Sanjay Kaushal and Shubh Mohan Singh have travelled the rail journey between Kalka and Shimla several times, and the result is From Earth to Sky, a photographic journey of the Kalka-Shimla railway track, which is being exhibited at the Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, Chandigarh till April 21.
Some seen and many unseen aspects of this journey, places, people, stations is what the two travel enthusiasts and shutterbugs have been able to capture in the 58 photographs.
Kalra, who works with an insurance company and Singh, a psychiatrist by profession, have spent most of their weekends and holidays rambling in the hills and soaking in the silence, beauty and timelessness of this track, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While Kalra walked and photographed his way from Kalka to Shimla, Singh confesses he was more laidback. But both have strived to capture every mood and nuance of this journey, without being encumbered by nostalgia or clichés.
The starting point or ‘The Arrival’ is a serene shot of dawn in the Kalka Railway Station. A picture of Loco 706, a coach on the track, men at work on the track to ensure a smooth journey and KC520, one of the oldest steam engines running to date gives a glimpse of the spirit of the trip.
What makes the exhibition absorbing is the effort that has gone into incorporating the landscape, life and people on the stations and tracks.
There are as many as 20 stations between Kalka and Shimla, and the photographs give a glimpse of how time stands still here. Quaint, silent, green, clean, unaffected by machines, the photographers admit you can spend hours here.
The halts, vendors, passengers, rain, snow, wind.they come alive in the photographs. “The staff is so polite and friendly, and the railways employees went out of their way to guide us about train timings to where a better camera angle can be found. This exhibition is a tribute to them,” reflect the two.
The train on bride 226, a photograph capturing the terrace farms, a view of the station from the Barog station verandah, a small tea stall at Dharampur, a black and white depicting people huddling for warmth as the mist envelops the train, a snapshot of the proud Prabhu Dyal Singh, a loco pilot on his day of retirement….this journey through the lens of Kaushal and Singh inspires you to book a ticket