1. Sulamani Elephant Fresco (by jamescharlick)

    Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

    Sulamani Pahto is one of Bagan’s premier temple attractions, the name itself meaning ‘Crowning Jewel’ or ‘Small Ruby.’ The numerous original unique glazed roundels and panels along the plinth and terrace moldings add joy and exuberance to the exterior, while the rich frescoes on the stuccoed interior ambulatory(from the 12th to 19th centuries)—though damaged—with their lively depiction of both the sublime and the grotesque reflect a constant interplay of the physical and mythical light and darkness.

    This was one of several elephant frescos found in the deep window recesses, although many are damaged by crumbling plaster or faded by the direct sunlight. As the paint is worn back to the original plaster you can see the brush or finger strokes applied for the background and elephant colouring. I believe the dot patterns around the face are from an earlier fresco which was painted over.

     
  2. Overgrowth (by jamescharlick)

    Preah Khan is a 12th Century temple at Angkor, Cambodia, and was the centre of a substantial organisation, with almost 100,000 officials and servants. The temple is flat in design, with a basic plan of successive rectangular galleries around a Buddhist sanctuary complicated by Hindu satellite temples and numerous later additions.

    Preah Khan was built on the battle site where King Jaya-varman VII finally defeated the Chams, and as such the name translates as Royal Sword or Holy Sword. It is largely unrestored, however some clearing and cleaning of the site has taken place to preserve the temple and make it accessible to visitors.

    I think this is looking towards the East Gate from inside the compound.

     
  3. Burnished Plains (by jamescharlick)

    Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

     
  4. Le Mans Classic 1971 Matra 670 (by jamescharlick)

    I’ve just got back from the Le Mans Classic 2014, my first visit to Le Mans but we were already thinking about a return trip before we’d even left. It was a great weekend and I learned a lot about panning photography (through trial and error!)

    This was my favorite corner for photography, partly because there wasn’t a safety mesh fence in the way and partly because of the blue and yellow stripes framing the front and rear of the circuit at this point.

    The car is listed as a 1971 Matra 660-01, but the decals are from a 670. I wouldn’t know the difference anyway. But it sounded fantastic, high revving and high pitched, it sounded more like an F1 car than the throatier rumbles of the rest of this era.

    This was shot at 1/50s 135mm (APS C) if you’re curious.

     
  5. A Forest of Spires (by jamescharlick)

    Indein is one of the many small villages populating the bank of Inle Lake. A Buddha Image has been enshrined at a whitewashed pagoda on the summit of the hill above the village, and below this around the hill are hundreds of ancient crumbling stupas.

    This pagoda’s history is shrouded in mystery, indeed the locals themselves have no knowledge of its’ origin or history, and Myanmar historical records make no mention of its construction. One popular theory puts its beginnings at 200 – 300 BC but there’s no archaeological evidence to support that theory.

    The stupas vary in their degree of degradation, from complete or fully restored near the main temple at the summit to mounds of earth and small heaps of crumbled brick that formed the foundation of the structures towards the bottom of the hill.

    Once whitewashed sculpted render formed layered rings and an archway with brick structure beneath exposed at the foundation. Inside would once have been a buddha statue or relic of a special monk for the locals to worship, but many of these have been damaged or removed.

     
  6. Natural Weave (by jamescharlick)

    It is somewhat surprising that there is little information about Beng Melea since, despite it’s distance from other temple complexes, it is one of the largest temples of the ancient Khmer Empire. The name Beng Melea means Lotus Pond.

    Now in an unrestored state of ruin, it was built as a Hindu temple, but as with many of these temples there are some carvings depicting Buddhist motifs added at a later date, indicating the temple was converted from one religion to the other.

    There is extensive carving of scenes from Hindu mythology, including the Churning of the Sea of Milk and Vishnu being borne by the bird god Garuda. Causeways have long balustrades formed by bodies of the seven-headed Naga serpent.

     
  7. Old Town Streets (by jamescharlick)

    Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam and served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam, and it became the capital of a reunified Vietnam in 1976, after the North’s victory in the Vietnam War.

    This is a typical street scene from the old town, with the pavements too full of parked mopeds and bikes to walk down and everyone stepping out into the semi-permanent drizzle and making their way down the centre of the street.

    It’s a very different city to our Western European modern glass or picturesque gothic locations, both in architecture and lifestyle. Definitely somewhere to return to (when I’m more comfortable with street photography!)

     
  8. Dreams In The Mist (by jamescharlick)

    The name Hạ Long is derived from the Sino-Vietnamese, meaning “descending dragon”. According to local legend, when Vietnam had just started to develop into a country, they had to fight against invaders. To assist the Vietnamese in defending their country, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors who began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. Numerous rock mountains abruptly appeared on the sea ahead of invaders’ ships and the forward ships struck the rocks and each other.

    Ha Long Bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes, including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone and many of which are hollow. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islets. A community of around 1,600 people live on Hạ Long Bay in four fishing villages: Cửa Vạn, Ba Hang, Cống Tàu and Vông Viêng in Hùng Thắng commune, Hạ Long city. They live on floating houses and are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture (cultivating marine biota), plying the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks.

     
  9. Kill Bill feat. Paddington Bear (by @JamesCharlickcom)

    I don’t post much silliness on here, I tend to keep it to more personal sites. However I’m really enjoying #CreepyPaddington so if you’d like to see more of that kind of thing I’ve started posting on Twitter, you can follow me @JamesCharlickcom 

    Ta :)

     
  10. Untamed Remains (by jamescharlick)

    Preah Khan is a 12th Century temple at Angkor, Cambodia, and was the centre of a substantial organisation, with almost 100,000 officials and servants. The temple is flat in design, with a basic plan of successive rectangular galleries around a Buddhist sanctuary complicated by Hindu satellite temples and numerous later additions.

    Preah Khan was built on the battle site where King Jaya-varman VII finally defeated the Chams, and as such the name translates as Royal Sword or Holy Sword. It is largely unrestored, however some clearing and cleaning of the site has taken place to preserve the temple and make it accessible to visitors.

    From memory, although I can’t confirm it, this is over the roof of the Northern part taken from the West. You can see there is a partially collapsed corridor on the left in the foreground and above that in the distance a gateway area. The tree in the center is growing on top of the temple roof which has collapsed nearer the camera in the bottom right. It just goes to show that even now you can step off the beaten path and find something totally wild.

     
  11. Off The Trail (by jamescharlick)

    Sa Pa District is located in Lào Cai Province, north-west Vietnam, and 380 km north-west of Hanoi, close to the border with China. The Hoàng Liên Son range of mountains dominates the district, which is at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas. This range includes Vietnam’s highest mountain, Fan Si Pan, at a height of 3143 m above sea level. The town of Sa Pa lies at an altitude of about 1500 meters (4921 feet) above sea level. The climate of the area is said to have 4 seasons in one day: Refreshing Spring morning, hot Summer afternoon, cool Autumn evenings and cold Winter nights.

    Most of the ethnic minority people work their land on sloping terraces since the vast majority of the land is mountainous. Their staple foods are rice and corn. Rice, by its very nature of being a labour intensive crop, makes the daily fight for survival paramount. The unique climate in Sapa has a major influence on the ethnic minorities who live in the area. With sub-tropical summers, temperate winters and 160 days of mist annually, the influence on agricultural yields and health related issues are significant.

    Our guide offered to take us off the road and to follow the paths through the farmland instead for this stretch of the hike, and it was amazing. Beautiful scenery and a bamboo forest. Always step off the beaten path.

     
  12. Golden Morning (by jamescharlick)

    Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

    You can see Dhammayangyi in the center, Sulamani on the left and Dhammayazaka Zedi in the distant far right.

     
  13. Working In Layers (by jamescharlick)

    Sa Pa District is located in Lào Cai Province, north-west Vietnam, and 380 km north-west of Hanoi, close to the border with China. The Hoàng Liên Son range of mountains dominates the district, which is at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas. This range includes Vietnam’s highest mountain, Fan Si Pan, at a height of 3143 m above sea level. The town of Sa Pa lies at an altitude of about 1500 meters (4921 feet) above sea level. The climate of the area is said to have 4 seasons in one day: Refreshing Spring morning, hot Summer afternoon, cool Autumn evenings and cold Winter nights.

    Most of the ethnic minority people work their land on sloping terraces since the vast majority of the land is mountainous. Their staple foods are rice and corn. Rice, by its very nature of being a labour intensive crop, makes the daily fight for survival paramount. The unique climate in Sapa has a major influence on the ethnic minorities who live in the area. With sub-tropical summers, temperate winters and 160 days of mist annually, the influence on agricultural yields and health related issues are significant.

    This young girl is wearing the tradition clothing of the Black Hmong people, which will have been hand woven either by herself or her family. The Hmong people migrated from China in the 18th Century, and traditionally are Buddhist. However with the introduction of Christianity to the region by the French colonialists, many are converting in recent years in order to make use of modern doctors and medicine - something that traditionally is denied to them.

     
  14. The Face Of An Empire (by jamescharlick)

    Built around 1190, Prasat Bayon is one of the most iconic of the Angkor temples.

    Standing in the exact center of the walled city of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple represents the intersection of heaven and earth, and is known for its huge stone faces of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, with one facing outward and keeping watch at each compass point. The curious smiling image, thought by many to be a portrait of Jayavarman himself, has been dubbed by some the “Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia.” There are 51 smaller towers surrounding Bayon, each with four faces of its own.

     
  15. Ywa-haung-gyi Buddha Fresco (by jamescharlick)

    Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

    This is Ywa-haung-gyi temple, a smaller example which I stumbled into more or less by accident. It turned out to be a rather nice interior with most of the render and faded original painting still in place - in many temples the terracotta render has come away leaving only bare brick, or has been painted over with more modern designs. Here you can see a detail of a selection of buddhas surrounded by Yggdrasil, the Tree Of Life. They were likely painted with stencils to make sure all were identical, and originally spanned floor to ceiling arch and wall to wall on both sides of the central Buddha statue. Exposure to sunlight and peeling render has meant that only those stencils tucked away behind the entryway are protected and preserved.

    Temples in Bagan vary from those in Angkor Wat by being of brick construction with terracotta carvings on the exterior and smooth walls internally which are decorated with hundreds of depictions of buddha, where-as the Cambodian temples are constructed of sandstone block and are ornately carved throughout.