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Visiting Buffalo,NY

Visiting Buffalo,NY

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.

Jodhpur through my lens

Jodhpur through my lens

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.

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.

Chittorgarh Fort through my lens

Chittorgarh Fort through my lens

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.

Vijay Stambh

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

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

Padmini 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.

Kirti Stambh

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.

Visiting Maheshwar

Visiting Maheshwar

In the last week of January 2018 we embarked on a 26 day road journey through Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. We reached back our home at Pune on 21 February 2018 after having covered a distance of about 4800 kilometers. Our newly acquired Renault Duster was a delight to drive. This is our first blog post about our road trip, the destination being Maheswar a historic and pilgrimage town in Madhya Pradesh, India.

In the late eighteenth century, Maheshwar served as the capital of the great Maratha queen Rajmata Ahilya Devi Holkar. She embellished the city with many buildings and public works, and it is home to her palace, as well as numerous temples, a fort, and riverfront ghats. The Rajwada, Ahilya Fort, Shiv Temple and the Ghats are all part of one big complex. Our visit began at the Rajwada. The Rajwada, this is were Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar stayed, a simple affair.

As you enter the premise, you are confronted with a nicely sculpted statue of Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar.

The next few snaps show the interiors of the Rajwada.

A large gate leads the way to the Ghats from were you can view the exteriors of the fort and also visit the Shiva Temple.

While moving down to the Ghats you will come across many vendors. Do take some time out on your way down to peep beyond the para-pits.

Above, outer premises of the Shiva Temple.

Entrance to the temple, ornate splendor. Everything here is larger than life. Below, view of Chattris through the arches.

Above, a view of the Ghats from Shiva Temple.

The outer premises of the Shiva Temple.

The pictures speak for themselves.

Entrance to the Ghats.

Children participating in a drawing competition. The day we visited, there was some kind of event on here.

The walls are decorated with ornate carvings.

People dressed in various hues of color made the whole environment vibrant.

Being blessed by a holy man

A view of the fort from banks of Narmada River

Boating is Narmada is another attraction during your visit here.

Baneswar temple situated on an island in Narmada River. You can also take a boat to view the Shahastra Dhara.

Below, view of the river bank from a boat.

As evening approaches, lights add to the beauty of the fort.

The setting sun at Ghats of Maheshwar

A visit to this place is highly recommended.

Lantern Festival : Cincinnati

Lantern Festival : Cincinnati

While at Cincinnati we were forunate to attend the Lantern Festival in June 2017. Thousands of revelers had come here for one unforgettable spectacle.

Before sundown friends and families were seen enjoying food, live music, a stage show and more.

Busy decorating the lanterns.

Just chilling out

Kids at play

…and the spectators

….that’s my youngest grand daughter enjoying the fun.

This was an appropriate event for family photographs and here is one of my family.

As dusk was approaching, bonfires began being lit.

As the sun went down the lanterns began being prepared, and soon the sky was lit with flying lanterns. The sight was spectacular, something which I had never seen before.

Do watch the movie below for an amazing experience.

Photographing the Niagara Falls

Photographing the Niagara Falls

A visit to Niagara Falls was on my bucket list for a long time.

Finally it came through in August 2017, thanks to my daughters Shruti and Ruchi who planned the trip and drove us there. At the time we were with Shruti so we drove from Mason, Cincinnati and Ruchi commenced her journey from Aurora, Chicago. We married up at Clevland where we spent the night at Marriots. Next day we drove on to Niagara passing Buffalo en route. Buffalo looked exciting so we decided that we will halt here on our way back.

Approaching Buffalo

Paying the toll

A bridge beyond Buffalo

We reached Niagara mid noon and checked in to Day’s inn. Niagara State Park was walking distance from here.

Where we stayed

First view of Niagara town from our room window. The sky line is on the Canadian side. Skylon Tower across the river is on the extreme right.

You can see the falls both from the US and Canadian side. We saw it from the US side.

From the US side you get an oblique view of the falls. A full frontal view is only possible from the Canadian side.

Before you get to the falls, visit the visitors center to get details about the falls and other activities which you can undertake here.

The visitor center get quite crowded so be there early.

As you approach the falls, the view is mesmerizing. You’re now witnessing water falling with the force of  six million cubic feet (168,000 cubic meters)* every minute. The thundering sound is awesome and drowns out all sound around you. The view literally takes your breath away.

The gushing water creates a mist that rises more than 200 feet spraying everything around it with a fine spray of water, and if you are visiting in the morning hours, as I did, a rainbow will explode right in front of you . The scene is totally amazing.

Do make it a point to go up to the observation tower. The view from here is better and certainly worth paying the $ 1.25.

Prospect Point Observation Deck

To have a closer look at the falls, you can take a ride on the Maid of the Mist, the boats which have been aptly named due to the misty conditions which prevail near the falls.

Boarding the “Maid of the Mist”

The falls are lit in the evening so make it a point to be there. The show begins at dusk, the color of the light changes every few minutes. The sight is gorgeous.

People come here to see this iconic wonder of nature from far and beyond and it will be worth your time to take some time out and click their snaps too.

If you want to have a birds eye view of the falls then get on the Canadian side and climb the Skylon Tower or take a chopper ride. They take off from right in front of Day’s Inn.

Okay so that’s it. I am going to be publishing an ebook soon on the topic. The link will be available here so check here off and on. Best wishes.