The lineal dogma of Corbu is a pervading one. Although it can be traced into the hearts and minds of all designers, (consciously or subconsciously), it would seem those in his immediacy received a more potent dose. After apprenticing under Corbu in Chandigarh, planners Prakash M. Apte &amp; H. K. Mewada were commissioned to build a new capital for the state of Gujarat. These noble builders of free India set to work with their cookie cutters to stamp out a metropolis in the desert.</p> <p> If Chandigarh is suburbia, then Gandhinagar is a rural village. Her infrastructure lies intact, but capacious planes of shapeless plots bask in the desert sun between her stark social housing and brutalist shopping centers. I cringe to call her a city. A tractor seems more fitting an alias. A machine for living indeed, but for no such living I wish to partake.</p> <p> The heart of Corbu's Chandigarh was her shopping district, an unmitigated sector dedicated to fastidious consumption, and Chandigarh's most freque...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/59457711/doshi-s-ahmedabad Doshi's Ahmedabad amlocke 2012-10-17T00:28:00-04:00 >2012-10-18T00:34:16-04:00 <p> A number of jewels reside within the confines of Gujarat's former capital city. After independence in 1947, strong squalls of design impunity caught the trousers of some noteworthy wielders of the T-square and pencil, and drug them halfway around the world. The denouement is a sprinkling of modernism in the Ahmedabad Karahi- here and there, like the chana in my paneer tikka masala. Ah, yes, that's Corbu I taste, and how smooth the Khan goes down, and how fitting the Doshi is!</p> <p> Corbu's buildings, here, were said to be supervised by Doshi himself. I imagine to some effect, during his residency, Doshi fancied some sentiment towards the city. He opened his practice here in 1955. Although not built until 25 years thereafter, his office Sangath, still holds fidelity to his dogmatic fashion.</p> <p> The scribbles of an address and the words &ldquo;Doshi Altier&rdquo; written in a small notebook confounded four rickshaw drivers. It took the scholarly mind of slacks, a tie, and the businessman who wore the...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/59322207/ellora Ellora amlocke 2012-10-15T00:28:00-04:00 >2012-10-21T21:34:54-04:00 <p> One may not utter the name Ajanta without mentioning its younger and more illustrious counterpart, Ellora. She may not carry the breathtaking panorama, but her grandeur lies elsewhere. Many of her temples are so grandiose in scale they dwarf all the temples of Ajanta! Her miscellany of temples contains no iteration, and is even at times linked by somewhat clandestine passages, inviting curiosity and exploration.</p> <p> Her largest and most popularized temple, Kailasanatha, could boastfully embrace 1,000 Ajanta caves within her confines! One hundred years before her ribbon was cut, she was a hill of stone, and slowly, like the draining of a tub, her figure was exposed, smooth and clean from the fresh hand of the mason. She flaunts her parade of elephants, monolithic obelisks, and infinite effigies as though she were atop the acropolis, but her views are barred. At best, 60 ft is the void between her busty effigies and the unadorned bareness of her eternal cage. Her surrounding voids bec...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/58917766/caves-of-ajanta Caves of Ajanta amlocke 2012-10-09T00:37:00-04:00 >2012-10-16T10:28:27-04:00 <p> A solid wall of rock, 200 ft tall and in my fair judgment 2,000 ft long. Bent a full 180 degrees and punctured with 30 elaborate, hand carved caves. The elders date back to the first or second century BC and are attributed to the Hinayana phase of Buddhism, and the younger from the Mahayana period of the fifth and sixth centuries.</p> <p> The porticos of these portals are dwarfed from afar, stunted by the excessive amount of exposed rock face. It is only upon a more proximate evaluation that one discovers its true scale. But one may espy no Duomo here, as most caves reach no more than 13 ft in height, stretching upwards of perhaps 30 ft for the double storied prayer hall. Historical consideration, I am told, stems from the ethereal frescos adorning the walls of the early caves, and the intricate carvings of the later ones.</p> <p> My euphoric gallivanting was slowed to an amble somewhere between cave 16 and 20 due to an unconscious leak of interest. It was at this time when I realized there w...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/58474407/kanchanjunga-apartments Kanchanjunga Apartments amlocke 2012-10-02T11:04:00-04:00 >2013-03-09T17:04:01-05:00 <p> The power of the architect card floats further here in India than any other. After roaming the caverns of the parking garage of Kanchenjunga Apartments, searching for an open service elevator or stairwell, I followed protocol and attempted my presumptuous stroll past lobby security. It was at this point of which I was intercepted. I pleaded my search was for a restroom, and was kindly escorted towards the nearest. Upon exit I began legwork. I fritted little time on small talk and proceeded hereupon to the big guns. I deployed my sketchbook and proceeded to flip through three years of worldly sketches. Wide eyed, they assumed my status as high architect and I took no action to correct them. I mentioned my adulation for Correa and his work, and then threw the final blow. "I am American," I stated. I was scheduled to return the following day at 11am for my private tour.</p> <p> The elevator slowed to a halt on the 17th floor. My guide fiddled with the lock on a 4 ft wide wooden door, and i...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/58139109/antilla Antilla amlocke 2012-09-27T12:15:00-04:00 >2012-12-27T10:29:52-05:00 <p> Along the western coast of Mumbai is Cumballa Hill, a district of mixed socioeconomic classes. It is here where millionaires and billionaires live harmoniously together, and it is on the crest of Cumballa Hill where the world&rsquo;s most expensive single family home rests. Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire business tycoon, commissioned Perkins + Will to design the 27 story home, which was completed in 2010.</p> <p> My cab driver stopped in front of her gate, as though I had a meeting with Mr. Ambani, and I collected the welcoming eye of the well-clad security guard. Gazing upwards from amongst the passing cars on Altamont Road, the fa&ccedil;ade was a bulwark, closed and uninviting, protected from the neighbors by a shield of greenery. She opened instead to the west,&nbsp;towards the splendid views of the Arabian Sea.</p> <p> She is of the ribbon family. That point in one&rsquo;s design career when it is decide the time is right to take one elongated plane, fold it over itself repeatedly and fill the void with glass a...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/57842460/a-hampi-revelation A Hampi Revelation amlocke 2012-09-23T02:42:00-04:00 >2012-09-30T19:28:27-04:00 <p> The architect's home- a manifestation of his accumulated knowledge, a reflection of his ideology and philosophy bound by the wills of no client, and often the epitome of his career (think Kings Road House, VDL House, etc.) The architect&rsquo;s house is omnipresent, dwelling in the back of the mind, morphing and shifting with aggregated knowledge and experience, waiting for its birth- its materialization. To experience merely a fragment of one&rsquo;s dreams, I have never had the pleasure of making acquaintance, until today.</p> <p> Her name was Hazara Rama. She was built in the 15th century and was the personal temple of the royal patronage of Hampi. Oh what a fine sculpture she is! Her exterior walls reach 15 feet towards the sky, opening most opulently towards the east through a pillared pavilion. Her north gate is not so far emphasized as the east, but more so than the modest south gate. Her plan, I found Mondrian-esk, and her figure ground a clear and balanced composition. Her halls, the prope...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/57598026/hampi Hampi amlocke 2012-09-19T11:32:00-04:00 >2012-09-23T21:29:07-04:00 <p> I thought it falsity upon first glance. Surely no place on earth exists with such vigorous beauty, such vibrant materiality, and such august structures! She came into view from across the Tungabhadra, her high gopura set juxtaposed against the aphotic monsoon clouds beyond. She was Virupaksha Temple, the most noteworthy temple in all of Hampi. One blissful ferry ride later, I was at her base, staring skyward. I removed my shoes (an action I was becoming accustomed to), eluded two large monkeys enjoying their bananas, and proceeded to enter.</p> <p> Pointing my feet firstly towards a dimly lit hypostyle hall, I advanced forward to discover it filled with women cooking and men scrubbing. The men were part of a restoration project, which included scouring off 500 years of dirt and grime from the columns and roof of this great hall. I advanced further remembering the coldness of temple granite beneath my feet. It would be in this hall that I would discern the first great facet of Hampi arch...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/57164472/chennai-s-colonial-residuals Chennai's Colonial Residuals amlocke 2012-09-13T00:14:00-04:00 >2012-09-17T23:10:57-04:00 <p> The city of Chennai is wrought with old English bones. Her skeletons- abashed at times, Zelig-esk, &amp; effete- are filled with program of the most considerable kind, of which, at times concurs with its original intent. By trial and error, it seems architects searched for the proper edifice in which to display Western Exceptionalism. Amongst the steadfast fort walls, Neoclassical cathedral, Neomughal, and Byzantine, a hybrid called Indo-Saracenic may be found. It cloaks itself with western grandiosity, but cannot hide its onion domes and pointed arches. A true fit for the occasion, or a defilement of something already perfected?&nbsp; Equivocal as one may be, perhaps if it must subsist, it is best when it does so in Chennai, as this is the seed to which the tree of British colonial rule sprung.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/ug/ug6mpms69x7ad54y.jpg" title=""></p> <p> The Northern Gate of Fort St. George&nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/zg/zgr2l894zx89ksl5.jpg" title=""></p> <p> Georgetown Post Office</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/hy/hyrfw15g68qdqypt.jpg" title=""></p> <p> Senate House of Madras University</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/gk/gk212jeyitqydc1j.jpg" title=""></p> <p> Operable doors allow for natural ventilation</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/wq/wqii1hi09ms5w9dq.jpg" title=""></p> <p> St. Andrew's Kirk</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/56909085/spencer-plaza Spencer Plaza amlocke 2012-09-08T17:46:00-04:00 >2012-09-17T22:57:47-04:00 <p> The original Spencer Plaza, the first department store in India, burnt down in 1983. Its replacement is a massive 8-story block of granite, in which one million plus sqft of retail and office space have been carved.</p> <p> Spencer Plaza&rsquo;s whole is an accumulation of three phases, each phase given in accordance with a naturally lit atrium, and each atrium accreting in size and grandeur. A vast difference in scale may be found between these atriums and the cavities that unite them. Ceilings of no more than 10 feet in height, and at a width of no more than 15 feet, become ever more impenetrable as merchandise overflows from shops and crowds begin to accumulate. There is, I presume, a fine line between an up-scale bazaar and a mall to which Spencer Plaza dangles over.</p> <p> Both, the strength and importance to which I deem this mall fit for mention lies in its floor plan, or perhaps site plan would be more suitable. Resemblance is befitting to a butchered L'Enfant than any such shopping mall, ...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/56461327/vipassana-meditation-center Vipassana Meditation Center amlocke 2012-09-02T02:46:00-04:00 >2012-09-11T11:06:24-04:00 <p> One does not search for misery, does not set afoot bound for the depths of hell, or make haste for the dwelling of pain. This sentiment however, befalls upon the advent of my first 3 days of the 10-day course. For 10 days one must live like a monk, saying goodbye to one&rsquo;s beloved steak and potatoes, 8 o'clock alarm, and warm, insect-free shower. There are only five activities one finds himself performing. In order of time allotted: meditating, sleeping, eating, walking, and cleaning. This overzealous allotment of activities provides for a rigid program, and combined with the dissociation of sexes, makes any architect's gears begin to turn.</p> <p> There are two main roads, which trisect the site and separate meditation spaces from the residences &amp; dining hall. Between these two roads lie three Dhamma Halls and the pagoda.&nbsp; The main Dhamma Hall is on axis with the pagoda, as the two smaller Dhamma Halls lie aligned, creating a central courtyard. The number of gentlemen to ladies was 3 to...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/55991558/minakshi-sundareshvara-temple Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple amlocke 2012-08-26T03:37:00-04:00 >2012-08-26T18:30:20-04:00 <p> The main attractions at the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple are, of course, the four large gopuras (pyramidal gates) to the north, south, east and west. Consequently, they are the only means of access through the towering exterior walls. These gopuras are covered with stucco deities painted in elaborate colors- a total of 12 exist throughout the temple complex. The gopuras are often aligned with the streets and serve as a wonderful landmark within the city.</p> <p> The complex itself performs two programmatic functions: worshiping and shopping. In essence, it is the 7th Century equivalent to the luxury shopping mall. Grand halls are supported with elaborate pillars of granite, carved and painted, leading from one sanctum to another. One may peruse through boutiques selling trinkets, knick-knacks and jewelry while on the way to a good ol&rsquo; Hindu blessing. There is a floral wreath department, as well as a food court, all conveniently located within the confines of the complex.</p> <p> Smaller shri...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/55855458/the-golden-temple The Golden Temple amlocke 2012-08-24T03:04:00-04:00 >2012-08-27T23:54:56-04:00 <p> If the tower and cathedral of Pisa were the holiest of monuments for the Catholic faith, I would consider its sister city Amritsar. Among a vast heap of urban disarray, nestled between souvenir bazaars, vegetarian-only restaurants, and shoe and bag shops, lies paradise for an entire religion.</p> <p> After removing my shoes and covering my head, I entered through the west gate. At first glimpse, the temple gleams in the sunlight- what a magnificent structure! Upon my first steps within the complex, I quickly discerned between white marble and its sun soaked black counterpart, which was inlayed quite justly. If one wishes to remain neutral, a carpet of reeds is laid upon the ground. Fittingly, it was also the track to the Sekh foot race, which perpetually took place there. I shall never know how many laps one must complete, but I am certain of the definitive direction- clockwise.</p> <p> Many small shrines and tree shrines surround the nectar pool. A pool of water thought to heal the body. Men...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/55644503/chand-s-rock-garden Chand's Rock Garden amlocke 2012-08-21T00:13:00-04:00 >2012-08-27T23:57:45-04:00 <p> If, for whatever reason, an artist wishes to build a gallery to host his work, he should look first to the Rock Garden of Chandigarh. This three-phase collection by Nek Chand, a former road inspector, is a totalitarian labyrinth of sculptures and masonry work, complete with waterfalls, caves, and recycled figurines. Upon first glance, one would be astute to denote the commonalities between our friend Chand and the great Antoni Gaudi. However, his work is in Chandigarh, and thus holds slight biases towards Le Corbusier's construction techniques.</p> <p> The three phases are quite distinct in scale and character. The first phase can be described as if Gaudi arranged a Christmas scene on the lawns of a tiny urban village. Abstract figurines, stacked pottery, and walls made of mechanical parts are displayed along a singular, winding pathway.</p> <p> The transition to phase two is somewhat subtle until one emerges from a dark cavern into a neatly tiled amphitheater. Waterfalls, concrete trees, and...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/55511793/corbu-s-suburbia Corbu's Suburbia? amlocke 2012-08-18T19:00:00-04:00 >2012-08-27T23:57:35-04:00 <p> If one ever wished to dabble in India, to have just a teaspoon, one should sample India Lite, aka Chandigarh. It has all the taste of India, with half the beggars, trash, and touts. The result of a 1950's one-night stand between East Berlin and suburbia USA, Chandigarh is like no city I have witnessed. As a whole, it is without density, variety or eccentricity; and the beauty of exposed concrete is diluted by its overuse and subsequent lack of maintenance. The sector scale possesses a familiar aura of pleasant suburban homeliness, with the assemblage of varying materiality and form, thus bringing about visual stimulation. This, I believe, is where Chandigarh is most successful. However, the sum of the whole is not greater than its parts, as the accumulation of sectors results in a vast desert, often with no sidewalks, and accessible only by the automobile.</p> <p> As the 1950s believed in the future of the automobile, so did Corbu, but so much so that Chandigarh is still bound to her as...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/55249241/chandigarh-s-capitol-complex Chandigarh's Capitol Complex amlocke 2012-08-13T22:19:00-04:00 >2012-08-20T23:14:20-04:00 <p> From a design standpoint, I have nothing but praise for Le Corbusier's Capitol Complex. All three structures sit in a sea of green trees and fields, more rural than urban on any account. The High Court possesses a close relationship with the outdoors, is easily navigable, and from what I have witnessed, mitigates the climate successfully. The Assembly is a clear and well-executed duality between the two main halls. The positive and negative relationships elicit a clear hierarchy, as the tertiary circulation space becomes the most intricate and enduring of all. The Secretariat is more economical than the other two, and possesses a certain regularity, which is broken apart at the facade of the building. The building's most engaging moments are on the roof and within the rooftop canteen.</p> <p> My concern lies in the state at which the buildings are maintained. More often than not preventative maintenance is nonessential, and maintenance is only necessary when the inconvenience becomes to...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/55142415/it-park IT Park amlocke 2012-08-12T02:04:56-04:00 >2012-08-13T22:52:00-04:00 <p> In the advent of the technology boom in India, and accompanying an emerging middle class, comes an architecture of which is foreign to Chandigarh. It is here, in IT Park, where emerging companies place their monuments. These structures stand against the traditional concrete and masonry construction, reverting to steel in order to support its vast curtain walls. The buildings are enclosed in a boundary of electrified wire, no visitors are allowed, and per usual- no pictures.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/s1/s1tj9xaupltz8bsh.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/2t/2t5rnu4owdn3ygt2.jpg" title=""></p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/4k/4kxfamxv2bzrrxat.jpg" title=""></p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/55073227/hauz-khas-village Hauz Khas Village amlocke 2012-08-10T21:23:00-04:00 >2012-08-13T02:48:13-04:00 <p> The cab driver stopped at the gate and motioned to me that he could proceed no further. Hauz Khas Village was reserved for pedestrians only. It was a narrow street filled with alternating boutiques, restaurants, clothing, cafes, art galleries, etcetera. An alcove in the rhythm turns into a narrow alleyway, leading not to sweaty cooks and tired dogs, but rather to more retail and signs advertising rooftop dining.</p> <p> The restaurant sits on the roof of a 5-story row house. It overlooks the lush green landscape of Hauz Khas and one can view the pedestrians walking leisurely along its brim. A body of water, once a 12th century storage tank, is flanked by a mosque, madrasa, and domed tombs. The land has since been taken over by Delhi's well to do offering of shopping, dining, art, and leisure, all of which are in close proximity to home.</p> <p> After dinner, a stroll through the madrasa exposes its value as a public space. The opulent mass offers its mystery and peril fit for any noble teenag...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/54910884/monuments-of-the-mughal-era Monuments of the Mughal Era amlocke 2012-08-08T02:16:00-04:00 >2013-01-15T06:43:20-05:00 <p> A number of Delhi monuments are slightly out of reach from the metro and economically unrealistic for singular rickshaw transport. I opted, therefore, to hire a car and driver at the staggering price of 23 US dollars per day. I would see five monuments within two days, all of which are greater than 400 years of age.</p> <p> I began in the north with the largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid. Clouds hung low overhead, grey and gloomy, as I was given a light introduction to the Indian monsoon. The pathway to Jama Masjid was filled with merchants frantically tying blue tarps from tree to wall, cart to pole. Beneath the tarps light diffused into an aqua tint, like an underwater swap meet.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/oh/ohivtner7ac5kfpf.jpg" title=""></p> <p> I progressed through and up the stairs to the entrance, the gate growing ever more overbearing as I approached. With shoes removed, and ticket paid, I entered through the gate and into the courtyard. It felt secure, rigid, and overbearing. Three walls are arcades, filled with the tired and hungry seeki...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/54703853/old-delhi-alleys Old Delhi Alleys amlocke 2012-08-03T22:46:00-04:00 >2012-08-08T17:22:44-04:00 <p> A thin, dark cavern is carved through the dense urban skin of Old Delhi. The array of tandoori ovens and open burners turn the alley into a furnace at times. Whole chickens are displayed on skewers, flys buzzing from the reshmi kebab to the seekh kebab and back again. An old man sits alone, somewhat surprised by my being. I offer friendship and a photo, and he gladly accepts.</p> <p> Six men were carrying bags of cement into the exoskeleton of what was once a hotel. I asked the 14-year-old foreman if I could help carry the bags. He shook his head no, but offered my entrance into the building as consolation. I graciously accepted, proceeding into the dark and musty stairwell. Bamboo scaffolding, bound with twine, holds tired old men as a small boy welds without a mask. Another worker was taking a break on the balcony, while a police officer who was observing the labor, quickly escorted me out of the building.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/02/0213n3mxdof6pgpm.jpg" title=""></p> <p> Entrance is always met with warm greetings</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/v3/v3twr2dmgwshetww.jpg" title=""></p> <p> A regal old man waits</p> ... http://archinect.com/blog/article/54617521/laxmi-narayan Laxmi Narayan amlocke 2012-08-02T11:01:00-04:00 >2012-08-06T20:09:20-04:00 <p> Traveling by foot, I searched for Laxmi Narayan, a Hindu temple in the heart of Delhi. With bad directions, and a pinch of luck, I stumbled onto another small Hindu temple. An old grey man, who insisted that I take the freshly sliced banana from his outstretched hands, greeted me at the bottom of the white marble stairs. I took my shoes off, the wet marble feeling pleasantly cold to the touch, and met the old man with open palms. I rang a bell overhead and proceeded to the shrine. Here, surrounding a small shrine decorated with leaves, fruit, flowers, and milk, I was greeted with open eyes and a slack jaw from the three women and young man who were mid offering. I motioned to the young man regarding the proper disposal of my fruity offering and he pointed to a shrine behind him, which already had many bananas lain at its base. I kindly nodded my head to the side in acceptance and understanding, then proceeded to offer some vitamin K to a marble woman with 4 arms.</p> <p> I circled the t...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/54559656/jantar-mantar Jantar Mantar amlocke 2012-08-01T10:58:00-04:00 >2012-08-06T20:03:08-04:00 <p> Almost 300 years ago, an astronomer by the name of Sawai Jai Singh II built 5 observatories. Jantar Mantar, in Delhi, is the largest of the five and now stands as a park in the middle of the business district. The Samrat Yantra, or 'King of Instruments,' is essentially a gigantic sundial. Its gnomon is a 65 foot high triangle pointing north and flanked by two semicircles on each side. The gnomon casts its shadow onto these semicircles, which mark the hours by its adjacent stairs.</p> <p> Like much of Delhi, it is not well kept, and is falling into disrepair. Its current occupation is the hosting of obscure physical competitions by the young Indians who visit. Souvenirs are broken away, and names are left carved into the sun baked orange plaster.</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/kp/kpvs6bsx85orqajh.jpg" title=""></p> <p> Samrat Yantra</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://cdn.archinect.net/images/514x/oq/oqng1q3p70pbzxu4.jpg" title=""></p> <p> The sun's shadow is cast along this strip of white plaster. The stair to which it meets tells the time.</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/54474126/connaught-place Connaught Place amlocke 2012-07-30T23:22:00-04:00 >2012-07-31T14:39:34-04:00 <p> Finished in 1931 and designed by Robert Russell, Connaught Place is a striking contrast to the bazaars surrounding. The buildings are broken radially into two tiers, divided again by 7 bisecting streets, and then labeled a block letter from A to N. The plaster colonnades provide shelter from the relentless sun as shoppers circumambulate the relatively new central park. Here, a striking distinction can be seen between classes. The inner colonnade is filled with western shopping giants, but just outside their guarded glass doors lay the textile sellers, bookmen, and beggars alike. But neither market is ignored, as the markets of both classes may be seen here.</p> <p> As one regresses from the center into the fringes of Connaught, both the shops and the buildings are inclined to a more precarious quality. Stone promenades are torn away exposing the veins of Connaught, while plaster has cracked and fallen giving light to the stonework underneath.</p> <p> Central park, the home of lovers, sleepers...</p> http://archinect.com/blog/article/54416178/the-backstreets-of-delhi The Backstreets of Delhi amlocke 2012-07-29T23:25:00-04:00 >2012-11-16T07:25:28-05:00 <p> The buffet of olfactory stimulation could almost be more descriptive than my eyes in Delhi. First the distinct smell of rotting trash, pungent enough to remember for life. Then, as you walk past the street eateries, you're hit with chicken tikka masala, and not just the smell, but the feel of smoke entering your eyes. Nan is prepared in makeshift oil drums, and fills your nostrils with a warm muted smell of something freshly baked. Continuing past the eateries, a blank wall resonates years of urine, stained a darker hue of brown. Then the smell of car exhaust, which strangely reminds me of home. A random repetition of these blends into an olfactory orchestra- an ode to Delhi.</p> <p> The rule of law is oblique, as what would seem grossly illegal is shrugged, while the police harass motorists who seem to have done no more wrong than the fellow beside them. The simple task of crossing the street is a gamble with one's own life, and quite similar to the game popularly known as 'Frogger.' I...</p>