August 19, 2011

Spirituality in Structure: Aadab Hyderabad

Sometime back, while participating in a group discussion about art's role in driving communities forward, the topic arose of art and spirituality. Personally speaking, for me, spirituality and the definition and significance it holds in my life is something that I find difficult to deconstruct for myself, let alone describing it to others. For a long time, I always used to consider spirituality and religion as being similar, if not virtually synonymous with one another. Yet, as time has passed by, I have begun to perceive spirituality as an awareness of the sense of the higher powers surrounding us, a mysterious, unseen Universe which contributes to the way we locate and understand our place in the world. Nonetheless, for me, I have always perceived writing as an almost spiritual process in itself: a form of meditation, a single-minded focus, leading into an alternate universe of thoughts and ideas.

However, as mentioned in a previous post, old buildings hold great appeal for me and being in presence of historical spaces, especially those in a state of ruin, often invites intense, deep reflection and introspection. There is a heightened feeling of awareness of the stories reverberating within those spaces; the architecture, the design, the shape,and the overall look of the building all contribute towards the effort to imagine what it must have been once upon a time. Beauty, romanticism, and history intermingle with one another to produce a profoundly, what I may say, spiritual experience for me.

While browsing through the vivid, beautiful images at Madhumita Gopalan's blog, Aadab Hyderabad, glimpsing the structures that she has photographed in Hyderabad, I found myself sensing the pathos of the buildings and spaces just from the deeply evocative images themselves; it was as if you had literally been transplanted into the history-laden atmosphere. Given the varied scope of Hyderabad's history, there are various historical mansions, public buildings, and tombs to be found in the city and which Madhumita so carefully records for posterity through the medium of her photography and blog. I had visited Hyderabad years ago but I look forward to discovering these places on a future visit.

Incidentally, I was charmed to learn about Madhumita's The Arch Project, where she takes special interest in photographing Islamic arches; it reminded me of my own Wall Project and the way I gravitate towards walls.

Here are some pictures from her blog:

Mishk Mahal

Shaikpet Sarai

The rust-speckled surface speaks so much: Qutub Shahi tomb

Gorgeous arches: Paigah tomb

Photographs included here with the kind permission of Madhumita Gopalan and her blog, Aadab Hyderabad, which is truly a love-letter to the city, revealing its rich historical and cultural facets.


  1. OMG, didnt the comment I left when you posted this come through???

    Let me say it again then - thank you SO much for featuring my work on your lovely blog, Priyanka - truly honored :)

  2. Oh, I am sorry that the comment never came through :(

    Well, it's wonderful to see you here, Madhu, and I must say that it's *your* incredible work that has so greatly inspired me so I would like to sincerely thank you in return!

    I only wish that I get an opportunity to visit Hyderabad and explore it using Aadab Hyderabad as my reference, uncovering all those beautiful stories and places...hope it happens soon!


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