Peek into the pristine beauty of Ladakh

Think of Leh and Ladakh and the first few images that flicker across your mind are that of monks dressed in red robes and the Pangong lake. Taking us on a visual safari beyond the conventional descriptions, ‘Astonishing Beauty of Ladakh’, an exhibition of photographs and fusion art by Pavan Mahatta, Pankaj Mahatta and Inder Gopal, documents photographs and paintings from the region.

Pavan tells Metrolife, “Visitors span a look at the exhibits and ask me, ‘Are these really paintings? The colours are so vivid!’” Sharing his journeys across the adventurous belt, he says, “The first time I went there, it was 1974, the time the region was opened for regular tourists. I was only 17-18 years old back then but the passion to trek and indulge in adventure fascinated me intro travelling to Leh and Ladakh, many times over.”

A few of his exhibited pictures are from  the family trip he went for in the year 2005.

“Amongst the three of us, none travelled together for the pictures displayed in this exhibition; it is a combination of our journeys traversed individually over these years.

Interestingly, coming back from Hemis (a town in Leh) Inder Gopal also shot a variant of the same monastery on a hilltop in September that I shot in the month of August.” Both the pictures  form the part of the exhibits, detailing how the region throws up multiple shades across different months and entice a photographer into taking a picture at the same juncture.

Inder Gopal who went on his last trip to Ladakh in the year 2011, says, “Unlike Pavan, my photographs have more of portraits.” Pointing to the picture of children, he says, “Look at those features. It’s from a Greek settlement in the region. I took all these portraits in the villages of Dahanu and Turtuk.”

Walking Metrolife across the gallery, Inder stops to admire one his peer’s picture and elaborates, “It’s not easy to spot weddings in a terrain like this. Look at those colourful flags and dresses. Pavan clicked this beautiful wedding picture at Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world.”

In between these photographic memories lie paintings of Pankaj Mahatta, displayed for the first time in an exhibition. Dwelling upon his work, he says, “I bring back photographs from my journeys and then paint them using my computer. To enhance the textures, I work upon the printed version using oil and acrylic, both.” His paintings assimilate a character from one picture with a backdrop from another, to create fusion art.

The elderly yet zestful trio hints at organising an exhibition around pictures from Rajasthan in the near future. We wish them all the luck for the upcoming expeditions.

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