Dec 31, 2012

Waterfalls- Silver Falls State Park

I stayed a night in Salem, Oregon. My plan was to visit the Silver Falls State Park and the numerous beautiful waterfalls around. I drove 20 miles south-east very early in the morning so I could get beautiful morning light to shoot those amazingly gorgeous waterfalls. I looked around as I drove on the deserted road towards Silverton ... it was green all around ... it was beautiful and dreamy for a person from Bangalore or say California. My friends from Oregon complain about the grey sky though :)

Dec 30, 2012

Random Thoughts- A safe world for our daughters!

Swami Vivekananda once said long long ago ... A country becomes developed only when its citizens start respecting women. I wonder where India stands in this regard. 

The government has to provide security to all its citizens- women, children and men. But, as parents we should teach our sons to respect women and teach our daughters to be tough enough to protect themselves. Harsh punishment for molestation is a must, but then in my opinion- bringing out gentlemen from our young boys is much more effective. When father disrespects mother, son thinks he is powerful and daughter thinks she is born to be a victim. When parents and grandparents discriminate between sons and daughters, son thinks he is privileged and the daughter sulks.  And some such sons grow up to be devils ...

Let us protest and also help the woman protest against an eve teaser when we see it happening around us. Lets have a safe world for our sisters and daughters. 

Dec 28, 2012

Colorful Skies- The popular Point Reyes Boat

Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the gems of California. The whole peninsula area is beautiful and a popular tourist destination. Whole area is surrounded by Pacific ocean and one can hear the thunderous waves all the time. The small place called Inverness is on the banks of Tomales Bay. And there is this abandoned boat behind the grocery stores. On one of the trips I saw this beautiful sky in the evening. And this was the pic :)

Dec 26, 2012

Birds- A Bird and the Sky

Herons are very graceful birds. The way they stand, walk, look ... everything is so very beautiful. I visited Biscayne National Park in Florida. It is an underwater national park! Shallow turquoise blue waters perfect for snorkeling. Also, it is aquatic bird haven ... This Little blue heron was patiently waiting for its prey ...

Dec 24, 2012

Nature's Wonder- Horseshoe Bend

Arizona is a land of natural wonders. Here is one of them- Horseshoe Bend. The mighty Colorado River takes an unusual bend in the shape of horseshoe. I have visited this place a couple of times but, still it fascinates me. A 3/4 mile walk to the view point is something ... under the relentlessly punishing sun, hot red sand and the wind make the distance much more than just 3/4 mile :) Carefully looking down the steep cliff gives this awesome view and experience ...

Dec 21, 2012

Colorful Skies- Volcano?

I was returning from work and I was stuck in a traffic jam. I was frustrated and then saw this explosion in the sky. It looked like a volcano eruption! But, definitely it wasn't :) It was really interesting. Luckily the traffic cleared faster than ever that day. I rushed to a place from where I could get a good shot. Not sure what causes such cloud formations!? Dramatic huh?

Dec 19, 2012

Birds- Beautiful Hoopoe

Bilikal Reserved Forest near very popular Hampi is the best place to watch birds. I had posted a report earlier on Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary which is a part of the Bilikal Reserve. This hoopoe was playing around. I waited and waited for it to open up its crest, but all in vain. The bird was just hopping over rocks but no show of little feathers on its head. Still it is beautiful!

Dec 17, 2012

Call of the Wild- Pench National Park

Madhya Pradesh has great number of national parks and tiger reserves popular being- Kanha and Bandhavgarh. One of the lesser known national parks is Pench. After my Amarkantak trip I took a break for few days only to return back t Nagpur. From Nagpur I was looking for a bus to Khawasa, nearest village few KM away from the park. In the beginning I asked for the bus to Pench national park. Nobody seemed to know. I wondered!! Then a person advised me to ask for Khawasa and not to say national park but say Abhayaranya (which means protected forest which in turn means national park). It worked!

Dec 14, 2012

Colorful Skies- Pigeon Point Lighthouse illuminated

I had posted a picture of Pigeon Point Lighthouse earlier ... Here is one more ... The old lens is illuminated once a year- first Sunday of November just for 10 minutes and a big crowd of photographers line up to shoot the light. I too was there, but wasn't aware that the place I was standing wasn't right for perfect shot. You see missing streaks of light?! Well, November cold on the shores of Pacific ocean with pitch dark sky ... and the lighthouse ... choices were ... both or nothing!

Dec 12, 2012

Birds- A portrait

Today is 12-12-12 ... lifetime event ... many theories ... many speculations ... end of the world ... end of a calendar ... beginning of new story ... I wish all this is true ... I wish we humans undergo some kind of transformation ... that this corruption and violence come to an end ... let there be a new beginning ...

Dec 10, 2012

Wildlife- Baby Elephant Seals

Elephant Seal ... yes! I saw them by hiking 3 miles on California coast. Ano Nuevo State Park in Pescadero is a place where the habitat for migrating Elephant seals is protected. Lesser known place indeed! Until I reached the place I wasn't sure what was there for me! And I was so happy like a child when I saw these pups just a few feet away on the other side of the fence! Aren't they adorable?

Dec 7, 2012

Colorful skies- Sunset at Black Sand Beach, Maui

This picture looks like a painting to me. A beach with a tree and the tree is not a coconut tree! Too much color difference between the sky and some clouds, tree and grass are too green. Like some screen-setting for Eastman Color movie :) Well, this is a real beach photograph which I took on Lahaina black sand beach, Maui.

Dec 5, 2012

National Parks- The popular Yosemite

This is my 100th post on this blog! I started this new blog with a beautiful template (recently changed it anyway!). I started it on May 24th, a little over 6 months ago. It has grown well with over 27K hits. I thank all of you who like to read my articles and encouraged by expressing beautiful thoughts in comments. On this occasion I would like to present an article on Yosemite National Park- one of my all time favorite place!

Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular, most beautiful, most visited, most hiked and most photographed national parks of USA. I have visited this place n-number of times, in spring for wildflowers and waterfalls, in summer for hiking, in fall for fall colors and in winter for snow-shoeing. To visit this place one doesn't need a reason or occasion just the name is enough! Very easily accessible waterfalls and viewpoints are crowd pullers.

Dec 3, 2012

Heritage- Hampi, The ruins of Vijayanagara Empire

My host state -the incredible Karnataka! It is a blessing to see its beauty, lush green forests infested with amazing density of wildlife, spectacular waterfalls, ancient art and abundant history. I can go on and on ... But for now, I will post on one of the World Heritage Sites in Karnataka ... Hampi.

Nov 30, 2012

Modern Architecture- Cloud Gate

After NYC and LA, Chicago is the busiest city in United States. In 2012 Chicago is listed seventh in Global City Index (info from Wiki). Why not? It is one of the most beautiful metro areas I have seen. The Millennium Park is an icon. AT&T plaza in the park has an unusual and beautiful public sculpture.

Nov 28, 2012

Waterfalls- Burney Falls, A never ending flow

Burney is a small town in northern California. It is popular for the McArther-Burney memorial state park. The centerpiece of the park is an ever flowing waterfalls. This 129ft waterfalls is fed by underground springs and has water even in dry summers. (Info from Wiki) The waterfalls was called eighth wonder of the world by then President of United States Theodore Roosevelt. It is declared as National Natural Landmark.

Nov 26, 2012

Around Bangalore- Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple in Nandi

Well, Nandi Hills is a very popular day-long excursion from Bangalore. But, have you heard of a village Nandi at the foothills of Nandi Hills, home for a 9th century Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple? I hadn't until I joined Bangalore Ascenders (BASC) for a day-long photography tour. BASC is a non-profit organization interested in outdoor activities and adventures organized by its-own volunteering members. If you are in Bangalore, want to get out but, don't know where? then just go ahead- read their website! You will definitely meet enthusiastic and friendly people of all ages :)

Nov 23, 2012

Oceanscapes- Ocean waves at Natural Bridges

Well, there is not much of sky in this picture, but have full reflection of the sky and its colors! I was at one of the beaches in Santa Cruz and the sunset seemed dull. I thought of taking a walk along the beach and then I saw this particular wave pattern on the wet sand. The waves arrived at the shore but strangely moved sideways before returning to ocean! I stopped and waited if that pattern repeats ... yes! It did repeat! And here is the picture I took.

Nov 21, 2012

Cities- Las Vegas, misadventures and a broken camera

Whatever happens in Vegas remains in Vegas! Well, I didn't do anything like you might be thinking right now! :) Its just a popular line ... I definitely had some driving misadventures and freaked out my family! Huh!

Nov 19, 2012

National Parks- Death Valley, The land of extremes!

Death Valley National Park, the land of extremes ... rightly claimed by US National Park authorities ... The name itself says everything! When I visited the park in mid September temperature recorded was 120 Deg F. Every time I got out of the car to see the interesting points I drank half-litre of water. Still I felt I was getting heat stroke! Well, Death Valley National Park is a desert national park in California. One of the fine examples of barren harsh yet extremely beautiful nature. The very interesting feature about this park is that the second lowest point in Western Hemisphere and the lowest point in USA (282ft bsl) exists in this park. And the highest point in lower 48, Mt Whitney stands high nearby!

Nov 18, 2012

Random Thoughts- Traveling full-time on a budget

I have been traveling on and off ... I quit my job beginning of 2011 to spend all my time traveling! Almost two years now and I have traveled some parts of India. As the time passes by, at times I am asked by my Dad ... what next? What are the plans for earning a living? Yeah, valid concerns from worried parents :) 

These thoughts have passed my mind too! I jumped into something that I always wanted- Be a Vagabond. But, then how am I going to maintain myself being a Vagabond? Yeah, when I had a job which paid me a very very handsome amount I went on luxury trips. Now, I have tried moderate budget backpacking trips in India.

Nov 16, 2012

Colorful Skies- Sunrise at Lassen

Lassen Volcanic National Park in California is not as popular as other parks in USA. But, for some reason I kept going there few times for hiking and photoshoots! And this is one of those good pictures I clicked one of the mornings ! Thanks to the road, presence of it gives the picture some weight!

Nov 14, 2012

Lakes- Mono Lake

A couple of years of ago I was very proud and happy when I overheard a conversation between my Mother and an aunt on Mother's Day. My Mother was saying ... My little one is grown up now. She has changed the roles, she is my Mom now ... Today I am happy because my Father was saying something like this to his friend ... My daughter can take perfect pictures even with a match box. I don't believe that I am so good as they claim but, it makes my life better :) I believe, though we cannot change destiny but most of the good things in our lives are because of our parents.

Nov 12, 2012

Neglected Past- Temples of North Karnataka, Gadag

My host state- Karnataka. I love every part of it because, I was born in Karavali area (coast), brought up, educated, worked and living in the cities of Bayaluseeme (southern plains of Deccan plateau) and have visited and trekked the Malenadu (hilly reagion- parts of Sahyadris). Good people, great food and fun places make my state Incredible! But, when it comes to development it is very evident that most of the northern part of the state is very much neglected. So, protecting the past in this area is a far away thing.

Nov 9, 2012

Modern Architecture- Sundial Bridge

I have a great fascination for bridges, be it medieval and modern. And I love photographing them in the night with all illumination on. Here is one ... During my recent visit to USA I wandered around ... One of the pit stops was Redding. Redding is a city in Northern California. In the heart of the city is Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The park has small museums, arboretum, gardens, running tracks and its Sundial Bridge across the Sacramento river is an icon. This free standing pedestrian bridge is a feast for the eyes. A walk across over the river is refreshing.

Nov 7, 2012

Birds- Yes! Got it!

Everglades National Park in Florida is a birder's paradise. Here, beautiful birds surround you. One evening, I was returning from a guided tour and I saw this cormorant diving. I noticed it returned back from the dive few feet away with its catch! It was getting dark and I got a semi-silhouette of the bird-with-catch!

Nov 5, 2012

Natural Wonders- Devil's Postpile

Devil's Postpile National Monument was proclaimed to protect a rare geological formation called Devil's Postpile and also nearby Rainbow waterfalls. Devil's Postpile is a cliff of basalt rock and is a fine example of columnar basalt. The symmetrical and multi-faced basalt columns are about 60ft high. Recent study shows the formation is about 100,000 years old and was was formed by a cooling lava flow. The columns might have been much taller. The eroding forces have broken the columns and the pieces can been in heaps on the ground.

Nov 2, 2012

Colorful Skies- Weather in Alaska

Wouldn't it be wrong to post this grey picture under the title Colorful Skies? Ha ha ... well, grey is one of the colors of sky! A short trip to Alaska with a group was fun, though it was a couple of years ago. Cold, rain, nightless, beauty, bears and so on ... rugged, wild and mysterious ... looks like evening :)

Oct 31, 2012

Yatra- Maihar, A Shaktipeetha

Maihar is small town popular for the Devi Sharada temple on the Trikuta hill. The temple is one of the 51 shaktipeethas, Mother Sati's necklace fell on this hilltop where the temple is built. Mai means Mother and Har is necklace, so the name! The temple is around 5KM from the city. I was at Bandhavgarh National Park and thought of visiting Maihar on the way to Chitrakoot. I took a bus to Umaria (29KM) at 9:00AM, then a train to Katni (57KM), then a train to Maihar (63KM). Reached at 3:45PM! Soon took a hotel room and left for the temple. People were curious to know why was I there in the first place. Some were happy to tell me about the temple. A lodge suspiciously looked at me and said he didn't have vacancy. After going back and forth between the few hotels available the autorikshaw driver somehow got me into a hotel which wasn't good for the money I paid.

Oct 29, 2012

Call of the Wild- Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary

Daroji Sloth Bear Wildlife Sanctuary is less known gem of wild Karnataka even though it is near to much visited and world popular Hampi ruins. The sanctuary is part of Bilikal Reserve Forest which is abundant in  birdlife. A major water canal passes through this area habitating large number of aquatic birds.  Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is 15KM from Hampi. 

Oct 26, 2012

Photo Friday: Change of Season

Well, end of October is peak time for feasting on Fall Colors in Eastern Sierras. I was in Tahoe Basin to witness such change of season ... changing colors of aspen, maple and others ... it was wonderful sight!

Oct 24, 2012

Lakes- Tahoe, Part II

As I have mentioned in Tahoe- Part I, Tahoe Basin is home for several recreational activities and hikers paradise. Numerous trails for all types- days hikes or multiday backpacking. Trails to the summits and trails to the alpine lakes. These lakes are beautiful up in the high elevation surrounded by high standing mountains. The clear blue waters mesmerize the hikers. I have hiked a few and have camped in beautiful state parks here. I will post info about some of the them.

Oct 23, 2012

Love happens!!- My entry for the Get Published contest

Okay! The post title is a bit unlikely to appear on my blog :) But, yes! I am attempting to write a story which I have seen happening around me. I thought of bringing my wish to reality by writing a story on the real incidents in the journey of finding love! All this came to my mind when I saw it on Indiblogger- Real love in New India.

I am attempting to write a short story about Krishna who was my roommate for a long time. She was a romantic soul and believed in those very romantic love stories. She dreamed about a man who would come in her life and they would then live happily ever after. But, life is different. This story is about how she met the right guy- Surendra and her journey to him through the New India's matrimonial sites, meet-up groups, set-ups arranged by family and friends, attending social events and so on. As an onlooker I found it very funny in the beginning and then I saw it happening. Love exists!

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs fromYashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

Oct 22, 2012

Lakes- Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, is one of the gems of USA. Tahoe is a large fresh water lake located on the border of California and Nevada. With clear blue water the beautiful lake is second deepest lake in North America.  Popular as year around destination offers activities for all types of visitors. In summer people enjoy water sports like speed boats, motor skiing, kayaking and simply swimming. The beaches here are wonderful for picnics with family and friends. The heavy snowfall in the winter months makes it a very popular skiing destination. Being in high altitude the color of aspen and maple trees make it look like heaven during fall.

Oct 19, 2012

Photo Friday: Vibrant Weed!

Lantana Camara is commonly known as Spanish Flag or sometimes called as Red Sage though it is not a sage at all. It is a flowering plant from Verbena family native to American Tropics. It seems it is indigenous to Rio Grande Valley of Texas, USA. It was introduced to rest of the world later. Well, in India it is considered to be an invasive weed because- it grows and spreads quickly, and is resistant to fire which makes it impossible to eradicate. It causes indigestion making animals and birds ill after consumption. But, the flowers are very pretty with vibrant colors!

I took this picture in its native, Big Island, Hawaii near Hilo airport. I was waiting for my travel-buddy who was flying-in in the next flight. These looked very pretty road-side there.

Oct 17, 2012

National Parks- Sequoia, A walk in the Land of Giants

Sequoia National Park in California is a place to see the ancient giant sequoia trees. As I had mentioned in the previous post Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are adjacent to each other. And one can see these magnificent trees in both parks. In Sequoia, one finds the world's largest tree and in Kings Canyon- world's second largest tree :)

Oct 15, 2012

Yatra- Amarkantak, the birth place of holy River Narmada

I am nostalgic about Madhya Pradesh again! Yeah, thought of posting one more destination from MP- a pilgrim center. Well, the very holy place Amarkantak. Located at the point where Vindhya and Satpura ranges meet Amarkantak is one of the lesser known pilgrim centers in India though it is the birth place of River Narmada and also river Sone.

Oct 12, 2012

Photo Friday- Riding a Dolphin

On my recent visit to USA I took my sister and her family to Sea World, San Diego. Even though it was my second trip I was so amazed to see these sea creatures perform flawlessly. Just admire human's expertise to tame the giants with the power of intelligence and love!

Oct 10, 2012

National Parks- Kings Canyon, The rugged beauty of nature

Located in Southern Sierra Nevada range, California, Kings Canyon National Park is known for its rugged scenery, high mountains and deep canyons. Beautiful waterfalls and mysterious caverns add to the beauty of it. This national park is adjacent to the Sequoia National Park which is popular for its ancient and giant sequoia trees. Springtime wildflowers make this place a heaven.

Oct 8, 2012

National Parks- Crater Lake, The immeasurable beauty!

Crater Lake is one of the places I would visit any number of times! There is no other place like it on this Earth. Well, I started my long journey of 470 miles from sunny Sunnyvale, CA with my sister, niece and brother-in-law. We passed signals, freeways, highways, cities, towns, barren lands and lakes. Stopped for fuel, restroom breaks and some fast food. Still the GPS showed many more miles to drive! Well, no worries ... I always feel the need, the need for speed! At last we reached the campsite (Mazama Village) by evening.

Oct 7, 2012



Per Hindu mythology, Sati- the daughter of King Daksha Prajapati, married Shiva against her father's will. Angered by this Daksha doesn't invite Sati and Shiva for a grand Vedic sacrifice (Daksh Yajna) which insults Sati and she threws herself into the fire. With the loss of his beloved young wife Shiva is raged and begins Tandava Nritya (dance of cosmic destruction) with Sati's burnt corpse on his shoulder. He wanders around the world as he danced. Devastated by this all the gods ask Lord Vishnu to stop Shiva from destroying the world. Vishnu cuts the corpse into 51 pieces with his Sudarshana Chakra  (discus) and these pieces fall on different spots on earth, ie, across Indian subcontinent. And these 51 spots became places of worship called shaktipeethas representing various forms of Goddess Sati.

4 Adi Shaktipeethas
Bimala in Puri, Odisha (Pada khanda)
Tara Tarini in Berhampur, Odisha (Sthana Khanda)
Kamakhya in Guwahati, Assam (Yoni Khanda)
Dakshina Kalika in Kolkotta, West Bengal (Mukha Khanda)

18 Maha Shaktipeethas

1. Shankari Devi in Trimkomali, Sri Lanka (Heart)
2. Kamakshi Devi in Kanchi, Tamil Nadu (Eyes)
3. Srigala Devi in Pandua, West Bengal (Stomach)
4. Chamudeshwari in Mysore, Karnataka (Hair)
5. Jogulamba in Alampur, Telangana (Upper teeth)
6. Bramarambika in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh (Neck)
7. Mahalakshmi in Kolhapur, Maharashtra (Left hand)
8. Renuka in Mahur (Nanded), Maharashtra (Back)
9. Gadakalika in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh (Tongue)
10. Puruhutika in Peethapuram, Andhra Pradesh (Feet)
11. Biraja Devi in Jaipur, Rajasthan (Right hand)
12. Manikyamba in Draksharamam, Andhra Pradesh (Navel)
13. Kamakhya (Kamarupa) in Guwahati, Assam (Vulva)
14. Madhaveshwari in Prayag, Uttar Pradesh (Fingers)
15. Vaishnavi (Jwalaji) in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh (Head)
16. Sarvamangala in Gaya, Bihar (Breast)
17. Vishalakshi in Kashi, Uttar Pradesh (Throat)
18. Saraswati in Kashmir (Lips)

51 Shaktipeethas

1. Mahamaya in Amarnath, Jammu & Kashmir (Throat)
2. Phullara in Attahas, West Bengal (Lips)
3. Bahula in Bahula, West Bengal (Left arm)
4. Mahishmardhini in Bakreshwar, West Bengal (Portion between the eyebrows)
5. Avanti in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh (Elbow)
6. Arpana in Bhabanipur, Bangladeah (Left anklet)
7. Chinnamastika in Chinnamastika, Himacha Pradesh (Feet)
8. Gandaki Chandi in Gandaki, Nepal (Temple)
9. Bhramari in Nasik Maharashtra (Chin)
10. Kottari in Hinglaj, Pakistan (Bramharandra- part of the head)
 11. Jayanti in Nartiang Village, Meghalaya (Left thigh)
12. Jashoreshwari in Ishwaripur, Bangladesh (palms and feet)
13.Jwalaji in Kagra, Himachal Pradesh (Tongue)
14. Kalika in Kolkotta, West Bengal (Right toe)
15. Kali in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh (Left buttock) Origin of River Sone
16. Kamakhya in Guwahati, Assam (Genitals)
17. Devgarbha in Kankalitala, West Bengal (Bones)
18. Sarvani in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu (Back)
19. Jayadurga (Brajeshwari) in Kangra, HImachal Pradesh (Both ears)
20. Vimla in Kireekona, West Bengal (Crown)
21. Kumari (Anandamayee) in Ratnavali,West Bengal (Right shoulder)
22. Bhramari in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal (Left leg)
23. Dakshayini in Kailash Manasarovar, Tibet (Right hand)
24. Gayatri in Pushkar, Rajasthan (two bracelets)
25. Uma in Mithila, Nepal (Left shoulder)
26. Indrakshi in MAnipallavam, Sri Lanka (Anklets)
27. Mahashira in Khatmandu, Nepal (Both knees)
28. Bhavani in Citakunda, Bangladesh (right arm)
29. Varahi in Panchsagar, Uttarakhand (Lower teeth)
30. Chandrabhaga in Prabhas (Somanath), Gujarat (Stomach)
31. Lalita in Prayag, Uttar Pradesh (Finger)
32. Savitri/Bhadrakali in Kurukshetra, Haryana (Ankle bone)
33. Shivani in Chitrakuta, Uttarpradesh (Right breast)
34. Nandini in Sainthia, West Bengal (Necklace)
35. Rakini/Vishweshwari in Sarvashail, Andra Pradesh (Cheeks)
36. Mahishmardhani in Naina Devi, Himachal Pradesh (Eyes)
37. Narmada in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh (Right buttock) Origin of River Narmada
38. Srisundari in Srishailam, Andhra Pradesh (Right anklet)
39. Mahalakshmi in Shri Shail, Bangladesh (Neck)
40. Narayani in Suchindram, Tamil Nadu (Upper teeth)
41. Sugandha in Shirpur, Bangladesh (Nose)
42. Tripurasundari in Udaypur, Tripura (Right leg)
43. Magal Chandika, Ujaani, West Bengal (Right wrist)
44. Vishalakshi in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh (Earing)
45. Kapalini/Bhimarupa in Vibhash, West Bengal (Left ankle)
46. Ambika in Virat, Rajastha (Left Toe)
47. Uma in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh (Ringlets of hair)
48. Tripuramalini in Jalandhar, Punjab (left breast)
49. Jayadurga in Baijyanath, Jarkhand (Heart)
50. Paropit in Paro, Bhutan

Oct 5, 2012

Random Thoughts- Contemplation

I am back from my a short one month family vacation. Visited west-coast-USA and got myself tons of tan. This particular photo-moment was at Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA. It was early morning at Lake Helen. I was having a stroll around enjoying the morning sun and the cool breeze. I saw my niece watching the ripples in the cool-blue water. The whole scene was so serene.

Oct 1, 2012

A short trip to USA

Almost one-and-a-half years ago I returned to India from USA and I ask myself Do I miss my life in USA? I really don't know. I ask myself Do I love living in India? I really don't know! I find myself at home in both the countries. Last month I took a flight to San Francisco, California. I was eager to meet my US-friends. Eager to visit places around. And I did. Well, I went touring around American west-coast, south-west and a bit of north-west for about a month with my sister and her family. Drove about 5000+ miles (8000+ KM) in a month. I love driving! I didn't see or do anything new on this trip but, definitely my old memories refreshed. Family vacations are always special! Today I am heading back. Sitting in Los Angeles airport and typing ...

Sep 27, 2012

Cities- Jabalpur

I had heard about Jabalpur as a base for higher education and Kanha National Park. Never knew anything much about it. I had some time when in Indore, I did an internet search some evening and was surprised to know there are many beautiful places in and near the city. Jabalpur is well connected by bus and train. I was at Pachhmarhi and so decided to take a train from Piparia to Jabalpur (about 170KM) and found a decent budget hotel with the help of autorikshaw driver. The hotel restaurant food was great.

Sep 24, 2012

Hill Stations- Pachmarhi

Pachmarhi is the only and beautiful hill stations in Central India. It is popularly known as Queen of Satpuras and lies inside the Satpura Biosphere Preserve. At an altitude of 3500ft the little town is a tourist retreat and bustling with tourists, touts and has a strong presence of Army base. Pachmarhi is 144KM from Bhopal, capital city of Madhya Pradesh.

Sep 20, 2012

Off the beaten track- Udaypur, Somanath of East

Off the beaten track ... the places on the less traveled path. There are numerous such places in India, specifically ancient temples and forts. One of those gems is Udayeshwar, also known as Neelakantheshwar temple in Udaypur, Madhya Pradesh. The place is around 90KM from Bhopal perfect for daylong excursion. The 11th century AD temple is one of the finest examples of Paramara Architecture. This functioning  temple is sometimes called as Somnath of East for its architecture.

Sep 17, 2012

Back on Memory Lane- Lassen Volcanic National Park

Back on Memory Lane again ... Couple of years ago, in September I visited the Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. It is not as popular as Yosemite or Grand Canyon but, it is abundant in history and natural wonders. Since then I visited this park 3 more times and hiked most of the trails. It keeps coming back to memory because here is the first time I saw a volcanic cinder cone, I saw the boiling pots, the water green with acid! In later years I saw much better places but, first time is something ... Right now, I am in California, USA ... just touring around ... visited Lassen again! Thought of posting a comprehensive report on all trips together!

Sep 13, 2012

Off the beaten track- Gyaraspur

Gyaraspur is a small town (or a big village) 35KM from Vidisha. It has few medieval period monuments of great historical importance. It seems a fair is held on the eleventh month (Maagh) of Hindu calendar and hence the name Gyaraspur. I took a bus from Vidisha and reached the place after 1.5 hours. All the monuments are at walkable distance from the bus stand. 

Sep 10, 2012

Off the beaten track- Vidisha

(Udayagiri Caves- Varaha saving Bhoo Devi)
Known as Bhelsa during the medieval era, Vidisha is now a small city 76KM from Bhopal. The ancient town Besnagar, ruled by Emperor Ashoka is 3KM north of present day Vidisha. All interesting ruins, monuments and historical structures are around this area. Udayagiri Caves, at a distance of 4KM from the Vidisha city,  are the major attraction here. These caves are extensively carved and have the inscriptions dating back to Gupta period.

Sep 6, 2012

Heritage- The great stupa of Sanchi

Sanchi is a sleepy small village 46KM from Bhopal, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh. I took a private bus from Bhopal. I could see the majestic stupa from far away on the 91m high hill. Took a budget hotel near to the railway station which is really very clean and the tea is fantastic! The place is run by an ex-Army man and his family. If you are very bored he is a good company to talk to.

Sep 3, 2012

Off the beaten track- Bhojpur

Bhojpur is a small village popular for the 11 century AD Bhojeshwar temple. The temple houses one of largest Shivalings in India. The Shivalinga is 5.5m tall carved out of a single rock. The temple is functioning but is an incomplete building. The local legend says that Raja Bhoja wanted to build this temple in 24 hours (info from my guide)And that is the reason it is incomplete. They could build only this in 24 hours. But, the history says something else. The interiors of the temple have rich carvings. The high dome is supported by four massive pillars. The ceiling has beautiful carvings. The outer walls and the spire were never built. 

Aug 31, 2012

Colorful Skies- Sunset Halo at Fremont Peak

I love this picture ... not because of the colors, because of the halo effect! No, it is not natural ... The sky was colorful but the pictures weren't coming great because sun was too bright! I used a stack of ND filters to reduce the brightness. The filter reflected light on the lens and the result is optics generated HALO! You see, below the sun is ocean of clouds reflecting the red light! 

Location is summit of Fremont Peak near  San Juan Bautista which is part of Gabilan range parallel to the central California coast. One weekend I camped here with a group. And happened to see Planet Saturn with the help of a telescope set up by a co-camper. It was really a thrilling experience.