Posted By Lester V Ledesma
#8 - Bhoganandishwara Temple, Karnataka


An excerpt from my article in Spiceroute Magazine:

Nestled at the foot of Nandi Hills is an ancient structure that is so important it hosts its own archaeological station. The Bhoganandiswara Temple may not have its regular share of tourists (its not even listed in the brochures) but this sprawling complex is arguably one of the finest Dravidian temples in Karnataka.

A first glance at its well-preserved outer walls might give the impression of more recent origins. Step inside, though, and marvel at how beautifully this building has aged. Fine sandstone carvings depicting scenes from the Ramayana decorate the inner walls, their chiseled curves practically untouched by restoration work. Of special note is the mantapa fronting the middle shrine, which is unique for its exquisite granite carvings of birds and deities. So intricate are the details here that one can literally run a length of thread between the crafted adornments on the figures.

The Bana king Bana Vidhyadhara must have had grand designs for this temple when he ordered it built at around AD 810. Thankfully its awe-inspiring character survives to this day. Cambodia's Angkor Wat is a crumbling 800-year-old temple. This baby is 1,200 years old - and it still works.

#7 - The Four Seasons Koh Samui

Four Seasons

Ok I must admit to using a hotel PR shot for this image. No picture I took of that hotel justifies the experience of staying there. Suffice it to say that I had my own villa. And a private infinity pool. On a hilltop overlooking the balmy blue waters off Thailand's paradise hideout of Koh Samui.

Too bad I couldn't stay there all day. On assignment for Fah Thai Magazine to photograph the island's most influential people, my co-photo-editor Katie figured we needed swanky accommodations to put us in the right state of mind. Turns out we sampled much more of the high-flying Samui expat lifestyle than we expected. At the end of our last shoot, one of our subjects - a Guinness-guzzling Irish pub owner - treated us to 6 bottles of vintage Dom, amongst other delectable spirits. At the end of that night we had to be accompanied back, and my last memory before falling asleep was of me floating in my infinity pool, watching a gazillion stars as they...zzzzzz....

What happened the next morning was THIS

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