To enjoy the monsoons we took a road trip in July 2018 from Pune to Jog falls. We visited few interesting places during this trip such as Amboli Ghat in Maharashtra, Goa, Gokarna, Murudeshwar and Jog falls in Karnataka.
This blog is about our visit to Murudeshwar, a coastal town in Maharashtra, famous for the Murudeshwar Temple and world’s second tallest statue of Shiva. The town lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea.
The area has been aesthitically landscaped. A garden along the coast has statue of the Sun God and another statue is of Lord Krishna on a chariot giving sermons to Arjun.
The temple itself is a tall structure. You can take a lift all the way up to the obsevation deck from where you get an awesome view of the Shiva Statue.
The artificial cave below the Shiva statue hold many statues which depicts the story of Mahabali and the Vamana Avtar of Vishnu.
The statues at Murudeshwar are a fine example to indian workmanship. Do find time and take a trip to enjoy the environment.
Nepal is a tourists delight, there is something here for every one. For those who can trek for days and live off their backpack, there is the beauty of the Himalayas to explore and cherish the best, the nature has to offer. For those who are short on time and want to be vehicle bound, Kathmandu and Pokhara are the places to explore. This blog is about my days spent in and around Kathmandu with my camera exploring its heritage and spirituality. This is more of a photo essay, in case you want to see a larger view of an image, click on it.
Patan Durbar Square is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of its attraction is the ancient royal palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided. There is so much to explore and learn here about the rich heritage of Nepal. This place lies in ruins currently due to the massive earthquake of 2015. A massive effort is on to restore its crumbled glory. I just couldn’t stop taking photos here, just sharing a handful.
Golden Temple close to Patan Darbar Square has the finest metal craftsmanship which I have seen. A must visit while travelling to Kathmandu, Nepal.
Pashupatinath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Lord Shiva. The temple was built in the 5th century and later renovated by Malla kings. It is also a cremation site where the last rites of Hindus are performed.
Swayambhunath is an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. The Tibetan name for the site means ‘Sublime Trees’, for the many varieties of trees found on the hill. Wikipedia
You get birds eye view of Kathmandu Valley from here. There is lot of peace here. Beware of the monkeys and there are lots of steps to climb too.
Buodnath is a stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. Located about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline; it is one of the largest stupas in the world. Wikipedia
Chandragiri Hill about an hours drive from Kathmandu is 2551 meters above sea level. This hill is connected with both Buddhist and Hindu religions. The hill provides panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan ranges from Annapurna to Everest on a clear day. A cable car takes you to the top in about 15 minutes.
Bhaktapur is known for its glorious architecture; sky-high temples built in pagoda style – which is believed to be the stairway to the heaven, fine clay pottery, and massive royal courtyards whose existence date back to the 12th century, where devotees, still, celebrate their pre-historic festivals by equal amount of gusto and passion. It is a UNESCO heritage site. The city is about an hours drive from Kathmandu.
…….and that’s us enjoying the awesome sunset from roof top of Sambhala Hotel, Kathmandu.
Though Nepal and its towns will take a lot of time to recover from the ravages of the 2015 earthquake, there is a lot see and explore. A blog cannot do justice so I have decided to create a Photo Book on Nepal to include my visit to Kathmandu and Pokhara which will be soon announced on this very website. Best Wishes.
About 107 Km from Aurangabad, Maharashtra in India lies the Ajanta caves(30 in all) declared as an UNESCO heritage site in 1983.
When you are driving towards the Ajanta Caves from Aurangabad, about 12 kilometers short of the caves you will come across a very prominent Y Junction. Go left and you will reach a view point from where you get this birds eye view of the caves. You will subsequently have to drive back to reach the main entrance of the caves.
A visit to the Ajanta caves in early 2018 cast a mesmerizing spell and the memory of the magnificent murals, paintings and sculptors still linger on.
History has it that the sculpting of the caves began in 200 BC and continued for many centuries. For some unknown reason the caves were abandoned in 900 AD and fell prey to the elements of nature. These were accidentally re-discovered by Capt John Smith in 1819 during a hunt while he was chasing a tiger.
The rock cut caves are a reminder of rich heritage of India and its people. The sculptures glorify Buddha as a teacher and those who sculpted it certainly aimed to etch memories in stone for generation to come. Absolutely awesome, amazing and divine !!
If history interests you then Links and a video at the end of this blog may interest you.
I for one soaked in the awesome beauty of art which can be seen in these caves. Absolutely amazing. Sharing with you photos taken during the visit in random order.
The murals in few caves are amazing and speak volumes for the Indian Artisans.
The murals mostly depict the life of Buddha and Jataka Tales, however, few do portray the day to day life of kings of those days.
It took centuries to sculpt the caves and the sculptures within, and yet the whole thing looks so well coordinated. The art form was passed from generation to generations who continued to create an awesome story depicting the life of “The Buddha”.
Unfinished caves ??
I don’t really have words to describe what I have posted above. I presume the pictures tell the story.
If history of these caves interest you then you may like to click on the links below to know more. My aim was to take you through a pictorial journey of the Ajanta Caves, I hope you enjoyed it.
If you are visiting Nepal then you have got to have Pokhara on your itenerary. Pokhara has few attractions which certainly warrants a visit. There is much to do in Pokhara as this is the gateway to the Annapurna circuit but these are for the young and fit guys.
If you are a senior citizen like me or on a short trip sightseeing then your best option is to make a beginning by visiting the Pehwa lake, take a boat and visit the Barhi temple followed by a boat ride to the gurung village and back. Take some time strolling on the banks which are well paved. You many also consider visitng a restaurant on the lake, there are plenty to choose from. If you are lucky you may witness a great sunset here.
The colorful patterns made by the docked boats are worth pausing and taking a look
Don’t forget to take a boat and visit the Barhi Temple
Take some time out, just sit on the bank and watch the beautiful landscape all around
While waiting for the sunset enjoy some tea and snacks. My favorite was ginger, lemon and honey tea
If you are lucky, you may witness a mesmerizing sunset. We did.
You must also plan to visit Sarangkot. From here you get great views of the majestic Annapurna range. You will have to leave your hotel very early to catch the sunrise and prey for a clear morning.
Sarangkot is also the para gliding take off point. If you just want to watch then take a cab and get to the north of Pehwa lake to watch the para gliders land. I enjoyed doing that.
A 30 minute drive takes you to the base of Peace Pagoda. You will have to climb many stairs to reach the Pagoda but the effort will be worth it. From the Peace Pagoda you get a very good view of the Pehwa Lake and the Pokhara town. The day we visited it was pouring hence the visibility was very poor.
View of Pokhara town from Peace Pagoda
Far from the maddening crowd lies the Begnas Lake ( about 14 kilometers from Pokara). Not many people visit here. I for one found this place tranquil and beautiful.
Do let me know you visited this page by commenting below. Thanks.
Amboli is a hill station in Maharashtra about 350 km from Pune. It records 3000 mm of rains in the monsoons and hence is a home to many creepy creatures and insects which thrive in monsoons.
Amboli Water fall is a major attraction for Mumbaikars and Puneites who throng this place in thousands during the monsoons. Visiting during week ends is not advisable.
If you want to enjoy nature this is a great place to visit.
A visit to this place was on our bucket list for some time and it fructified this monsoon ( July 2018). Apart from visitng the waterfalls my main interest was trying my hand at photographing the creepy creatures of Amboli. To do that one has to venture out in the night as spotting them in daylight is near impossible. You need to be geared up to face heavy rains. A good raincoat, gum boots and a flash light to light up the creatures will be handy.
During the night nature walk in the Amboli Wildlife Park you can expect to see various kinds of frogs, snakes, Geckos and insects. For me it was fun searching for these reptiles and frogs, though the incessant rain was annoying. Sharing few phots taken during the trip.
Amboli Bush Frog
Marble Frog ?
Glow worm, this thing glows as if it has head and tail light
Malabar Pit Viper. Malabar Pit Viper is a venomous snake mostly found in southern and western India. They are nocturnal and found on the ground,rocks and trees near streams of the Western Ghats region of India. The don’t hunt but just sit in ambush, waiting for the prey to come by.
Green Vine Snake. The green vine snake is diurnal and mildly venomous. The reptile normally feeds on frogs and lizards using its binocular vision to hunt. They are slow moving, relying on camouflaging as a vine in foliage. The snake expands its body when disturbed to show a black and white scale marking. Also, they may open their mouth in threat display and point their head in the direction of the perceived threat.
Stick insect. The stick insect (as its name suggests) is an insect that looks like a twig on a branch, bush or tree. This unique identity means that stick insects can be extremely difficult for predators to spot. Amazing nature….
Malabar Gliding Frog. The Malabar gliding frog or Malabar flying frog tree frog species found in the Western Ghats of India.
The term “gliding” frog refers to its ability to break its fall by stretching the webbing between its toes when making leaps down from the treetops. It can make gliding jumps of 9–12 m, a maximum of about 115 times its length. These stole the show for me.
Beautiful creeps, aren’t they ?
I was informed that Amboli has some beautiful species of butterflies and insects which are seen around end of September and that’s the reason I plan to be there again this September.