Dec 30, 2013

National Parks- Canyonlands, the forbidding landscape!

Canyonlands- well named! The national park is home for countless canyons carved by Colorado river and its tributaries. Canyonlands National Park is another lesser known park in Utah. The remoteness and ruggedness makes it less popular. The park covers a large rugged area and is divided into three districts (MAP) by Colorado and Green rivers. There are no roads to connect these sections internally and it takes hours to reach each district by driving around them. Driving on those remote roads is at times an eerie experience especially during early mornings and late evenings when you are the only one on the road! But, that is fascinating huh? For- Life begins at the end of our comfort zone!

Dec 23, 2013

Natural Wonder- Utah's Goblin Valley, like nowhere else!

I never get tired of saying Utah is a land of unbelievably strange landscapes. This land has always surprised me with its unique and beautiful rock formations carved by natural forces over time! Be it arches, canyons, natural bridges, hoodoos and 'Goblins'!  For your amazement ... here is ... Goblin Valley State Park of Utah.

Dec 20, 2013

Modern Architecture- Sea Ranch Chapel, California

Can you guess what is this bird like structure? Well, even I would have thought! Long time ago I read about a chapel on California's Sonoma coast, in a small town called Sea Ranch. I thought of visiting it when I drove north. Not very difficult to find, it is right there east-side of the Highway-1 in Sea Ranch. 

Dec 16, 2013

National Parks- The high cliffs and canyons of Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef is not really a reef :) It is a rugged and around 75-miles long spine called Waterpocket Fold. This park which is narrow and long, protects cliffs, canyons, buttes and sandstone domes. The name Capitol is due to the dome like rocks of white Navajo sandstone. Well, the area has many things explained with some geological jargons like warp or monocline etc. For person like me with not much of geological knowledge, it is a beautiful land with wonderful rock formations and canyons :) Wild, rugged, and wonderful ...

Dec 13, 2013

Utah State Parks- Escalante Petrified Forest

Petrified Trees- sounds strange huh? It is really hard to think how could a tree get petrified until you see one! I spent a night at Escalante, UT during my recent road-trip. It was extremely cold and after driving in snow for sometime I wanted a break though it wasn't very late in the evening. These petrified trees were was just 5-mins away from the RV park and it was an hour before sunset. So I decided to visit the Escalante Petrified  Forest state park.

Dec 9, 2013

Waterfalls- Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase Escalante

Well, I had mentioned the ruggedness of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in my earlier post on Devil's Garden. The place is simply wonderful and full of surprises. On Scenic-Byway-12 (MAP) driving 15-miles from Escalante one can find another pleasant, lush and lovely desert surprise- Lower Calf Creek Falls in Calf Creek Recreation Area. 

Dec 6, 2013

Colorful Skies- Stormy sky along Highway-1

Pacific Coast Highway or California State Route-1 is popular for running through some of the most beautiful coastlines in USA. It is a scenic route with numerous attractions such as state parks, waterfalls and wildlife viewing areas. Some day I will post on all the attractions along this Shoreline Highway!

Dec 2, 2013

National Monument- Devil's Garden in Grand Staircase Escalante

One of the hardly-heard national monuments of Utah, Grand Staircase-Escalante is one of the rugged beauties with hard to reach attractions. I had wonderful experience here after driving in the snow on the winding roads and also driving on miles and miles of gravel roads which I try to avoid when I am in a rented economy car. But, the fascinating nature keeps calling me! An unbelievable remote wilderness!

Nov 29, 2013

Colorful Skies- The sky ablaze over White Sands of New Mexico

White Sands of New Mexico! A magical place! The place which is eye-blinding during the day, turns into something out-worldly after sunset. But, unfortunately one can not stay there after sunset! One has to see it to believe it! 

Nov 27, 2013

Random Thoughts- Pareidolia in rocks

Pareidolia, in simple, is a term used to seeing faces or animals in clouds and rock formations. Well, the term has much deeper and scientific meaning which you can read in Wiki. We hear about sleeping giants and rock faces which are common examples. Well, I am not an expert on this subject but, here I am posting few pictures of my pareidolia experience :) 

Nov 25, 2013

Utah State Parks- Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Okay, I am here with new destinations from my recent road trip to American Southwest. Because of the shutdown my campground reservations weren't valid anymore, the guided tours were refunded. Initially, I just had a list of places to visit in Utah. I did not have any direction, no certainty, I was hesitant but totally happy! Yes, I felt so.

Nov 22, 2013

Colorful Skies- Beautiful sky over the red rocks of Arches National Park

Arches National Park is one of the most popular national parks in USA. Why not? It is beautiful! During my visit, the October sky was blue and the red rocks were glowing. Though I couldn't get to a popular guided tour- Fiery Furnace, I enjoyed rest of the park hiking and photographing. Here is one of the numerous pictures I took.

Nov 21, 2013

Dreaming about a trip to Kuala Lumpur

Bangalore to Kuala Lumpur!

I have been to Kuala Lumpur international airport many times when I traveled by Malaysian airlines. Most of the times, the trips were to USA on work. I used to wait for a good 5-6 hours for the connecting flight. But, never got bored. Such huge and beautiful airport. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to get out of the airport and see the city. I have always wanted to see the skyline, skyscrapers, city and shopping centers, museums while I watched the aircrafts took off and landed.

Nov 20, 2013

Travel Talk- Slum Tourism or Glorification of Poverty?

Couple of months ago I visited Mumbai for only two days with family and friends. It was my first ever visit to this entertainment capital of India. Well, as a child I have visited Mumbai it seems but I don't remember even one thing. When we were moving around in a rented Toyota Innova, our driver spoke out, That is Dharavi Slum. Do you want to see it? Well, no one in the car wanted to. I know Dharavi Slum is a popular tourist destination on the world tourism map but, I was wondering why visit a slum?

Nov 18, 2013

Neglected Past- Temples of Karnataka, Nadkalsi

Nadakalasi twin temples are fine examples of non-ornate Hoysala temple architecture. Located near the Sagar-Sorab road these temples attract very few and genuinely interested visitors only. That could be because they are remote, away from the public transport and there are no autorikshaws. I happened to visit these when I visited Jog Falls in the month of August this year. 

Nov 15, 2013

Colorful Skies- Foggy sky along Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway or California State Route-1 is popular for running through some of the most beautiful coastlines in USA. It is a scenic route with numerous attractions such as state parks, waterfalls and wildlife viewing areas. 

Nov 11, 2013

Neglected Past- Temples of Karnataka, Ikkeri

Here is the continuation of my trip to ancient temples around Jog Falls. Earlier I had posted about the Keladi Nayakas and Keladi Rameshwara temple. Keladi was the first capital of Keladi Kingdom and later it was shifted to Ikkeri by the subsequent ruler. It remained as the capital for around 120 years. And so here is another beautiful temple dedicated to Aghoreshwara (Lord Shiva).

Nov 8, 2013

Colorful Skies- Sunset at Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky!

It is hard to imagine how wild and rugged is Canyonlands National Park. One has to visit to know it. The long remote roads to reach, very few visitors and the unforgiving yet beautiful nature around makes this place fascinating.

Nov 4, 2013

Off the beaten track- Temples of Karnataka, Keladi

During the month of August after few storms I visited Jog Falls one of the highest plunge waterfalls in India. Many who visit these waterfalls are mostly unaware of the historical and architectural treasures around. There are many functioning temples dating back to 16th century which are now protected monuments. These temples of immense architectural beauty in the not-much-happening villages silently tell the stories of grand bygone era. During my recent trip to Jog Falls I visited three of these many temples- Keladi, Ikkeri and Nadkalsi.

Nov 1, 2013

Colorful Skies- Skywatch at Petrified Forest National Park

Skywatch in Arizona. I was at Petrified Forest National Park couple of days ago and these teepees looked very interesting at the end of that long road. Blue sky and those cotton-y clouds looked pretty good too!

Oct 28, 2013

Mysterious Caves- Crystal Caves

Caverns are one of the amazing creations of nature. It seems treasure is burried deep under the crust of Mother Earth. These caverns too take us to the visual treasure deep within. These underground cavities open up like a wonderland. Each chamber has a different natural art to talk about. The mysterious crisscrossing passages are fascinating. I totally love exploring caves.

Oct 25, 2013

Colorful Skies- Lone Tree at Capitol Reef National Park

Well, I am really running through my trip to make up the time lost. Had to trim off few destinations here and there, some very major destinations and some minor! Bottom line, I have started really enjoying my trip. Here is one picture for Skywatch ... a lone tree, the slue sky and red soil from Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

Oct 21, 2013

National Parks- Redwood, Trees that kiss the skies!

Tall stately trees, mist mixed with sunshine, fern covered cliffs, slow moving streams, cool air are enough to tell about Redwood National and State Parks. Home for tallest and oldest trees on earth, this place also protects 40-miles of coastline and other wildlife. Located in the northern California the park is a wonderland of Ents :)

Oct 20, 2013

Road Trips- Through Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona

Well, I was so very disappointed with the US government shutdown. I landed here on October 3rd hoping that it will end soon. Due to many setbacks I had to cancel my tickets to Salt Lake City and I stayed at Los Angeles. I took shelter in my very kind cousin who was so feeling very bad that my trip had some obstacles! As soon as the Utah State declared to open their most gorgeous five National Parks I started off. You know? California might be golden state to comfortably live in but, Utah is an amazingly beautiful state :) Well, now the shutdown has ended so will visit all four states as I had initially thought!

Oct 18, 2013

Colorful Skies- Blue sky over Coral Pink Sand Dunes!

God Bless Utah State Government for opening the National Parks. I am in Utah now. Since I visiting only Utah now, I am visiting State Parks too here. Looks not that good without much tourists. Most of the RV parks and motels seem partially empty. Today, I went on a short hike up and down the Coral Pink Sand Dunes! Lovely experience! It was cold and windy. But the sky was lovely blue! Here is one sample!

Oct 16, 2013

Random Thoughts- A one single World without borders!

From space I saw Earth, indescribably beautiful with the scars of national boundaries gone- Muhammad Ahmad Faris

I wish I could see Mother Earth from space some day! Well, most of the times hardcore travelers prefer to call themselves- Citizens of the World. How wonderful it would be huh?! We could move around with curiosity to see and enjoy being in the different pockets of the world. Or migrate to different parts of the world in search of better life. And follow any culture we find suitable!

Oct 14, 2013

Natural Wonder- Fall Colors in Eastern Sierras

Fall color is one of the wonderful things I have seen in California- Eastern Sierras. One weekend I thought of driving up to the Mono County and check out what I see in the pictures of fall colors is really a truth. And I found out it was amazing, just like in the pictures!

Oct 11, 2013

Colorful skies- Blue at Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina is one of the rocky islands of Channel Islands of California archipelago which is about 22-miles south-west of Los Angeles. Known as Island of Romance the island has much to offer to the visitor. Many fun festivals, night life and also fun water sports could be enjoyed here. 

Oct 9, 2013

Random Thoughts- Shutting down the most beautiful on Earth!

I lived in USA for almost 8 years and it was dearer to me than my home country. Even after I left almost 3 years ago I kept writing about my experiences in america, american national parks and monuments. I kept coming back eagerly to see and feel the most exciting places of natural and historic importance. This year too I came ... to the country which I am proud of its national parks. With a grand plan of visiting the most beautiful states, unfortunately in the beginning of October. Me- an ignorant citizen of the world, who only reads, researches, dreams about the natural wonders and heritage that exists on Mother Earth knew very little about politics, budget and ego. I set foot on this land dreaming about red rocks, canyon country, pink and white sand deserts on 3rd of October hoping that the government shutdown will end soon. Even after 5 days I am waiting and waiting with hope and nothing happens.

Oct 7, 2013

Heritage- Jaisalmer, The Golden City in the heart of Thar Desert

Jaisalmer in the state of Rajasthan in India is popularly known as The Golden City. Located in the heart of Thar Desert the city is a home for many beautiful structures like forts and palaces built of yellow sandstone and the yellow tinge in the surrounding desert sand make the city look GOLDEN. 

Oct 4, 2013

Colorful Skies- The deserted road in Alaska

Alaska is a mysterious part of North America. It is difficult to know what lies ahead! Very well maintained (at least in the parts I visited) long roads are very much deserted, take you to something wonderful. Grey all around, once in a while a snow capped mountain peeks out for few seconds. It is really amazing to get lost in that grey.

Oct 2, 2013

Interesting India- You are an 'Aunty' or 'Uncle' here!

Another interesting thing in India- everyone refers to others as family or a relative!! Sometimes I get surprised when a person of my uncle's age refers me to as 'Aunty'!! Or say- in a bus station a beggar girl in rags browned with dirt gently pulls my clothes and says ... Aunty, I didn't have food for n-number of days, give me money ... What???? Oh- Yes! It happens! Don't be surprised :)

Sep 30, 2013

Off the beaten track- Bishnoi and Pali villages in Rajasthan

From Jodhpur, just 25KM away is Guda Bishnoi village in the middle of the desert with sparse vegetation. The village is known for the migratory birds and endangered Black Bucks (an Indian antelope). The place became popular when a celebrity was beaten up by the poor villagers for shooting and killing two black bucks. The villagers then filed a police complaint for the same. And so it is not a place for anybody to get caught while hunting!

Sep 27, 2013

Colorful Skies- Clouds over Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is one of its kind. Though not so popular like other national parks in California it has a beautiful desert landscape. The blue sky and the cotton-y clouds in the afternoon make make the place spectacular.

Sep 25, 2013

Birds- Flamingoes from SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld in San Diego is one popular amusement park with some breathtakingly amazing shows and intense rides. It also has a large collection of marine creatures and aquatic birds on display. One beautiful sight was a flock of American Flamingoes.

Sep 23, 2013

Heritage- Jodhpur, the Capital of Kingdom Marwar

During my road-trip to Rajasthan, from Jaipur I made my way to Jodhpur which is popularly known as Blue City. Because, most of the houses are painted in blue. This second largest city in Rajasthan is also called Sun City because of the bright sunlight! Yes, quite bright to wear sunglasses! The main attraction in the city is the seven storied Mehrangarh Fort majestically standing on a hilltop.

Sep 20, 2013

Colorful Skies- Sunrise seen from my home!

I have posted a couple of pictures earlier on the sunrise and sunsets seen from my terrace. Here is one more! I woke up early in the morning for a brisk walk and I see this from my balcony. Without any delay I took a picture. The sun looks like molten gold behind the silhouette of the trees. A delight to watch.  

This year has been very unlucky for me in terms of travel. Early this year my mother had a knee replacement surgery. By the time she recovered I was sick- I had some problem with my bones. They hurt very bad. Doctors complained on my veggie diet. I do not have enough nutrition. Now I am perfectly okay eating the same food :) I was all ready to rock and Himalayas started flooding enough to scare my parents and they forced me to abort the plans to visit Himalayas. I thought of going on foreign trips this fall and value of rupee hits rock bottom! No wonder I am enjoying sunrises and sunsets from my terrace :) 

Sep 18, 2013

Birds- Wing-drying Anhinga at Everglades

As I have mentioned in my earlier post on Everglades National Park one can sight many alligators and anhingas on Anhinga trail. Anhingas nest on the lower branches and so one could sight the chicks in the nest too! It is a sight to behold ... a wing-drying anhinga stretching its long neck out with its wings spread. 

Sep 16, 2013

Heritage- Udaipur, The City of Lakes

Paradise for architecture lovers vibrant Rajasthan is an incredible destination popular for its formidable monuments, colorful culture, golden sand dunes and the desert! Magnificent monuments silently tell the tales of prosperity, gallantry and tragedies of the bygone era. I have been to Rajasthan few times. Early this year too I went on a road trip to those popular cities of Rajasthan just to rejuvenate myself with  the unique experience with desert and tradition, some color and spicy food! 

Sep 13, 2013

Colorful Skies- Clouds over Mt Denali Range, Alaska

Alaska is one mysterious place and Denali National Park in Alaska is a wonderful place. Vast tundras, green rolling hills and behind all this hiding are the snow capped mountains. The thick clouds in the sky add to the beauty of the place. 

Sep 11, 2013

Interesting India- Holy Mice!

Traditions are part of our lives. They have special significance in the local life usually associated with a legend. India is rich in such traditions and beliefs, sometimes they are too very interesting. One of them I know is veneration of mice/rats. I first came across this temple a couple of years ago in Udaipur.

Sep 9, 2013

Amusement Parks- Universal Studios, Hollywood

The same way I love National Parks I have a craze for Amusement Parks! Especially the ones with those craziest rides! It was my third trip the Universal Studios and I wasn't bored of those noisy rides. I watch movies and I was really interested in knowing the tricks and the setups used to make those action filled movies.

Sep 6, 2013

Colorful Skies- Blue sky over Charley Young beach, Maui

Hawaii is synonymous with beaches. If you go by guidebooks, finding a beach with no crowd is a challenge :) There are places which are beautiful and not crowded. The key is- avoid the beaches that are mentioned in the guidebooks or recommended on internet. 

Sep 4, 2013

Birds- White Ibis at Everglades National Park

I have posted so much about Everglades National Park and I have so much more to share! It doesn't seem to end very soon! Here is one picture of back-lit white ibis. I took this picture from the boat in Gulf Coast area of Everglades.

Sep 2, 2013

Amusement Parks- The Shamu show at SeaWorld, San Diego

Well, one of the most popular attraction in Southern California, The SeaWorld in San Diego is definitely a must see. I am not a big fan of confining and training wild animals for human entertainment. Still I am amazed by the power of humans to tame and teach these massive creatures to perform to the perfection. 

Aug 30, 2013

Colorful Skies- Clouds over Crater Lake, Oregon

Skywatch at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is one of the spectacles of Oregon. When I saw this lake for the first time in person it left me speechless! Blue water in a rocky bowl- that's how it looked. I always refer it as an immeasurable beauty! When I was there few beautiful clouds accumulated over the lake to add a bonus.

Aug 28, 2013

Travel Talk- Whats wrong in visiting touristy places?

Fountain near Spanish Steps Rome Italy

During my backpacking trip in India I visited few very interesting places. One of them was Khajuraho. I was amazed by the beauty of those temples, the stone carving and that amazing architecture. I kept wondering how grand it would have been during the medieval period when all these temples were functioning. It never occurred to me that I was in a 'touristy' place which is visited by thousands everyday. There were so many other tourists, domestic as well as international, who too were mesmerized by the temple complex. If you are one of those so called 'travelers' who say you dislike visiting 'touristy' places then you are missing something, IMO!

Aug 26, 2013

The Bloom- Antelope Valley California Poppy Revserve

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve Lancaster

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is one of the amazing things I have seen. The state flower of California- Poppy blooms on the sloppy grasslands in Mohave Desert. In good weather conditions the rolling hills are draped with fields of wild orange poppy blooms.

Aug 23, 2013

Colorful Skies- Beautiful sunrise at Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the natural wonders in USA. Red hoodoos standing high in the natural amphitheaters is a sight to behold. Sunrises and sunsets are one of the must experience items! Here is one of the sunrises I witnessed in the park.