Large chunar at Achabul, Kashmir, 5000 ft.
Photographer: Bourne, Samuel
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a large Chinar tree at Achabul, Kashmir from the 'Strachey Collection of Indian Views', taken by Samuel Bourne in 1864. Samuel Bourne, the bank clerk and amateur photographer arrived in India in 1863 during the early years of commercial photography. Photographs taken during three expeditions to Kashmir and the Himalayas between 1863 and 1866 demonstrate his ability to combine technical skill and artistic vision. These views display a compositional elegance which appealed to Victorian notions of the ‘picturesque’; strategically framed landscapes of rugged mountain scenery, forests, rivers, lakes and rural dwellings. Achabul lies 65 km south of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The Chinar, Platanus kashmeriana called 'Bouni' (Bhawani in Sanskrit) in Kashmir has deeply-lobed (hand-palm shaped) leaves. It makes a large spreading tree giving a lot of shade and has been worshipped in Kashmir since time immemorial. The large hollow trunks have been used by meditators for meditation over time and are thus considered sacred and planted generally at places of worship.