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The Astronomer's Seat
October 7, 2012

Built in 1570 Fatehpur Sikri was Sultan Akbar's personal palace and city. He constructed this city to act as his personal domain away from his advisers in Delhi who had been controlling him since he assume the throne at age 13. At Fatehpur Akbar was able to develop his own religious and political ideologies by inviting scholars and philosophers to debate and converse with him. This structure is specifically referred to as the Astronomer's seat, but this is probably not historically accurate. (more...)

tags: Mughal Empire, Historic Delhi

location: Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Bringing Durga to the River
October 7, 2012

At the end of Durga Pooja all of the temporary temples are dismantled and the images of the deities are carried down to the river where they will be cast back into the waters of the mother Ganga, just like the ashes of the dead here also are. This way they can return to the ocean and complete the cycle of life and death - returning next year to once again defeat the demon king. The procession is lit up and loud dance music accompanies the cars. (more...)

tags: Festivals, Varanasi, Rituals, Culture and Religion, Varanasi Neighborhood Culture, Ganga Culture

location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Village family
October 7, 2012

This village family lives 5 km outside of Rishikesh on the slopes of a steep valley. They live in a simple concrete house where they grow rice in the carefully terraced land outside. The mother, no older than 25, has 5 children. She works by harvesting the rice, drying the stalks, then carrying giant bushels on her head down to town to sell as cow feed. Their father is a bus driver. (more...)

tags: Environment, Development, Social Development, Poverty/Wealth, Natural Inhabitants and Landscapes, Social Issues/Civil Society

location: Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

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(Re)searching skin color in Banaras - title of beauty salon in Lanka
October 7, 2012

This beauty parlor is tucked away in shopping center in Lanka. In Banaras most salons are sex-specific. The name of this salon demonstrates a very specific marketing strategy - obviously fair skin must be something desirable if that's how this salon is presenting itself to the public. (more...)

tags: Gender Issues, Social Issues/Civil Society, Varanasi, Varanasi Neighborhood Culture

location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

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(Re)seaching skin color in Banaras - companions and informants at BHU
October 7, 2012

My two companions, Amrita and Vandana, who are teachers at Nirman, at Banaras Hindu University Women's College. We went to the women's college because it provided many young women to interview about beauty and skin color. We asked questions about their beauty practices and feelings about the media in India. Many women wished their skin was lighter, but we're uncomfortable admitting to this. We were eventually asked to leave the premises, for reasons that are still unknown.

tags: Social Issues/Civil Society, Varanasi, Varanasi Neighborhood Culture

location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

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(Re)searching skin color in Banaras - ad for Fair and Lovely
October 7, 2012

This ad for the most popular skin-whitening cream in India was found in the women's magazine Femina. The readership is mostly young, upperclass women. This image clearly presents a positive transformation from dark to light - playing on light/dark metaphors and having the dark in the background and in shadow. Many other ads made these comparisons. (more...)

tags: Social Issues/Civil Society

location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

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(Re)searching skin color in Banaras - the glowing ideal
October 7, 2012

Another skin-whitening cream ad found in Femina. (more...)

tags: Social Issues/Civil Society

location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

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(Re)searching Skin Color in Banaras - the product on the shelf
October 7, 2012

This tube of fairness cream was found on the shelf of what otherwise appeared to be a tourist shop (full of trinkets, postcards, and jewelry). It was interesting that even here there was reason to stock whitening cream. Do foreigners want to try this? Is it marketed to indian tourists in Banaras? It was interesting to see how normal it was - sitting among the other cosmetics and medicinal creams.

tags: Varanasi, Varanasi Neighborhood Culture

location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Housing at VGKK School
October 7, 2012

This modern school provides a unique education for the Soligas children. It teaches in the Canada dialect of the region and incorporates indigenous knowledge (of plants, religion, and practices) into it's curriculum. Many of the students live too far away to commute every day so they've provided these dorm like structures to house the students. (more...)

tags: Education, Environment, Development, Social Development, Natural Inhabitants and Landscapes, NGO Development, Social Issues/Civil Society

location: Karnataka, India

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