When I was in India last year, I did a bit of experimenting with stereoscopy.
Stereoscopy is a technique for creating 3D images. By taking one photograph of a subject, then moving position very slightly to the left or right, and taking a second photograph of the same subject, you end up with a stereoscopic pair of pictures. This pair replicates the two slightly horizontally displaced versions of the world seen by each of your eyes. All you need to do then is place the two photographs side by side, and cross your eyes so that one eye is looking at one image, and the other eye is looking at the other one. Your brain then combines and interprets the two images in the way it normally does, to reproduce a 3D perception of the subject.
I used to play about with this technique when I was younger, and visiting some of the forts and ruins of India, I realised they might be particularly good for stereoscopy. I’ve just got around to editing the photos into pairs, so here they are.
Sarnath is a religious/archaeological site a few km out of Varanasi. It was originally a deer park, and was where Buddha preached his first sermon after achieving enlightenment. It’s one of the four pilgrimage sites of the life of Buddha, the others being the places of his birth (Lumbini in Nepal), his achievement of enlightenment (Bodh Gaya in Bihar, India) and his death (Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, India).
The place where a thing happened often isn’t very interesting, but in the case of Sarnath (and the other sites), the fact that many people believe it has value has made it interesting, because they’ve built lots of stuff there. It’s not currently a World Heritage site, but it can’t be long before it becomes one, so I thought I’d bag it pre-emptively.
I’ve left Maharashtra. I’m (almost) done with caves. But I haven’t quite finished with Buddhism yet.
Sanchi is a small village in Madhya Pradesh, near (ie, in Indian terms, a two hour bus journey from) Bhopal. On a small hill just above the village are the Great Stupa and other monuments, a World Heritage Site and one of the oldest and most important Buddhist artefacts in the world. Or, as an entirely serious, but questionably translated, information plaque put it, the “numero uno among a string of Buddhist sites”.