Roger L. Easton, Jr.
revised 28 June 2006 (in Delhi, India)
Trip to Udupi in June 2006

Ajay Pasupuleti, P.R. Mukund, and I left Rochester on Tuesday afternoon, June 13 and took the overnight British Airways service from Chicago to London (Ajay had to pay an extra $40 for baggage overcharges, but was also granted a simultaneous upgrade to Business Class, with a flat bed, for the overnight flight, while P.R. and I had to sit up in "World Traveler Plus." We have not let him forget it!). We met Keith Knox and Dale Stewart in Heathrow Airport after their flights from Maui to San Francisco to Boston to London. After another 10-hour leg, we arrived in Bangalore at about 4 AM on Thursday, June 15, 2006.

We left Bangalore at about 9:30 AM on Friday to drive to Udupi, a 400km trip that takes about 12 hours. The weather was fine until we stopped for lunch in Hassan. A light rain started there and continued as we reached the edge of the Deccan plateau on the road that winds down the scarp through the Western Ghat Mountains from about 3000' to sea level. We saw the residue of two serious traffic accidents on the road during the descent, but arrived safely in Udupi at about 10 PM thanks to the skill of our professional driver.

We visited the nearby Pajaka math Saturday morning (13d 16m 16.87s N, 74d 47m 30.41S E) and returned to Udupi in the afternoon to set up the equipment in the same room we used in December 2005 near the Sri Krishna Temple. This time Guru Reverend Sri Bannanje Govindacharya was present during the imaging of a few manuscripts that afternoon. In the evening, we moved the equipment to the nearby home of the Guru at his invitation, where we had a much larger, much cooler, and much quieter work space. However, when we tested the equipment that Sunday morning, several minor electrical shocks led us to suspect grounding problems in the building wiring. The Guru called a local electrician, who came right over (on a Sunday morning) and confirmed the grounding problem. The electrician ran a new grounded line to power all of the equipment, including camera, lights, and two laptop computers.

To enhance the contrast between the text and the darkened palm leaf, images were taken through an infrared-transmitting bandpass filter (with peak transmission at about 800 nm and good transmission out nearly to the cutoff wavelength of silicon at about 1100 nm). During imaging, we were taking shots just about as fast as the data could be pumped through the camera cable to the computer; as soon as one image was displayed, we made the next shot; we took 7500+ images of 336 leaves of the Sarvamoola granthas between Saturday and Wednesday afternoons. Immediately after finishing, we packed up and departed for Bangalore at about 5 PM, arriving at about 5 AM on Thursday, June 22.

While in Udupi, the Guru's daughter-in-law prepared fresh vegetarian meals three times a day for about 12 people. Much of the food was harvested from their own garden, and the yogurt was made from milk from their own cows. The food was just spectacular (one of the great pleasures of mankind is a breakfast dosa, which is a crepe made of flour from lentils and rice).

This project has been very rewarding. Keith, Dale, and I were able to help preserve writings of great significance to many millions of people who were genuinely appreciative of our efforts. We also were introduced to a very rich culture (and, not incidently, wonderful food!) that was completely new to us and met many unforgettable people. The entire experience has been a gift of grace.

The work was described in articles published by MSNBC and Ascribe.

Click on each thumbnail to view a larger image; Latitude and Longitude from Google Earth

South Circle Apartments  Our "hotel" (actually the South Circle Apartments) in South Bangalore (12° 55' 17.63'' N lat.,  77° 35' 10.48'' E long.)

me, Keith, Tejasvi, Ajay  Sharmila, Dale, PR  In front of Indian Fast Food Restaurant...  Indian fast food breakfast on Thursday, 15 June in Bangalore: me, Keith, Tejasvi Das, Ajay Pasupuleti; Sharmila Sridharan, Dale Stewart (Keith's wife), and P.R. Mukund

Where Are We?  Where Are We? Dale Stewart using GPS in front of the van in Bangalore before leaving for Udupi on Friday 16 June. (Thanks to my Dad for inventing GPS!)

In the van, headed to Udupi  Ajay in van  In the van, on the way to Udupi (back of heads of PR and Keith, and Ajay and Prasanna Rajanna)

Parked trucks on the road  Goods trucks parked by the side of the highway near Bangalore after unloading their night's haul

By the side of the road  On the road to Udupi  donkeys on the road  Hairpin Turn in the Ghats On the road to Udupi, including one of many hairpin turns in the Ghat Mountains in the rain (the Hindu Petroleum truck should be in the lefthand lane!)

Traffic accident in Udupi  Traffic accident in Udupi on Saturday 17 June, note fire extinguisher near front wheel.

Udupi Panorama from Kediyoor Hotel  Udupi panorama looking eastward from Hotel Kediyoor  (13° 20' 35.51'' N lat.,  74° 44' 47.75'' E long.)

Who let faculty have knives?    Setting up table  camera setup  Set up  Setting up camera equipment with Keith and Ajay in building near Sri Krishna Temple. (13° 20' 26.98'' N lat., 74° 45' 04.07'' E long.)
       Note how some foolish soul allowed a faculty member to use a knife, and also note our ecumenical philosophy about laptop computers.

Prasanna, Guru, and Ramanatha Acharya  Prasanna Rajanna, Guru Sri Bannanje Govinda Acharya, and Ramanatha Acharya with the Sarvamoola Granthas

Guru's House    Home of Guru Reverend Sri Bannanje Govindacharya in Udupi, where we did most of the imaging.

Conference  Conference at home of the Guru (seated); standing, left to right: Dale Stewart, Tejasvi Das, P.R. Mukund, Prasanna Rajanna, Ajay Pasupuleti.

Guru and Ramanatha Acharya  Guru and Ramanatha checking the manuscript before rebinding

Guru's Study, with Dale Stewart  with Keith in Guru's Study  in the Guru's study, with Dale Stewart and with Keith

Count the imagers  more cooks  How many imagers, scholars, and visitors does it take to turn on a digital camera?

Breakfast at Guru's House  Breakfast at Guru's House  Breakfast at Guru's House  kudos to the cook breakfast  Yum, yum   Breakfast at Guru's House; each meal was prepared fresh by his daughter-in-law. We cleaned our plates; the food was WONDERFUL...

breakfast  Breakfast of dosa, chutney, and fresh-squeezed mango juice; as close to heaven as I may get...

panorama of Guru's garden  Panorama of garden from balcony of Guru's study (a nice place to work!)

Electrical grounding fixed, and on a Sunday!  Electrical grounding problem diagnosed and fixed by local electrician in less than two hours, and on a Sunday! The universal power strip is being used to distribute the new grounded current from the plug on the left. The power strip's own plug is now "hot" and is taped for "safety." Though it worked perfectly well, OSHA would never allow this back home!

Ajay and manuscript, with Dale and Keith  Ajay and manuscript, with Dale and Keith

Ajay moving the platen during imaging Ajay Ajay moving the manuscript by hand through 12 imaging positions. He did this for about 770 sides of leaves over five days, while standing the entire time.

Keith and Ramanatha identify a fragment from the images  Keith and Ramanatha Acharya use the images to identify the source of a fragment as from leaf 096.

Historical Jigsaw Puzzle  imaging fragments  Historical Jigsaw Puzzle, the last fragments

       Traditional garb modeled by Pavithra and Sharmila Sridharan

  temple near Paajaka  view near Paajaka  near Paajaka 3    monkeys near Paajaka  Monkeys near Paajaka  Film crew  Film crew at Pajaka Trip to Pajaka matha with film crew, note the monkey massage

Arabian Sea from Udupi Beach  Arabian Sea from Beach at Malpe near Udupi, note the warning sign (perhaps OSHA was there, after all)

Construction Traffic Jam  Close quarters in traffic, we are moving right to left!  Friendly motorcyclists in traffic jam  Construction traffic delay during the drive back to Bangalore (just like summer in Rochester!). During the delay, traffic was stopped in very close quarters for several minutes in both directions. Being westerners, we were objects of friendly curiosity from all sides. During the wait, Dale connected with two motorcyclists travelling in the opposite direction who were stuck right next to our van. She took their photo and showed it to them on the camera's viewscreen, with smiles all around. The cycle driver returned the favor by pulling out his cell phone and taking her picture right back.

Cafe Day truck accident  Cafe Day  Dale and Granite Trucki  Mysore Palace Mysore Palace Trip to Mysore on Sunday 25 June, including stop at Café Coffee Day (Indian "Starbucks") with added attraction out front (that truck was loaded with granite! note the skid marks behind Dale), and Mysore Palace

leaf 056 stitched  leaf 056 (back side) stitched before image processing (click for full-sized image)

leaf 056 stitched  leaf 056 (back) stitched after image processing (click for full-sized image)

Stitched processed 056b  leaf 056 (back side) stitched after second pass of image processing (click for full-sized image)

Delhi, and Trip to Agra and Taj Mahal, 27 June 2006

On Tuesday, Keith, Dale, and I took an all-day tour of Agra (about 100 miles from Delhi) with a professional driver hired by the hotel and a professional tour guide in Agra (a recent Indian Ph.D. graduate whose thesis is about George Bernard Shaw!). We left Delhi early in the morning amidst HEAVY pre-monsoon rain, but the weather cleared nicely before we made it halfway to Agra. This (of course) had its own disadvantages -- it was hot and very sticky, but this is much preferable to the rain,

We arrived in Agra about noon, picked up our guide and went to the
Taj Mahal (nothing more need be said -- it is indescribable). The Taj was built between 1631 and 1653 by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died during the birth of her 14th child. I had not known that the Emperor had planned to build a second Taj in black marble across the river Yamuna for his own tomb (a "negative image" of the first) -- that would have been a striking sight! He completed only the foundation before he was overthrown and imprisoned by his own son. The Shah was held in "house arrest" in Agra Fort, in full view of the Taj. The fort is red sandstone with some white marble parts that were added by the Shah.

Afterwards, on the drive back to Delhi, we also visited
Akbar's Tomb

Click on each thumbnail to view a larger image:

Jet Airways to Delhi  Flat Tire in Delhi Taxicab flat tire Jet Airways Boeing 737 at Bangalore before flight to Delhi, plus event during cab ride to La Meridien Hotel in Delhi (air temperature and humidity not shown!)

Jantar Mantar Observatory              Jantar Mantar Solar and Astronomical Observatory in New Delhi (28° 37' 37.59'' N  77° 12' 59.32'' E)


  Taj 1 Taj 6  Taj 3 Inlay in wall of Taj Detail of InlayCarving Detail Detail of Taj Dome monkey in tree  Taj Mahal, including detail of inlay and of marble carving (27° 10' 30.20'' N  78° 02' 32.10'' E)

Taj Gatehouse  Red Sandstone Gatehouse  Red Sandstone Gatehouse of Taj, which rarely is seen in photos.

Foundation of unbuilt second Taj  Taj from Google Earth  Foundation of unbuilt second Taj, which was to be made of black marble, across the river Yamuna, as seen in the image from Google Earth.

Agra Fort  Agra Fort Moat  Shah's Prison in Agra Fort Public Hall at Agra Fort  Agra Fort  Agra Fort 
(27° 10' 34.98'' N  78° 01' 19.50'' E)

Taj 4 View of Taj from Agra Fort View of Taj from Agra Fort (dry bed of Yamuna River in foreground, waiting for the monsoon)

Spectacular Sari  Spectacular Sari in Agra Fort

Traffic Accident near Agra Fort  Serious traffic accident near Agra Fort

Gatehouse to Akbar's Tomb  Gate to Akbar's Tomb  Three at Akbar  Akbar's Tomb  In the tomb  Akbar's Tomb 
(27° 13' 13.59'' N    77° 57' 01.67'' E)

Young Girl Playing Jacks  Young girl playing jacks while waiting for customers for her elephants.

Camel hauling goods on road to Delhi  Camel hauling goods on road back to Delhi (sorry for the blurriness, sun was going down)

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