Monthly Archives: April 2014

ELEPHANTA CAVES: GLORY TO LORD SHIV



ELEPHANTA CAVES: GLORY TO LORD SHIV

ELEPHANTA CAVES: GLORY TO LORD SHIV

ELEPHANTA CAVES SCULPTURES

For people who love to explore archeological sites, forts, caves and such historical monuments and places, Elephanta caves is a perfect place to lookout for. The centuries old caves were formed to dedicate it to Lord Shiva. Elephanta caves are located on the Elephanta island and is one of the world heritage site recognized by UNESCO and is thus a great tourist destination. Tourists and visitors across all over the world make sure they include Elephanta caves in their list of sight-seeing. The location of the caves is very beautiful and scenic as it surrounded by Arabian sea and is located around 10kms away from stressed life of Mumbai. The scenic of the place is very divine and peaceful with lots of lush greenery around accompanying with the cool breeze coming from the sea.

ELEPHANT STATUE AT BYCULLA ZOO

There are many stories and histories behind the architecture of Elephanta caves. This beautiful world heritage site of India is named by a Portugal who while exploring the place was stunned by the beauty of the sculptures and architect. The Portugal traveller saw the statue of elephant at the entrance of the island and thus he named the place as Elephanta caves and Elephanta island.

ELEPHANTA CAVES

The caves are the perfect example of culture of Hindu caves. The place has seven Hindu caves which are divided into two main groups. The first group includes five Hindu caves and the second group consists of two Buddhist caves. The origins of these ancient caves are still not clear, though it is said that it started around 7th century. Before the rule of Portuguese in around 1534, the place was a Hindu abode to worship and was known as Gharapuri. The caves are sculpted from solid basal rock and in the past caves were painted beautifully but in today it is only left with its traces. The famous of all caves is the cave number one out of the six caves which is known as Mahesamurti cave. The giant statue of Mahesamurti is placed in the massive hall. The caves houses number of brilliantly sculpted temples cut from rock. The beauty of the rock cut temples were designed to please Lord Shiva. The complex of the temple is very huge and is spread across over 60000 square feet which showcases three chambers of which one is the main chamber and the other two are laterals. There is a large hall located in the middle of the temple which consists of nine beautifully sculptured panels which showcases and represents the greatest Lord Shiva in its various tempers with the height of 6.3m. The three-headed magnificent sculpture of Lord Shiva signifies it’s meaning beautifully, the one facing right signifies as Creator, the center face signifies the protector and the left one signifies the destroyer of evils. The other sculptures in the caves, like near the doorways and side panels portrays the significance of Shiva’s powers. The design of the magnificent temple represents the significance of its energy. Since the history of the world heritage site, Elephanta caves is still not clearly defined, some archeologists and historians has a belief that it would have been built by the brave prince of Chalukya dynasty Pulesin 2 to showcase his bravery by celebrating his powers and few states that the caves might be built by the great King of Kalchuri in sixth century.

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Stupa hill is located on the east side of the island. The name derives from the beautiful Stupa monument with its religious significance which caves showcases. Buddhist monuments are located in this caves in which one of the cave is which contains the Stupa monument is built with the bricks and other cave is left incomplete. During the Portuguese time in 1534, they tried to take the statue of elephant to England but were not able to lift it and hence is now preserved at Bombay museum known as Bhau Daji Lad Museum at Jijamata Udyan. The statue was collapsed in 1814 but had been reassembled and is now located in the garden of the museum. Many of the precious statues and sculptures were damaged in the time of Portuguese.

PLLARS AT ELEPHANTA CAVES

Apart from the history and architecture significance of the place, the serene of the place is just mind-blowing, specially in winters. Since the caves are on island, the only way once can access the place is by taking a ferry from Gate Way of India. The view of city’s skyline from the Elephanta caves is just awesome. Away from all the city’s pollution and stress, the calmness and soothing serenity appeals everyone for a half day trip as a picnic to Elephanta caves. There is one resort of the Maharashtra Tourism Department Hotel, which provides great Indian food with a beautiful view, though they do not provide accommodation for night stay. One can only rest there in the day time. There are no such hotels or lodges providing accommodation. The nearest option for hotels and accommodations is only in Mumbai after reaching Gate Way of India.

FERRY TO ELEPHANTA CAVES

Elephanta caves are only accessed by sea ways, by taking boats or ferries from Gate Way of India. There are various options available in selecting the boat ranging from the economy one to the deluxe one. The journey from Gate Way of India to the island takes one hour. The first boat to the island is at 12 noon and the last one is at 5.30pm, tickets are booked from the Gate Way of India.

Thus one should not miss the fun of the boat ride along with the beautiful scenic views and the place of historic significance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Heart of the Happy Valley: Provo Utah



The Heart of the Happy Valley: Provo Utah

The Beehive State, Utah, is known for Mormons but also famous for its amazing beauty and historical sites. Most of its beauty lies in its largest city, Provo, which is also the county Seat of Utah County. Provo is one of the most favorite destination for tourists in Utah and more than 1 million visitors come to Provo every year. Famous for its rich lifestyle, great cuisine, art, historic culture, rooftop concerts, film festivals, outdoor summer cinemas, mountains and trails, two canyons, hiking & rock climbing site, Provo leaves nothing out of the things a tourist wants from a place. Provo is located 43 miles south of Salt Lake city and provides some great business opportunities for entrepreneurs too because of its low corporate taxes, two universities and Brighom yong. The history of Provo takes us back to 1776, when two non American Indians men entered Utah Valley but failed to get a permanent settlement here. It became a permanent settlement in 1849 when Mormon Pioneers established Brigham young Academy here in Provo. The economy boomed after the establishment of Provo Woolen Mills and today, Provo is one of the strongest economy around.

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Because of high altitude, Provo has a humid continental climate with no dry season. The summers are quite hot and the temperature varies from 20 F to 91 F around the year. July is the hottest month of the year with maximum temperature of 91 F and December is the coolest month with minimum temperature of  20 F. Rainfall is experienced around August mostly and Precipitation is at its highest at this time. The best time to visit Provo is during spring when the weather remains favorable most of the times.

How to get here?

how to get here

The nearest international airport to Provo is Salt Lake City International Airport and it also has its Provo Airport Terminal located at Mike Jense Parkway. Salt Lake City International Airport is just 49 km away from Provo and is mostly used by the visitors to come here as it is served by most major airlines. You can reach Provo from airport by airport shuttles, bus, cab, taxi or rental car.

Accommodation and Food

You will find a number of lodging options in Provo, from hotels and motels to bed & breakfasts and hostels, in every price range. There are more than 34 places available in Provo with more than 2800 rooms for every taste. One of the best is Provo Courtyard by Marriott, located at North Freedom Boulevard, features 100 guest rooms, three meeting rooms, work desk, mini refrigerator, renovated bathroom, whirlpool spa, fitness center, guest laundry, restaurant and The Market. Other good options include Springhill Suites by Marriott, TownePlace Suites, Residence Inn by Marriott, Sundance Mountain Resort, Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Baymont Inn and Suites, Hampton Inn Lehi, Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Best Western Timpanogos Inn, Quality Inn, La Quinta Inn and Days Inn at Springville.

food

All types of eating spots can be found in downtown Provo with a wide assortment of ethnic cuisine. You will love hot dogs and sausages at J Dawgs, Brazillian food at Tucanos Brazilian Grill, Indian food at Bombay House, American and French cuisine at La Jolla Groves, one of the tastiest pizzas at Nicolitalia Pizzeria, Seafood at India palace, Chinese food at Saigon Cafe, Asian food at The Banana Leaf Restaurant, unique sandwiches at Kneaders Bakery & Cafe, dessert & icecream at BYU Creamery, Mexican food at Mountain West Burrito, barbecue at Cubby’s Chicago Beef, Japanese food at Happy Sumo Sushi Bar and Thai food at Spicy Thai.

The Attractions

Brigham Young University

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Brigham Young University is a non profit private university owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. It was founded in 1875 and today it is the largest religious university in the country with more than 30000 students. There are 11 colleges on its campus and offers graduation in liberal arts, engineering, management, law and agriculture. The campus of the university covers an area of more than 550 acres and includes 296 buildings with some museums. You will surely like the Museum of Art and The museum of People and Cultures showing exhibits related to archaeology and ethnology. You can take a guided tour of the university anytime you want.

Provo City Library

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Provo City Library is a public library located at the N University Avenue in Provo and mentioned in the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1892 and was named as the Provo City Library in 2001. The library features more than 300,000 books, magazine and other media only available to the cardholders and holds a number of programs and events like Teen Book Fest, Family Literacy Symposium etc. The library started its operations in 1908 and received almost 1500 books as donation and a money grant from Andrew Carnegie to start.

Provo Utah Temple

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Provo Utah Temple is located at Temple Hill Dr and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. It was opened in 1972 and today it is one of the most famous landmarks of Provo city. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has 140 operating temples around the world and all feature some great work of architecture. You will be amazed after seeing the unique exterior of the temple and some sculptures placed inside the temple. The temple remains open everyday and admission is free.

The Crown of Pacific: Eugene, Oregon



The Crown of Pacific: Eugene, Oregon

Beautiful scenery, amazing woodlands, lakes, rain and Oregon Ducks, these are the attractions of a single state named Oregon. Oregon is located in the Pacific northwest of United States, bordered by Pacific Ocean. Oregon is a special place for visiting and if you are there then Eugene must be your first destination which is the 2nd largest city of the state. It is also the county seat of Lane County and a hugely popular visiting spot. You are going to be immensely amazed by the dynamic beauty of this city with great architectural buildings, coasts, universities and colleges, events, festivals, parks, great culture, sustainable living, supportive people and much more. Eugene was just a community of 500 to 600 people in 1858 with a few stores, one restaurant, two hotels and some professional people. It was given its name in 1862 when it got incorporated as a city and first election for city council was held in 1865.

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The climate of Eugene city is a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and not so cold winters. The temperature varies from 30 F to 80 F around the year and goes pretty high during June to September as its the warmest period. From November to February, cold season prevails and December is the coldest month.  Rainfall is not very common but the city witnesses heavy rain sometimes. The best time to visit Eugene is between March and July when the weather remains pleasant mostly.

How to get here?

air

The Eugene Airport is just 15 minutes from the downtown and receives direct flights from 11 major cities. It is the second largest airport in Oregon and generates more than 800,000 trips every year. You can also find short and long term parking easily here. Outside airport, there are more than enough means of transport to take you to city center. You can get around the city easily by shuttles, Lane Transit District (LTD) bus service, trams, Rental Cabs and limos.

Accommodation and Food

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Depending on your period of stay, you can easily find a number of hotels, motels, hostels, Bed & Breakfasts, lodges, resorts, retreats and even camping in Eugene at affordable prices. You will get some amazing suites at Comfort Suites, located at Springfield OR, with meeting room, indoor pool, Jacuzzi and access to nearby restaurants, shopping and movie theaters. Other good options include Hilton Garden Inn at Gateway Street, Phoenix Inn suites at Franklin Boulevard, Courtyard by Marriott at Hutton Street, Valley River Inn at Valley River Way, Holiday Express Hotel at Hutton Street, Hilton Eugene at Sixth Avenue, Residence Inn by Marriott at Club Road and famous Augusta House at the Bowmont.

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You will find a great mixture of taste, affordable dining and international selection in food here. From firing pizzas to great seafood, from Italian to Mexican, from Indian to Continental, from American to North Eastern, you are going to find every taste in great range of restaurants here. One of the most recommended is Restobar at Bay Street which offers great organic meats and hand made sausages. At Tons Cafe, you will get some best beers and wines in town and some delicious Panini Sandwiches and pasta dishes at Amici- a Contemporary Italian Cuisine. Other good options include Anatolia, Bagel Sphere, the Bay Restaurant & Lounge, Belly Taqueria and many others.

The Attractions

Hult Center for the Performing Arts

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The Hult Center for the Performing Arts is a famous art center located at Eugene Center and known for organizing tourist shows, local events, concerts, exhibitions and much more. It was opened in 1982 and was adopted as a part of City’s Library, Recreation & Cultural Services Department. There is a glass lobby, Silva Concert Hall with a capacity of 2448 visitors, Soreng Theater with 498 seats, amazing Jacobs Gallery and others.

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The Hult Center offers a great variety of performances and educational programs for children also. You can also take a full tour of the center and witness some great treasures of arts like paintings, masks, tiles, statues, sculptures and much more. It also has some restaurants, bars and cafes where you can have some rich wine tastings and delicious food.

Alton Baker Park

Alton Baker Park

The Alton Baker Park is city’s largest recreational public area located at Day Island Road in Eugene. This is such a great spot for biking, river floats, picnics, running and duck feeding. It was constructed in 1959 and consists of more than 400 acres of fields, trails and plains. The nature lovers will definitely love this place as it is very naturally blessed and a great place for experiencing nature. Some events are also held here like Eugene Rotary Duck Race.

Cascades Raptor Center

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The Cascades Raptor Center is a wildlife hospital and birds care center located on Fox Hollow Road in Eugene. It is home of 60 birds of 33 species which include Corvids, Eagles, Falcons, hawks, owls, Saker Falcon, Osprey, Turkey Vulture and White Tailed Kite. The Raptor Center has a rehabilitation department for orphaned, sick and birds of prey with highly standardized medical treatment.

Hayward Field

The Vampire Diaries - First Season

Hayward Field is one of the most famous track and field stadium in world, located at 15th Avenue in Eugene.  It has hosted three consecutive US Olympic trials in 1972, 1976 and 1980. It was constructed for football in 1919 and the track was installed in the stadium two years later. The stadium has a seating capacity of 10500 fans with permanent lights, a video board and new infield.

Other attractions of Eugene include Jordan Schinitzer Museum of Art, Mount Pisgah, Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, McDonald Theatre and many others.

The Amazing City of Boise, Idaho



The Amazing City of Boise, Idaho

Idaho is known for beautiful mountains, desert landscapes, crystal lakes and rich lifestyle. This US state has a rich history and growing very fast as a popular tourist destination. The capital of Idaho is Boise, most populous city of the state and county seat of Ada County. Boise city is located on the banks of Boise River and is famous for its beautiful architecture, parks, Idaho Potato Bowl, Huckleberry fruits, generous people and lot of colleges. Boise was just a small forested area in 18th century, surrounded by Rocky Mountains, and was called Les Bois. The golden period of the city started when gold was discovered here in 1862 which attracted a lot of prospectors and investors. Boise became the territorial capital and incorporated as a city in 1864.

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The climate of Boise is a cold semi arid steppe one and widely affected by Pacific Ocean. It is not a very snowy city but you can witness some during winters. There are four seasons here with hot summers and not so cold winters. The weather remains dry most of the time and very pleasant breeze can be experienced at night. Most of the days are sunny with clear skies. The best time to visit Boise is during spring.

How to get here?

boise-airport

Boise Airport is a self operating airport, located just 15 minutes from the downtown. It is one of the busiest airports in Idaho and receives a lot of carriers from airlines like Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and more. You can get to downtown from various means of transports available from outside airport and rent a cab to wander around the city.

Accommodation and Food

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From classy to casual, luxury to boutique, Boise has every type of accommodation to offer in all price ranges. One of the best options would be The Grove Hotel, located at S Capitol Boulevard, featuring luxury rooms & suites, Emilio’s restaurant, Satori Sushi and space for meetings and special events. Another good option is The Riverside Hotel, located at Chinden Boulevard, with business friendly rooms including large desks, meeting spaces and high speed free internet. Other amenities include an outdoor pool, cable TV, laundry and fitness and recreation facilities. There are some budget accommodations also available like Hampton Inn & Suites, Best Western Caldwell Inn & Suites, Red Lion Hotel, Inn America, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Townplace Suites by Marriott, Springhill Suites, Holiday Inn and others.

food

There are more than 800 options to have some great tasty food and drinks in Boise. Don’t forget to visit the Sweet Street located at W. Bannock Street featuring a Chocolate Bar, City Peanut Shop and Guru Donuts with some luring peanuts, chocolates, cupcakes and donuts. There is Bardenay with some great American food, Goldy’s Breakfast bistro with nice sandwiches, Flatbread Neapolitan Pizza with some fired pizzas, Bittercreek Ale House with some Pub food, Shige Japanese Cuisine with great Japanese and sushi food, Lucianos Italian Restaurant with fantastic Italian food, Pad Thai House, Barbacoa Restaurant, Blue Sky Bagels, Sunshine Bagel Bakery, CasaBlanca Cuban Grill, Pie Hole, Bleubird, Baguette Deli, IOU Sushi, The Matador and Fujiyama Japanese Restaurant.

The Attractions

Julia Davis Park

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Julia Davis Park is a public park located at S Capitol Boulevard in Boise and covers a total area of 90 acres. The 89 acres of land of Park was on donated land by Thomas Davis in memory of his beloved wife Julia Davis. The park features famous Zoo Boise, Idaho Black History Museum, Discovery Center, Idaho State Historical Museum and Boise Art Museum. There are also reservable pavilions, duck pond, restrooms, a tennis court and a Rose Garden. You can take a guided tour of the park and it is free of cost. However, parking facility is not available here.

Old Idaho State Penitentiary 

Old Idaho State Penitentiary

If you wish to visit some abandoned place like a prison then Old Idaho State Penitentiary is the right place. This place was used as a prison for 100 years, from 1872 to 1973 in western United States. The Penitentiary is located on Old Penitentiary Road in Boise and you can pay a visit to explore the unique history, solitary confinement and cell blocks here. There are almost 30 buildings and famous J Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit of Arms and Armaments here which you will surely admire.

Discovery Center of Idaho

Discovery Center of Idaho

Discovery Center of Idaho is a famous science museum located at Myrtle Street in Boise. It exhibits a lot of knowledgeable events related to science, technology, engineering and math (SMET) and some daily science demonstrations. There is also a gift shop with thousands of unique toys and some gifts for your loved ones. The Discovery Center remains open from Thursday to Sunday and admission costs $9 for adults and $7 for children.

World Center for Birds of Prey

Beautiful Falcon contemplating sunset. The power of nature.

The World Center for Birds of Prey is the headquarters of the Peregrine Fund which is a non profit international organization working for the good of endangered raptors. It was established in 1984 and covers an area of 580 acres featuring business offices, breeding facilities for endangered birds of prey, Velma Morrison Interpretive Center, Herrick Collections Building with a research library and the Archives of Falconry. California Condors and Aplomado Falcons are the recent breeding of the World Center for Birds of Prey. The center remains open daily from June to August and closed on Mondays from September to May. The admission costs $7 for adults and $5 for children.

Other attractions include Idaho Botanical Garden, Branco Stadium, Bogus Basin, Boise Centre, the Egyptian Theatre and more.

Rich, Beautiful and Cultured: Bellevue, Washington



Rich, Beautiful and Cultured: Bellevue, Washington

Beautiful views, supportive people, luxurious stay, a lot of shopping, great cuisine, comfortable transportation, nice weather, numerous places to play, that’s all a visitor desires from the places he is visiting. Bellevue, the 5th largest city of Washington and retail center of King County’s Eastside, offers everything listed above  and takes the satisfaction level of the visitors sky high. As a matter of fact, you can expect the environment of Bellevue to be supportive as it has the most highly educated residents in the whole state of Washington. Bellevue is located near Seattle in western Washington and Money Magazine ranked this city number 4 on the list of Best Places to Live in 2012. Bellevue was incorporated as a city in 1953 with a population of around 5000 people and the retailers and merchants started to show their interest in its economy during 1946. The journey of 140 years has been quite inspiring as it has traveled a long way from a forest to a globally recognized city.

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The climate of Bellevue is fairly warm and temperate and continuous rainfalls are experienced in winters. The average temperature varies from 10 degrees to 25 degrees around the year. August is the warmest month of the year with average temperature of 20 degrees and January is the coldest month with 4.2 degrees. The best time to visit Bellevue is between March and July when the weather remains favorable most of the time.

How to get here?

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The nearest airport to the city of Bellevue is Seattle Tacoma International Airport which receives a lot of flights, serving 27 airlines, from United States and rest of the world. It is located just 17 miles from the Bellevue downtown. From the airport you can easily get shuttle service, shared ride vans, charters, limos and many other public transportation. You can also reach Bellevue by bus or train as there is Link Light Rail routes between Bellevue and other cities. Reaching here by car is also not very difficult as lots of highways are connected together.

Accommodation and Food

Accommodation

There are a lot more lodging options in Bellevue than its neighbor cities and it offers every type of accommodation whether its luxurious 4 star hotels or an affordable hostel or apartment. There are more than 4500 rooms available in the city, out of which 2500 are located right in the heart of the city. Some of the best are Hyatt Regency, Westin, Hilton Sheraton, Courtyard, Marriott Residence Inn, Red Lion Hotel, Ace Hotel, Sorrento Hotel, The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Coast Bellevue Hotel, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Hotel Bellevue, Days Inn, Embassy Suites Seattle Bellevue Hotel, Extended Stay America, Larkspur Landing Bellevue Hotel, Silver Cloud Hotel and many others.

Food

You will be stormed away from the tasty food and exotic drinks here along with outdoor seating, live music and happy hours. There are hundreds of eating spots from sandwich stalls to 4 star chef restaurants. Salmon and Dungeness Crab is mostly eaten food of Bellevue and you will get it anywhere here. There is Bake’s Place offering top quality beef and international cuisine. You will love Hard Rock Café’s mouth watering American classic food, Din Tai Fung’s Chinese food, Mediterranean Kitchen’s delicious ocean food, amazing burgers at Burgermaster, Japanese food at Ginza, barbecue at 3 Pigs Bar-B-Q.

The Attractions

Meydenbaurer Center

Meydenbaurer Center

Meydenbaurer Center is located on the NE 6th Street in Bellevue and offers opportunities of conventions, meetings, events and banquets. The center was opened in 1993 with an area of 54000 square feet in which, 36000 square feet is taken by Center Hall, 12000 square feet by nine meeting rooms and 2500 square feet by Executive Conference Suite with a performing arts theatre. More than 300 convention events are held throughout the year here and more than 200,000 visitors come here annually to witness these events.

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Garden d'Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden on Wednesday, December 2, 2009.

Bellevue Botanical Garden is located at Main Street in Bellevue with free admission for everyone. The garden covers a total area of 53 acres and features cultivated gardens, wetlands and woodlands. You will find a great blend of beauty, serenity and learning here and chance to attend events like summer concerts, art exhibits, holiday light festivals and plant sales. The attractions here include Alpine Rock Garden, Fuchsia Garden, Tateuchi loop Trail, Waterwise Garden, Yao Garden, Fern Collection and much more. The garden remains open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

KidsQuest Children’s Museum

United States, Washington, Bellevue, KidsQuest Children's Museum, grandmother and boy playing at Waterways exhibit

KidsQuest Children’s Museum was opened in 1992 by Susan and William Dunkley and it has been a great place for child caring, kid’s entertainment facility, education and events for children. There is a famous Indoor Play Piece offering great entertainment and exercise tools for children and Techno Quest Game Kiosks with latest engaging arcade games. The exhibits and programs related to science, technology, engineering, math and arts are regularly held to unleash creativity of the children. The museum remains open daily and admission fee is $9 for everyone.

Marymoor Park

Marymoor Park

Marymoor Park is King County’s largest and most popular park and receives more than 3 million visitors every area. It is the oldest park of the state and covers an area of 640 acres. The park is famous for hosting summer contest named Concerts at Marymoor which calls some popular artists from around the world every year. The attractions in the park include Willowmoor Farm, Clise Mansion which is also entered in the National Register of Historic Places.

Beatenberg Village, Switzerland



Beatenberg Village, Switzerland

Beatenberg is a quaint little village, resting in the lap of the Interlaken district of the Canton Of Bern, in Switzerland.

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Located on the Bernese Oberland, on the steppe beneath, the Niederhorn and high above the lake Thun. The village looks over the Jungfrau group of mountains, making the whole scene look like something out of a Disney fairytale.

Beatenberg covering an area of about 29.23 sq km, consists of forests, land used for agricultural purposes, land used to build roads and buildings and houses, lands taken up by rivers and lakes and also a portion of unproductive land. The forest land is covered with clusters of trees and orchards.

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The total population of Beatenberg is about 1,150. The place is calm, scenic, non-polluted and an absolute treat to the eyes.

Beatenberg at one point in time was called Sant Beaten Burg. As the legend goes, Saint Beatus, a Scottish or Irish monk, was sent to convert the Helvetii, a tribal confederation that occupied most of the Swiss plateau, in the 1st century B.C. After he found success in the Jura Mountains, which are a sub-alpine mountain range, located north of the western Alps. He defeated a dragon and moved to Beatenberg and built a hermitage in the caves overlooking the Thun River. These caves for quite some time were treated as pilgrimage destinations. A chapel by the cave was constructed for the visiting Pilgrims. This Chapel was taken over by the Beatenburg Abbey, which over time became the largest landlord in the village of Beatenberg. The Chapel was later on closed down and the caves were walled.

The Beatenberg Municipality is made up of several scattered farming hamlets. These hamlets survived on seasonal Alpine herding, a way of transhumance in the Alps, a seasonal movement of livestock, deep down in the valleys during the winters and high up on the pastures on top the mountain in summers. The people residing in these hamlets got a chance to earn an additional income with the setting up of several wool spinning mills in and around the village, during the 18th century. After the success of the first health spa, several luxury spas and hotels opened up within the area. Beatenberg then began to garner the reputation of a luxury destination. The tourism industry picked up only when Beatenberg rebuilt itself as a place for vacation homes and weekend visits. The coming up of around 250 vacation apartments, has provided employment to around 70 per cent of the working population.

Saint Beatus the local saint of Beatenberg, was thought to have fought a dragon and settle down in beatenberg. The cave he fought the dragon in, became a place of pilgrimage, even today the kilo meter long lime stone cave, with its subterranean lakes serves as the main tourist attraction in the city.

The village has got a decent amount of literate population. So the tourists get to interact with intellectual people. There are high schools in the village itself and so the children don’t have to walk that extra mile in order to go and study. Also, people interested in teaching find a decent employment in the Beatenberg High school and other educational institutions.

Since, its located on a higher altitude, the region is cold during summers and extra cold during winters. Preferably, the apt time to visit the place would be during summers, when one actually gets to see the iridescent hues of the valley, the lush green fields, the bright blossoming flowers and the colorful village of Beatenberg. One can go during winters as well but that won’t really serve as value for money because then the valley and the mountains shall be buried under a thick layer of snow, making the journey rather boring.

If one ever plans to visit Beatenberg, Switzerland, they should be free of any worry regarding the lodging bit, because Beatenburg houses a number of hotels in its vicinity. The hotels include, hotel Interlaken, a historic hotel dating from 1941. It’s a 4 star hotel and provides facilities such as paid internet, free parking, allowance of pets, free breakfast, laundry service and many more other facilities to make you feel completely at home.

Then there is Alpdodge Backpackers Interlaken, a 4 star rated hotel, which has numerous shops around it, that include a grocery store and a wine shop opposite it. The most convenient feature of the hotel is that it’s only a 5 minute walk from the Interlaken Station.

Backpackers’ Villa is a cozy, clean and a very comfortable place to stay in, with laundry services, good food and all the rest needed to spend a comfortable set of days.

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Hotel Toscana, is situated in the very heart of Switzerland, between the lakes Thun and Brienze, near the world famous Jungfrau Mountains. A 3 star rated hotel, which provides facilities such as, free wifi, free parking, room service etc.

Grand Hotel Victoria, is housed in a palatial building, in the centre of Interlaken, surrounded by the Jungfrau Mountains. It is a 5 star rated hotel, with fabulous facilities like an indoor swimming pool, a gym, paid parking, a business centre and much more.

Airports near Beatenberg- The Belp International airport. The domestic airports are the Emmen, Grenchen, Sion and Avorioz.

Take a break from the scorching heat and beat of the city life and experience peace in the lap of the Swiss Alps. Come to Beatenberg, Switzerland !

A groundbreaking skyscraper – Flatiron building



A groundbreaking skyscraper – Flatiron building

Flatiron

Flatiron building is situated at 175 Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York and is commonly referred to as Fuller building and a groundbreaking skyscraper. The building was designed by Daniel Burnham from Chicago who fashioned it in beaux-arts style. The architecture of the building symbolizes the conception of Chicago school like a classical Greek column. The building was built as the headquarters of Fullers Construction Company but because of its unusual shape on a triangular plot and its resemblance to a cast iron (clothes iron), it was named ‘Flatiron’.

After its completion, it was counted in one of the tallest buildings in the New York City and was one of the two skyscrapers. It is established on a triangular island-block, located at Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd street. The district near the building is also referred to as Flatiron district after their signature building. It is an icon for the city and hence labelled as a New York City landmark and also added to the National Register of Historic Places. The construction of the building began in 1902 and as it grew, it became the first true skyscraper of America.

The design

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The design of this enduring skyscraper seems like that of the Chicago school, making it the first true manifestation of modern architecture. The building in Chicago was employed for its metal skeleton of cast iron columns and steel grins to support the masonry shell for floors and walls and hence was the archetype of skyscraper design. The twenty storey building having a height of 285 feet was built on a steel frame with non-load bearing masonry, the frontage was such designed that it look like a classical pillar, with ornamented base and ornate scrolling. It was sponsored by a Colorado gold miner named Nathan Fuller. The building is having 24 levels with a mezzanine, attic, a barber shop, a sub-basement, around two hundred offices, six Otis water-hydraulic elevators and two boiler systems which provides warmth to the building. The building is attired in limestone and glazed terra cotta intensifying its heavy and rich aesthetic.

One of the most significant aspects of the Flatiron building is that its architecture highlights the triangular site, as it is forming an acute angle at 5th Broadway and the northern vertex of the building is just 6.5 feet wide, thus forming an interesting spatial configuration within the building and the slanting walls housing the narrow corner offices from where one can enjoy the panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan. The building was such designed in order to accommodate four times the typical wind loads in order to alleviate and retain the buildings quirky triangular shape.

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The architecture of this famous triangular skyscraper was designed by the architect, Daniel Burnham in 1902 and completed it till 1903. The building was so significantly unique in the area that it instantly gained popularity as America’s first true skyscraper and its design was then copied many times by other architects to design other buildings and architectures within United States. The building was also the only one built in United States in the middle of urban area, facing the grave of Civil War veteran. The pointed structure of the building creates unusual wind currents at the ground level and so the police officers in 1920 prevented the entry of men to watch the wind, raising the skirts of women who were passing across the 23rd street side. The building was purchased by Harry S. Black, CEO of the Fuller company- a firm specializing in steel and skyscraper construction- for the headquarters of the company and then Mr. Black paid the architect Daniel Burnham for designing the building.

Attractions around the building

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Flatiron building is a quirky building charming its tenants with its significantly iconic features. There is a great myth about the building that it is often referred to as a ‘cowcatcher’ by locals, as its triangular shape looks like a flatiron for clothes but paradoxically, the building is not an isosceles triangle like a real flatiron, rather it is a right triangle with its coercing shape on which it was built.

But there are many other amazing places to visit around the building and Madison Square Park is one of them. This grassy playground is a happy escape from the busy midtown area and with the availability of free Wi-Fi, people can be connected to the internet too. The artwork done on the grounds of park is sure to thrill those with a love and charm for art and also the blend of temporary exhibits by artists are also enjoyed by people.

Another one of the most amazing and visited place near this building is Brooklyn bridge, connecting Manhattan with Brooklyn. The building is also dubbed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.

Also, there is a great memorial nearby the building called, 9/11 memorial which was made in the remembrance of the martyrs who perished in terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. The place has two massive pools with 30 foot waterfalls coming down their sides. There are almost 3000 names of men, women and children who were killed in the attack, caricatured in the bronze parapets surrounding the twin memorial pools.

Izmir, Turkey



Izmir, Turkey

Izmir_cumhuriyet_squareIzmir is the third largest town in Turkey located on the coastline of Aegean Sea having a population of about 3.5 million residents. It is also the second largest sea port after Istanbul and also a very good transport hub. It is a rapidly growing city. This place has been a popular destination for many years now and also has a long history which dates back to the third century BC. After the Turkish Revolutionary War most of the city had to be rebuilt and because of that you will find an interesting mixture of the modern buildings with wide tree lined boulevards and many traditional houses and chateaus hidden in the city. Izmir has had a long multicultural history which is evident in its local cuisine which creates a fusion of influencing flavours. Also this place enjoys a temperate climate with mild winters and a warm summer which makes it perfect to travel this place at any point of time throughout the year. Izmir is a very popular tourist destination because of its scenic beauty and historical and cultural heritage.

HOW TO GET THERE?

You can get in this city by taking a flight. The Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport is situated near the city centre. This airport receives direct flights from many countries and also connecting flights from Istanbul. There are also many flights from Izmir to all the airport cities in Turkey. After getting out of the airport you can take a bus or a taxi to get to the city centre or any nearby districts of Izmir. You can also arrive to this place by road by taking the highway. There are shuttle busses between major cities and Izmir. And later to get to the city centre you may take a metro or public bus which leaves from the Izmir Bus Terminal. Another means of transportation here is a ferry. You can enjoy a sea journey to commute between the districts in Izmir. There are also world famous cruise ships that go to the Izmir harbour which is another very good option.

ATTRACTIONS

Konak Square

Konak Square is the main square of the city centre and also the busiest part of the city. This place is most famous for its Clock tower which was built in the year 1901 and is an old landmark and a unique symbol of Izmir. This place is also known as the spiritual heart of the city and also of Modern Turkey where the fight of independence after the partition in the wake of the First World War began. The square also houses the Governate of Izmir Province, City hall, Central bus station and the Yali mosque.

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Asansor

This is a historical building in the city of Izmir which was built in 1907. The main purpose for the construction of this building was to help the people to go to their districts that were on the top of the hill. The elevator in this building initially worked by a water driven mechanism but later it was restored and now it works by electricity. There is a restaurant that is situated at the top of the building which is very famous and it also gives a bird eye view of the city of Izmir.

Asansor

Beaches

Izmir has many sand beaches as it has a coastline on Aegean Sea. They are not very far from the city centre and public transportation is available to go to most of these beaches. They are very popular amongst the tourists as they are very lively and also offer many water sport activities like Para Sailing, Banana boats, jet skiing and many other sports. The places that have beaches include Foca, Cesme, Dikili amongst the many.

Beach, Izmir

Kadifekale

Kadifekale is the name of the hill that is situated within the urban zone of Izmir. It is also the name of the ancient castle which is located on the top of this hill. The high point where the castle is found is situated a t a distance of two kilometres from the shoreline and it also provides a general view of a large part of this city and also that of Gulf of Izmir. Recently, this place has been renovated by the municipality of Izmir. The view from the castle is stunning and at its best just before the sunset.

Kadifekale

Kordon

You can just walk along the Kordon, a waterfront Walkway which is now lined by rows of tall residential buildings and palm trees on one side whereas the Aegean Sea on the other. There is a large area of lawn where you can find the 19th century faytons which is the horse drawn carriage ride. You can also find the picture perfect sunsets from this place.

Kordon

There are many other places that you can visit in this city too like the many museums, Kemaralti Bazaar for shopping, Kultur Park, Old Gas Factory, etc. There are many shopping places in Izmir which help you to choose from a range of fine jewellery to designer clothes. There are also many beautiful handmade items available. The night life in this city is one of the best with many night clubs and bars. Thus, Izmir is one of the best place to visit for scenic as well as cultural and historical sites.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park



Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes are some of the most beautiful sites our nature has sprouted aren’t they? The liquid fires and long glowing embers remind us of earth’s ethereal beauty.
But with streams of fire hot lava shooting out, our best bet of witnessing one is only possible on national geographic. Because volcanoes aren’t exactly picnic spots or parks.
But what if they were?
Welcome to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the world’s only drive-in volcano and one of America’s most coveted tourist spots. If that detail doesn’t completely captivate you, then the vivid picture of billowing steam and the oozing red hot lava ahead of you definitely will.

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So where is it?
Hawaii islands in the USA! Home to some of the most beautiful pearly white sands and crystal clear beaches, Hawaii is also home to the really cool and intensely boiling Kilauea volcano. Mauna Loa one, a passive volcano which has been identified as the world’s largest aerial volcano is also in Hawaii. Both of these are located near Hilo from where its only about 45 to an hour by transport.

Attractions
Your trip should definitely begin at the Kilauea visitor center where there’s a short film introduction given to tourists briefing them about the park. Get to know the hike sites, eruption updates and collect your own map comes here before heading out to the site. The tour begins with a road that goes by the name ‘Crater Rim Drive’. Its a drive-way loop that ribbons around the Kilauea Caldera. A drive through this loop will give you a brief tour into all of Kilauea’s attractions: Jaggar Museum, Halemaumau Crater, Devastation trail, Thurston Lava Tube and more. Enough to pack an entire day with volumes of adventure.
Thomas A. Jaggar Museum
Nature geeks and wanderes, don’t take a hike without visiting the Thomas Jaggar Museum. There’s a wealth of information here with geological displays, explanation on the various tracks, maps, and videos telling you all you need to know about volcanoes. This is open every day of the week from 8.30 in the morning to 5 in the evening.

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Halemaumau Crater
From the Jaggar Museum, the nearest visit is this Crater. This is locally called Pele, the volcano goddess. In 1967 there was enough lava that filled this crater to destroy the surrounding planes. But over the years it has all dried away and is now a considered a sacred site of the feminine god. Many steam vents plume forth now and then from this massive crater.

Thurston Lava Tube
The Thurston Lava tube is a 5 century old lava cave formed from a channel of residue molten lava. The lava drained and cooled down to have formed these huge, hollow chambers and at the end of this tunnel, isn’t mere light but also a refreshing tropical rain forest. So get your camping shoes and take a walk through this nature made tunnel.

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Puu Oo Vent
This is perhaps the highlight of one’s trip to the Volcanoes National Park at Hawaii. If you thought the lava bubbling from the Kilauea’s daily eruptions teethed around the crater, you’re in store for something amazing. The Puu Oo vent in the east rift zone is where the flooding lava carried through the channel of underground tubes empty out into the sea before our very eyes. A nice view of the red-violet lava raining into the calm waters can be caught from the end of the Craters road. There is also a nice little viewing site outside the park called Kalapana from where this daily ritual of nature can be quietly observed.

Chain of Craters Road
After taking in a marvelous sight like that, get your gears back on and head south of Crater Rim drive. The chain boggles an onlooker with lava flow overtaking the road. This road is open everyday to tourists between 10 in the morning till 9 at night. In the evenings the volcanic residue is beautiful to look at, and is such an exclusive experience.

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Volcano House
This is a charming hotel found a little way away from the Halemaumau Crater with a wonderful view of the same. The Volcano House has been around since 1846 when it was a grass shack. A trip to the Volanoes National park demands a stay here.

Tips to remember
Since the park is quite a journey up the road for hikers, and seeing as there are no stores in the vicinity it is advised to stack up on food and water. Dress comfortably if you wish to walk around the area and don’t forget to carry a flashlight and a pair of binoculars for when you get to the Puu Oo vent. While at the park premises keep a look out for all the warning signs, sign boards and restricted areas to ensure maximum safety. As there is a chance of inhaling sulfuric acid flames and other harmful volcanic gasses, its best to tread on the marked areas and not take solo trips into the unrestricted sections.

The trip is almost complete, all that’s left is to charge up your camera batteries and book that trip to Hawaii without another doubt. Its going to be a sure-fire hit.

 

AJMER: LAND OF FAITH



AJMER: LAND OF FAITH

 

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Ajmer known for its various religious beliefs, faiths and culture is located in the royal state of Rajasthan, India. Centuries back Ajmer was also known as Ajaymeru and now formerly known as Ajmere. Ajmer is also one of the pilgrimage place with great importance for Muslims as the famous tomb of Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti is located here. Ajmer dargah is the jewel of Ajmer. Ajmer was founded by Raja Ajaypal Chauhan and in today’s date is the fifth largest city in the state of Rajasthan. Apart from all the tourist spots, Ajmer is covered with all the beautiful serene as it is surrounded with the beautiful ranges of Aravili hills and with serene lakes in the city.

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Ajmer Dargah also known as Ajmer Sharif is a famous Sufi Shrine in which people have immense faith and belief. Pilgrims across all over the world come here to pray with pure faith to free their soul. There are lots of miracles taken place in the Dargah. The complex includes many monuments within the Dargah, which includes two gates called Buland Darwaza and the Mausoleum where the tomb is placed. There is a giant cauldron where people donate’s their money which are used for good purposes. To offer rose flowers and chaddar whichare placed over the great Sufi’s Tomb to seek blessings is a popular ritual at Dargah. The Holy spirit is famous world -wide and fulfills all true and keen desires those who come under his shelter. In ancient times King Akbar was a great follower of the saint. While entering the Dargah a divine feeling touches ones soul with the aroma of rose all over. The divine feeling of the place touches one soul and makes it feel pure. It is said that the art form of Kawali is originated after the Sufi Saint from Ajmer’s Dargah. Millions of pilgrimage all over the world visits the shrine of Ajmer Sharif. The faith and belief of the place is simply beyond explanation as there are lots of miracles taken place by the Sufi Saint.

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Aadhi din ka jhonpra is a mosque located in the outskirts of the town. The mosque was once a Vaishnava hindu temple. According to the legends it is said that the construction of the building was done in two and a half days and thus it is named as aadhai din ka jhonpra, it is also said that the name is derived after the two and a half day festival. The place is known for its archeological significance.

aadhi din ka jhonpra

Ana sagar lake is one of the famous and beautiful lake in Ajmer. Ana Sagar lake is built in ancient times by Anaji Chauhan, Prithviraj Chauhan’s grandfather. The lake is surrounded with majestic aravilli hills and is one of the best place for evening strolls. Boatrides and other activities also fascinates the tourists and visitors along with the charm and beauty of the lake. Lake Foy Sagar is another lake in Ajmer which is popular for its beauty.

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Taragarh fort of Ajmer is one of the most famous forts offering a splendor view because of it’s beautiful location. Taragarh fort is located in the hills and one gets the complete view of the city. It’s one of the oldest fort in India built by the King Ajaypal Chauhan. The architecture of fort is very interesting and thus is famous for its art and historical significance. Lots of tourists are attracted as it also provides the best view of the city.

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Magazine museum is also one of the attraction for tourists. Once city museum, was a historic palace to Prince Salim. The museum exhibits the era of Rajputs and Mughals empire from the weapons and other things displayed in the museum.

Nasiyan ji Mandir in Ajmer is also one of the best temple for Jain religion. The temple showcases the gold plated sculptures of peacocks and elephants with the Jain mythology. The two storey Mandir is divided into two parts, one which is used for prayers and worshipping and the other is used as a museum.

Apart from the tourist spots there are lots of ladies market in Ajmer providing exclusive stuffs of Ajmer. Bandhani sarees, duppatas, exclusive jodhpuri jittis, silver ware, ittars, perfumes etc.are famous items for shopping along with delicious street foods.

Ajmer is famous for it’s the base to visit Pushkar, the place which is said to have the only Brahma temple in the world. The beautiful lake of Pushkar is a sacred spot for Hindus as they take a dip in the sacred lake during the month of October and November.

There are many good hotels and restaurants available for accommodation and refreshments and meals. Hotel embassy, hotel ambassador, hotel haveli heritage etc are fe of the good hotels in Ajmer.

Ajmer is easily accessed by roads and railways. Jaipur is the nearest airport to Ajmer. any private vehicles or public transport goes to Ajmer and hence it is easily accessed.

A trip to Ajmer is thus must once in Rajasthan to know and feel the divine serenity of the place and culture. The place has splendor appeal for its visitors and offers a lot more.