Category Archive: Travel Essays

Terry Fox: Celebrating a Canadian Hero During a 4500 Km Drive from Vancouver to Ottawa in the Midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic

MUST SEE PHOTOS: Nurin Merchant drove 4,500 km with her mom from Vancouver to Ottawa, passing through smoke covered mountains, forests and the Prairies. She then celebrated Canadian Hero Terry Fox at his memorial in Thunder Bay. Read her fantastic photo essay of the drive during the year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of the Day: Easter Traditions and Sacred Christian Monuments and Objects

Photos by MUSLIM HARJI As hundreds of millions of Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on April 4, 2021, in unusual circumstances again this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, we present… Continue reading

“DOORS” – A Photographic Tribute to Late Shiraz Bandali of Edmonton, Canada

Simergphotos is pleased to present an excellent collection of photos of “DOORS” that were captured by Shiraz Bandali of Edmonton, Canada, during his trip with his family to Morocco, Spain and Portugal. A passionate photographer, Shiraz alas passed away too early. This collection is a tribute to him as well as a celebration of his life.

Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan, Made Navroz March 21, 2021, the Most Joyous Navroz in My Life, and I Will Tell You Why

Malik Merchant reflects on the Navroz 2021 Talika Mubarak of Mawlana Hazar Imam, and explains why March 21, 2021 was the most joyous day in his life

Beautiful Daytime Moon Photos at Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 3 Unique Projects — the Aga Khan Park, Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum

Exceptional photos of daytime moon on a clear bright sunny day at Toronto’s Aga Khan Park, the Ismaili Centre, and the Aga Khan Museum.

On a Perfect Valentine’s Day, the Aga Khan Park, the Ismaili Jamatkhana Dome and the Aga Khan Museum Come Even Closer to My Heart

By MALIK MERCHANTPublisher/Editor Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos I couldn’t have asked for a better and happier February 14, 2021. I woke up very early to complete an exclusive photo piece of Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the… Continue reading

Hunza’s Remote Khyber Village Inhabited by Ismailis is Also Home to Rare Wildlife – See Beautiful Film of WWF Team Spotting a Large Herd of the Magnificent Ibex

In a fascinating 5 part travelogue of his trip to China and Pakistan, Ali Karim dedicated an entire post to the Ismailis of Northern Hunza. His visits to the villages of Passu and… Continue reading

Photos from our 2020 stories: Mawlana Hazar Imam and his family, Covid-19 impact, Aga Khan projects, the four seasons, and other events

A selection of recent and historic images published in Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos during 2020.

Toronto’s White Xmas: Photos of Aga Khan Park, Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum on December 25, 2020…and then on December 28 following rain!

Photos of the Ismaili Centre, Aga Khan Park and Aga Khan Museum on Xmas Day, December 25, 2020 after a 10-12 cm overnight snowfall.

VOA’s 5 Short Videos That Young and Old Alike Will Enjoy: Elephant Hoisted from Well in India; Baby Gorilla Born at Boston Zoo; and More

WATCH AND SHARE: In less than 4 minutes, see 5 videos of animals that the young ones in your family will enjoy, including an elephant being rescued from a well in India and the first baby gorilla born in a Boston Zoo!

Aga Khan Park’s Vibrant 2020 Autumn Colours

Beautiful autumn colours at Toronto’s Aga Khan park. See the red maples at their peak!

Spectacular Photos: The Lit-Up Dome of the Toronto Headquarters Jamatkhana, and the Aga Khan Museum’s Unique Garden Party

By MALIK MERCHANTPublisher-Editor Simergphotos,  Simerg, and Barakah The Aga Khan Park and Aga Khan Museum were colourful, elegant and spectacular on the night of Friday, August 14, 2020. The Ismaili Jamatkhana was absolutely inspiring. For the first… Continue reading

My Beautiful Moments with the Crescent Moon at Aga Khan Park and The Ismaili Centre, After an Invigorating Walk at Edwards Gardens

PHOTOS: Malik Merchant of Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos first visits the beautiful Edwards Gardens in Toronto and then sets his camera lens on the Crescent Moon rising above the Aga Khan Park and the Ismaili Centre.

Photos: In and around the Aga Khan Museum, as it reopens after more than a 100 days

Malik Merchant visits the beautiful Aga Khan Museum on its reopening and provides photos and his experience with Covid-19 guidelines in place!

Barcelona’s world famous La Boqueria market through the lens of Muslim Harji

A delightful photo essay by Montreal’s Muslim Harji on the world famous La Boqueira market in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district.

2019 Fall Rhapsody: A Superabundance of Autumn Colours in Canada’s National Capital Region, Ottawa and Gatineau, that no City in the World can (Ever) Match

Magnificent photos of fall colours in the National Capital Region of Canada – Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec.

A Day Trip to Fabulous Algonquin Park, Canada

Dr. Nurin Merchant and her dad, Malik, spent a fabulous day at Algonquin Park and enjoyed the park’s trails, sights, scenery and autumn foliage. This post includes remarkable pictures from their 12 hour trip, and highlights what can be accomplished during a day’s trip, even if you are travelling from Ottawa or Toronto! The post captures nature at its finest.

Spain’s architectural masterpieces: The Al Hambra Palace in Granada and the Great Mosque in Cordoba through the Lens of Muslim Harji

The Magnificent Alhambra Palace and the Mosque of Cordoba Through the Lens of Muslim Harji.

Photos from our 2017 posts: From the site of the 48th Ismaili Imam’s Bagamoyo landing to the Diamond Jubilee visits of the 49th Imam His Highness the Aga Khan

A collection of photos from posts published in Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos during 2017.

After an Amazing Silk Road Journey to Xinjiang and Hunza, Seasoned and Intrepid Globetrotter Ali Karim Offers Great Traveling Tips to Our Readers

Ali and Dislhad Karim have been travelling since 1977. Their latest journey took them to numerous cities, towns and villages along the the Silk Road in Xinjiang, China, and Hunza, Pakistan. Here they… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue by Ali Karim: (6) In Hunza’s Capital, Karimabad – Named after Prince Karim Aga Khan

Ali and Dilshad Karim at Altit Fort, strategically located, precarious for enemies. Legends speak of the spot where they are standing as the capital punishment spot where enemies were simply pushed over the… Continue reading

33 Awesome Photos that Summarize Our 2016 Posts: From Historical Visits and Landmark Ceremonies of His Highness the Aga Khan to Fantastic Travelogues and Photo Essays

PREPARED BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT (Publisher/editor — Simergphotos, simerg and barakah) (The photos on this page are representative of some thirty photo pieces that we published in 2016. The photos are not shown in… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue by Ali Karim: (5) Ismailis of Remote Northern Hunza Rise High Above the Tallest Peaks, and Set a Lasting Example for Us to Follow

Please send this page link to your friends and family members everywhere! (ed.) Ali Karim and his wife Dilshad at the banks of the Hunza river with the stunning Cathedral Peaks in the… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue By Ali Karim: (4) Scenes from Tashkurgan and an Encounter with an Ismaili Family, and the Drive to Northern Hunza on the Iconic Khunjerab Pass

BY ALI KARIM Spectacular scenery on the Karakorum Highway (KKH) during our drive from Kashgar to Tashkurgan, the very last town before the border between China and Pakistan. KKH runs approximately 1,300 km… Continue reading

Photo Essay: Sacred Spaces Through the Lens of Muslim Harji

BY MUSLIM HARJI INTRODUCTION: A sacred space is any space or area that has been dedicated for a religious or sacred purpose. All world religions have places set aside that are treated as… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue by Ali Karim: (3) More Kashgar and Spectacular Drive to Tashkurgan

BY ALI KARIM Please click on photos for enlargement. Spectacular scenery at Lake Karakul, located 12,000 ft above sea level. Photo: Ali Karim. Copyright. In this third piece of my multi-part travelogue on… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue by Ali Karim: (2) More of Turpan and Historic Kashgar

BY ALI KARIM A magnificent desert landscape outside Turpan. Photo: Ali Karim. Copyright. In this second installment of my multi-part travelogue on the Silk Road, I continue with more photos of my visit… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue by Ali Karim: (1) Shanghai, Urumqi and Turpan

Intrepid travellers Ali (right) and Dilshad enjoy a snack of noodles and tea at a local café in Urumqi during their “trip of a lifetime” to portions of the ancient Silk Road. Photo:… Continue reading

Riyaan Maherali: My Ismaili Jubilee Games Hero – Adnan Dahlvani of Team USA Blue

BY RIYAAN MAHERALI Adnan Dahlvani of Team USA with brothers Qayl (left) and Riyaan (right), both wearing the FC Barcelona soccer camp jerseys. I first met Adnan on my way to the Global… Continue reading

The Ismaili Jubilee Games’ Lantern is Welcomed to the Ismaili Centre and the Children’s Soccer Camp in Burnaby

BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT Publisher-editor, Simergphotos and Simerg A boy proudly holds the Ismaili Jubilee Games lantern on Sunday, June 19, 2016, at the annual soccer camp which is being attended by 198 young… Continue reading

A Phenomenal One-of-a-Kind Experience in Yellowstone, the World’s Very First National Park, Through the Lens of Nurin Merchant

In Yellowstone, Everything is a Stone’s Throw Away BY NURIN MERCHANT Five years ago, in the summer of 2011, my dad took me to visit two of his most favourite places on earth,… Continue reading

Exclusive: Photos of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s Visit to Dar-es-Salaam and other East African Photos by the Late Abdul M. Ismaily (“Papa Jaan”)

1. Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan meets a delegation during a visit to Tanzania sometime between 1966 and 1970 while serving UNHCR. Photo: Abdul M. Ismaily. Copyright. Editor’s Note: During his long tenure from the early 1960’s to 1976 as either the Deputy… Continue reading

Exclusive: Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Visit to Pakistan by the Late Abdul M. Ismaily (“Papa Jaan”)

Editor’s Note: Our multi-part series of photos of His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, taken by the late Rai Abdul M. Ismaily (1926-1981), lovingly known as “Papa Jaan,” continues with this… Continue reading

Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visits to East Africa by Azhar Chaudhry

Editor’s Notes: Following the recent publication of historical photos taken by “Papa Jaan” in Hunza and Uganda during the early 1960’s, we are pleased to publish an important collection of photographs of His… Continue reading

Exclusive: Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Visit to Uganda by the Late Abdul M. Ismaily (“Papa Jaan”)

Editor’s Note: Our multi-part series of photos of His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, taken by the late Abdul M. Ismaily, lovingly known as “Papa Jaan,” continues with this post containing… Continue reading

Exclusive: Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 1960 Visit to Hunza by the Late Abdul M. Ismaily (“Papa Jaan”)

Editor’s note: The following exclusive photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit to Hunza were captured in 1960 by the late Abdul M. Ismaily, lovingly known as “Papa Jaan” by his family and friends,… Continue reading

Photos of Visits by Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prince Aly Khan to Mozambique in the late 1950’s

Date posted:  February 6, 2016. ________________ We welcome feedback/letters from our readers on the essay. Please use the Comments box which appears below. Your feedback may be edited for length and brevity, and… Continue reading

Photo Essay: Tajikistan Landscapes Through the Lens of Muslim Harji

A map of Tajikistan with surrounding countries. Among the places Muslim Harji visited with his wife, Nevin, during his adventurous and heart warming trip to Tajikistan were Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, and the autonomous… Continue reading

Ottawa Diary: “Deja Vu” – Ottawa’s Familiar Winter Day Not Worthy of a Photo, Really?

BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT Publisher-Editor, http://www.simergphotos.com and http://www.simerg.com A disturbance of blowing snow, right of centre, as my landlord uses a snow-blower to clear one of the side walks used by tenants. Photo: Malik… Continue reading

Photo Diary: A (Very) Green Christmas Day in Ottawa

BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT (Publisher-Editor, http://www.simergphotos.com and http://www.simerg.com) “We haven’t seen anything like this in 53 years,” a member of a family told me outside her home across from Dow’s Lake. There were throngs of… Continue reading

Photo Diary: One of the World’s Coldest Capitals, Ottawa, on Christmas Eve 2015

By Abdulmalik Merchant No, not for moment – this is not our photo of the day, because this is how Ottawa would typically look like on a winter day, with people enjoying skating… Continue reading

Photo Essay: The Beauty and Glory of Autumn Foliage in Ottawa-Gatineau, Canada’s Capital Region

BY MALIK MERCHANT (Publisher-Editor Simerg and Simergphotos) I couldn’t live (leave) without them — the blog(s) and the car! Each year, in October, I make it a point to visit Gatineau Park to… Continue reading

Dushanbe’s Ismaili Centre Through the Lens of Muslim Harji

Editor’s note: Muslim Harji’s series on Central Asia continues with a superb collection of photos of Dushanbe’s Ismaili Centre, which was inaugurated on October 12, 2009 by His Excellency Emomali Rahmon, President of… Continue reading

Prayer Houses of Badakhshan, Tajikistan, Through the Lens of Muslim Harji

Editor’s note: Montreal’s Muslim Harji, pictured above with Ismaili students in Khorogh, continues his special series on Central Asia with this special feature on Ismaili prayer houses in Badakhshan. Thousands of readers have… Continue reading

An Ismaili Wedding in the Pamirs Through My Lens by Muslim Harji

Editor’s note: Our remarkable series of portraits from Badakhshan through the lens of (Montreal’s) Muslim Harji continues with this Part II exclusively dedicated to an Ismaili wedding in a small village in the Pamirs that… Continue reading

The Ismailis of Badakhshan Through My Lens by Muslim Harji

The First Part in a Special Series on Badakhshan and Central Asia STORY AND PHOTOS BY MUSLIM HARJI (Special to Simerg and Simergphotos) An eighteen hour ride from Dushanbe to Khorog needs a… Continue reading

For 2015 Ottawa Doors Open, Simerg Visits 2 Muslim Centres, the Algerian Embassy and the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat

BY ABDULMALIK J. MERCHANT A fortnight ago, during the weekend of May 23-24th, 2015, the city of Toronto hosted its 16th Annual Doors Open allowing thousands of Toronto residents and visitors to explore… Continue reading

New Delhi’s Spectacular Islamic Heritage Through a Canadian Lens

Editor’s note: Intrepid traveller Muslim Harji never fails to have a trip of a lifetime wherever he goes. New Delhi, the Indian capital was no exception judging by the pictures that he has captured, which cover the… Continue reading

Photo Essay: Two Great Canadian Prime Ministers, Mackenzie King and Lester B. Pearson, Feature in Simerg’s Peep into Gatineau Park’s Autumn Foliage

By Malik Merchant Pink Lake, Gatineau Park. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg A city with almost a million people has a magnificent nature park in its vicinity with some of the most spectacular foliage that… Continue reading

My 2014 World Cup Adventure in Brazil – A Dream Come True!

BY RAHIM KHOJA Head banners forming the Brazilian flag in the Pelourinho district in Salvador, Bahia.Photo: Rahim Khoja Ten years ago I was travelling to Portugal and when I arrived, the Euro Cup… Continue reading