Tag Archives: heritage

Beat of the Drums

Culture 5

Festivals in India take on a different dimension. There are lots of preparations that take place prior to the event, people and the entire community as a whole sets aside time for their participation in the festivals. Added to that is the fact that the events that take place happen in the open public areas, so everyone has access to it. In some areas (like the one pictured above), there was not enough open place for the celebration to take place, so it happened on the main road.

Traffic was diverted, the road was cordoned off, and the drummers and elephant, marched through the street. The drummers seemed to have endless amounts of energy, the beats kept rolling out in great rhythm, they kept swaying to the beat, much to the excitement of the crowd surrounding them. All in all a very festive and happy mood for everyone.

The drummers as well as the organizers of the festival were very receptive to the fact that we were taking pictures, however, being able to get good pictures was a bit of a challenge. It was late evening, almost sunset time, light was low…the drummers kept walking forward, swaying to the beat, and drumming, the crowds surrounding them were anxious to get the best view, so not too receptive to the photo making, there were people constantly walking in front of the drummers, and the road was not wide enough to accommodate all the activity happening on it. With a lot of moving around, coaxing of the viewers, making many apologies, we were able to get some good pictures of the event. Lesson learnt, talk to people, explain what you are trying to do, show them the images you are making, and they will help and accommodate you.

A Time Gone By

Places 2

It was only after we took up photography as a hobby/passion, that we realized that there was so much about the United Arab Emirates that we knew nothing about.  We had read in some of the books on the UAE, that there were several tribes that had lived in the mountains in Ras Al Khaimah, but now that things had changed, most of them had migrated to the towns and cities around, and were leading normal modern day lives like all of us.

So after a lot of reading, studying maps, asking questions etc,  we decided to look for the Stone Houses that were somewhere in the mountains in Ras Al Khaimah. We spent most of the morning getting to the area, and then after lunch, we found the dirt track which would seemingly lead us to the Stone Houses. We followed it, and sure enough, there were the houses, or at least the remains of the houses ahead of us. Made with just stones, and in some places a modern looking window, these houses gave us a feeling of sadness…we could almost imagine the whole place as it might have been in its prime days, each house with its little compound (the boundry was a line of stones all around the house); a small community of people tucked away in the mountains….today there was only the ruins of these houses, broken down, dilapidated, and just memories of a time gone by.

We stayed for a while, took some great photographs, wandered around the place – all by ourselves. There was no other sign of human activity around, just a feeling that while the pair of us were all alone in the mountains, we were not really alone!

All in a Day’s Work

All in a day's work


Very often we tend to ignore the day-to-day happenings around us; seeing how busy we all are with our meetings, schedules and appointments. Unfortunately, we fail to realise that by doing this, we are slowly doing away with our past habits and ways of life,  and are now moving into a new way of living. This is why it is so important to preserve the cultural and behavioral habits of our surroundings.

Above is a picture of the trainers walking their camels in the morning, getting them used to the race track. This is something that happens every morning in the areas close to the Camel Race track in Dubai, and it has become such that most of the people that pass by, do not even glance towards the camels and their trainers. Interestingly, we also see a number of tyre tracks in the sand, the desert no longer belongs to the “ship of the desert” !

While modernization and progress is something that we all try to achieve in our lives, it is equally important to remember our roots, and try and strike a balance between the two.

The Dubai Creek

Sunset Cruise

Khor Dubai (Dubai Creek) is the local name for the saltwater creek that separates Dubai into two main sections – Bur Dubai and Deira Dubai.  It is of great significance to the UAE, because it was here that trading first started between Dubai and traders from India and Africa, – as early as the beginning of the 20th Century. Although not deep enough for large vessels to enter, this creek became the first harbour that Dubai had. Dubai’s “Pearl Industry”  which formed a major section of the country’s economy was based on the trading that happened here.

Since then, this creek has had several changes, it has been dredged to accomodate larger vessel, and is today a major hub for the Dhow traffic that carries almost all forms of cargo, and Personal Effects from Dubai to the neighbouring countries. With the introduction of major ports like Port Rashid, Port Saeed and Jebel Ali, the significance of this route has diminished, but it still remains an important port for the Dhow traffic.

Today the Dubai side of the creek hosts the bustling Textile market and the Museum, while the Deira side has the traditional Spice market, the Gold Souq, the Dhow harbour, several impressive buildings, and a busy trading centre slightly inland.

The easiest, and probably the most enjoyable way, to cross the creek is by the “Abra”, – a traditional wooden craft, powered by an engine. It has a sunshade to protect you from the heat of the day, but thats about it !  You have to sit on a small raised platform in the middle of the Abra, as it makes it way across the creek. There are two points on either side of the creek that are connected via the Abra’s, and this mode of transportation is used by thousands of commuters daily.

The best time however to visit the creek is in the evening. Just as the sun is about to go down, take a stroll along the quay, and you see a flurry of activity as people hurry to get back home, and prepare for the next day. If you are patient enough, you get the whole creek turning a deep blue, reflecting the colours of the sky, as the day slowly turns into night, marking the end of another day.