The quiet village of Parsem in north Goa remains frozen in time with its echt-Goan character and spirit intact. It is proud of its quirky heritage: the unusual façade of the ancient temple of Goddess Bhagwati, the nearby banyan tree said to be the largest in Goa, the magnificent old sculptures of Brahma, Vishnu, and so on.

For a place this obscure, Parsem has world-class achievements under its belt. The all-women’s professional theatre company formed here in 1917 was among the earliest of its kind. One of India’s finest musicians and the greatest Hindustani violinist of the 20th C, Sridhar Parsekar, was born in the shadow of the Bhagwati temple. He died tragically young but the villagers of Parsem haven’t forgotten him; an annual classical music festival is celebrated in his name. He also composed for Hindi and Marathi films. For more on Parsekar and his music, go here.

The title of this post is taken from an essay by Alister Miranda, and you are encouraged to read it for a better appreciation of the photographs that follow.

Note on pronunciation to non-Konkani speakers: The ‘m’ in the ‘sem’ syllable in Parsem denotes a nasalized ‘se’.

 

The deepastambha is characteristic of Goa’s Hindu temples but this paired arrangement at the Bhagwati temple is unique.

Bhagwati temple in Parsem

Temple of Bhagwati devi in Parsem, Goa
5D Mark II, TS-E 24L II

 
Bhagwati temple in Parsem

Bhagwati devi of Parsem
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 

Notice the kaavi art (sgraffito) on the temple walls.

Ravalnath temple in Parsem

Temple of Ravalnath, Parsem
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
In Parsem

Pastoral Parsem
5D Mark II, 14L II

 
 

Subsidiary shrines adjacent to the Bhagwati temple host inestimable treasures such as these images of Vishnu and Brahma.

Vishnu at Parsem

Vishnu at Parsem
5D, 85L II

 
Brahma at Parsem

Brahma at Parsem
5D, 85L II

 
Ageless Parsem

Ageless Parsem
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
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  • Sudesh - November 19, 2016 - 5:14 am

    Hello sir..i want percem village Bhagawathi Temple Contact Number… pls give me and help me sir… My Friend asking to take prasada and other details from there..so want to know the Contact Number.. so please help me sir…ReplyCancel

  • ulhas parsekar - December 8, 2012 - 9:14 am

    Rajanbhau namaste,

    Excellent blog,fantastic photograph,title could be Pastoral Parse,
    and not Pastoral Parsem,
    You and mrs Parrikar cordially invited for 16th,Pt.Shridhar Parsekar sangeet samaroha will be held at Parse on 2nd and 3rd feb.2013,programme details will be E Mail to you in due course.

    With Regards,

    Ulhas Parsekar ,organising commitee Pt.Shridhar Parsekar Sangeet Samaroha, Parse.ReplyCancel

  • A R Naikdesai - July 2, 2012 - 9:28 am

    I happen to see the photographs while surfing and they r trully fantastic and vibrant. Please accept my compliments.
    Incidently I am from Parse.
    RegardsReplyCancel

  • A R Naikdesai - July 2, 2012 - 9:24 am

    I am from Parse. Today I accidently visited your blog. Photographs are really eye catching and fantastic. Please acept my compliments.
    Regards.ReplyCancel

  • […] to her son before dispatching him to school on a cold morning earlier this month in the village of Parsem in north Goa. Little Trimurti Vaze and his mother in Parsem5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP   […]ReplyCancel

  • Rani Thompson - September 26, 2010 - 10:24 pm

The majestic table mountain (tuya) – Herðubreið – in the Highlands of Iceland is seen on a dramatic afternoon from the ancient settlement at Möðrudalur, a remote sheep farm and at 469 metres, the highest in the country. Herðubreið is very dear to Icelanders and is often referred to as the Queen of the Icelandic Mountains.

The bluish cast of the mountain has been untouched for that is how it looked to the eye.

Herðubreið

Herðubreið seen from the farm at Möðrudalur
5D Mark II, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

 
Herðubreið

Monochrome version
5D Mark II, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

 
 
Herðubreið

Storm clouds over Herðubreið
5D Mark II, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

 

The church at Möðrudalur was built in 1949 by the farmer Jón Stefánsson in memory of his wife.

From: One Man’s Miracle, Scandinavian Review (1997) by Lawrence Millman.

…Then, of course, there’s the tiny Modrudalur church in Iceland. It is a building I wouldn’t trade for Westminster Abbey, Chartres, or the Cologne Cathedral, not even if you threw in their crypts, too. Why I’m so fond of it you’ll learn shortly, but first let me describe Modrudalur and the man who made this farm, one of Iceland’s most isolated, his hearth for more than forty years.

Modrudalur lies under the icy eminence of Mt. Herdubreid in the northeast corner of the island. All around it is a broad highland plateau whose tundralike ground is a pale dun color barely relieved by clumps of grass. Wind devils whip up swirls of sand and blow them along until they spank against volcanic ash heaps…

 

Möðrudalskirkja
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
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  • […] an ancient breed dating back to the first settlement of the island. We encountered this herd at Möðrudalur last month in near-whiteout […]ReplyCancel

  • Arun - September 19, 2010 - 7:52 pm

    The mountains had wings, and flew around being troublesome; Indra with his thunderbolts cut the wings off. One of those mountains seems to have settled in Iceland. 🙂 It was sitting there thinking of its glory days when Rajan took pictures of it 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Augusto Pinto - September 19, 2010 - 6:24 am

    Apart from Goa of course, from these lovely pictures, ’tis apparent that in Iceland lies the love of Rajan’s life ;-).ReplyCancel

  • Sanjeev - September 19, 2010 - 3:03 am

    The monochrome picture seems to command greater respect !

    great shots.ReplyCancel

Halldór Laxness (1902-1998) was among the great literary figures of the 20th C and Iceland‘s only Nobel Laureate to date. His home, Gljúfrasteinn, located in Mosfellsbær just outside Reykjavík, is now a national museum. A multimedia presentation on Laxness‘s life and an excellent self-guided audio tour of the house are available.

Laxness responded to beauty in all forms, and Western classical music was an especially abiding obsession. His was a romantic life that even included an unsuccessful stint in Hollywood. An assessment of his oeuvre is found here.

Gljúfrasteinn is surrounded by great natural beauty. The visitor can today enjoy the many walking trails that so delighted and inspired Laxness.

Home of Halldór Laxness in Mosfellsbær
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
Mosfellsdalur

Mosfellsdalur: view outside Halldór Laxness' home
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
Halldor Laxness' 1969 Jaguar

Halldor Laxness' 1969 Jaguar
5D Mark II, 14L II

 
 
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  • Dorji - September 5, 2010 - 3:36 am

    The hills in the pic of the horses reminds me of the Monsoon on the Western Ghats. Geologically, too, both the hills (in Island and the Western Ghats) are Basaltic in origin.

    Very pretty!ReplyCancel

  • Alain Briot - September 4, 2010 - 10:21 am

    VHi Rajan,

    Very nice photograph of the Jaguar. I like it!

    Alain BriotReplyCancel

  • Sanjeev - September 2, 2010 - 10:03 pm

    14mm Jaguar could have been on the cover of LIFE magazine !ReplyCancel

  • Arun - September 2, 2010 - 7:50 pm

    Laxness had a lovely view (photo #2 is great) and more trees/shrubs around his house than the Prime Minister.

    The 14mm shot of the Jaguar is a great use of the lens. Great post-processing too!ReplyCancel

  • Arun - September 2, 2010 - 7:31 pm

    Doesn’t snow pile up on Laxness’ roof?ReplyCancel

Scenes from the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the interior Highlands of Iceland.

North Fjallabak route, Iceland

Jökulgil region, North Fjallabak
5D Mark II, TS-E 24L II

 
North Fjallabak route, Iceland

North Fjallabak
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

 
Jökulgil area, North Fjallabak route, Iceland

Fingers, Jökulgil area
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
North Fjallabak route

North Fjallabak route
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
Photographing in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve

Photographing in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve
Photo by: Guðmundur Eyólfsson

 
 
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  • jm - September 19, 2010 - 10:45 pm

    beautiful colours, mr parrikar. i’d like to know the time of the day the pictures are taken, if you see virtue in adding the info to your pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Sanjeev - August 30, 2010 - 1:04 am

    Ansel Adams will be proud of you Rajan (so are we !!)ReplyCancel

  • Shree Datye - August 29, 2010 - 1:49 am

    Dear Rajan,
    These are really wonderful photographs. Water as still as mirror is amazing. The third one from top brought back 29 yr old memories. Could you tell me the approximate co-ordinates of that area?
    Which camera was Guðmundur using?

    ShreeReplyCancel

Route 87 is the interior gravel road linking the settlements of Husavík and Mývatn in northeast Iceland. In the right conditions it is a spectacular drive.

The corrugated route and in the distance, the snow-laced Náttfaravíkur mountains across Skjálfandi Bay.

Road from Husavik to Myvatn

Route 87 from Husavík to Mývatn
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 

Morning coffee on Route 87.

Dutch couple enjoying coffee on the Myvatn to Husavik road

The simple pleasures of life, on Route 87
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 

A monochrome interpretation.

Road from Myvatn to Husavik

Route 87 from Husavík to Mývatn
5D Mark II, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

 
 
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  • SR - August 17, 2010 - 12:55 pm

    I discovered your blog and have been hooked ever since.
    What awesome photography and awesome talent!
    Keep up the great work and continue to publish your awesomeness!ReplyCancel