The Tailor of Korgaon

We had a close shave with the barber of Korgaon sometime ago. Today we meet Suresh Hiroji, the tailor of Korgaon, an enchanting village in north Goa. Once the staple of all, rich and poor, bespoke has now gone out of fashion. Hiroji and his tribe are on their last legs but the perpetual grin on his visage is eternal.

The first two images below were taken in July this year. In the first, a candid seen from the street, the logo of the Merritt sewing machine invented by Isaac Singer is visible. The final image was made in 2009, at a shutter speed of 1/20s, a demonstration of the excellent image stabilization capabilities of Canon’s EF 24-105L lens.

Suresh Hiroji, the tailor of Korgaon

Suresh Hiroji, the tailor of Korgaon
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 100 f/2 Makro Planar

 
Suresh Hiroji

Suresh Hiroji
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 100 f/2 Makro Planar

 
The Art of Bespoke

The Art of Bespoke
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
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Einhyrningur

One of the most fascinating orographic experiences in Iceland relates to the direction of approach. The bare, tree-less mountains quickly change their appearance, revealing entirely new profiles as you go by or around them. A good instance of this is the mountain Einhyrningur, found in the interior along the South Fjallabak route. Einhyrningur means “Unicorn” in Icelandic, and the reason for the name is seen in the second image below.

Bólstaður and Einhyrningur

The farm Bólstaður and Einhyrningur
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar

 
Einhyrningur (Unicorn)

Einhyrningur, the Unicorn
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar

 
 
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Ruins of an Ancient Temple

Deep in Goa‘s hinterland, in the tiny village of Vichundrem in Sanguem taluka, lie the ruins of an ancient temple of Narayandev, dating most likely to the 11th C.

The good news is that this remarkable historical site is still under the jurisdiction of Goans, and not the Delhi babus from the rubbish Archaeological Survey of India. The bad news is that the wretched criminals – aka Goan miners – have now gotten so close to it that there is a likelihood of these ancient treasures ending up tossed into a barge laden with iron ore bound for Shanghai.

I had been to this site twice before in 2007 and 2008. Last month I made another sortie. An excursion into the forest during the monsoons is always a delight, and it was pouring heavily when we got there. The heroics of my driver-assistant Babu Naik, who first cleared the thick foliage and then sheltered my camera equipment, made it possible for me to score a few frames.

There is some disagreement among researchers regarding this site. The accepted view is that it was a Kadamba-era temple of Narayandev. But a few argue that the image is of Padmanabha and that the temple is of Chalukyan vintage – that would peg it back at least 2 centuries, to around 9th C. Although Narayan and Padmanabha are both representations of Vishnu, differences in their iconography obtain.

Update: I just remembered – there is an old Marathi abhanga of Tukaram that invokes both Padmanabha and Narayana together. It was made popular by the Goan maestro Suresh Haldankar (1926-2000) in this 1950s recording. For a newer rendition by Raghunandan Panshikar, go here. (Panshikar’s family is from Goa, too – from the village of Panshi in Pernem.)

 
11th C temple ruins in Vichundrem, Goa

11th C Narayandev temple ruins in Vichundrem, Goa
5D Mark II, TS-E 24L II

 
Narayandev temple ruins

Temple ruins (notice the Narayandev sculpture)
5D Mark II, TS-E 24L II

 
Ancient image of Narayandev

Ancient image of Narayandev
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar

 
Ancient image of Garuda

Ancient image of Garuda
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar

 
 
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