Jun 29, 2012

Colorful Skies- Sunset at Moro Rock

Moro Rock is a granite dome of elevation 6,725ft stands in the middle of Sequoia National Park, California. It is popular for two reasons- First, for the views and sunsets from atop. Second, the 400-steps stairway is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, USA. (info from Wiki)

And this is the sunset that I witnessed from top of Moro Rock!

Jun 27, 2012

Birds- Woolly Necked Stork

Last year I visited Bilikal Reserve Forest in Karnataka. The nearest village is Kamalapura 10KM away from the forest. This area is a birder's paradise. Thanks to this Woolly Necked Stork who posed for an eye-level shot. The area can be covered as a half-day excursion from very popular World Heritage Site  Hampi.

Woolly Necked Stork- is a large wading bird which breeds in Africa, India and Indonesia. With a broad wingspan it is a soaring bird which flies with its neck outstretched. Its large wings are black with green and purple hue. Its habitats are wetlands with trees. (Info from Wiki)

Jun 25, 2012

The Blooms- Dogwoods from Yosemite

It is June ... when most of the Yosemite trails officially open ... the Dogwood blooming has ended for this year ... Dogwoods open the window for very short time during spring (April-May) for us to enjoy the spectacular show ... The Blooms ...

Jun 22, 2012

Colorful Skies- Shades of blue at Dry Totugas

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida is a group of small islands in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the Islands- Garden Key is the only island accessible to visitors. From anywhere on this island in any direction one can enjoy these shades of blue- blue of the ocean and blue of the sky! How blessed are we to have such a beautiful Earth to live on!

Jun 20, 2012

Birds- California Quail, Singer of the Day!

Point Reyes National Seashore, California is one place where one could see plenty of birds, elks and beautiful scenery! On one of the long beautiful hikes along the high cliffs I heard this bird singing. Don't say small bird ... its hauntingly sweet voice stood out in the noise of ocean waves!

Jun 18, 2012

Why should you visit Madhya Pradesh?

Madhya Pradesh- Central India ... I do not have any reason to why I chose to visit Madhya Pradesh over any other state of India. It was on an impulse ... I was in Vadodara, Gujarat and I booked a train ticket to Indore because it was available! As I went on visiting few of the numerous interesting places of Madhya Pradesh I realized how right my decision was!!

Jun 15, 2012

Colorful Skies- Sunset at Agra

I know more color at sunset indicates more pollution in the air. But, can anyone resist watching such color? I was at Taj MahalAgra last year. The maddening crowd made me wander away from the mahal. I turned my back to the mahal and started observing the structures around. It was getting dark as the Sun was sinking behind the domes. I witnessed this beautiful urban sunset when I turned my back to the world famous Taj!

Looking away from what everyone is trying to see is sometimes fun! Do you agree?

Jun 13, 2012

Birds- On the top!

When I see this heron standing on top of this tree, I remember a management lesson. Funny which I read on internet (Link).

Jun 11, 2012

Backpacking India Part-II: A Parallel Journey

From my previous backpacking trip (Part-I) I have leanrt one thing! When traveling not to have a dictating plan … have complete flexibility. No restrictions of booked train reservations, flights or hotels. Take the available public transport to get to the next destination. Moving forward from one town to another, passing through the forests and deserts, carrying a load-full of bittersweet memories, lingering taste of local food, lessons learnt from the past mistakes, knowledge gained from the strangers and a 40L backpack with bare necessities.

Jun 8, 2012

Wildlife- A lazy Croc from Everglades

5th June was World Environment Day and couldn't post that day as I didn't have internet access! Then I forgot in the frenzy of Venus Transit! Better late than never! So here I am ... World Environment Day, celebrated to raise awareness to take positive environmental action. The first World Environment Day was in the year 1973. The theme for 2012 was Green Economy: Does it include you?

Jun 7, 2012

Hill Station- Darjeeling

At 9:00AM I got into a shared taxi at Siliguri railway station. My destination was Darjeeling, West Bengal -The Honermooner's Paradise. I was in anticipation of many things. Green everywhere, mountains with cloud hats, tea gardens carpeting the rolling hills, waterfalls as embelishments, blue sky, cool breeze, hot green tea with a hint of lemon etc ... ah! I have read too many books! Mountains hiding behind the mist, grey sky, invisible valleys, relentless rain, worn out road ... was the reality during my visit in late October. We were driving on an uneven road with lots of water streaming down. Best part was ... I was enjoying it!

Jun 6, 2012

Lifetime Event- Venus Transit

Venus Transit ... we have been reading and hearing this for past one week on TV, news papers and magazines ... Today was the day! The cloudy days of Bangalore had never bothered me so much as they did today. Since morning I was running in and out to my apartment balcony and up and down the terrace. I had dreamed of a huge orange sun and then the beauty spot Venus! Nah! As the Sun rose up the horizon behind the thick sheild of clouds I was okay with whatever pic. Then, I was so disappointed and hoping ... God! I just want to see it! God heard me!! And I saw ... and got okay-ish pics. I am very happy with them.

Jun 5, 2012

Hill Station- Shimla

After visiting Kullu-Manali, the popular Shimla cannot be left unvisited! Shimla, capital city of Himachal Pradesh, is a place everybody wants to visit. I wanted to visit Shimla so badly until I did one day. I took an HP state transport bus, the only bus that starts at 10:30PM, from Manali and traveled overnight. I had a reservation for window seat and unfortunately the window shutter had some problem. There was no lock and the shutter was sliding open. Oh! It was cold! My nose was numb and I was worried I might get a cold-burn on my nose! From the new bus stand I took a local bus to reach somewhere near the Mall Road paying Rs.5 where as the taxi costs Rs.250. From there walked up in search of budget hotels to stay. The Shimla city, located in the north-western range of Himalayas, is very cold. Well, it is the Queen of Hills at an altitude of 2,205m above MSL, owns a title Summer Capital ... and so is expected to be very cold in late October for a Bangalorean.

Off the beaten Track- Naggar

Naggar, 26KM from main town Kullu, is a calm and beautiful village in the Himalayan state, Himachal Pradesh. In ancient years it was the capital city of Kullu Kingdom. The castle and the rock temples prove this fact.

Yatra- Manikaran, The hot springs

In Himachal Pradesh, though Manali is honeymooner's paradise, Kullu is referred to as Valley of Gods. Nearby Kullu Valley is Parvati Valley where a small religious town called Manikaran resides, main attraction here being a hot springs in the beautiful landscape. The existence of many temples and a gurudwara indicate it is an important pilgrimage center for more than one religion. A half-a-day or day-long excursion from Manali.

Yatra- Kullu, The valley of Gods

Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, popularly known as Valley of Gods, is a beautiful open valley created by River Bias. Surrounded by the great Himalayan heights Kullu lies on the banks of River Beas. Visiting Kullu is not only for pilgrimage but also for some adventure! River Beas is very popular for white water rafting. Well then ... time to get on a raft! whoo hooo!

Yatra- Hidimba Devi temple in Manali

Hidimba Devi temple in Manali, Himachal Pradesh, the most popular among Hidimba temples. The most powerful being in Kullu Valley. The 500 year old Dhoongri temple is built with wood and has a wooden pagoda with three tapering roofs. The doors and the outer walls are carved very beautifully and intricately. The Hidimba Devi image is in a massive rock cave. The temple is one of the five sites awaiting to be added to UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

Hill Station- Manali and up in Rothang Pass

Since my childhood I had heard about this Kullu-Manali package tours which honeymooners take ... because when I was very small my sister went for her honeymoon there ... since then I wanted to go to Kullu-Manali! Now was the time to explore the beautiful Himachal! I took a shared ride in a mini-van from Dharmashala to Manali. The drive in the night was a wonderful experience. It was dark, from the front seat only thing I could see in the headlights was the narrow road with pits and pot holes, blind curves, steep gradients, no street lights in most of the forest area! I reached Manali safe and sound early in the morning. After dealing with the agents I checked in to a hotel for 2N/3D package with food and 2.5 days shared tours for Rs.4000. For the quality of food, room and the tours it doesn't look expensive.

Jun 4, 2012

Off the beaten track- Beautiful Banavasi

I have been posting so much on distant places ... forgotten about my very own Karnataka. In our own place we are ignorant of most of the interesting things! Well, I have travelled throughout Karnataka during my pre-blogging days with my parents and a "film" camera. Also, I have trekked with friends Saihadris (Western Ghats), mostly Karnataka and Kerala part ... That was more than a decade ago ... I am trying to explore more and revisit some places to relive some of the past experiences ...

Jun 3, 2012

Heritage- Ancient temple of Masroor

It is strange that many who visit Dharmashala do not know about Masroor! What is here? ... 15 rock-cut temples which are built in Indo-Aryan style. The richly carved temples are protected monuments. The temple complex is awaiting the entry into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

Heritage- Ancient city Kangra

Kangra, Himachal Pradesh is a historical town which is 18Km from Dharmashala. Once upon a time it was Nagarkot, the rich city founded by Chandravanshi Katoch Rajputs. It was a beautiful fort city of rich temples and vast treasure. Gazni Muhammad invaded the fort, looted the temples and took away the treasure as any other Muslim invader did. The Vajreshwari temple was the oldest and wealthiest temples in northern India. Gazni, and then Tughlaqs destroyed it along with the fort and the town. The temple is rebuilt and is still functioning. It is one of the Shaktipeethas. From Dharmashala I took a day-long excursion to Kangra and Masroor temples.

Cities- Dharmashala, Little Lhasa of India

Dharmashala, a hill station on the spur of mighty Dhauladhar Range is the district headquarters of Kangra. It is the temporary residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama and so gained international fame and is now popularly referred to as Little Lhasa of India.

Jun 2, 2012

Yatra- The Golden Temple of Amritsar

Reached Amritsar very early in the morning. I asked an auto-rikshaw guy to drop me at a good hotel near Golden Temple. And he dropped me at really good hotel, ie, Rs.1,650+tax. But, the night long journey in a raddi(garbage) bus made me go for this good hotel. I slept for couple of hours before starting to the Golden Temple.

Jun 1, 2012

Butterfly- Tiger Longwing

Decide whether the butterfly is telling the truth when it says "I am nasty to eat"- Internet
Do you think this beauty is poisonous? Orange Tiger Longwing (Heliconius hecale) is one of the beautiful and busy butterflies. These are native to Central America and have longer life than usual 2-3 weeks. Like other Longwings they digest pollens to gain proteins for longer life! They are poisonous and hence predators leave them alone- another reason for longer life!