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.
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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.
In October 2017 we had made a visit to Monterrey Bay in California and took some lovely photos. Somehow, I just forgot to post the details of my visit on the blog so here it is now. This visit was made possible kind courtesy my brother Babloo.
Monterrey is one of the top tourist destinations in California. It offers coastal beauty and charm, while maintaining a small-town feeling. While in Monterrey you can visit the World Famous Monterrey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. There are many luxury hotels and fine dining places here. Monterrey is a perfect holiday destination. View the photos to know more. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the images.
Monterrey’s 17 mile scenic drive along the coastline is magical. The scenic beauty is just awesome and amazing. You can spend hours here just watching the sea and pelicans and seagulls flying around. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images.
The sea side is strewn with golf courses the most famous being the Pebble Beach Golf Course.
……..and we the visitors……………….
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In August 2017 we made a trip to Niagara Falls. On our way back we decided to take a brief halt at Buffalo. Buffalo is a city on the shores of Lake Erie in upstate New York, about 20 miles from Niagara. The experience turned out to be amazing.
This was an impromptu plan so while driving we googled for the best place to visit in Buffalo. Buffalo canal side was the unanimous answer of all search engines, so we made a beeline for it.
After parking we un-expectedly walked into a vintage car exibition which was in progress along the Buffalo Water Front. The cars there were a treat to watch and the entire environment was alive and vibrant. I couldnt have asked for better as it was an ideal setting for a shutterbug.
We walked around feasting our eyes on those gorgeous machines, so well polished for the event. Browse the gallery below, click the thumbnails for an enlarged view.
This turned out to be one great place to do some people photography and I let my camera go.
We followed the walk around the car exhibition with a cruise in the Buffalo Canal. The Cruise Captain so proudly narrated the history of the grain elevators which were in ruins all along the canal, few of them re-purposed as restaurants and entertainment arenas. It was great watching people having fun and enjoying water sports in the canal. Browse the gallery below, click the thumbnails for an enlarged view.
By the time we were done with the cruise it was time for lunch, my daughters googled again and we soon found ourself in a unique restaurant named Anchor. The decor was crazy and the food delicious. Browse the gallery below, click the thumbnails for an enlarged view.
Post lunch we were on our way to Erie, the place for our night halt en route to Cincinnati, Ohio.
When one thinks of Jodhpur, three icons come to mind, the Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada and Umaid Palace. These are the ones we visited during our trip to Jodhpur in first week of February 2018. Out of these Mehrangarh Fort is the cream on the cake. As we move along in this blog, I will share my photos and few tid bits with you. Click on the images for larger view.
As you approach the Mehrangarh Fort from Jodhpur town, you have to traverse along a winding road which goes up the hills. Just short of the fort is Jaswant Thada which we visited first.
The Jaswant Thada is a cenotaph located in Jodhpur in India. It was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh of Jodhpur State in 1899 in memory of his father, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, and serves as the cremation ground for the royal family of Marwar.
The mausoleum is built out of intricately carved sheets of marble. The cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh displays portraits of the rulers and Maharajas of Jodhpur. Click on the images for larger view.
Our visit to Mehrangarh Fort was an eye opener. It is certainly one of the epitomes of India’s past splendor and glory.
Mehrangarh (Mehran Fort) is one of the largest forts in India. Built around 1460 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet (125 m) above the city . Inside there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards.
The museum in the Mehrangarh fort is one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan. The museum exhibits the heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and decorated period.
View of Jodhpur town from Mehrangarh Fort
Umaid Palace. Set on 26 acres of gardens, this elegant hotel in a grand building was once home to the Jodphur royal famil.
The regal rooms and suites feature flat-screen TVs, DVD players, free Wi-Fi and minibars. Art Deco or neoclassical-style suites add living rooms; some provide balconies or dining rooms with kitchenettes.
There’s a international restaurant and an open-air cafe. Other amenities include a BBQ eatery and a bar, plus indoor and outdoor pools. A spa offers Ayurvedic treatments and yoga.
We were on a visit to Chittorgarh when the Karni Sena agitation in end January 2018 concerning the movie “Padmavat” was at it’s peak and we were extremely delighted to experience that there seemed to be no effect of this agitation here. The city was calm and quiet and things appeared absolutely normal, thank god for it, for we had traveled miles by road to be here.
When we reached the fort, we were impressed by its expanse and rugged beauty. The ruins spoke volumes of it’s glorious past. Everything appeared to be larger then life. We were inquisitive due to the ongoing controversy and so we wandered around the fort and clicked few nice shots of this great fort. Sharing these with you.
This was a living fort and has 13 km long wall protecting it all around. The fort of Chittor is regarded as one of the most outstanding forts of the country . This formidable fort is perched atop a 180 meter high hillock covering a massive area of 700 acres and is a standing sentinel to the courage and valour of Rajputs of Chittorgarh. It is belived that the fort was build by the Mauryans in 7th century and further structures were added to it by the successive Mewar rulers.
Built in 1440 AD by Maharana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mohamed Khilji this 9-storyed tower is adorned by sculptures of Hindu deities all around.
The fort has many temples, the prominent one’s being the Meera and Kumbha Shayam temple.
The fort has an unique idol of Shiva also called Mahadev
Gaumukh Reservoir is a deep tank filled by a spring coming from a ‘cow mouth’, situated at the edge of the cliff. The Gaumukh Reservoir is one of the eighty four water bodies of the fort which is filled with water to this day. It is believed that after touring various holy places in India, Hindus need to visit the Gaumukh Kund in Chittorgarh to complete their holy journey.
The ruins of Rana Kumbha Palace
This palace was named after the greatest of the Sisodia’s. The palace is believed to have underground cellars where Rani Padmini and other women committed Jauhar.
A view of vijay Stambh from Rana Kumbha Palace
The palace, once the scene of an incident directly responsible for the battle between Allauddin Khiliji and Rana Ratan Singh, has a distinctly feminine structure that overlooks a pleasant pool.
Dedicated to Adinathji the 1st Jain Teerthankar . The tower was built by a Jain merchant Jeeja Bhagerwala during the reign of Rawal Kumar Singh for the glory of Jainism . Kirti Stambha is older than the Vijay Stambha “Tower of Victory”.
A view of Chittor town from the fort
Viewing the sunset from the fort
This is a fort worth visiting and must be on the bucket list of every traveler.