Daily Archives: 11.04.2014

Kaas Plateau: The Flower-land of Maharashtra



Kaas Plateau: The Flower-land of Maharashtra

Nature Lyrics

Kaas plateau, known for it’s wild, but beautiful rare species of flowers, also known as flower paradise of Indian state of Maharashtra. The name of Kaas plateau is originated from the kaasa tree, in which leafs of kaasa tree turns red from green as matures. Kaas plateau falls under the Sahayadri ranges of western ghats and is now a UNESCO worlds nature heritage site.

Kaas plateau is just like a flower carpet, consisting flowers of every hue from the color palette. It has a unique flaura and fauna and its unique ecological features making it an important spot for its biodiversity features. Spread over around 1000 hectare, Kaas plateau becomes a beautiful treat for the eyes as the plateau is covered with infinite flowers everywhere till the end of eyesight. View of infinite flowers at a single glance fascinates nature’s lovers. The place has a different beautiful picturesque altogether, for which words will have its limitations.

kaas plateau 1 Kaas plateau comes alive with a riot of colors and the varied species and the quantity of flowers in the month of August till October, when the blooms are flourished to please the sky after the rains. The having flowers of around more than 1000 species from which around 640 species have entered Red Data Book. Rare species like Dipcadi montanum, Ceropegia vincaefolia, Pleacaulus ritchei, Drasera burnamii etc. are found which attracts tourists all over the world.  Other specie  like Orchids, Karvy, Ceropegia Jainii, Drosera indica, Impatiens oppositifolia, Wild brinjal flower, Begonia crenata and many more. Thus it proves the richness of biodiversity of Kaas plateau. There is no other vegetation in the plateau, as this place is erupted by the volcanic activities and is covered by a thin soil cover.

With the feel of the subtle sun and aromatic cold breeze kaas plateau invites to explore the true beauty of the place, with the whites, yellows, oranges, pinks, violets and ample shades of flowers all around. The hub of scenic and floral beauty attracts lots of tourists, photographers and nature lovers. The place what one can expect to be, is more beautiful and beyond imagination. Due to the biodiversity of the place, lots of scientists and other such research persons are also attracted to the place. The place is like divine gift of nature to Maharashtra. The floral color shades, all over the plateau land, soothes eyesight and its beauty just lets one’s soul to feel the touch of heaven.

To explore the place more and to know more about such nature heritage site, there are lots of treks organized in the month of August till October. Trekkers, photographers and nature lovers all gets a chance to explore the place and its beauty through such organizations of treks from Mumbai, Pune and all across the nearby places. The picture of the first glance of the infinite flowers on the plateau sets in the mind and memory for the life time. The view and beauty of God’s  creation one can never forget. Around kaas plateau is a small lake known as Kaas talav, surrounded by dense forests. Sajjangad fort to the left and kanher dam to its right, makes the place more exciting and is thus a picnic spot for the locals and those visiting to explore the beauty of Kaas plateau.

Increasing numberof tourists all over the world in recent times have become a threat to rich place of biodiversity and its flora and fauna. Tourists coming from different places to explore the Kaas plateau, stamps on the flowers, pluck those beautiful flowers and litters around. Since the time span of the place is very limited in the year, the force of the tourists is heavy during those three months thus endangering the heritage site. To avoid such harms to the flora and fauna of the place, a documentary film was made highlighting the beauty of the natural serene and later showing hazards of activities such as stamping on flower and plucking them and littering around. Such films and warnings makes people and tourists aware of the extinction of the natural heritage and its beauty. Thus it’s one of the measure to safeguard the beauty of the place in an effective manner. Alerts and warnings are also given to the tourists before entering the places by the tour manager.

Kaas plateau is an amazing place to explore when going to Satara, Mahabaleshwar or Kolhapur. Since there are no particular hotels and accommodations in and around the Kaas plateau, the only option left is the hotels in Satara city or in Mahabaleshwar. There are many hotels and restaurants in Satara and mahabaleshwar. So staying is not an issue. Kaas plateau has access roadways and till trains from the Satara station. There aremany trains available from the satara station as it is well connected by Indian railways . Kaas plateau is almost around 30kms from satara station. By roadways it is 280 kms from Mumbai and around 107 kms from Pune.

kaas plateau 2

Land of flowers is thus a must to explore to know the beauty and art of Gods creation of nature. One should not miss a chance to explore the carpet of flowers, if travelling in those three months to the places Satara or Mahabaleswar.

Gold Coast – Beauty and the Beach



Gold Coast – Beauty and the Beach

Somewhere in east Australia, if you spot a coastline so radiantly blue with glinting sands that makes you gasp by its beauty, you’ve most probably reached Gold Coast in Queensland. Its only a drive away (about 50 miles) from Brisbane the state capital. Blessed with nature’s finest, it is both affordable and exquisitely beautiful to trot around.

The weather at Gold Coast goes up to 30 degree celsius on an average scale in the summer, so carrying tubes of sun block isn’t absolutely necessary unless need be. But the cold reaches the shores just as moderately. Expect a 16-17 degree celsius climate around winters. And remember the golden rule before embarking on any journey to the land down under: Seasons in Australia fall in the reverse pattern. So for a sunny Gold Coast experience, head out to the great big oz in the December-February season to surf those waves.

gold0coast

Things to do:

Speaking of surfing, its one of the biggest sports seen in the beaches tapering the Gold Coast. There is a beach for all those itching to get their surf boards out, and its called the “Surfers Paradise Beach”. The beautiful Pacific’s waves in this part of the country is ideal for surfers. First timers and those excited to learn can also enroll into the 2 surf schools set up right at the beach itself. Everybody from children to adults thoroughly love this 3 kilometer long beach as it is both easily accessible and offers a place specially for the sporty, active bunch who hit the beach. Beach volleyball is also a loval favorite. The Australia Beach Volleyball series and the Queensland Beach volleyball series are held right here at this beach There are casual social games are open to public and on Wednesdays and Saturdays as well.

Beachfront Markets in the “Surfers Paradise Beach” which runs on good weather days are also a must go to place in the Gold Coast. Treasure hunters, bargain spotters and after-dinner strollers find this idllylic for those who find travel and shopping go in the same breath. Almost 100 market stalls are set up for buying everything from accessories, clothes to home wares and curios art pieces. Also found here are live entertainers who perform on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays giving the place a very breezy, home-like vibe.

Surfers_arch

The Mermaid Beach is another beautiful spot to venture out to. This beach is more quiet and laid back providing a space to lounge back and enjoy the blessings of summer. Some of the most jaw dropping beachfront properties owned by the big guns line the perimeter of this beach making it something of an upscale locale. DreamWorld the largest amusement park in the southern hemisphere, home to the BIG 8 thrill rides that sets your adrenaline on fire is located here. The world famous tower of terror that drops one from a height of 38 floors is just beyond the gates of this Dreamworks establishment.

Attractions:

Gold coast is home to the ‘Ripley’s Odditorium’ and the famous Wax Museum. Both these places tickle the brain and have some wacky things to offer in display. The Shambala Gardens and Crystal Castle, which is located 40 minutes away from Gold Coast airport is one place that is guaranteed to make you stop and stare. Shrouded by bamboo trees on either side, the site has a ‘Kalachakra‘ wheel you can turn and a spiritually uplifting atmosphere in every step. Take a walk among the gardens leading to the rain forest and experience first hand how its scenic and therapeutic call reaches out to everyone.

Crystal_Castle_cafe-gallery790

Once your spirit is up, head out to satisfy your stomach. Your gastronomical cravings is fulfilled at some of the famous Wineries found here.The Cedar Creek estate in particular offers a world class wine and dine experience with a charming overlay of rain forests. It has a restaurant built overlooking the Wild duck lake which offers plenty of places to stroll by and photograph. You can spot many a platypus roaming the area. The ‘Prime Minister’s Path’ which was recently set up and is gathering increasing number of tourists each year is a trail leading to many magnificent glow worm caves.

The film city of Australia:

Thanks to its stunning post-card quality setting, Gold Coast is the first choice for many film makers. In fact, 75% of all Australian movies and dozens of TV shows are shot here. Popular Hollywood films like Scooby Doo, House of Wax and the epic Narnia Chronicles were shot here as well. The Warner Brothers Movie World Theme Park, just outside of Gold Coast at Oxenford is bursting with rides and attractions bringing you ‘Hollywood on the Gold Coast’.

warner-brothers-movie-world-photo_1363330-770tall

It feels like stepping into a movie set only with tons of cafes and shopping outlets. The sheer array of restaurants found here is impressive. Whether its a smokey BBQ you hunger for from Wild West Roadhouse, a super hot dog straight from the stands or a scrumptious ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s; rest assured its all here! Shopping includes a must visit to Warner brothers boutique, the DC comics store and movie memorabilia shop. Children and adults are both thrilled especially by the Charlie and the chocolate factory store that offers every kind of candy imaginable.

The Beautiful land of Bagan, Myanmar



The Beautiful land of Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan 1

Formerly called Pagan, Bagan is one of the worlds ancient and greatest archaeological sites located in the Mandalay region of Burma. It covers almost 26 square mile area of the south of Mandalay with the Ayeyarwady River drifting past its northern and western sides. The city was the political, economical and cultural centre of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th to the 13th centuries. And thanks to the then wealthy rulers of Pagan, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, monasteries and stupas once reigned the place of which over 2200 still made it to the present day. These properly shaped and sized monuments seem to overwhelm the landscape. Today the Bagan Archaeological Zone has grown to become one of Myanmar’s central tourist destinations.

Legend has it that Bagan was founded by Thamoddarit in the early 2nd century B.C. Centuries later, in the present decade the city is still alive, vibrant and stands testimony to the economic well being and political power of the yesteryears that helped Buddhism to flourish exceedingly in Bagan. The monuments were built using wood and brick. Unfortunately only the brick structures remain.  Though the government tried to restore many of these damages pagodas, the venture was unsuccessful. The few dozen temples that remain are canopied by palms and tamarinds. However the spiritual message these structures carry is but not lost to the wilds! In fact someone was absolutely right when he said ‘The best things in Bagan are found when you’re not looking for them’.

Bagan 3

Though the process of getting to Myanmar is a bit tacky, once you make it to the country nothing else matters. Most of the Asian airlines fly to Bagan, so regarding that there has to be no worries. There are also daily flights available from the country’s major cities to Bagan.  Otherwise you can board the overnight trains that run daily from Yangon or maybe take the train service from Mandalay to Bagan with two departures daily. Another reasonable option is to choose from the many bus services to Bagan which also connects the city with other potentially major cities in Myanmar. Those interested in taking a romantic voyage to Bagan can opt the daily express ferry service down the Ayeyarwady from Mandalay to Bagan which takes about 9 hours.

Old Bagan, a sleepy village lies closest to the temples and also has sights of its own. Getting around the temple site is a lot of fun. Since the area is too vast to explore the best way to get the best view of the place is from a hot-air balloon. The balloons are British made and perfect security is guaranteed. You can also rent a bike and go cycling around the criss-crossed roads and paths. Hiring a local guide to provide an introductory tour might be a good choice. For those interested in going back to being in harmony with nature, you can enjoy the serenity of the place at a more sedate pace from one of the 250 odd horse carts that are available in the area.

Bagan 4

Bagan is not only famous for its ancient temples and pagodas but also for the incredible architecture of the buildings. A hemispherical dome etched on a rectangular shaped structure surrounded by a stone was the central idea on which the stupas were built. The 7th century Bawbawgyi Pagoda was the pioneer in the evolution of the Burmese stupa. The hollow gu-style temple used by the Buddhist priests for meditation and devotional practices is also very famous. The vaulted temples dating back to the 11th century is also very popular among tourists. The masonry of the buildings needs no mention. It reflects “an astonishing degree of perfection”.  Some of the famous monuments are the Ananda Temple, Dhammayangyi temple, Mahabodhi Temple, Tharabha Gate and Thatbyinnyu, the tallest temple of Bagan.

This temple city is also popular among tourists for its lacquer ware, glazed plaques, mural paintings and stucco’s. Bagan is open to travellers all round the year as the city is not affected by drastic climate changes unlike the lower regions of Myanmar. Nyaung U is the area’s most active town and chief transport hub with also the most number of hotel and eating options. The Kumudara, a decent hotel with a reasonable restaurant overlooking the temple plains is a preferred stay in Bagan. The Myanmar Treasure Resort located inside the Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone is also a popular choice as it’s within easy reach from the important tourist sites in the city. Food at Bagan is a blend of Indian and Thai cuisines. The traditional Burmese dishes, especially the old noodle soup served at several outlets in Old Bagan are also very delicious and mouth watering.

Bagan 2

This ancient and beautiful city, home to more than 2000 sacred monuments will always remain unsurpassed. Bagan has even been compared to the archaeological gem of South Asia, The Angkor Wat. The ages old palm trees, tamarinds, bougainvillea’s, the willowy trunks and exotic cotton trees also contribute in keeping alive the sanctity and spirituality of the abandoned ruins. Thanks to the millennium old tradition of brick masonry, today the world has something amazing to take pride about!  The temples have aged gracefully, creating across the plains of Bagan a mystical and stunning landscape.

 

Telemark Canal, Norway



Telemark Canal, Norway

Telemark railway connection

‘A gorgeous view of south-east Norway’

Excellent place to catch Norwegian wildlife and perhaps do some painting, relaxing or photography.There is a spectacular flight of locks here on the Telemark canal, and a hydro electric scheme. There are fine restaurants.it is now possible to experience the Telemark Canal by ferry, charter boats, your own boat, canoes and kayaks. In addition, you can also experience the canal by car, bicycle or on foot.

Telemark,Norway

Telemark,Norway

Location and Approach:

telemark canal map

Telemark canal, map

The county is located in southeastern Norway, extending from Hardangervidda to the Skagerrak coast. The coastline extends from Langesundsfjorden to Gjernestangen at the border to Aust-Agder. Telemark has a very broken and heterogeneous landscape, including many hills and valleys.International road E 18 connects the southern Norway, a part from this Telemark consists of many railway lines connecting it.It is an easy and best way to approach this canal.There is also bus facility for tourists,The main bus routes are operated by Telemark Bilruter.The nearest airport with international flight connections is Sandefjord Airport Torp. Skien has a small airport with connections to western Norway.Telemark’s central location and varity of nature and attractions from coast to mountain, as well as its cultural heritage, makes it a popular place to visit.

Telemark,Norway

Telemark,Norway

 

Telemark railway connection

Telemark railway connection

History:

The Telemark Canal, in reality two canals linked together (The Norsjø-Skien Canal (1861) and The Bandak-Norsjø Canal / Bandak Canal (1892)), is a string of pearls, and one of the “must-see” attractions of Norway.This canal connects Skien to Dalen in southern Norway by linking lakes that pass through a series of 18 locks.In Europe it is considered as the eighth wonder at the time it was finished.The Telemark canal was hewn out of the rocks by hand well over 100 years ago. 500 men had worked for five years to dynamite their way through the rocks.The Telemark canal stretches 105 kimlometers from Skien to Dalen. There are six municipalities which are known as Canal Municipalities.The Telemark canal consists of two lock complexes. The norsjo-Skien canal, which was completed in 1861, is the first stage. The Bandak-Norsjo canal, which was opened 31 years later, opens the connection between Norsjo and the Western Lakes to Dalen. The eight locks connect the sea to the inland.The canal became known as “the fast route” between Eastern and Western Norway and was also the most important transport route between upper and lower Telemark for people, domestic animals, goods and timber.

Telemark

Telemark

Attractions:

The landscape along the canal is rich and varied.At the Telemark Canal you can travel past the rural areas on the dynamic Queen Victoria boat, which will take you through the Telemark Canal from the coastal area. The Telemark Canal received the Europe Nostra award for its restoration techniques and preservation abilities. Enjoy a serene boat ride through the canal while interacting with the friendly locals.

The administration of the canal creates great values by the people paying to settle,establish,visit and buy the local goods and services along the canal.you may choose to take your own boat up the canal and return.The boats take you through a changing landscape with locks and canals, and across beautiful lakes in the heart of Telemark.: The Telemark Canal was built to float timber and move passengers from the woods out to the sea. In the summer it is very busy with tourists on the waterfronts. Lots of small boats coming and going and the owners walking and shopping around town

There are 18 lock chambers at 8 different locations.

The first chamber is Skien,the lift height is 5 meters and it takes 20 minutes to cross this chamber.In chamber one again we have two parts Lunde and Kjeldal each has a lift height of 3 meters and the passage of these chambers takes 15 minutes each.The second chamber is Eidsfoss and hogga with lift height 10 meters an 7 meters and the passage time is 30 min and 25 min.the third chamber has Loveid and Ulefoss and the last chamber is Vrangfoss.

canal entrance

canal gateway

canal gateway

Telemark Canal

Telemark Canal

lock chamber entrance

lock chamber entrance

 Mountain biking:

The Hardangervidda – Norway´s largest national park – is considered to be one of the most beautiful cycling routes in Norway. The Krossobanen Cable Car whisks you up from Rjukan to the starting point 883 metres higher up. Here you have a fabulous view over Gaustatoppen to the south, Telemark’s highest mountain and often referred to as Norway’s most beautiful peak.The variations are many and the possibilities are almost indefinite, when it comes to combining biking with other means of transport.One of the most scenic cycle route follows the the spectacular Telemark Canal which stretches 115 km from Skien to Dalen, through a variety of landscapes and interesting cultural sights.On the south coast of Telemark you can follow the national cycle route No 1, passing through the charming coastal towns of Langesund and Brevik. Finally Telemark offers excellent mountain biking (MTB) in Nissedal and downhill cycling in Vradal.

mountain-biking-in-telemark-norway

mountain-biking-in-telemark-norway

telemark mountain biking

telemark mountain biking

Stay and livelihood:

Many Restaurants,Hotels,apartments,cottages,estates are availabe at reasonable price from costal area of grenland  up to mountain areas.Newly married Couples can have their best spot as their destination.There are different kinds of hotels and camp sites throughout the country. Staying at a fishermen’s cabin is an experience out of the ordinary.

beautiful cottages

beautiful cottages

Borivali National Park: the Oasis of Mumbai



Borivali National Park: the Oasis of Mumbai

Situated in the thriving metropolis of Mumbai, the Borivali National Park is like a giant oasis of diversity. This large area has dense tropical forests, a large variety of exquisite animals, birds, reptiles and is often called as the ‘Lungs of Mumbai.’ This large area of a hundred and four square kilometres is protected and preserved from the crowds and pollution of the city that lies at its doorstep. With about two million visitors every year the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is one of the most visited parks in the world. Its diverse flora and fauna along with the portrayal of India’s beautiful historic past in the form of the Kanheri Caves is what attracts tourists to this National Park.

Borivali NPM

How to get there

Located in the most populous city of India, Borivali National Park is easily accessible to all tourists. The city has many domestic and international airports that connect to many major cities from across the world and the country. One can easily enter the city and use public transportations like the bus and trains to reach the park. The National Park is barely a kilometre away from Borivali Station and one can either walk or hire a rickshaw to get to the main entrance. The Western Express Highway can also be used as it passes by the park’s main entrance. One must keep in mind that the main gates open at 7:30 AM and close at 5:30 PM.

Things to Do

LIONS

The Lion Safari

A magnificent 20 minute ride through the twelve hectares of forest in one of the parks’ many green buses is not only an encouragement to eco-tourism, but is also one of the main attractions of the park. The Borivali National Park is believed to have twenty five lions and lionesses inhabiting the area but only about two of them can be safely seen by visitors in the buses. The caged buses enclosing the tourists while the wild beasts roam about freely brings about a sense of adventure to the whole ordeal.

Tiger Safari

The Tiger Safari

Within twenty hectares of fenced forests, four tigers are kept semi-confined. The eco friendly caged buses allow tourists to safely tour these areas so as to spot these magnificent striped large cats. The safety of the tourists is a major concern and it is amazing to think that so close to the mega city of Mumbai these dangerous tigers roam free in their natural habitats. The Tiger Safari is an absolute enchantment and one must try to avail of it.

Kanheri Caves

The Kanheri Caves

Sculpted by Buddhists in the 1st Century BCE these stunning caves are an archaeological wonder. Long ago this area also served as an inn for travelers along with being a settlement for Buddhist monks. These hundred and nine dwellings were carved out of the rocks and compete with the Ajanta caves at Aurangabad in their beauty and charm. It makes for a nice visit within the city for history enthusiasts. The Caves are open to the public from 9AM to 5PM and a minimalistic entry fee is charged which is different for Indians and foreigners.

Jain Temple

The Jain Temple

Located in the dense forests of Borivali National Park is an ancient Jain Temple called “Trimurti.” It is often visited by the many Jain saints or ‘Muni Maharaj’ during their journey to the city. The templ has three gigantic idols of the mighty lord Adinathh and his two beloved sons, lord Bahubali and lord Bharat. This Trimurti temple is quite old and its age definitely adds to its alluring beauty.

Van Raani

The Van Rani Narrow Gauge Train

Running through the various attractions of the park is the Van Rani Toy Train. Though it was briefly discontinued in 2001, Today it is up and working. It travels through the National Park and showcases the astonishing biodiversity of the region. The fun fifteen minute train ride takes the tourists through the foothills of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, traverses through a number of tunnels and bridges and also passes over the magnificent Deer Park. Many interesting sites such as animals and tribal people’s dwellings can be seen while travelling by this interesting Toy train!

Boating

Boating

Boating at the small beautiful lake near the start point of Van Rani is an excellent way to spend a lovely quiet afternoon with your friends and family. This serene boat ride at the lake is a nice and peaceful experience for everyone. The bridge over the lake adds to the aesthetic value of the lake greatly.

Walking-a-trail-at-National-Park

Walking Trails

Being blessed with devastatingly beautiful natural surroundings, the Borivali National Park offers many trails for the public so that they can enjoy this amazing beauty first hand. Some of the most popular walking trails open to the public are the Ashok Van trail which leads to a marvellous dense cluster of Ashoka trees, the Gaumukh trail which leads to an open place of volcanic rock, the ‘View Point’ trail which is a more taxing trail leading to the highest point in Mumbai, for a stunning panoramic view of the city and its three lakes. Once ever eight years the lovely Karvy trails are taken upon by nature lovers who wish to see the lovely mass blooming of the Karvy plant.

Heaven Among the Sands: Bronte Beach, Sydney



Heaven Among the Sands: Bronte Beach, Sydney

For an idyllic seaside holiday, it doesn’t get much better than the glistening, white sandy beaches down under. With a number of world class beaches in every major city, Australia dominates the beach scene like none other. Hidden in the shadows of Sydney’s larger, more iconic beaches, Bronte Beach on the East Coast may well be the region’s best kept secret.

Away from the crowds, this secluded paradise is fringed by green flora and sandstone cliffs. The stunningly beautiful escape is a breath of fresh air from other beaches that line the Australian coasts. At Bronte, the sun and surf trump the scantily clad bikini models effortlessly. String bikinis are few and far between in Bronte beach making it a popular family style recreational hotspot with plenty of fun options for both kids and adults.

Bronte beach, sydney

It is a common misconception that the beach is named after the Bronte sisters when in fact, it is named after Lord Nelson, the Duke of Bronte in Sicily. The Bronte Surf Lifesaving Club formed in 1903 is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. The  beach is very safe and patrolled by the Waverley Council full time and by volunteer lifeguards on weekends and public holidays.

The extremely poetic setting of Bronte Beach has inspired and shaped its fair share of literary works, the most famous being Katherine Stewart’s Spilt Milk in 1995.
Flanked to the west by hills, the beach often gets cool and windy by the afternoon. Fret not though, for once you’ve had your morning in the sun, you can tickle your taste buds at the many cafés and restaurants that line the strip opposite the beach.

Tourist Information

You can get to Bronte beach by taking a train from Central Station to Bondi Junction . From here, bus no. 378 will take you to Bronte Beach. Alternatively, you can walk about 2 km south from Bondi Beach or a little distance north from Coogee Beach to find Bronte Beach. These three beaches are connected by a paved, coastal footpath along the hills which is a great place for a walk, a jog or a run. The beach is usually sunny all year round with pleasantly warm air and water temperatures. Visit in late January for the warmest temperatures.

Activities

There is a multitude of activities that the beach offers to its visitors.

The waters of Bronte Beach aren’t extremely swimmer friendly. There are large rocks and the waves often reach dangerous levels, so it is advisable to only swim if you are trained, experienced and confident. Make sure you don’t swim beyond the limits of the safety marker flags. However, the rocks duly make up for the inconvenience they cause by forming a natural rock pool called the Bronte Bogey at the south end. This pool offers one of the best saltwater swimming experiences in the world. Spend a day exploring its mysteries. The Bronte Baths have 5.30 metre swimming lanes. There is also a large, shallow rock sheltered area popular among children. Both these spots are safe and popular among visitors of all ages. Bronte Beach is a favourite for sunbathing amongst senior citizens.

Bronte Beach Pool

The waves and winds at Bronte are absolutely awesome for surfing but amateur surfers are advised to keep away.

Visit the beach on the first Sunday of December to watch over 2500 swimmers battle it out for the 2.4 km Bondi to Bronte swim. Have a blast at the after party in Bronte Park with live music, street food and children’s rides. Try and catch the largest outdoor sculpture event ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ to feast your eyes on some of the finest specimens of modern art held between October and mid November.

The stunning green Bronte Park that lines the beach is the perfect place for a romantic or a family picnic throughout the year. During the summer, a model children’s train operates in the park. There are dining and coin operated barbecue facilities if you prefer to do the cooking yourself in addition to restaurants and cafés.

Bronte Beach

The shopping in the Bronte Beach area is limited to convenience stores but heading a couple of kilometres north to Bondi will provide you with one of the finest high end shopping experiences internationally.

Other Attractions

Walking down Bronte Road will take you to the Gothic architectural masterpiece, Bronte House dating back to 1845. It is home to colonial gardens, grassed terraces, ponds, flower beds, arches, fountains, a mini forest and intricate rockery gardens. The house is open to the public on four weekends a year.

Bronte house

As if that weren’t enough, Bronte has its own enchanted forest, Bronte Gully. Enter it by descending a moss covered stairway flanked by the waterfalls and pools of Bronte Creek. It is kept in tip top shape by the Bronte Gully Bushcare Group who work every second Sunday to make it look like the ethereal fairytale that it is. Look out for blue tongue lizards, kookaburras and other aves on Wattle, Banksia and Giant Honey Myrtle trees.

enchanted forest

Dining

With a delectable array of culinary indulgences, Bronte Beach is where you must head for a spectacular Sydney breakfast with good food and mesmerising views of both nature and people.

The cafés on the southern strip serve the usual eggs, bacon, French toast, coffee and your other daily breakfast preferences.

Bronte Beach

For something more avant grade, Swell Restaurant at the end of the strip as one of the swankiest and best restaurants in the city is a fantastic option.

Iggy’s is an artisan bakery where the naturally fermented artisan breads such as sourdough bagels, baguettes and foccacias are to die for.

Favoloso Café is popularly known as Bronte’s Little Italy. Come here for Fiat kitchen clocks, Limoncello aprons, prosciutto and the Pasta Alla Norma.

Bronte Beach

For a little breakfast à la Français, dig deeper into your pocket and head upto the Bronte Bistro. Here, you eat with your eyes and mouth and the flavours complement the presentation beautifully. Feast on shaved cabbage, Persian feta, pea and mint salad and the ever popular steak frites.

Vacanca Pizza is an excellent choice for rustic, old school, wood fired pizzas topped with triple smoked ham, provolone and San Marzano tomatoes.

Bronte Beach as a holiday destination offers spectacular views, awesome entertainment, leisure and serenity and food to die for. Come visit this secluded paradise for your next holiday. After all, the locals say, “A day away from Bronte is a day wasted.”

Crystal Ice Cave,Iceland



Crystal Ice Cave,Iceland

Magical Skaftafell Ice Cave

The ice caves in Skaftafell sometimes also called as Crystal Caves.These ice caves in the Icelandic glaciers are a truly mesmerizing wonder of nature.Ice caves are temporary structures that appear at the edge of glaciers.These stunning blue ice caves which stretch as far as the eye can see are one of Iceland’s national treasures.Some of the magic beauty of glacier ice lies under its outer surface. One either needs to strip the surface layer or go underneath it to see its real beauty.They look amazingly beautiful from the inside.The sand that is blown by the strong northern wind has enhanced the shape of the ice.This particular cave is located on the frozen lagoon of the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell,Iceland.Shimmering clearest blue and stretching as far as the eye can see, this is one of Iceland’s famed crystal ice caves. The giant solid waves look frozen in time but they are slowly moving along as part of the Vatnajokull Glacier – which stretches across eight per cent of the island.The glacier caves are created by geothermal springs which run under the ice and drop to over 1,000 feet (330 m) below ground.

Crystal Ice Cave in Skaftafell, Iceland

Crystal Ice Cave in Skaftafell, Iceland

Magical Skaftafell Ice Cave

Magical Skaftafell Ice Cave

 

Attractions:

This cave in the glacier ice is the result of glacial mill, or Moulin where rain and melt water on the glacier surface are channeled into streams that enter the glacier at crevices. The waterfall melts a hole into the glacier while the ponded water drains towards lower elevations by forming long ice caves with an outlet at the terminus of the glacier.The color and transparency of the ice caves has everything to do with time, pressure, and secrecy. The weather and sun with its damaging ultra violet rays transforms the outer surface of glacial ice into whitish ice.As the glacier travels and winds its way down the slopes of mountain ridges, the air bubbles trapped in the ice are squeezed out, and the size of the ice crystals increases, making it clear. The real beauty of the centuries old compressed ice of a glacier lies underneath the damaged outer surface.This intense blue color can be seen for example in ice caves and on floating icebergs that reveal their lower side when they have recently rolled over or split in two.Although the caves look like giant waves, which seem frozen in time, water actually moves down the huge Vatnajokull Glacier at a snail-like speed.Some glaciers do not move, others shift at a speed of up to 0.3 miles a year. On average glaciers move just millimeters over a 12 month period.With a surface area of 5,033 miles, it spans eight per cent of the country and is the largest glacier in Europe. At the glacier’s thickest point, the width of the ice is 3281 feet (1000 meters).

Crystal Ice Caves

Crystal Ice Caves

dark-blue-bottom-of-iceberg

Dark-blue-bottom-of-Iceberg

Sometimes the caves are very special, sometimes not as special, but become very special in the right light and conditions. Some caves we find are very stable and we can go in there in any weather, but others are less safe and we might not even go there at all, even if they are very beautiful.With a surface area of 5,033 miles, the glacier spans eight per cent of the country and is the largest glaciers in Europe.The fine grained sediments in the water along with wind blown sediments cause the frozen melt water stream to appear in a muddy color while the top of the cave exhibits the deep blue color. Due to the fast movement of the glacier of about 1 m per day over uneven terrain, this ice cave cracked up at its end into a deep vertical crevice, called cerrac. This causes the indirect daylight to enter the ice cave from both ends resulting in homogeneous lighting of the ice tunnel.

Frozen ice caves

Frozen ice caves

iceland ice cave

Iceland ice cave

Highlights:

Nature at its best: Created by the awesome forces of the Vatnajvkull ice cap in the south of the volcanic island, the deep blue cave was formed by the glacier meeting the coastline.“The light shining through the ice made the caves seem incredibly magical and surreal.The cave is accessible through a 22-foot entrance on the shoreline. At the end it tapers to a tight squeeze no more than four feet high. The caves are only accessible in temperatures below zero, such as when there is water on the ground that needs to be frozen all over in order for us to walk into the cave.Tourists from across the world come to see the scene but visits stop from March because of the risk of the roof melting and collapsing. The best time to visit the caves is during the winter months.The magic of photographing this popular location in January is that the sun rises to the south and you can let it shine through the crystal clear ice just as it crosses the horizon.Many of the photographers visit this cave to fulfill their dream and will have memorable experiences in this Crystal Blue Ice Caves.At the foot of the enormous ice-covered Snaefellsjökull glacier we can find a hotel where one can take their residence during the visit,it is also the first hotel in Iceland to be awarded the Green Globe Eco-label.

Landscape view of Crystal Ice Caves

Landscape view of Crystal Ice Caves

skaftafell-iceland

Skaftafell-Iceland

Angkor: The Archaeological Park of Cambodia



Angkor: The Archaeological Park of Cambodia

Angkor is no doubt the most important and impressive archaeological sites in the entire Southeast Asia.  This archaeological park covers an area of 400 square kilometres which also includes the forested area. Angkor Park actually includes the impressive remains of some capitals that belong to the Khmer Empire of the old 9th as well as 15th centuries. The Angkor Wat temple and the Bayon Temple at the Angkor Thom are the popular temples of this archaeological park. Because of the presence of countless sculptural decorations in these temples, the park was titled as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1992. After some time the name of Angkor Park was present in the list of those World Heritage sites which are in danger as a result of some acts of looting, unsustainable tourism and declining water table. Angkor itself has no facilities of accommodation. Tourists have to stay at the town of Siem Reap which is at a distance of 6 km from the Park area.

Get In to Angkor:

Angkor Archaeological Park

From the nearby town of Siem Reap, Angkor is just a 20 minute ride to the north either by a car or a motorbike. After reaching Angkor, many air conditioned tour buses are available for the crowd of visitors. People can even hire cars along with their drivers for a single day or for multiple days also. The local drivers are well aware of the bad routes as well as the good routes so travelling with your own driver is not preferable; just hire a local one. The whole trip is affordable and you will visit each and every temple easily. Some people who are travelling alone hire motorbikes with drivers also. People who are staying at guesthouses prefer to travel in Tuk tuks that are arranged from their guesthouses only. Many people also find it adventurous to travel the routes in bicycles. Apart from that, horse carriages, electric cars, helicopter flights and hot air balloon flights are also available for travellers.  People who want to know all about the Angkor temples before visiting them can read the book “Ancient Angkor” written by Michael Freeman. Even a detailed map of the Angkor area is also printed in this book. Another famous book is the “Temple of a Thousand Faces” by John Shors is also there for help.

The Symbolic Structures:

Angkor Archeological Park Cambodia

As said before the whole Archaeological Site of Angkor is filled with many important symbolic structures. The most famous one is the Temple Mountain; the temple represents the mythical Mount Meru and is dedicated to the Hindu concept. All the temples of that region, including the famous Angkor Wat itself, are covered by a layer of moats and are designed in a pyramid shape which looks like a mountain. The top of the mountain looks like peaks of five different towers and actually represents the 5 peaks of Mount Meru. Some blocks of stones whose shapes are like a table can be found in some of the temples of Angkor. The reason behind the presence of these temples in huge numbers is the wish of most of the kings to build their own temples to mark their rule and kingdom in that particular area.

The Glorious Temples of Angkor:

angkor 3

As we all know that there are many temples at Angkor but these temples are originally divided into four groups. First are the Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom which is indeed the grandest of all the temples. Second is the Big Circuit which includes the main sites of north and further east. Third is the Little Circuit which takes the eastern sites of Angkor Thom under it. And the last one is the Roluos group which is near to the National Highway 6 of Siem Reap. At a distance of 20 kms from Angkor Wat there are some more outlying temples. The most famous temple of Angkor is the Angkor Wat temple which has some of the largest monuments of Khmer. During the 12th century, King Suryavarman II builds this temple with a perfect composition and balance of beauty. Angkor Wat offers some of the most beautiful sites of Angkor. Watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat is the favourite activity of tourists. When the sun rises the whole Angkor Wat gets filled with the best colours of light.

angkor 4

Next main temple at Angkor is Angkor Thom which was built by King Jayavarman VII during the late 12th century. This temple is famous for the big face stone statues of gods. In total there are 54 towers each of four faces; thus making a total of 216 faces around the entire temple. Till now nobody is aware about the face which is being depicted in these statues. Another famous place is Baphuon which represents Mount Meru. This giant face of Baphuon is actually located in the northwest area of the Bayon. Apart from these sights there are some other Angkor Thom sights that are adorable to look at. Some of them are the elephant terrace, the terrace of the Leper King, the five entrance gates, phnom bakheng, ta prohm, ta keo and banteay kdei. Thus in the end we can conclude that the entire trip of the Archaeological park of Angkor will be a historic one.

Oxford of India – Pune



Oxford of India – Pune

Pune

Truly a city of virtue according to its name Punyanagri (Pune) is the cultural capital of Maharashtra. It is not only famous for the education it offers, but also is renowned for the history and delicacies from street to five star restaurants that it greets its visitors with. Situated just besides the bustling metropolis of Mumbai on the Deccan plateau, the city of Pune is no less a busy place.  With moderate humid climate you will find the weather of this place perfectly pleasant for outings and shopping. The city of Pune boasts a rich history and has various landmarks as the evidence of the same. Being the first capital of the Maratha Empire, Pune has always held an important position politically. It was also the abode of the great Maratha ruler Shivaji Raje Bhosale. With several forts and museums for exhibit, there is a lot to roam around and observe in the city. Apart from its well held historical backgrounds and architectures, it also has some modernized constructions and developments which attract herds of people to the city. The IT hub of Maharashtra, this city has seen vast expansion in the past few decades. Also known as the Oxford of the East, the city homes a number of academic institutions in fields from engineering to hotel management; no field remains untaught here!

Ride through the olden times

Shaniwawada   Pune university

Standing strong till date, the forts from Maratha rule and the buildings from the British rule are famous in their own way. The forts and palaces built during the reign of various rulers can be seen here. Singhagad, Lal Mahal etc. where built during the rule of Shivaji Raje Bhosale while Vishram Baug Wada, Shaniwarwada etc. where the prized palaces of the Peshwas. Having a story of their own to narrate, these magnificent monuments show you the struggle, intelligence and the power of the rulers just through their site. The forts are open for visit and the entry is mostly free of cost.  The museums here depict the minute details of the golden era that the city saw during its olden times. The Raja DInkar Kelkar museum being the famous of all, it hosts a variety of artifacts from the 17th century. Dinkar Kelkar, who had collected these flamboyant pieces of artworks as well as the daily wares of those times, donated his collection to the Government. With utensils, combs, hookahs, musical items, lamps and many more items from the olden times, it offers you 36 sections of beautiful artistry in the objects of daily use. The city also has a small museum of trains which not many people know about. Thoroughly enchanting, the Joshi museum in Kothrud has miniature trains and their evolution to modern day trains on display. The city also has a Tribal museum which documents the culture of people from Gondwana and Sahyadri region.

Sarasbaug temple   Dagdusheth temple

It also has a number of temples from these times which include the Pataleshwar Temple. Built in a single rock, this temple was built as a tribute to Lord Shiva and also shelters a statue of Nandi (the vehicle of Lord Shiva). Another temple from the times of Peshwa is the Ganesh temple. Located at the center of a lake on a small hillock, the temple was the prime place of worship and was also known as the gramdevata (the supreme deity of the city). Now encompassed by a garden the temple is visited daily by huge crowds. The Dagdusheth temple definitely is a sure shot must when you visit the city.

Aga Khan palace    Shinde chhatri

Aga Khan Palace also finds its roots in the historical pages during the freedom struggle. It is the same place where Mahatma Gandhi was under house arrest and his wife, Kasturba Gandhi, took her last breath. It houses the things used by Gandhi during his stay and also the memorial of Kasturba Gandhi and is open for visits. The Shinde Chhatri, a memorial built for Mahadji Shinde is also a magnificent piece of architecture to view. The buildings of Pune University, College of Engineering and many more demarcate the typical stone architecture from the British times. The Osho asharam, built for the followers of Bhagwan Rajneesh is popular amongst the foreigners and is exquisitely made as the Meditation and Yoga center.

Food Paradise

Puran poli  Vada pav

Apart from education and history you will find absolute lip-smacking delicacies in the city. Be it street food or restaurant food, it is sure to leave you wanting for more. The cultural and traditional favorite being Puranpoli and Varan Bhat, Punekars (citizen of Pune) are known for their unity in diversity when it comes to food. You will find places serving all types of cuisines from Chinese to Thai, Mexican and Italian. The street food here is an altogether different concept for the people. The snack joints on the road will never be empty especially during the evenings when the people crowd around the stall for a cup of tea and the famous Vada Pav. Not a single street in Pune has evidenced the lack of a food joint or a place where you can satiate your stomach, tongue as well as your wallet. Misal paav also is one of the specialties the city offers the people who indulge in the spicy varieties of preparations.

bhakarwadi    chaat

Obviously, the famous Chitale Bandhu baakharwadi cannot be missed out on if you are visiting Pune. Notorious for its stringent timings of opening and closing, the sweet shop is always packed with people carrying kilos and kilos of baakharwadi, shrikhand, pedhas and many other food items. The city is also flooded with stalls that serve you the astounding blasts of flavors through chaats like panipuri, bhelpuri etc. Vaishali cannot go without a mention where you get the best South Indian snacks throughout the day and throughout the year. The Laxminarayan chiwda, which is now famous all over, finds its origin in the city of Pune.

Japanese garden   Rajiv Gandhi snake park

The city also shelters a number of gardens. With Saras Baug and Peshwe Park being the renowned ones, Rajiv Gandhi Park in Katraj is also an attraction for the different species of reptiles, birds and the nine feet long Cobra it exhibits. The Japanese garden which has been recently developed in the city is also gracefully designed for evening strolls and one day outings. Filled with culture, style, elegance and ethics the city of Pune takes your heart away. With just a few visits to the city, it compels you to fall for the variety of experiences it has in store and keep coming back for more.