MIZORAM, SOLOMON’S TEMPLE

Back to Mizoram again in this post, with still so many photos to show after my December / January trip.

There are church buildings all over the place in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, a state in North East India (which is 87% Christian),  and very large impressive  buildings they are too, but Solomon’s Temple is considered a ‘must see’ for tourists. It’s a huge building with a seating capacity of 3000 inside, and a lot more could be seated in the porch or canopied area all around the exterior of the building.

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The architect and leader of the Church Dr LB Sailo, claims that God showed him the design in a dream, so he set about attempting to get this church constructed.  It took more than 20 years to build, and it was built largely on voluntary labour. I found that the name of the religion was hard to grasp, as I was given different answers when I enquired about it.  ‘A cult’,  ‘Born again Christian’  ‘Kohhran Thianghlim’ (meaning Holy Church) were some answers. Whatever, it is, it is the largest Church building in Aizawl.  I don’t know how full it might be on a Sunday.  It’s open to tourists with a caretaker there to show you around.

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The walls of the building are covered in white busleara marble, and the floor is of red sandstone. The winter afternoon sun gives the walls a warm tint in some of these photos.

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Mizo Church goers do seem to enjoy their singing and this is generally accompanied by enthusiastic drumming.

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The building inside is just one open space. The ceiling is highly polished which enables the light from the windows to be reflected, giving extra light in the building.

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Notice the Star of David, generously applied as ornamentation around the building. They named this building after the original Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, (currently the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque) and see it as some kind of replacement for the First Temple.

Just for a little balance, I have included a few photos of other church buildings I happened to see as I walked around. I haven’t got the names of all of them

I would just like to say that I am not at all religious and have no religious beliefs whatsoever. I’m just an observer.

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Chaltlang Presbyterian Church, above and below (with Christmas lights).

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A Christmas tree street decoration below, outside a church building.

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Thanks for visiting my post. I might return again to Mizoram in another post.

I can be contacted via my website.

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c51-india

MIZORAM, CLOSER

I think Mizoram touched my heart a little, so I have decided to return – not physically, but I have revisited my photos and would like to take a closer look at some of them.

Mizoram is a state of North East India, which I visited over the Christmas and New Year period. I have written two earlier posts about this very interesting place.

In this post I have attempted to convey the impressions gained from everyday images, including street posters and notices, which are offering a window into the main values, concerns and issues in the community. These are just the images I happened to see, there are probably many more that I didn’t see or notice. It’s really just a small personal view.

In this post I have cropped some images close, in order to focus on some more specific details. The results may be a little grainy or fuzzy in some cases, but I was never one to let technical imperfection get in the way of saying what I want to say.

IMG_20191231_152106 good manners

IMG_20191231_151958 values

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It’s so nice to see how the core values of respect, kindness and consideration are painted on the walls of the local schools (above).

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Many street posters are relating to child development, health, nutrition and child safety.

 

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As it was Christmas time in this state where nearly 90% are Christian, Christmas decorations and lights were much in evidence on the streets. Strange (for me) to see colourful flowers at Christmas time. The snow covered trees and reindeer would be more familiar Christmas images here in Ireland.

Christmas Lights at Chaltlang, Aizawl City.

 

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K V Paradise

KV Paradise, at Durtlang, outside of Aizawl City is a monument and mausoleum created by a local teacher in memory of his beloved wife who was killed in a car accident. A Mizo version of the Taj Mahal, though not so well maintained nowadays. Here the local children are playing in the disused fountain.

I think Mizo children are so delightful and beautiful. You would nearly want to take them home with you. These three below asked me to take their photo as I passed by – and don’t they just know how to pose!!  I hesitate to show children’s photos but they are all so sweet I hope it’s ok to share them.

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Christmas Feast Queue--

Above is just part of a very, very long queue of people for the Christmas Community Feast in a local Community Hall. Mizos don’t have a big Christmas dinner at home as we do. They all go to Church on Christmas Day, and from what I could hear they sing their hearts out, and the following day they all go to their local community meal, which I can tell you was very good – apart from the pork dish with a lot of big lumps of stewed fat. But there was a big choice of delicious food. The queue was very fast moving and served very efficiently.

Careers, below.

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Some of the street posters related to training and careers.  This one above appealed to me as the woman selling inflatable toys was standing in front of a poster offering air hostess training. “Let your dream come true”… I also noticed that only females are wanted in this one. On all my recent flights both men and women were employed as cabin crew. The job title “Air Hostess” seems to be very old fashioned now.

Below are more street posters or wall paintings relating to training or occupations

Homes

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Homes, a subject close to my heart, come in many shapes and sizes, and different building styles. In Aizawl city there are of course blocks of flats as well as single and adjoined houses. But to hugely simplify it there are 3 different types of houses that I observed. 1. Traditional Mizo bamboo houses, mostly outside the city centre and in the mountains, pretty but not very weather proof (I have no photos).  2. Timber framed cottage style houses with walls of some type of thin porous board (possibly MDF or similar?) and corrugated roofs.  3. Concrete and steel supported single brick boxy shaped multi floor buildings, also with corrugated roofs or flat concrete balcony roofs (often both). Now many would also like to remind me that you would often see houses with a combination of all styles of building. But in general I would say that the structures are basic and not of good quality particularly in terms of insulation and waterproofing.

The following photos show several different examples.

My impression was that the concrete and brick structures appear to grow upwards, floor upon floor, as and when more space is necessary for the family, or to create rentable income. So, while the road space outside cannot be expanded, the number of people living in the area grows and grows, putting more and more pressure on the overcrowded streets which are very polluted with the traffic fumes, smelly, noisy and most unhealthy. There is a massive need to create sustainable business opportunities outside of the city to encourage more people to move out of this crowded place.

Burial

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The graves in Aizawl are worth a close look because of their colourful and decorated appearance. They are also closely integrated with the residential areas.

By contrast with the modern well tended graves in Aizawl, I have included a couple of photos of older graves in the mountains in Sialsuk, some miles from Aizawl, where a village has now disappeared.

My earlier posts on Mizoram can be seen here:

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/02/04/mizoram-india-up-in-the-mountains/

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/01/27/mizoram-2/

I still have more photos I would like to show, but maybe later. Thanks for visiting. Do come back again. More Mizoram photos can be seen on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c51-india

I can be contacted via my website.

AERIAL PHOTOS 2

Leaving Dublin Airport early on a December morning, below.

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When travelling, I really love to pass the time taking photos out through the aircraft’s window.  For those who will only accept technical perfection, this is not for them. Scratched windows, sometimes with condensation and reflections do not give a perfect image, and often, depending on the position of the sun there will appear  a spotty effect on the images. But in general I’m happy with a pleasing image and to gain that I’m often happy to forfeit technical perfection.

Below are mountains in Europe, I guess the Alps.

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Spot the plane in the centre of the picture below.

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Arrival at Cyprus below, showing one of 108 dams and reservoirs in Cyprus.

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The following photos are views on the flight from Kolkata to Aizawl, Mizoram, via Imphal

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Thanks so much for viewing my photos. If you would like to see more aerial photos please take a look at my earlier post:

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2019/03/26/aerial-photos/

Also, there are more photos on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c22-aerial-images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIZORAM, INDIA, up in the Mountains

DSC_1141 mizoram hmuifang small print

In my previous post, https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/01/27/mizoram-2/ I showed several photos of Mizoram, mainly from around the city of Aizawl, the State capital, but this time I would like to show some images captured in the mountains outside Aizawl.

Mizoram, this North Eastern State of India, is a land of forested mountains, lakes, rivers and plains and therefore, as you can imagine it is particularly beautiful and scenic. Travel through this land is not easy, and many of the few existing roads can be narrow and potholed. Regrettably, I didn’t get much chance to explore as much as I would like, but I did manage a couple of days out of the city.

Below are images of Hmuifang, a few hours drive from Aizawl, where heavy rain and fog descended upon us, but eventually we got a short window just before dark when I took the following photos from the roadside on the route back.

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Before our return, from Hmuifang we moved on to Sialsuk where the fog was very heavy and the wonderful views that I know are there, were completely hidden. There are very old gravestones there at the site of a disappeared village, and I took several shots of them, being all that could be seen, and although the light and visibility were poor, I thought the misty appearance enhanced the feeling of history and mystery.

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Sometimes, if the colour is a bit weak, I find that I may get a better result if I convert the image to black and white, as with this image (above / below).

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Another day, another place, just outside Aizawl, viewing the city from a distance.

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This cross had a highly reflective surface. The pattern appearing on it was just a reflection.

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Do take a look at my other posts on Mizoram:

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/01/27/mizoram-2/

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/03/10/mizoram-closer-copy/

Thank you for viewing my post. There are several more images from Mizoram on my website.

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c51-india

If you would like to contact me please do so from my website.

MIZORAM, INDIA

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I have been quieter than usual for some time now, because I was doing some travelling and visiting some different countries. My main focus was the beautiful state of Mizoram, India. Up to a couple of years ago I was completely unaware of this place, and I find most other people are just as unaware. Over the Christmas period a family event enticed me to visit Mizoram, and it was a very interesting trip.

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I stayed in the state capital, Aizawl, and most of my photos are of this city which is built haphazardly and mostly with very basic resources on these very steep slopes on the top of several mountain peaks. I managed a couple of trips outside of the city but not nearly as much as I would have liked.

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Generally, I am more attracted to landscape and seascape photography, which offers opportunities for capturing beauty, or what I see as beautiful. In Aizawl I felt challenged in my attempts to find beauty in the narrow, noisy streets, with motor bikes, taxis, buses and private cars creating such a level of pollution that many people have taken to wearing masks. Skeins of electric wires, looping, coiling and dipping around the streets would definitely challenge the temptation to edit them out of the picture, as I might do at home! I made the decision that in this city I would focus mainly on capturing the character of the place, I would even make a feature of these tangled wires and untidy buildings! So not all my photos would be about beauty, but I tried to embrace the beauty when I found it, and there was a lot of it there.

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Viewed from my balcony on Christmas morning, an out of hours electrician works on the electric connections. Power cuts are frequent, but not usually too long lasting.

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HIV/AIDS infection affects 2% of the population. Mizoram is one of the poorest states of India which must make it even more difficult to deal with the problems and needs that this poses. These posters are a very common sight here.

Although economically poor, Mizoram is very rich in culture and tradition, and have at the heart of their society a great sense of community and caring for others. They come from South East Asian tribes and became converted to Christianity around the end of the 19th Century. Almost 90% of the population of 1.5 million is Christian, Presbyterianism being the most common. Perhaps because of this they do seem in many ways more western than the people in mainland India. They manage to combine the western Christian lifestyle with strong cultural traditions of their own.

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Below, houses appear to be tumbling down the mountainside.

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Along Hospital Road, opposite the hospital, I couldn’t believe how many pharmacies there were. Almost every shop was a pharmacy, with a few other medical or dental services thrown in between. I was told that each one has its own specialisation.

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Most buildings appeared to have these corrugated metal roofs.

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The above painting was on the wall of a house or block of flats, see building below.

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Colourful graveyards appear to be integrated into residential areas.

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As it was Christmas time, these poinsettias were flowering everywhere – outdoors!

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There are many beautiful views from around the city.

Please take a look at my other Mizoram posts:

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/02/04/mizoram-india-up-in-the-mountains/

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/03/10/mizoram-closer-copy/

Also, There are several photos on my website. Please visit.

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c51-india

Thanks for viewing my post.