Archive for Bodh Gaya

River of Life

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2015 by stevemccurry

For more than 2000 years, travelers have walked, ridden,
prayed, traded, invaded, escaped, fought, and
died along the 1,500 miles of the Grand Trunk Road
which stretches from Kolkata to Kabul.

Tram, Calcutta, India, 1996; A Tram, Calcutta, India, 1996 MCS1996002 K010 Magnum Photos, NYC5923 Kolkata, India

This ribbon of humanity stretching Northwest from Kolkata,
the city of culture and joy, to Kabul, the city of conflict,
has been moving merchants, buyers, conquerors, refugees,
prophets, nomads and pilgrims through what is today
India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

01896_11, 508665, India 50 Years After, Calcutta, India, 10/1996, INDIA-10379. An Indian woman prepares a meal under a shampoo advertisement. India_Book retouched_Sonny Fabbri 02/03/2015

Kolkata, India

Here are some pictures of people and places I have taken along the route of the
Grand Trunk Road during the past thirty years.

Street scene, Calcutta, India, 1996
Kolkata, India

Howrah Station, Calcutta, India, 1983 As the midday sun streams through the skylights, passengers wait for their trains. Like a movie frozen in time, one can almost hear the noise of people talking, walking, coughing and laughing, and the clatter and screech of the trains as they arrive and depart, the sounds echoing beneath the high ceilings. Howrah Station, Calcutta, India, 1983. Pg. 27, Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs Phaidon, Iconic Images, final book_iconic The Imperial Way_Book Untold_book The Great Railway Bazaar_Book
Howrah Station, Kolkata

Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, 2000, INDIA-10299. MAX PRINT SIZE: 40x60 Candles are a form of offering at the Tibetan Prayer Festival, during which thousands are lit under the Bodi tree. India's Mahabodhi Temple is steps from where Siddhartha achieved enlightenment and became the Buddha. His Four Noble Truths: Life entails suffering; suffering arises from attachment to desires; suffering stops when attachment does; to transcend life's pain, follow the Eightfold Path. A key practice is meditation. Magnum Photos, NYC31844, MCS2000009K010 Garfinkel, Perry. (December 2005). Buddha Rising. National Geographic. Vol.208, No.6, 95 Tibetan prayer festival at the site of the Bodhi tree, where Budda achieved enlightenment, Bodh Gaya, India, 2000. Pg 218, Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs. The Path to Buddha_Book Untold_book final print_UrbanArt'12 final print_milan Fine Art Print Retouched_Sonny Fabbri 05/21/2014
Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India

 Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism all developed along the route,
and Muslims proclaimed their beliefs on their journeys along the road.

Man immersed in American consumerism, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, 2000. Magnum Photos, NYC31911, MCS2003002 K019
Bihar, India

Woman in Alleyway Varanasi. INDIA-10906, Varanasi, India, 2010
Varanasi, India

Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, 1999, INDIA-10223NF. A man takes a drink of water from the river. final print_milan final print_Sao Paulo India_Book retouched_Sonny Fabbri 02/26/2015
Agra, India

“Look! Brahmins and chumars, bankers and tinkers,
barbers and bunnias, pilgrims – and potters – all the world going and coming.
It is to me as a river from which I am
withdrawn like a log after a flood.
And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle.
Such a river of life as no where else exists in the world.”
– Rudyard Kipling, Kim

00314_14, Dacca to Peshawar, Agra, India, 1983, INDIA-10711NF. People under a bridge with a passing train. The train is essential element of Indian life. For those unable to afford journey by plane, it offers an inexpensive way to travel throughout country. While working on his 'India by Rail' story for National Geographic Magazine, McCurry captured locals washing in the Yamuna River as a steam train passes by above. Phaidon, The Imperial Way, Iconic Images, final book_iconic National Geographic, June 1984, By Rail Across the Indian Subcontinent, Vol. 165, No. 6 The Imperial Way_Book India_Book retouched_Sonny Fabbri 02/25/2015
Bridge over Yamuna River near Agra, India

Two Monks at Red Fort, New Delhi, India, 1979 final print_milan final print_UrbanArt'12 retouched_Sonny Fabbri
Red Fort, Delhi, India

Allahabad, India, 1/2001, INDIA-10538. Hindu devotees walking towards Ganges during the Kumbha Mela Festival. retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 9/11/2014
Kumbh Mela, Hindu Pilgrimage, Allahabad, India

Amritsar, Punjab, India, 1996, INDIA-10440. Man with spear and horse. NYC65119, MCS1996002 K267 retouched_Sonny Fabbri 03/27/2015Amritsar, India

Along the route of the GT there is a  struggle between secular
modernity and the conservatism of ancient religions.

Amritsar, India, 1996, INDIA-10201.These men are praying before the Ber Baba Buddha tree, under which Baba Buddha, one of the gurus of Sikhism, would sit and meditate. In the background can be seen the famous Golden Temple. There is a satisfying visual balance between the three men all engaged in the act of worship. National Geographic Magazine. Vol. 191, No. 7, pg. 54, May 1997, India: Fifty Years of Independence. Magnum Photos, NYC5925, MCS1996002 K031 Phaidon, South Southeast, Iconic Images, final book_iconic, iconic photographs The tranquil and peaceful site of the Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib, completed in 1601 in Amritsar, Punjab, as a pilgrimage center and most sacred temple for the Sikhs. Steve McCurry: Photographs of Asia. Boca Raton Museum of Art. 2004, 44.The Golden Temple in Amritsar serves as the spiritual center for the world's 20 million Sikhs.
Golden Temple, Sikh Holiest Place of Worship, Amritsar, India

 The Grand Trunk Road served as the two way escape route for
75 million refugees caught between Indian and Pakistan during Partition.

00313_20, Decca to Peshawar, 1983, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, PAKISTAN-10101. A woman in front a of a mural. retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 03/21/2014Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Peshawar is strategically located at the crossroads of Central and South Asia

00063_10, Afghan border, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984, PAKISTAN-10188. Quissa Khawani Bazaar, the Market of Storytellers, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984. MAX PRINT SIZE: 40X60 MCS1984005K053, NYC134799 The Imperial Way_Book The Great Railway Bazaar_Book retouched_Sonny Fabbri 11/04/2014
Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Prayers, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984 In a scene that has changed little in hundreds of years, these men are facing west towards Mecca, performing the sunset prayer: Salt Al-Maghrib. As dusk falls over the region, the red glow spreads out from the mountains as the men's teacher delivers a lesson, 11/1984 Phaidon, Iconic Images, final book_iconic, page 64. Iconic_Book
Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

01580_08, Peshawar, Pakistan, 1997, PAKISTAN-10157. A woman carries a sewing machine. Retouched_Sonny Fabbri 08/01/2013
Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

00286_01, 01535_12, Landi Kotal, Pakistan, 1983, PAKISTAN-10006 Train engineer, Khyber Pass, Landi Kotal, Pakistan, 1983. Pg 45, Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs Portraits_Book The Imperial Way_Book PORTRAITS_book Untold_bookLandi Kotal, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan

AFGHN-10025 (1)
Near the Afghan/Pakistan border

02087_14_, Afghan Border, 12/1984, AFGHN-14245NF. Train of camels walk down road by Afghan Border. retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 04/15/2015 Near the Afghan/Pakistan Border

02087_10, Afghan Border, 12/1984, AFGHN-14378. Crowded market in Afghanistan. retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 04/15/2015
Near the Afghan/Pakistan border

AFGHN-13080NF2 (3)Village near Surobi, Afghanistan

Children work in an opium field in Badakhshan, which is Afghanistan's largest producer of opium, Badakhshan, northern Afghanistan, 1992, final print_milan In The Shadow of the Mountain_Book final print_MACRO'11 final print_Beetles and Huxley Retouched_Sonny Fabbri 03/18/2014

Jalalabad, Afghanistan, 1992, AFGHN-10225. Portrait of a man with cloudy beard. MAX PRINT SIZE: 30X40 final print_milan Portraits_Book In The Shadow of the Mountain_Book Looking East_Book PORTRAITS_book PORTRAITS_APP final print_Beetles and Huxley NYC9239, MCS1992006 K103 Retouched_Sonny Fabbri 02/05/2014 MAX PRINT SIZE: 30X40
Jalalabad, Nangahar Province, Afghanistan

AFGHN-12467NF, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002, AFGHN-12467NF. Girl standing in the doorway of her home. This young girl lives in the ancient part of Kabul, which until the past decade was almost destroyed due to decades of war. Organizations like Turquoise Mountain (@TurquoiseMountain) are restoring parts of the old city, and are working to re-imagine and resurrect almost-forgotten crafts in order to provide people with skills which will enable them to have gainful employment. retouched_Sonny Fabbri 03/04/2015 Murad Khani, Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul is over 3,500 years old; many empires have  invaded the valley for its
strategic location along the trade routes of Central and South Asia.

00113_18, Shia Mosque, Chindawal,Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002. AFGHN-12669. A woman in Afghanistan. retouched_Sonny Fabbri 7/15/2015
Chindawal, Kabul, Afghanistan

AFGHN-12691NF2 (2)Kabul, Afghanistan

Along this road, forged by conquerors and invaders,
the GT facilitated some of the most significant historical developments which still affect us today.

Silhouettes and Shadows

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by stevemccurry

Bodh Gaya, India

 The Sun never knew how wonderful it was
until it fell on the wall of a building.
Louis Kahn, Architect

quoted in forward of In Praise of Shadows,  Junichiro Tanizaki

Mud Mosque, Mali

Look round and round upon this bare bleak plain,
and see even here, upon a winter’s day,
how beautiful the shadows are.

  Alas!  It is the nature of their kind to be so.
The loveliest things in life are but shadows,
and they come and go, and change and fade away…

– Charles Dickens


Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows,
the light and dark which that thing provides.
– Junichiro Tanizaki

Kabul, Afghanistan

We are but dust and shadow.
– Horace

Preah Khan, Cambodia

You can only come to the morning through the shadows.
– J.R. R. Tolkien





Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow.
– T. S. Eliot


Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it.  The tree is the real thing.
– Abraham Lincoln

New York

Kandze, Tibet


Kabul, Afghanistan




Hindu Kush Mountains, Afghanistan

Ancient Catacombs, Rome, Italy

A shadow on the wall
boughs stirred by the noonday wind
that’s enough earth
and for the eye
enough celestial participation.
– Gottfried Benn
Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann

A Matter of Faith

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by stevemccurry

AFGHN-12236NF3 Girl praying at a mosque, Kabul,  Afghanistan


 I have seen many manifestations of  faith during my travels over the past three decades.  Some have been spontaneous, some have been part of a liturgy, some have been prescribed rituals, some have been in magnificent buildings, others have been outside under a tree.   Some people’s faith is embedded in the way they live their lives.



CHINA-10018NF2Shaolin monks training, Zhengzhou, China


“Just as the body cannot exist without blood, so the soul needs the matchless and pure strength of faith.”   Mohandas Gandhi

PAKISTAN-10079Prayers and teaching, Peshawar, Pakistan




INDIA-10201 Sikh holiest site, Golden Temple,  Amritsar, India





SRILANKA-10144Sri Lanka




TIBET-10093NF2Prayer Flags, Lhasa, Tibet




USA-10001Charlotte, North Carolina



YEMEN-10102 Religious Instruction – Jewish child  in Yemen




KASHMIR-10056Srinagar, Kashmir







ITALY-10022Camino, Italy



“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.  To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”   

St. Thomas Aquinas






INDIA-10202Thrissur Pooram, Kerala, India


  “Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark.”

    – Rabindranath Tagore



INDIA-10299Tibetan Prayer Festival in Bodh Gaya, India



TIBET-10029Pilgrim praying with monks at the Buddhist Academy of Larung Gar, Kham Province, Tibet


“What is Faith?  When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer.”

– Prophet Muhammad


TIBET-10009Monk at Jokhang temple, Lhasa, Tibet



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