The walls in the vestibule of the Institute Menezes Braganza building in the heart of Panjim (capital city of Goa) are decorated with exquisite Azulejos. The scenes depicted are taken from the poem Os Lusíadas by the Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões. For more on Azulejos, see this.

Photographing the Azulejos in Panjim presents two challenges. One is the lighting – the only opening for natural light is through the main door in a direction parallel to the walls, and this results in highly uneven illumination across their length. The interior lighting is not helpful, since it consists of a tubelight which does nothing more than reflect blobs of specular highlights from the walls. Without an elaborate secondary lighting set-up, the only recourse is to correct for and balance the illumination in post-processing.

The second difficulty is the narrow width of the passageway itself, which leaves little room for backing out. A standard ultra-wide angle lens will take in the entire scene but render the vertical lines convergent. This issue was presently addressed through the use of the magnificent TS-E 17L lens.

A quick rendering of a couple of Azulejos is presented below. As can be expected from the asymmetrical illumination, the tonal and colour balance show variation across the two frames as well as within each frame.

Azulejo at Institute Menezes Braganza building in Panjim, Goa

Azulejo at Institute Menezes Braganza building in Panjim, Goa
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

 
Azulejo at Institute Menezes Braganza building

Azulejo at Institute Menezes Braganza building
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

 
Old building housing the Institute Menezes Braganza<br>5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

Old building housing the Institute Menezes Braganza
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

 

This lady – she said she was from the village of Uccasaim – hovered in the background and after I was done shooting, insisted that I take her portrait.

Maria Fernandes, outside the Institute Menezes Braganza building<br>5D Mark II, 24-105L

Maria Fernandes, outside the Institute Menezes Braganza building
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
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  • Ashok Lobo - May 22, 2016 - 2:35 pm

    Mr Rajan Parrikar, your work is truly spectacular. You are recording history in Goa that is fast vanishing. May you have all the resources to continue this excellent work. Rock on. Wow. Truly spectacular pictures Best wishes Ashok LoboReplyCancel

  • […] the azulejos. 'Tea Café' in Fontainhas5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP […]ReplyCancel

  • venantius j pinto - January 26, 2010 - 3:24 pm

    You just may have captured something serial about Goan pathos. I think she represents more than herself. I wish she had looked straight at you—into the lens. On the other hand the complete page invites a more nuanced reading of colonial encounters—and losers too.ReplyCancel

  • Gabriel - December 23, 2009 - 4:22 am

    Wow the detail & clarity – not only of the azulejos but other photos of beauty on the site – every palm frond, every blade of grass discernible. But most of all, the angle of the photography indicates an artist behind the camera.ReplyCancel

  • Shrikant Barve - November 17, 2009 - 8:04 pm

    Hararoj dekha, man kabhi bhara nahi, Ek bar dekha, trupt ho gaya.ReplyCancel

  • Albert Da Cruz - November 17, 2009 - 5:58 pm

    Very impressive indeed. It is said “a picture is worth a thousand words” Well done Rajan.

    The Azulejos were a useful propaganda tool to further the grandeur of Portugues rule in Goa.

    It is a fascinating story of the Women and children of sailors, at the mouth of the River Taurus in Lisbon who set sail for unknown land of fabulous wealth and grandeur. Note that this is a tale of the social structure then prevalent in Portugal when the King and the Church encourage the poor illiterate sailors to go forth at the risk of their lives.

    It is a tribute to the generosity of spirit shown by the people of Goa of the 15th century to receive the visitors to their shore with kindness and hospitality. Notice that after their long voyage they were dispirited, hungry and ridden with disease. However, this was not reciprocated by the invaders who came more to obtain silks and spices for their principals in Europe and carried out merciless murder of a highly cultured and generous people. No Jesuit or other of the many Church orders have left a tribute to the generosity of the Goan People. Perhaps the younger generation will address the void.

    Sadly the Church were co-sponsors of this endeavour and historian from the West have extolled the whole exercise as one of unparalled achievments of the time. Mario Miranda has depicted this wholesale destruction of the Buildings, and Institution in one of his social comentary cartoons.

    Hope that Mario’s cartoon will one day be transalated into permanent displays for the common people.

    One lives in Hope.
    .ReplyCancel

  • Tony de Sa - November 15, 2009 - 8:17 pm

    Rajan, the pictures are excellent and do you credit as an accomplished photographer.
    You do service to Goa by photographing the sights that may one day well disappear if the authorities decide to raze the building and put up a seven storied structure. You never can tell!ReplyCancel

  • Vinay - November 15, 2009 - 12:36 pm

    Great pictures. You should upload this on wikipedia or link it there.ReplyCancel

  • Sanjeev - November 15, 2009 - 10:16 am

    It is amazing how a tripod mounted camera can show you so much more than you see with your eye ! Great work Rajan. Also great service to Goa for archiving these works of art.ReplyCancel

  • JoeGoaUk - November 15, 2009 - 8:53 am

    I like the pic no. 1 above.
    So beautiful, clear and natural.

    As for the lady, Maria Fernandes in the pic above, we too see her loitering around that area. It also appears that she is very popular with the Panjim police Station, which is in the same builing behind Police HQ.

    thanksReplyCancel

  • Arun - November 15, 2009 - 8:26 am

    Great stuff!ReplyCancel

  • jc - November 15, 2009 - 7:20 am

    Brilliantly captured. Credit not only to the lens but also the photographer.ReplyCancel

  • Bosco - November 15, 2009 - 6:36 am

    Fab stuff!! You make no mention whether you used a tripod and how long did you need to take these shots within the confines of the IMB.ReplyCancel

It was overcast with the promise of a squall this evening when I found myself on the banks of the Chapora river in the village of Colvale (home of the internationally known Goan fashion guru Wendell Rodricks). With the murky conditions not friendly for photography, I was about to leave when I had a chance encounter with a local fisherman who offered me a ride in his canoe. The riparian sights & sounds interspersed with banter were a great pleasure.

These photographs were taken hand-held with the TS-E 17L lens with zero Tilt and Shift – effectively serving as a 17mm manual focus prime.

Waters of the Chapora river in Colvale, Goa<br>5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

Waters of the Chapora river in Colvale, Goa
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

 
 
Sanjay, the boatman<br>5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

Sanjay, the boatman
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

 
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  • Con - November 13, 2009 - 3:24 pm

    As usual superb photography from a ‘master’

    ConReplyCancel

  • Xanno Moidecar - November 13, 2009 - 1:40 am

    Dear Rajan

    I hope you managed to get a xevtto and a dodyearo from that fisherman. The first for a delicious coddi, the second sliced and crisply fried.

    My mouth waters.

    Xanno MoidecarReplyCancel

  • Keith Faria - November 11, 2009 - 9:16 pm

    Simply amazing.Reminded me of the natural beauty of my beloved Goa.Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • soter - November 11, 2009 - 6:04 pm

    Beautiful. The still waters and the small canoe depict the violence in modern day development.ReplyCancel

  • Isabella Rebello-Hamm - November 11, 2009 - 1:33 pm

    “Beautiful” I’m feeling homesick! Thank you.ReplyCancel

During my current sojourn in Goa, I have been giving Canon’s recently released Tilt-Shift 17mm f/4 L lens quite a workout.

The following photograph of Panjim‘s signature landmark was taken at daybreak a couple of days back. A cluster of unseasonal clouds adds character to the backdrop.

The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception began as a shrine in the mid-16th C in what was to much later become Goa‘s capital city. It was rebuilt in the early 17th C and elevated to a church.

Update: See this later post for more on the church.

Panjim church, Goa

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Panjim, Goa
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

 
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  • […] lights, and resulting dynamic range overpowers the capabilities of today’s camera sensors. An earlier attempt of mine highlights (pun intended) the […]ReplyCancel

  • Akshar - November 10, 2009 - 8:23 pm

    Looks like there is some editing done on the image. Dodge?ReplyCancel

  • chris - November 9, 2009 - 10:27 pm

    Truly a masterpiece. Great job rajan.ReplyCancel

  • Ereen Colaco - November 8, 2009 - 11:49 pm

    Heavenly.. Blissful!! Good Shot Rajan…ReplyCancel

  • Arlette - November 8, 2009 - 9:53 pm

    This is truly a Heavenly picture of our Panjim church, which gives me so much of solace…specially the heavenly skies. Truly beautifully captured by Rajan….good work….keep it coming. ArletteReplyCancel

  • Avelino D'Souza - November 8, 2009 - 8:13 pm

    Awesome! Studied and worked in Panjim and have seen the church in all seasons, but this picture is breathtaking! Looks more like a masterpiece from an unknown artist.ReplyCancel

  • Vikrant - November 8, 2009 - 6:29 pm

    Beautifully captured, nice job with the filter.ReplyCancel

  • Prashant - November 8, 2009 - 1:21 pm

    Awesome picture Rajan. Is that an HDR image?ReplyCancel

  • JoeGoaUk - November 8, 2009 - 10:55 am

    Very beautiful.
    I would say this is the most photographed church of Goa
    followed by Bom Jesus (Old Goa) and Saligao Church.

    thanksReplyCancel

  • Bosco - November 8, 2009 - 10:19 am

    Wo!! The backdrop of the clouds look apocalyptic. Wonder what the view from an elevated vantage point (perhaps a forklift) would look like.ReplyCancel

  • Arun - November 8, 2009 - 8:06 am

    Very dramatic effect!ReplyCancel

  • jc - November 8, 2009 - 6:41 am

    Simply Amazing piece of photography.ReplyCancel

  • Xanno Moidecar - November 8, 2009 - 5:58 am

    Breathtaking. Beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes.

    Thank you.

    Xanno MoidecarReplyCancel

The wedding of the sacred plant Tulsi – known as Tulsi lagna or Tulsi vivah – was celebrated in Hindu households throughout Goa on the evening of Oct 30. I meandered through the villages of Chorão and Tikhazana, sampling the primed Tulsi Vrindavans of varied designs and the associated festivities.

Traditional Tulsi fashioned from clay in Tikhazana, Goa<br>5D Mark II, 85L II

Traditional Tulsi fashioned from clay in Tikhazana, Goa
5D Mark II, 85L II

 
 
Tulsi in Tikhazana built on laterite base and plastered with cow dung<br>5D Mark II, 24-105L

Tulsi in Tikhazana built on laterite base and plastered with cow dung
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
A contemporary Tulsi Vrindavan in Tikhazana<br>5D Mark II, 24-105L

A contemporary Tulsi Vrindavan in Tikhazana
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
Chandrakala Mapari of Chorão in her Tulsi courtyard<br>5D Mark II, 85L II

Chandrakala Mapari of Chorão in her Tulsi courtyard
5D Mark II, 85L II

 
 
Chandrakala Mapari cooking in her traditional kitchen<br>5D Mark II, 24-105L

Chandrakala Mapari cooking in her traditional kitchen
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
Tulsi Vrindavan in Chorão<br>5D Mark II, 85L II

Tulsi Vrindavan in Chorão
5D Mark II, 85L II

 
 
Offering prayers in Tikhazana<br>5D Mark II, 24-105L

Offering prayers in Tikhazana
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
Pooja in progress in Chorão<br>5D Mark II, 24-105L

Pooja in progress in Chorão
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
Deepavali lamp in Chorão

Deepavali lamp in Chorão
5D, 85L II

 
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  • […] here for photographs from an earlier post on the Tulsi […]ReplyCancel

  • […] here for photographs from an earlier post. Tulsi Vrindavan5D, 24-105L   Offerings to Tulsi5D, […]ReplyCancel

  • savita chandiramani - November 1, 2012 - 7:58 am

    Enjoyed the varieties of Tulsi Vrindavans you phtographed.ReplyCancel

  • Prashant - September 27, 2010 - 9:11 am

    Thats really I miss such things in busy cities like mumbai….I would definately like to eat that rice cooked in that vesselReplyCancel

  • S Naik - November 8, 2009 - 5:44 pm

    Dear Rajan:
    Your pictures bring back lots of nostalgic memories.
    Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Xanno Moidecar - November 8, 2009 - 8:59 am

    Dear Rajan

    The memories of my Hindu friends from Moira. Every one of their houses hosted one. A warm glow envelopes my heart.

    Sincerely

    Xanno MoidecarReplyCancel

  • Akshar - November 8, 2009 - 5:35 am

    Wonderful Pics Sir.
    Are this pictures available under Creative Commons license ?ReplyCancel

  • proveen almeida - October 31, 2009 - 1:15 pm

    Beautiful pictures Mr. Rajan, the faces of simple humble people adds more charm to the pics. It takes me back to the times when we used to celeberate Tulsi Lagn at my friends place.ReplyCancel

  • Nachiketa Sharma - October 31, 2009 - 11:18 am

    Terrific pictures, Rajan. The colours and moods of the pictures burst with vibrancy. Tulsidevi has much reason to rejoice in Goa! In response to the previous post, *not* gone are the days. I take pride in saying ours was the only home on our street (and possibly in our city of Cupertino, California?) to hang a beautiful, hand-crafted aakaashdeep on our apricot tree. Ah, just the sight brought back my childhood days of Deepavali in Dharwad.ReplyCancel

  • Sanjeev - October 31, 2009 - 10:28 am

    Nice series Rajan. In our part of Goa (Saligao) there is quite a bit of action during Tulsi Vivah with the priest zipping on a hero honda from one house to the other, fireworks and large crowds following in their finest clothing.ReplyCancel

  • Arun - October 31, 2009 - 6:58 am

    The Indian love of color is amply displayed in this series 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Shrikant Barve - October 31, 2009 - 6:22 am

    Comment on Last photo : Gone are the days….
    Few decades back there was competition among enthusiatic players to hang the Akaash Divo at highest point usually on a mango or Jack fruit tree.

    With use of gadi (wooden pulley ) and string. Akaash Divo was brough down with the help of Gadi and string to light it with Panati or Candle. Its a regular ceremony every evening for 15 days.

    Second last Photo. : Tulsi lagna is over.
    Jodvi in relation to number of Savastni in family including leased premises are offered.ReplyCancel

In the village of Shirgaon in Goa‘s Bicholim taluka lies the old temple of Goddess Lairai, a form of the Mother Goddess. The annual jatra (festival) associated with this shrine features unusual customs & rituals drawn from the area’s tribal past. Lairai-devi and Milagres Saibinn (Virgin Mary) of nearby Mapusa are recognized as sisters by Goan Hindus and Catholics, an illustration of Goa‘s syncretic ethos.

In recent years, Shirgaon, alas, has been laid to waste by unchecked mining activity. To the environmental assassins on the loose in Goa, nothing is sacred. They have reduced this once-beautiful village to a dust bowl, destroyed its forest cover, and plotted to turn villager against villager.

If the photograph below does not betray the surrounding ugliness, it is only because I have framed the composition to exclude the devastation. In truth, the Lairai temple shot was taken from a vantage point located in the mine enveloping it.

Temple of Goddess Lairai in Shirgaon, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Temple of Goddess Lairai in Shirgaon, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
Aniconic representation of Goddess Lairai<br>5D, 24-105L

Aniconic representation of Goddess Lairai
5D, 24-105L

 
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  • Ameya narvekar - August 8, 2016 - 3:29 am

    Very beautiful temple and place to visit.ReplyCancel

  • sumedh c. desai - May 9, 2016 - 8:15 am

    ” wonderful scenery, feels cool”ReplyCancel

  • Deepa - March 16, 2015 - 5:45 am

    Beautiful Picture of the temple ..I come from the same place..Shirgao! TY for the beautiful pic!ReplyCancel

  • Rajesh Mulgaonkar - May 15, 2013 - 6:28 am

    hi rajan,

    Excellent picture of godess lairai.hats off to you.ReplyCancel

  • milind sardessai - May 14, 2013 - 9:28 am

    Egr bab Rajan
    The festival of Shridevi Lairai is on. Tomo is the homkund.
    Regards

    Milind SardessaiReplyCancel

  • hemant bavkar - May 21, 2012 - 2:24 am

    Dear Sir,

    We are finding our kuldaivat “Mauli Bhagavti devi temple” in shirgaon ,goa. We lost our daiwats information around 300 years back. One astrologer told us our daiwat is lacated in shirgaon goa. but we arent get succes yet to find our temple.
    If you have any information about our temple please inform me on my mail id… thanksReplyCancel

  • Prashant - September 27, 2010 - 9:01 am

    Hi Rajan,

    The Picture is execllent.its a real goa what it denote in the picture. I hope people will understand the beauty and purity of this place.ReplyCancel

  • Venantius J Pinto - December 8, 2009 - 11:16 am

    What struck me about this image is that the colors as seen in this “spectra” may be experienced almost exclusively in India. The energy emanating from the scene as captured in the image is very impressive.

    A thought: It may be worth considering images; something that you may already have photographed — to show the threat that mars the balance and serenity of spiritual sites. How these incursions via lack of focus and planning creates unenlightened resonances of mind and spirit. I am not suggesting that you sacrifice your central focus, and believe you have other images that reveal the mine. This is a broad thought and not meant to exhort you towards acting on it.

    I believe this is another way that awareness builds up. Perhaps not exactly in our life time though.ReplyCancel

  • sameer - November 17, 2009 - 4:34 am

    Liked the dramatic effect of the Panjim ChurchReplyCancel

  • Arun - October 26, 2009 - 8:37 pm

    “…are bothers and sisters”.

    May I never be a bother to anyone 🙂 And may the Mother of Jesus and Lairai Devi work jointly or separately to preserve Goa! I have never seen Goa, but Rajan’s photography shows its great beauty.ReplyCancel

  • Mario Goveia - October 25, 2009 - 6:28 pm

    Notwithstanding Fr. Ivo’s narrow-minded objection, I think the Milagres Saibinn would be quite pleased to be recognized as the sister of Lairai Devi. Having a foster sister from another religion takes nothing away from HER exalted position as the Mother of Jesus. Such conceptual relationships is what made the camaraderie between Hindus and Christians so special and unique in Goa, until the fanatics, who think they have a special claim on “the truth”, come along to bollix it all up.ReplyCancel

  • jc - October 25, 2009 - 1:42 pm

    As a practising Roman Catholic, I a appalled by Fr. Ivo’s comments.I ask Fr Ivo on what basis he makes those comments. Is it also inaccurate for me to say that Hindu and Christian Goans are bothers and sisters.ReplyCancel

  • Bosco - October 25, 2009 - 9:59 am

    Your choice of a vantage point in most of your photos is FANTASTIC!! Brings the best out of the object of the photos.ReplyCancel

  • Ivo da C.Souza - October 25, 2009 - 7:46 am

    I liked the photos. This brings to our mind the diversity of representations of divine power. The only point that I must correct in the write-up is that the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, cannot be sister of godess Lairai. Catholics cannot maintain it. Anyway, we must work for the welfare of all. All religions should be for our integral human development.ReplyCancel

  • Xanno Moidecar - October 25, 2009 - 4:36 am

    Hi Rajan

    What a beautiful sight. You must have photographed this sometime in the monsoon.

    I remember landscapes like this. In my memeories.

    Regards

    Xanno MoidecarReplyCancel

  • Shrikant Barve - October 25, 2009 - 3:26 am

    Jatra season in Goa starts with Madkai Jatra in Oct/Nov and ends with Shirgao Jatra in May.

    Shirgao jatra is also know for Homkund (Fire pile) where in Dhond (deciple of Goddess Lairai) after 10 days fasting run on fire.ReplyCancel

  • sunny nazareth - October 25, 2009 - 1:39 am

    Fantastic picture with full environmental consciousness. Excellent write-up too!. Could we have some more pictures and articles of other fabulous Goan places?. Sunny Nazareth,President Kuwait Goa Foundation,NGO based in Kuwait.ReplyCancel

  • gaspar almeida - October 25, 2009 - 1:11 am

    Excellent picture with write-up. Very informative indeed.

    Gaspar Almeida
    Moderator, Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter (since 1994)
    http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/gulf-goans/ReplyCancel