[Guest post by Harshad Arole in Pune, India] It was just five days to the first exhibition of the USk Pune group and I was leafing through my sketches, deciding which ones to put up on display. There were some good ones in my sketchbook but I was not keen on cutting out pages, some were two-page panoramas and some pages had sketches drawn on both sides.
Making a choice was getting tough and I thought if could go out, spend the afternoon and evening sketching, I could get some brand new ones done.
I decided to drive towards the old city, park the car somewhere near to the Omkareshwar temple (which I was definitely going to sketch) and then continue roaming about. But before that I couldn't resist drawing the bustling traffic and the people against the backdrop of the statue of Rani of Jhanshi, who was one of the leaders of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (image at the top of the page). The chowk or the square also houses Balgandharva Rangamandir, a famous theatre for Marathi drama (the yellow building).
I moved to the Omkareshwar Temple next. Afternoons are quiet and peaceful in the courtyard of the temple. I found a comfortable seat on one the many empty benches. The structure of the temple is such that I couldn't sketch the entrance archway as well as the temple in one view, so I drew a small inset sketch in the main one showing the arches and the Nandi temple seen through it.
The temple is located at a lower level than the road. I had parked my car on the bridge road above. Sitting in the car, only the peaks of the temple domes were seen, which made an interesting sketch.
I strolled through the area near the temple, called Shaniwar Peth. There are many such peths or localities in Pune which have been established as long back as the 1600s. These areas are now a mix of old wadas (old traditional residences) and new concrete buildings. The paths through the peths are very narrow alleyways. A huge tree right in the middle of the path, a couple of small shrines at its base, balconies of the old wadas, a small street food stall, busy shops in the background and an array of parked vehicles made my day.
It was around 5 pm when I took the route back home, but this time over the Shivaji Bridge or Nava Pool, one of the oldest bridges in Pune constructed around 120 years back. I was able to park my car just for a while near the bridge while I quickly sketched the beautiful old lamp posts, a kulfi (a frozen milk dessert) vendor and not to forget the Pune Municipal Corporation building towering from above the dense foliage at the end of the bridge.
Light had faded and I headed home; however, not before a nice dinner. The restaurant was less crowded, which gave me a chance to sketch the lovely interiors over a relaxed dinner.
A fine day that was! The exhibition of Urban Sketchers Pune was a great success and I ended up displaying all the sketches that I made on my impromptu spin around the city.
Harshad Arole is the founder of a PC/mobile game development studio based in Pune, India. He is a member of Urban Sketchers Pune. You can see more of Harshad’s sketches here.