While travelling in India, I became fascinated with the variety of patterns in its architecture. Historically, they’re mostly a legacy of the Sultanates and the Mughal Empire, and Islam’s tradition of non-figurative art. But interesting patterns can also be found in Jain, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and modern architecture, and also in natural forms.
These galleries collects all the photographs of patterns I took during my visit. I’m releasing these into the public domain. They are far from comprehensive, and others can be found in various places such as Wikimedia Commons.
Elephanta is an island in Bombay harbour, with a small set of Hindu and Buddhist cave temples. The caves are artificial, the temples cut from the rock around 500 – 800 CE, and the complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s an hour’s boat trip from the Gateway of India, and a popular sightseeing excursion from Bombay.
I’d had mixed reports: Peter and Corinna in Jodhpur had said it wasn’t worth seeing, and Abby in Pushkar had said it was. That returned the verdict to neutral, and I’d already exhausted the things to see in the city, so I decided to go for it.
For the purposes of this post, I will be following Christopher Hitchens‘ policy and refusing to accept Hindu extremist party Shiv Sena‘s etymologically spurious name change, and stubbornly continuing to call the city ‘Bombay‘.
Before I left Delhi, my friend Nidhi told me that there’s a big rivalry between the two cities, and I would have to choose which one I liked. It couldn’t be both. Within five minutes of arriving I could answer her question: Bombay. Definitely Bombay.