Monthly Archives: March 2014

Borra Guhalu, Borra Caves, Visakhapatnam



Borra Guhalu, Borra Caves, Visakhapatnam

The most refreshing thing for a man is the connection he finds with mother nature, away from all the hustle and all the commotion. A little while away from all of it to know how extravagant our planet is one thing everyone should have.

The caves
The Borra Caves in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh, India are a major tourist attraction in the state. Andhra pradesh that is rich in its culture and traditions. Its know for many of the tourist attractions across the state. Tirupati, Hyderabad, Vijaywada are a few to mention. Visakhapatnam is know for its beautiful weather and beaches. Visakhapatnam is the only city that has a natural harbour on the east coast. It is also the Headquarters for Eastern Naval Command of India.
These cave are on the East Coast of India in the Ananthagiri Hills at the Araku Valley. They are the deepest caves in the country. The caves are famous for its numerous stalactites, spleleothems and stalagmites. The caves are 80 meters deep making them the deepest in the country. These caves are also one of the largest in the country. These caves were discovered by William King George of the Geological Survey of India in the year 1807.

temple
There are many legends that speak of these caves. The tribals aroud this place narrate the stories. They say that, when a cow was grazing on the top of the hill, it fell into a hole and dropped for over 60 meters. The cowherd went to search for the cow, in his search he came across a stone that resembled the Shiva Lingam ( Lord Shiva ). He found the cow and was alright. He believed that it was Lord Shiva who saved the cow. The villagers who heard this belived him and have worshipped this place ever since. Many people visit this place to get a glipse of the lingam in the caves. The river Gosthani originates from here, flows through Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam district before falling into the Bay of Bengal at Bheemunipatnam.
These caves are cleared by Gosthani river that flows through this place. The Gosthani river is the main source of Water Supply to Visakhpatnam. The extensive formation of Stalactites and Stalagmites are a treat to the eyes. The tourism department of Andhra Pradesh has provided excellent lighting and illumination using mercury, halogen and sodium vcapor lamps to make the various formations clearly visible to tourists. The average temperature in this place is about 25 degrees centigrade.

borra_caves
The place houses quite a few varieties of flora and fauna. The fulvous fruit bat is the most sighted in this cave. These bat are known to be found in large caves, old buildings, dungeons and the areas of forts which are very dark. Another regular sighting is that of the Golden Gecko that resides in these caves. The forest in this area are Deciduous, Semi- Evergreeen type. The bats feed on guava, cotton, mango and jamun which are available in these parts. The majority of the species found in these caves are endangered. Hence, mining operations are not allowed as it would be a violation of the Environmental Protection Act.

train route       train
These caves are at about 90 kilometeres away from the famous beach city of Visakhapatnam. The roads to this place from the city are mostly through a hilly area, hence takes about 3 hours to reach the caves. Visakhaptnam also has an airport that is well connected to other major cities of the country. There also runs a train from Vizag ( Visakhapatnam ) to the caves. The name of the station in BorraGuhalu which means Borra Caves. The route is beautiful. The railway line on which this operates is the Kothavasala Kirandul line which comes uner the East Coast Railways, Indian Railways. The journey is of about a 100 kilometeres and includes about 30 tunnels in its route which takes about 3 hours to complete. The train journey is a treat. The best place to visit these caves in during November and December. The temperatures are the best during this time of the year. The Andhra Pradesh State Tourism Department provides an Araku- Borra Cave Rail cum road package which includes everything you need to experience the beauty of this wonderful place. The caves are open to public from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM. A ice stroll around these caves provides a brilliant view of the scenery and also gives you a chance to see the rich flora and fauna that constitutes these caves.

insidethe cave
The Andhra Pradesh State tourism has many guided tours to these caves from Visakhapatnam. The famous Hill Station, Araku Valley is situated at about 30 kilometers from the caves which is another famous tourist attraction in Visakhapatnam. Araku Valley is one of the few places in South India that has not been spoilt. It is know for its coffee, The Araku Emerald.

to the outside   hotel
There are good hotels available near these caves. At a distance of a couple of kilometers from the caves is a place called sagarnagar which is filled with hotels. some of the good hotels are Senora Beach Resort and Bay Leaf – Ayurveda Spa & Resort. One other good place to stay is the Palm Beach Hotel & Resort which is two and a half kilometers away from the caves and is situated on the Beach Road. This place provides a feel of the endless waters and the magnificence of the caves simultaneously. Andhra Pradesh is known for its spicy dishes and traditional Andhra Cuisine is something one must definitely try within the State’s boundary. The rich pickles and the Dolphin’s Nose Hill is one beautiful attraction in Visakhapatnam. Borra Caves is a famous place that attracts large number of tourists over the year. To experience the natural wonder’s beauty, do visit!

The Remarkable Beauty of Butchart Gardens



The Remarkable Beauty of Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens are the gardens located near Victoria (Vancouver Island) in Brentwood Bay in British Columbia, Canada. These gardens have a floral display which is one of the finest in the world. More than a million tourists visit this place every year. These gardens are so renowned worldwide that they are given the designation of one of the ‘National Historic Site of Canada’. These gardens are now among the premier floral show gardens in the world after a century of their origin.

History:

butchart

The founder of the Butchart Gardens is Robert Pim Butchart. He used to manufacture Portland Cement in Owen Sound, Canada. His wife, Jennie Butchart visited Canada for the limestone deposits. They got a home at the Saanich Peninsula’s base on Vancouver Islands and developed a quarry. As the limestone deposits exhausted, the wife made plants to hide that pit which expanded to become Sunken Garden. Then in the years, 1906 to 1920, they built Japanese Garden, Italian Garden and a Rose Garden.

Sunken Garden:

Butchart-Gardens-Victoria-Canada

The first see to see in these Butchart Gardens is the Sunken Garden. There are deep walls expanded all over which are the remaining parts of some old quarry. There walls support the perfectly organized beds of annuals, shurbs, flowering trees, etc. There is a Ross Fountain which is totally graceful to look at. Also, there is a central rock mound and various plantings in the Bog Garden which, together with the fountain, adds to the beauty and nature of the Sunken Garden and gives you an unforgettable and amazing view of the natural colors. The garden is very well maintained and constructed which is evident from the fact that they have a separate passage for the tourists who use wheel-chairs and separate stairs for the other tourists.

Rose Garden:

Butchart-Gardens-Rose-Garden

When you walk out of the Sunken Gardens, you will find yourself in the domed Children’s Pavilion and the Rose Carousel. It is a menagerie (a zoo and a park) which has 30 wooden animals along with a few chariots, all hand-carved very skillfully. This crafted carousel looks very lovely and is a very popular place of the garden for all age groups. After this, you will see two poles which are very impressively carved by the artists and craftsmen of the Tsartlip. There is a Concert Lawn which you can circle from here and walk through the dahlia garden to discover that they are one the best you could have ever seen. Near this Concert Lawn is the most loved, most liked and most appreciated section by the name Rose Garden. To greet you to this garden, you have rose-laden arches which look beautifully colorful and have luscious scent. The delphiniums are magnificent and form a boundary of the Ross garden. This garden has a vast variety and collection of Hybrid Tea Roses and Pacific Giants. But this is during the early fall or during the summers and not every day of the year. The rose variety can be known by the marks used to label each kind. Other information mentioned on the marks is about the origin and the year of registration in the American Rose Society. After you walk from here, you will see the frog fountain and a “wishing well” which is as popular as the Rose Garden. You will see Sturgeon Fountain made of Bronze and casted in Florence, once you exit from the Rose Garden.

Japanese and Italian Garden:

Butchart Gardens

Another one is the Japanese Garden that is marked by the Torii Gate at the entrance. The paths in this garden are dotted with the Blue Poppies found in the Himalayas in spring season. These gentle paths take you around the ponds, bridges and streams. The most famous sight of this garden is the Japanese maples and beech trees. It was completed in 1906 by Jennie Butchart along with the assistant Isaburo Kishida who is an expert landscaper of Japan. They allow tourists to take a boat tour of the Tod Inlet during the summers which leads to the wharf at the bottom of this garden. After this garden, you will find a Star Pond with a frog fountain at the centre. Past this, you will find the Italian Garden which is another one of the Butchart Gardens. There are two arched entrances to this garden which is situated on a land that used to be the tennis court of the Butchart. It has a statue of Mercury made of bronze and also a cross-shaped pond that looks very charming.

Mediterranean Garden:

mediterranean-garden-in-butchart-gardens-tatyana-searcy

After the Italian Garden, you reach the Mediterranean Garden after coming from a tunnel to the Piazza. There is a Florentine statute of Tacca – the Boar, made of bronze. The statute is rubbed for good luck and most of the tourists do not leave the place before experiencing the Tacca statue. from here, you can walk to the Waterwheel Square to find the Mediterranean Garden. This is a comparatively smaller garden among the Butchart Gardens. But despite the size, it has great lush and exotic plants arranged in a surprisingly wonderful manner.

All these gardens and fountains combined together are a treat for the eyes due to the natural colors and a treat for the nose due to the fresh scent.

Alive All Night: Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong



Alive All Night: Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong

the market

Are you a shopping freak? A carnival festivity lover? A foodoholic? If the answers to these questions are yes then you definitely cannot afford to miss this place. I am talking about the Temple Street Night Market in the city of festivity and celebration, Hong Kong. It is geographically located in the vicinity of Jordon and Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong. This place has a different but interesting history. This whole of the market area is believed to have settled around a Banyan tree and has been named after a tin hau temple.

 men's shop

Peolpe do not come here to discover the beauty of the sky- scraper or the elite and posh restaurants. This is not what this place is known for. This place is known for the night market which or basically the flea- markets which are found here. It starts operating 2:00 p.m. Onwards and goes on until mid- night.There are endless number of stalls, one after the other. The beauty of this place lies in it’s down to earth aura, with stalls of clothes, food, gift items shining all around you in the beautiful lights put everywhere in the market. Most of the times the Temple Night Street Market is referred to as ‘Men’s market’. This place is also supposed to be in contrast with the Ladies’ market in Mong Kok, Hong Kong.

 antique shop

As the title ‘Men’s market’ suggests; most of the things which are sold here are best- suited for men. All kinds of T- shirts, Shirts, Jeanswear, shoes, pants and many more. The best part about these merchandise is that they are of the immediate fashion going on in the market and are sold at the cheapest of the cheap rates. Just like the other popular South- East Asian markets; bargaining is a delight to be availed. Being titled as ‘Men’s market’ does not mean only the male products will be sold here. Here we will find all sorts of gift items, old video tapes and the best part is the availibility and the visibilty of the antique products.

 antiquities

Besides market there are two things which heavily attract the tourists. The first is the Cantonese Opera and the other one is the fortune telling section. The Cantonese Opera operates everyday just near the temple but Wednesday; usually from 8:00p.m.- 11:00p.m. It is a delight to watch them perform. Not all of them are the epitome of the Opera world. It includes all kins of artist, from the learners to the amateurs. Some of the artists have even gone to become famous Opera artists worldwide. Their performance is fairly out of their passion and love towards the art of Opera. This also helps them to showcase their talent and at the utmost level it is also a means of their living.

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Another sight of attraction here is the section of the fortune tellers which is found just beside the Cantonese Opera. It is a long line of people telling fortunes, most of them in their local language and some in English as well. They do not limit their art of telling fortune through the hands but they also use ears, eyes and chinese astrology to do the same. Fortune telling has been an old traditional practise in Hong Kong. The most fascinating method of fortune telling is the Bird method. In this the bird is put forth a certain pack of cards and out of these cards, the one that the bird picks up, becomes the fortune of the customer.

 fortune telling by bird

Now coming to the most important aspect of travelling, as said and considered by many, the section of food. Besides offering so many great offers and sights of attraction, the Temple Street Night Market does not fail to provide the best of the delicacies. The food items available here are one of their kind. Obviously Hong Kong being an island city has a lot to offer when it comes to the sea- food section. Food is another centre of attraction here. The food stalls are called ‘dai pai dong’ here. Besides these, the proper restaurants and cafes are also found here.

food

The sellers are very dedicated to their work. Their dedication exceeds all the limits when it comes to serving fresh food; which they staunchly believe in. They prefer selling fresh food to this extent that if possible they would serve them while they(food) are still swimming. One can get a great many varieties of fish and shellfish. Noodles is another popular food which can be preferred by the localites anywhere and anytime, be it before the dinner or after it and it can even be taken as mid- night snacks as this market runs until midnight. Besides the myriad varieties of fish that they sell and the noodles; other popular things which could be found are Chilli Crab, Deep- fried squids, hot pot rice and Roast pigeons.

fish

The Temple Street Night Market is a symbol of public life in Hong Kong. It reflects the cultuire of this beautiful island city. It shows how it has managed to preserve it’s ancient traditional cultures and has cherished them all. This place have even been featured in great movies like Gangster, The Prince of Temple Street, Queen of Temple Street, The God of Cookery, Stephen Chow and many more. In the year 2003, the Temple Street festival was inaugurated for the first time.

tin hau temple

The nearest MTR stations to the Temple Street Night Market are Jordon and Yau Ma Tei. This place is a complete package of what a tpourist wants. It has everything. It is a shopping hub, it has endless varieties of food one would want and then it provides good entertainment also. One who is very fond of travelling and knowing about the cultural traditions of different place has to visit the Temple Night Street Market once in a lifetime.

Amazing Dolphin Sightings: Lovina Beach, Bali



Amazing Dolphin Sightings: Lovina Beach, Bali

Bali may be one of many small islands of Indonesia but surely, it is one of the most famous islands of Indonesia. Famous for its beautiful sightings, idyllic mood and never ending fascination, the island is also known as the “Paradise Island”. Bali is located just off the eastern tip of Java, from which it is separated by the narrow Bali Straits. This paradise has a little paradise in north part of Bali. Lovina Beach, located in Kalibukbuk area on the north Bali coastline west of city of Singaraja. Lovina Beach has become the center of tourism activities, art shops, bank, and transportation and off course Dolphin sightings.

lovina-beach-bali

Lovina beach is famous for beautiful of calm sea water, blackish chromatic sand and the sea with its dolphins. One of the favorite fascinations in Lovina is dolphin watching tour. Hundreds of dolphins can be seen in the morning time around 1 km offshore. It has a tropical monsoon climate with two distinct seasons: wet (November to March) and dry (April to October). There is onle slight temperature variation from season to season due to warm ocean currents that keep heat fairly constant on land. There is also very little variation in daylight hours from season to season which is very suitable for dolphins. An interesting fact is that the town of Lovina has adopted the dolphin as its mascot.

How to get here?

balimap

You can easily reach Lovina by bus from all parts of Bali, but it is a long ride from the East or South. If you want a much easier way to get to the North then you can get your own car with or without a driver. Bemo is the local public transport bus and it plies all the local routes. You can also travel from Kuta in less than three hours and from the airport or Sanur in about 2.5 hours.

Accommodation

If you want to stay longer than a day, then room service is available 24×7 at Lovina. You can get from cheap rooms and hostels to luxury Villas and deluxe Suites with outdoor pools, restaurants and bars.

Dolphin Watching Tours

Lovina-dolphin-tour-22

Different authorities in Bali are offering Dolphin tours at different rates and facilities. You can choose any package as per your budget and needs. There is a luxury package available in which you will get accommodation in Deluxe Suites, complimentary daily breakfast at Heliconia Restaurant, 1 Spa massage for couple, 1 dolphin tour for 2 persons and 1 three course set dinner.

Dolphin-watching-tour-Lovina-Bali-4

You go out with at least 20 other boats and wait for the dolphins to come up for air, then journey starts. You will see dolphins flying and jumping into the water, not just one or two but a lot of them. There are five different species of dolphins here but one of them is becoming very rare. On your trip you might follow a small pod of only a dozen but just as often you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of dolphins, one after another breaking the surface to perform somersaults and other impressive aerial stunts.

Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursius Truncatus)

bottlenose-dolphin-jumping-

Bottlenose Dolphins are the most common type of dolphin. These are found in inhabiting warm seas worldwide. Here you can see these grey dolphins which are between 2 and 4 meters long in large groups. Dolphins are thought to be one of the more intelligent animals of the mammal world. You will be amazed to hear different sounds from them which is their way to communicate to other dolphins through a series of these clicking sounds. Generally, these types of dolphins are known to have calm and playful temperament but they can be aggressive if they feel threatened.

Delphinus Delphis

common

These are the type of the Common Dolphins and are moderately robust with tall, slightly falcate dorsal fins. Common dolphins are strikingly pattered, with dark brownish gray back white belly and tan to ochre thoracic patch. They are quite energetic and sometimes ride the bow waves of large whales but not in Lovina so there is no need to worry about the whales. These dolphins are highly vocal and sometimes their squeals can be heard above the surface.

Stenella Longirostris

stenella_longirostris-

These are the Spinner Dolphins, mainly found in the tropical and subtropical waters in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. You won’t find much of them here but they are seriously a joy to watch. Spinner Dolphins are six to seven feet long and have a three part color pattern on their bodies. The pattern has a dark gray back, a pearl gray side panel and a white belly.

Stenella Attenuata

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These Dolphins are known as Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, which are generally slender and streamlined. They have a long thin beak that is separated from the melon by a distinct crease. Spotted Dolphins are often in Lovina with other dolphins including Spinner Dolphins. Their home range is severel hundred kilometers or more and daily movements of 30-50 km are made easily by them. They are quite acrobatic and can swim very rapidly, leaping high into the air. They also can ride bow waves, much like common dolphins.

Legenorhuncus Obscurus

dusky

This small dolphin species is called Dusky Dolphins also and it is simple enough to identify it from other species out there. They feature a bluish black color on the tail and along the back. Their belly is white with a dark color for the lower jaw. These dolphins are quite social and it is common to find them in much smaller numbers.

lovina-beach-balibalis-beautiful-beache

After all this action when you come back to the beach, you can enjoy the beautiful sunset here. There are a lot of restaurants and café on the beach and the food is worth mentioning. So, plan your visit and experience it yourself.

The Gigantic Jumbo Kingdom , Hong Kong



The Gigantic Jumbo Kingdom , Hong Kong

If one wants to go to a restaurant in Hong kong , Jumbo Kingdom is the name . It is one of the best and largest floating restaurants in the world. There are many other restaurants in the world  that are more genuine and more affordable but this attractive restaurant has been in place for more than thirty years and it attracts a bustling crowd. And most importantly , it has regularly been upgraded in all these years.It is internationally renowed tourist tourist attraction in the world.It is a modern complex of dining, sightseeing and cultural attractions . Jumbo Kingdom has become an iconic landmark in the Hong kong which is highly appreciated by the visitors. It is also an important member of Melco’s leisure and entertainment unit.It is moored in the middle of Aberdeen Harbour. Jumbo Kingdom in all these years has made it reputation and earned it respect. This restaurant was established in 1976.It is location in Aberdeen harbor and about 15 minutes by bus from Wancai District.

jumbo

History

To built this beautiful restaurant , it took four years and million of dollars.Over the past decades, Jumbo has been highly appreciated by the tourists. Floating restaurants appeared in the typhoon shelter shortly after world war II. In 1971, fire occured in Jumbo restaurant and a result ,upto 32 workers were killed. Finally , it was established in 1976.It has certainly became a scenic landmark of Hong Kong. It is ornamented in the style of gorgeous and exquisite chinese imperial place .  It has lots of dragons ,padogas and very beautiful red and gold decoration. It provides a range of entertainment , shopping and variety of dining attractions. It is a “must see” destination for the people all over the world. The Jumbo Kingdom also went through a a multi million dollar renovation in 2003. The Jumbo Restaurant was also being featured on the very first season of the Australian version of the Amazing Race.

decoeation

 How to get to Jumbo Kingdom ?

Shum Wan pier drive , Wong Chuk hang , Aberdeen .MTR Central Station , Exit A , then take a bus 75 from the exchange square bus terminal.Otherwise , it is very close to Ocean Park.

Restaurant and dishes

Delicious food is the main component of every restaurant provides you with you many dining venues and  retail shops. Jumbo Kingdom is specialized in sea food. It provides various and delicious varieties of sea food to the visitors. It also serves roasted goose, Peking duck ,and it also provides the customer with the dishes that come with the change of the season . The sea food is very different and for something different , one can  order shrimp fish. The server carts out live fish in a bowl  and drowns it in a wine before firing it up. It is a spectacle.However, Dim sum is the least expensive of all the dishes in Jumbo Restaurant. It is a good orientation place for tourists .

Highlights

Jumbo Restaurant is well known for its sea food  and its interior and exterior design .If one wants to experience the splendid and outstanding surroundings of Chinese Imperial times , this is the place to visit. The main highlights thing about Jumbo Restaurant is  the accommodation  Jumbo Restaurant can accommodate more than 2500 people at one time and still it manages to work smooth with very fast service . And very calmly , you can enjoy your food.  Over 30 million visitors have visited Jumbo Kingdom including Queen Elizabeth II, Gong Li and Tom Cruise.

The opening hours of Jumbo Restaurant are 11 am to 11:30 pm  from Monday to Saturday. And the best thing is the opening time on sundays and public holidays . The opening timings on sundays and public holidays is 7 am to 1130: pm.

Dining in the Jumbo Restaurant itself is a surreal experience . It gives the visitor a very serene atmosphere . It will certainly take you to an  another world . Jumbo restaurant is decked out in countless neon lights  and bright coloured flourishes , the remarkable ship looks like something out a science-fiction film .And for this reasons , it has always been the point for shooting in the films . It has also been in very popular film.

When the lights dim up at night , the view is quite phenomenal and that view is a heavenly treat to the eyes. Visitors are filled with excitement when they get to know they will be getting the best combination of the floating  and food. It is one of the many landmarks to discover and unique attractions .  The place is beautiful and architecture is also not one of the common one.It is a new and fresh experience. It os something you should go while you are in HOng Kong.

Top Deck at Jumbo Kingdom 

As the name suggests , Top Deck is located at the top floor of the Jumbo Kingdom.The view of  the top deck is one of the admirable one. Top Deck in Jumbo Kingdom has always been in conversations. Anything from fresh sea food to hamburger are available at the Top Deck of Jumbo Kingdom. It has a 800 sq meter terrace.

Thus , Jumbo Kingdom  looks like a casino in the middle of the water . For an unforgettable experience and for a surreal view , one should definitely visit Jumbo Kingdom .

New Mexico: The Land of Enchantments



New Mexico: The Land of Enchantments

Located in the south western part of the United States, this enchanting state offers various kinds of wonders to the tourists. It is a land best known for its remarkable scenery and natural beauty but on the other hand it is also home to some of the most sensational cities like Las Vegas and Santa Fe. Adventurers often enjoy excellent hiking and skiing opportunities in this state. New Mexico is also known for its extremely scrumptious and exotic cuisine. No trip would be complete without tasting the ‘sopaipilla,’ the ‘Piñon nuts,’ or the blue corn-meal tortillas. The main attraction of this state is in the almost magical landscape that it has to offer.

Bisti Badlands

The Bisti Badlands

The Bisti Badlands Is a hauntingly beautiful area of hills that have been steeply eroded into a magnificent maze of mounds, ravines and caves. Hidden away in the desert of northwestern New Mexico, these badlands are a sight to behold. Often a small variety of wildlife can be found here such as the prairie dogs, coyotes, scorpions, tarantulas, ravens and prairie falcons. People often come here to go exploring in this desolate area. Hiking, camping, photography and horseback riding are some of the common activities that are done here.

Bandera Ice caves

Bandera Ice Caves

The Bandera Volcano is New Mexico’s “Land of Fire and Ice.” An intricate maze of the volcano’s lava tube system once ran 19 miles long. Today, though much of this complex has collapsed, some spectacular sections still remain. One of them is the beautiful Bandera Ice Cave. Inside this queer ice cave, temperatures never seem to rise above freezing point. The floor glistens due to the reflection of the light from the entrance. In summer this cave is insulated from the sun by the large rocks on the surface. This beautiful cave is one of nature’s most miraculous creations as the right set of conditions have caused ice to accumulate inside this cave since many thousands of years.

white-sands

White Sands National Monument

The world’s largest pure gypsum dune system in the world lies in the Tularosa Basin in the southwest of New Mexico. These stunning white dunes of Mexico make for some of the most beautiful and unique natural scenery you will ever find. These beautiful dunes cover an area of approximately 275 square miles. The animals living in this habitat have evolved remarkably to adapt to the conditions. Some of the wildlife here includes the Apache pocket mouse and bleached ear-less lizards.

CityofRocks9

City of Rocks

The City of Rocks State Park is a small but utterly fascinating geological wonder in New Mexico. It is composed of numerous naturally sculptured rock columns that stand up to 40 feet high. From a distance this conglomeration looks like a city on the horizon. Most of the rocks are extremely rare and only about six other places in the entire world have similar rock formations. These rocks housing 35 different species of birds are about 35 million years old. These rocks also provide shelter to the wandering tourists in the hot summer sun.

Shiprock

Shiprock Peak

This intimidating rock formation is actually the solidified basalt lava core of a 30 million year old volcano. The Navajo called this brilliant rock formation “Tse Bitai” or “the winged rock.” According to their legend their people were flown to safety when this rock formation rose up and transported them to this new location. It is named the Ship Rock peak as it resembles the 19th century clipper ships. The ruggedness of its contours gives an insight into how violent the explosions of the volcano must have been.

BlueHole

Blue Hole

Formed within a limestone chasm, this deep natural spring has water gushing into it at an unbelievable rate of 3000 gallons per minute. The Blue Hole of New Mexico gives one of the most remarkable scuba diving experiences in the south west. The water in the hole is so clear that when it remains undisturbed by divers, it is possible to see straight through to the bottom.

Valley of Fire

The Valley of Fire

Some 1000 years ago a series of fractures opened up on the floors of the Tularosa Basin unleashing thick lava flows which formed huge black, primordial looking terrain. The Valley of fires is an excellent place to see the different rock formations that lava makes. One can also observe the many rodents and reptiles that have adapted by developing abnormally dark coloration to blend in with their surroundings. The beauty of this place lies in its bizarre landscape and serene surroundings.

Carlsbad-Caverns-New-Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns

The Carlsbad Caverns is a gigantic network of caves within the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico. Decorated with spectacular limestone columns, stalactites and stalagmites, these deep caves are a mystical wonder. These caverns today are remains from the Permian Age about 250 million years ago.  The one million Mexican migratory bats inhabiting these caverns is another highlight of this place.

Soda Dam

Soda Dam

The Soda Dam on the Jemez river looks like a big boulder tumbled into the river to obstruct the natural flow of the water but the story of its formation is quite different. This bizarre and gigantic natural wonder started formation about one million years ago when hot underground springs released water which upon reaching the surface cooled off and left behind a thick mineral deposit of calcium carbonate. Over the course of time, this deposit of calcium carbonate grew and today it has become a 330 foot long limestone structure that has overgrown the very river itself. This fascinating work of nature is absolutely mindblowing.

Of Designers in Budget, Ladies Street, Hong Kong



Of Designers in Budget, Ladies Street, Hong Kong

ladies market, hongkongladies street hongkong

 ‘Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.’ – Bo Derek.

And when that shopping is a good deal of bargain and under budget, it becomes the reason of real joy, happiness and a silly feel of achievement. Ladies market or ladies street gets you the real joy of shopping. Its located at tung choi street in Monkok, Hong Kong.  Mongkok , is one of hong kong’s  most vibrant districts, just round the corner from mangkok on MTR on tung choi street is ladies market. It’s an outdoor street market with a beautiful atmosphere and endless number of stalls.

As a matter of fact, ladies market is the tourists favorite because of its distinct character that truly signifies the chinese way of shopping and selling. With endless number of  stalls, ladies market does not sell only ladies stuff, it also has men’s and kids collection. Even after it’s an outdoor shopping market it has all exclusive stuffs. Everything available for selling in the market has no fixed price, it’s negotiable. Bargaining here is the most common thing and a fun thing to do. Goods ranging from branded ladies clothes, fashionable shoes, accessories and jewelry, cosmetics, perfumes, fancy and leather handbags, wallets, clutches, night wear etc. any name you give is available in the market. For men’s  leather stuff like wallets, diaries, branded first copy of leather office and laptop bags, fashionable clothes, footwear etc are available all at negotiable price. For kids all fancy and novelites in school stuff, fancy clothes and shoes etc are available. Thus, it has a large number of stalls to select from.

One should take a tour of ladies market to get a slice of the real hong kong, and possibly a bargainas well. In ladies street while shopping, it’s time to dust off bargaining skills, since all prices are negotiable and the sellers will waste no time in trying to fleece naïve tourists.  Assume everything is at least 10% overpriced, if not 20%. Start at a low price and bargain with the stall holder until you reach a price you think is fair, if they won’t budge, take your business down the road, as the same or similar product shouldn’t be far away. Hong kong are old veterans and can appear aggressive, but the bargaining is just a part of the game, and if you get a good price, they will often offer you with a good compliment.

bags at ladies market

Ladies market is flooded with fakes and copies as they are known here, from handbags to teabags everything is produced in China, shipped over the border and sold at rock-bottom prices. Fakes and copy products at mangkok’s  ladies   street are on offer openly. The main copies on offer at the ladies street are fake watches and fake handbags, both of which can be made to order, and are usually of extremely good value. Though few of the copies are not on sell openly, sellers take the interested customers to some buildings away from the market and sell them secretly, those copies are very close to the originals and are sold at a higher price than what it is sold in the market openly. Bvlgari , Louis Vuitton, prada  etc are the most common brands in the copies of handbags and cartier, rolex, baume et mercier, tag heuer etc are the brands in watches whose copies are available.  For ladies it’s a reason to shop since u get the copies so same as original at one destination. So designer and exclusive shopping comes under budget without a pinch on your wallet. Thus, ladies street becomes a reason of happiness, stress buster and so it is truly said that when women’s are sad or depressed take them for shopping.  In many women’s lives, shopping is a hobby and a must for some, thus said by them,

‘ when we’re up, we shop. When we’re down, we shop even more.’

Ladies street is thus like boon in women’s life , specially those residing in hongkong and those tourists who visit ladies street for shopping. For a perfect shopping half day is enough, but eventually will make u tired after wandering all the stores and at the end the perfect thing you need is some good refreshments and juices.  Ladies street is lined by street-side food stalls, known as dai pai dongs.  Dai pai pongs are very popular on the streets of hong kong,  it’s a type of open-air food stall. From congee to fish balls in chilli sauce, food is just tasty.  Prices are generally between $1 and $2. For refreshment, try one of the nearby juice stalls, which will squeeze any selection of fruit you ask for, making the perfect thirst quencher. One should not miss on this fresh juices as it offers a combination juices as well. Dragonfruit, kiwi, strawberries, grapes, oranges etc  are few of the exotic combinations to try for.

bargaining at ladies street, hongkong

There are many stalls and parlors offering foot massages, back and body massages , a perfect treat for your body after the tiring shopping day. There are many hotels easily available for stay near the ladies street.

How you get to the ladies street depends on where you are coming from, having. Being in the city centre it is well provided with  different means of transport.

No visit to Hong Kong is complete without a visit to one of the market streets.

Uncharted African Safari-Planet Baobab,Gweta,Botswana



Uncharted African Safari-Planet Baobab,Gweta,Botswana

If the title misleads you into thinking that Planet Baobab is a completely new planet in our solar system, made available to the most enthusiastic daring and exotic travellers of all time, my unbound apologies awaits your affirmation . Though the intention wasn’t that of misleading, the high hopes of experiencing the most exotic and out-of-the world holiday spot ever, thus, nurtured are not quite deserted here, as this little new Planet adorned with an “Afro-funk-décor”, within the our very own planet Earth, brings forth an opportunity to elope into the indigenous, and traditional cultural village luxury lodge in Gweta. Planet Baobab, named after the baobab trees overlooking its thatched African huts is listed as the second “most extraordinary hotel in the world” by Lonely Planet and is also featured on CNN International. It houses 14 rooms and is one of the rarest examples of modern-meets-traditional hospitality establishments located on Makgadigadi Pans in Botswana, which is crowned as the world’s largest network of salt pans.

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Now, let’s trace out the itinerary to this unbelievably enchanting luxury lodge situated at the very heart of the outstretched network of the athirst, hypnotic-mirage panorama of plane, sparkling expanses underneath the scorching azure skies-Makgadigadi salt pans -remains of what used to be a huge ancient inland ocean. Along this porous, fractured and barren moonscape, on the trail betwixt Maun and Francistown, a place haunted by the humongous grey giants and if you’re lucky enough, you might just get a glimpse of those wild elephants strolling at the fringe of the road. But, soon enough as the life-like statue of a giant anteater looms into sight, you know it’s there to guide you. Follow the side-path pointed out by the anteater snout and soon would arrive at the bewitching “Planet Baobab”, where the average age of each tree is approximately 4000 years or beyond adorned with a boundless lunar landscape of the Makgadikgadi salt pans.

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This beautiful place is carpeted with sandy walkways winding through narrow lanes between baobabs, while their hefty trunks support the intricate branches that form canopies illuminating the path with sparkles of seeping moonlight at night. Then comes the beautiful pool, which is the biggest in Kalahari and funky Afro-chic bar-restaurant with scrumptious pan –African dishes, positioned deep in the bushes with an air of exotic sheen hung around the hazy setting of the Kalahari sunset. The lodge also runs excellent excursions into the pans, including a night under the stars followed by a dawn meeting with meerkats.

An Insight into the interiors:

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Now that you’ve arrived it’s time to settle down, and Planet Baobab provides amazing options to choose from. First comes, the traditionally styled Bakalanga or Baobab huts, built from mud, with super luxurious complete en suite showers, dome tents with fully made up stretcher beds, where you can pitch your tent or start a barbecue next door, all with the best ablutions in the bush. The walls here are unique and originally of Botswana style- smeared with cow-dung and adorned with art made with natural pigments found in the many termite mounds in the area. And, then the traditional grass hut, made in the way the Bushmen used to. Both these types of huts at Planet Baobab are made from natural materials indigenous to the Makgadikgadi area in Botswana, and are perfectly temperature-controlled which eliminates the dire need for air-conditioners and makes the huts extremely comfortable and cool. On a whole, the lodge consists of 13 twin Bakalanga huts (for two inmates), 3 Family Bakalanga huts (for four inmates) and amazing campsites with funky eco-ablution facilities.

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Things to do:

Its time to gear up for activities once you’ve settled down, and Planet Baobab, apart from providing the utmost luxury of relaxation in the tranquillity of the outstretched pans, also boasts an array of activities awaiting the visitors!

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  • A date with the super-friendly habituated meerkats, is the best way to start the journey. Then, go for a tour into the local village where you can discover afresh the Botswana culture-get a taste of the authentic luscious food of the locals and meet the ancient traditional healer, and then go for a sip of the local favourite red bush tea, or even the locally-brewed organic beer! After that, visit a local cattle post and unearth the hidden history-buff within you, in the company of an array of ancient stone tools and fossils at the Nxai Xini Pan. When all this local sightseeing is done, a visit to the famous Green’s Baobab, which is a walk through a baobab forests.

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  • During the dry season, go for a quad bike across the Makgadigadi Pans, enjoy sleeping out under the sparkly starry skies or even gear up for a 5 night quad bike expedition to the remote and mysterious Kubu Island.

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  • And, if you’re the adventurous photographer or nature-lover type, you would never want to miss the annual migration, which though is scarcely known, but is one of a kind. During this time, which is mostly in the wet season, a host of approximately 35-75000 zebras and wildebeests migrate to this region for Southern Africa’s last yet spectacular migration.

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  • Though activities can be never-ending, yet a visit to Makgadikgadi without having gone for the Kalahari Surf Camp, is incomplete!It is a very popular trip consisting of an overnight stay at the Kalahari Surf Camp, in the isolated bush camp in the interiors of Ntwetwe Pan.

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Hence, if one plans to go to Makgadigadi pans, and stay at Planet Baobab, the two best seasons to visit would be either the wet season of summers, which is from 1st  November to 15th April or the dry season of winters, the period from 16th April to 31st October.

In this endeavour to the Planet Baobab, which is truly a planet full of surprises, the traveller not only discovers at every stage and every turn, interesting and astounding tales told by the Guides or companions, but also finds his or her own tale. In this region which at a glance would seem like a barren space symbolizing nothingness, the traveller finds solace in the place, Planet Baobab-which is really something extraordinarily memorable!

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The Grandeur of a Mosque-Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai



The Grandeur of a Mosque-Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai

Built in the ever improving city of Dubai, the Jumeirah mosque is regarded as one of the finest piece of architectural excellence in the world. The mosque is built on traditional relics following the medieval Fatimid routines and in doing so, the architects and the builders have achieved excellence in bringing out the craftsmanship with some of the most modern materials of construction. The very looks of the mall makes it one of the most visited mosques by tourists and locals alike. There is also the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding which provides regular visits for non-Muslims to visit the mosque so that people who are not Islamic by birth also understand the cultural aspect and have a first-hand insight into the Islamic religion.

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In bringing the nationality together, the Open Doors and Open Minds policy tours are arranged by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, which is popularly known as the Jumeirah Mosque Tours. It is rather a surprising fact in the Mosque that photography is allowed inside the Mosque, unlike other mosques. The tour gives a brief insight about the rich cultural heritage and the very architecture of the mosque intrigues the visitors’ brain. At the end of the tour is a question and answer session wherein all the doubts of the visitors are cleared. These tours are conducted every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10 am. The only criteria for the people attending the tour is that the person taking part in the tour must be of age greater than 5. The fee for the tour is kept at a nominal rate of 10 United Arab Emirates Dirham per person. The time taken for each tour is about 75 minutes.

The mosque provides a great sense of calmness and peace of mind for its visitors. Kept out from the fast moving world where honking cars and the hot sun burn the day, the green carpet of the mosque provides peace of mind to the people who go there to offer their prayer. The prayer hall of the mosque is said to be one of the biggest in the world with a capacity to hold more than 1300 devotees. Constructed in the form known as the hypostyle, the huge roof of the mosque is held together by the columns. There is also the Qiblah wall, which stands right in front of the entrance, which faces the direction of Ka’aba. Located right at the centre of the mosque is the Mihrab, which is the place where the imam offers five daily prayers to the holy lord.

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There are no pictures as such to be worshipped as Jumeirah mosque Islam is forbid to worship any such idols except for plants. But the mosque is beautifully decorated with ancient Arabic calligraphy and Ornamental patterns which are designed by some of the best designers in the world keeping in mind the Islamic aesthetics. There is also the Wudu’ that has to be performed by every single person before entering the mosque. Wudu’ is performed in a sequential manner by cleaning the right and the left hands first and then the mouth followed by the face, the arms (right and then left), and then the head, the ears and to finish it off, the right and the left foot respectively. The procedure is repeated for three times in all the parts, except for the head and the ears.

The history of Jumeirah dates back to the early 60’s. Jumeirah referred to the people in Dubai who formed a prominent part of Pearl divers, fishermen and traders. But after the advent of oil industries in Dubai, the area grew in popularity and with the advent of western civilization in Dubai, Jumeirah became a landmark part of the city. The Jumeirah part of the city has gained immense popularity since then and it has been a part of all major establishments in Dubai.

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Mosques around the world have always intrigued the way people worship the holy lord. Especially in a religion like Islam where prayer is of utmost importance to one and all who follow the religion. The huge curved tombs around the world have been a part of the traditional Islam way of building since time forgotten. The tomb in the Dubai mosque is no exception in any way and it is considered to be one of the biggest in the world. Carved entirely out of pure white marble, it is regarded as one of the toughest pieces of architecture to be brought to life, and that too in this humongous scale.

Before visiting the mosque, there are some general instructions that a person must know. Located in the beach area near the up-market, the Jumeirah mosque stands tall among the other structures. The dress code for the mosque is as follows-Ladies have to cover themselves entirely and the rule says that ladies need to cover their heads as well with either a scarf or a hat. And for the men, a T-shirt or a Shirt would just do the job. One of the main rules that has to be followed by both the genders alike is taking off the shoes, which is a rule that is followed in all the mosques around the world.

 

 

Solitaire of Palm Jumeirah: Atlantis, the Palm Resort



Solitaire of Palm Jumeirah: Atlantis, the Palm Resort

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‘Money can’t buy happiness  ? Habibi come to Dubai!’

One of the biggest attraction of Dubai, Atlantis the palm hotel resort is like a solitaire to the crescent  of palm jumeirah. With its enviable location atop the crescent of palm island, Atlantis, the palm has redefined tourism in dubai as the first integrated entertainment resort.

The first view of Atlantis, the palm takes your breathe away for a while n keeps you stunned for it showcases beautiful traditional Arabic themes, such as the central archway, skyreaching spires and domed lobby. You need to hold your breathe while entering the luxurious hotel resort as every corner of the hotel resort is nothing short of spectacular.

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Atlantis, the palm is developed by Kerzner international as only the second such paradise island in Bahamas. Its modeled on a sister resort, opened in September 2008. Atlantis, the palms costs 1.5billion dollars and has 1539 rooms and 7 suites ranging from US$ 700 to a staggering US$ 25,000 for some suites. The development of Atlantis has achieved iconic status and showcases the talents of a number of world class architects, designers and landscrapers. Atlantis, the palm is the first hotel in dubai that is built on the 8th wonder of the world, palm jumeirah, in the Arabian gulf.

Palm jumeirah, a man made island that has captured the world’s imagination with its magnificent scale and ingenuity. From the moment of arrival, you are immersed in a dazzling world of imagination, pleasure and luxury at its best! Atlantis offers ultimate relax, adventure and thrills for couples and families alike, including a landmark hotel, unique marine habitats, an exhilarating water park, pristine white beaches, world class cuisine, indulgent spa and cosmopolitan boutiques.

The hotel is the main focus at arrival, but it also features attractions like Aquaventure waterpark, The Lost Chambers aquarium, that recreates the legend of the lost city of atlantis with a fascinating labyrinth of underwater mazes, tunnels and fish tanks, and Dolphin bay in which guests can swim and interact with dolphins. Aquaventure waterpark is a central attraction of Atlantis, the palms. It features 18 million litres of fresh water powering seven waterslides, a 2.3 kilometer river ride with tidal waves and pools, water rapids and white water chargers ad guests can even explore the depths on a shark safari. Open air marine habitat are the focal point of atlanis. The waterpark builds anticipation and excitement on arrival, since the hotel is a 5 star aqua themed hotel resort.

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The other feature of the resort is is The Ambassador Lagoon, it’s an 11million- litre marine habitat and underwater exhibit home to several hundred species of  marine life, with a viewing panel looking glass, right into the mystical ruins of Atlantis.

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The Lost Chambers aquarium is another feature of the Atlantis, bringing the myth of atlantis to life through a maze underground tunnels offering underwater views into the boulevards of the ruins of Atlantis.

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The resort offers more than 1500 guest accomodations at the royal towers, with over 20 restaurants, bistros and cafes, bars and lounges, including the opulent royal palm ballroom and the palm terrace which will overlook the tropical landscape and lapping waters between the central fronds and the crescent of Palm island. Atlantis, the palm features seven signature suits, with each suite offering royal ultimate luxury. Presidential suites, offers the perfect comfort and has ultimate indulgence of luxury. There are two underwater suites named Neptune and Poseidon, which offers the breathtaking view of ambassador lagoon and gives you the wonderful and memorable experience and the feel of staying underwater. You will just feel like one of the marine creature, and enjoy the peace of staying underwater. The grand atlantis suite offers the spectacular sun terrace view and the famed royal bridge suite comes to the grandeur and comfort. The suites, the rooms and every corner of the hotel resort showcases the ultimate Arabic luxury to its core. The essence of luxury is defined perfectly with every sight.

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With over 20 restaurants,bars and lounges brought to you by world renowned chefs, Atlantis is truly a culinary destination from family friendly to fine dining.  It has cuisines all over the world. Each restaurant has different cuisine which is being run by world’s best chef for each of its cuisine. Like Ossiano is a restaurant serving fine elegant seafood, Nobu is famous for for its world renowned Japanese food, Yuan for chinese, Ronda Locatelli by  Celebrity Chef Giorgio Locatelli presents Italian family-style cooking, La Brasserie a Parisian Restaurant and Wine Bar offering contemporary French cuisine, Saffron for contemporary buffet with the finest of Southeast Asian cuisine, Kaleidoscope offers buffet restaurant with a focus on Indian and Arabic food, Plato’s oriental tea and coffee house offering a wide range of cakes and pastries, Barazura, elegant bar with range of wines, Champagne and cocktails, these are few of the restaurants among the twenty restaurants in Atlantis- the Palms. So apart from the breath taking views and water sports through out the day you have  a multiple options for you to relish with that too with the expert chefs from all over the world.

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Hotel Atlantis Dubai is located at crescent of Palm Jumeirah and takes approximately 30 minutes from Dubai International Airport, approximately 5 minutes from The Village Centre at the tip of the Trunk of The Palm, Jumeirah and approximately 20 minutes from Dubai city centre. Guests can also reach the Atlantis Hotel Dubai via the Palm Monorail, connected with the main section of the Palm Jumeirah islands.  It is accessible through private cars and taxis, but entry inside the Atlantis needs prior bookings and reservations.

Atlantis, the palms thus attracts any luxury lovers for its perfect luxury treat and breathtaking splendor views.

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