Daily Archives: 03.05.2014

Thilafushi island : Maldives



Thilafushi island : Maldives

Location

Thilafushi is basically located to the south of Male , and it is currently situated between Kaafu Atoll’s Giraavaru and Gulhifalhu of the Maldives . It is basically an artificial island that was created as a serving purpose to the municipal landfill. It is considered a part of Vaadhoo channel .Thilafushi Island is basically an half an hour boat trip from the male , the capital of the Maldives.It is now surrounded by the clear crystal water .

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History

Thilafushi was originally called ” Thilafalhu “and before its esixtence , it was a lagoon. The prescribed length was 7 km and it consisted of 200 meters in width at shallowest regions . After a long series of discussions it came into existence . Lot of efforts were made to resolve the garbage in the Male during the early days of the 1990′s. On December 5, 1991, an important decision was taken to reclaim Thilafulhi as a landfill.

Earlier , it was given the  name of ” Rubbish Island ” and at that time , it actually started recieving visitors in the form of massive refuge freighters , and migrant workers were paid to handle the trash in the Male. This man man island got presented with approximately 330 tons of garbage a day . The Thilafushi island certainly received its first lord of garbage from Male on the January 7 , 1992. And the waste which was collected from Male at that time was deposited into the midst of the pit, which topped off with a layer of construction debris.The waste had to be disposed immediately due to mass accumulation .

Initially , the pungent clouds, toxic smoke rising from open fires , the piles that were made from the plastic bottles , packets including crisp in them , were initially found in the island . Initially , it used to dump 330 tons of rubbish on the island every day . There was also a smoke rising from refuse on Thilafushi.

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It is generally believed that it is four times densely populated than London and it has no surrounding land . And it proves very surprising for the locals and visitors tourist that this beautiful country actually has a waste problem. At present date , Thilafushi has a landmass which consists of more than 4.6 million ft, And Thilafushi has been developing with leaps and bounds and government was observing the developnment of Thilafushi. And only because of the developnment of Thilafushi , it was decided that this land was to ceased to entreprenuers. Earlier , the waste was subsided into the sea but now dumping of waste has been strictly banned by the government. Thilafushi is like a second home to the migrant workers who work in very filthy conditions especially the people from bangladesh .Discarded packets of the eatables and the juices were also among the wastes .

The current industrial activities in the island are manufacturings of the boats , packing of the cements and various large scale housing . There was more than 330 tonnes of rubbish that was brought to Thilafushi a day and almost all the waste came from the Male . Thilafushi island has also suffered from many toxical wastes . There is very little around that escapes itself from getting polluted  But as for now , garbage boats are now advised to to shuttle off their merchandise to India .Many truckloads of the garbage in the large piles had increased the size of the island . It is currently estimated that so much is being deposited and as a result this land of Thilafushi is growing and developing by leaps and bounds .

From the certain reports , it has been estimated that a single tourist can maximum produce 3.5 kg of garbage a day . These wastes worked as a source of toxic heavy metals and it is known as increasingly very serious ecological and health problem in Maldives .

Thilafushi Island is one of the view of Maldives that few visitors ever see. Thilafushi island of Maldives is very revealing .

hissstt Maldives tsunami waste

 

Interesting facts

Thilafushi island has been considered as one of the wierdest man made island of the world . It serves as a dumping ground to the locals and tourists . The concerned authorities are trying to clean up the island and they are also trying to transform this dumping ground into a phenomenal island . But it is believed by the locals and tourists that the island will remain as it is and one of the main reason being that is situated at an industrial place and no matter what but Thilafushi island will face pollution problems .But , the country is definitely trying to put its best foot forward and struggling to cope safely with this disposable waste. Maldives is basically a country that is filled with more than 1000 pristine islands. Most of the stuff that came from the capital of Maldives , Male , was almost electronic waste that was burned or buried with the normal waste .

Maldives is a very beautiful country . But is a  very famous proverb that a coin has two sides ; heads and tails . If a thing is beautiful , it has its ugly side too . This island , Thilafushi , in Maldives comes with the environmental issues . but , the concerned authorities are trying their level best to take advantage of this land and to transform the island into a  phenomenal island surely .

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Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, China



Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, China

Today the place that In am going to talk about is the life- line of one of the most pepped- up cities in the world, Hong Kong. Why so? This is because there is no other place in Hong Kong where one would feel so energetic  and lively. Coming to this place makes you feel how precious life is. I am talking about the Victoria Harbour. It is both strategically and naturally considered to be the heart of Hong Kong.

Afternoon-Harbour-Cruise

Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbor and the largest harbor in China and the third largest in the world. It lies between the Hong Kong islands and the Kowloon Peninsula. If historically analysed, the fact that the Victoria Harbour lies in the South China Sea, made it a British Colony and later on it was due to this harbor only that China was able to establish proper trade relationships. Thus, it became the trading centre of China. As we must have read about the excellent form of economy that China switched to, it would not have been possible without this harbour.

Evening-Harbour-Cruise

Cruising in a harbor like this is a ‘feels like heaven’ experience. Going to the Victoria Harbour and not having cruised is something incredulous and foolish at the same time. One cannot simply afford to miss any fun in a place like this which is so concentrated with energy and life. There is not just one but many ways in which cruising options are available in the Victoria Harbour. Here we have the, Morning  Harbour Cruise Afternoon Harbour cruise, Evening Harbour cruise, Sunset Harbour cruise and last but noth the least, the Symphony Harbour cruise.

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Beginning with the Morning Harbour Cruise, which is undoubtedly the best way to kick start a morning. The tourists get to board a Chinese style tour boat. The sun will be seen rising through this island city, and meanwhile the tourists will be taking tour of all the famous place sof the city which mostly includes the tallest building of Hong Kong, the IFC two. Then there will be the award winning Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Wan Chai and also the former Brirtish Navy Base. Then the cruise will start heading eastwards where Shau Kei Typhoon Shelter is found and fishermen are found mooring their fishing boats. Then one would also get to see the famous Noon Day Gun at the Causeway Bay.

Morning-Harbour-Cruise

Not leading to a great difference, the afternoon cruise is almost the same as the morning one, in terms of the place it will take the tourists to. Located between the Hong Kong islands and the Kowloon region, as the cruise proceeds, one gets to see the beautiful and splendid sky scrapers of Hong Kong. Further besides the Naval Base one also gets to see the HSBC Main building, the Peak and many others. Then the cruise proceeds towards Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong’s oldest typhoon shelter and then towards the Stone- cutters bridge. The speciality about the Stone- cutters bridge is that it is the world’s second longest cable- stayed bridge in the world.

Sunset-Cruise

The Evening Harbour Cruise can mainly be divided into two segments. The first one is the Pre- Dinner Sunset Cruise in which the cruise mainly takes the tourists towards eastern tip of the Kowloon Penisula. All this while, because it is a pre dinner cruise, the cruisers will be given various complimentary and exotic drinks. After this comes the Pearl of Orient Dinner Cruise in which the cruise takes the tourists to have a glimpse of the greatest of the Hong Kong’s landmarks and side by side the tourists also enjoy the pleasure of a royal buffet dinner.

Symphony-of-Lights-Harbour-Cruise

The Evening Cruise, as said by many is the best option to choose because the beautiful panorama of lights which is found during the night- time in the Victoria Harbour is simply astounding. The Harbour Night Cruise takes you around all those spots as mentioned in the sections of morning, afternoon and evening harbor cruise on a typical Chinese style boat. The additional site over here is the beautifully neon light lit entertainment district of Wan Chai. The Star Ferry’s Harbour Tour is even a step ahead. It is a double- decker ferry called the ‘ Shining Star’. It is based on the model of the 1920s ferries which existed in Hong- kong, those typical British styled ones.

night-view-of-victoria-harbour-from-victoria-peak

Everything said before about the Victoria Harbour can all be outbeaten by the next wonder of this wonderland. It is the Symphony Light Show. In this the tourists are not taken anywhere but the cruise stands amidst the waters, almost stagnant. Right in front of the cruise is the the entire island city, shining with specially fixed neon lights on it’s buildings. This show is a permanent dancing light and sound show and has been recorded to be the largest of it’s kind in the Guiness Book of World Records.

Hong_Kong_at_night

A trip to Victoria Harbour is a must to all the water site lovers and the cruise lovers as well. The Victoria Harbour is a combination of serenity and magnificence to the tourists. It not only shows what Hong Kong is but also the essence of the British Colonialism which is found here. It is also well connected to all other places through all the possible modes of transportation.  The Victoria Harbour is one of it’s kind.

The Mount Kailas



The Mount Kailas

 

Mount Kailash

The holy abode of Lord Shiva, the Mount Kailas is considered as the origin of power and peace of the world. Situated in the Trans Himalayan range in Tibet, the 6,638m high mountain is considered auspicious in many different religions. The peak is considered as the center of the world because of the four major rivers that originate from the peak. The river Sindhu (Indus) originates and flows from the north, the river Sutlej in west, river Brahmaputra in the east and the river Karnali in the south. The literal meaning of the name Kailas is crystal and finds its origin in the Sanskrit language. The place is also known as Gangs Rin-po-che which means precious jewel of snows. With so many different names it is believed to have its four faces made out of different materials as well, which include ruby, crystal, gold and lapis lazuli. The entire scenario of the Mount Kailas amongst the six surrounding mountain peaks resembles a lotus and has a mesmerizing top view.

Mount Kailas

The power of this place allures many pilgrims as well as tourists from the entire world. Not many aim at this tedious and enthralling expedition through the chilly weathers to complete the path. On an average the summit comprises of many hardships through the way till you reach the end point of your journey. But simultaneously, the fact that you meet an eternal bliss when you get done with the long and exhaustive tour, holds ground as well. Taken as the pillar of power of the world in scientific terms, the mountain is of great significance to the followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Bon and Jainism. The Hindus believe that the peak is the holy abode of Lord Shiva and his family which includes his wife Parvati and son Kartikeya (Muruga). There are various pictures from ancient mythologies that narrate the stories of the incidences and episodes of the mighty lord Shiva. The Jains believe that this is the same place (Mount Astapada) where the first Tirthankara, Rishabdeva, acquired moksha or liberation. It is also hence named as Mount Meru by them. The Buddhist believe that the summit was a shelter of Lord Buddha and that it is a place of prime bliss. The Bon believe in the place being a seat of all the spiritual power that resides on the Earth. The leader of the two religions were believed to have a fight for the superiority off their own religion on the other and were found to be equally powerful. Thus, it was mutually decided that the one who escalates the mountain in minimal time will be victorious. The Bon leader (Naro Bon-chung) sat on a magical drum which took him to the tip while the Buddhist leader (Milarepa) travelled on a ray of light which took him faster and made him victorious.

The holiness and beliefs strung to this scenic mountain have made it a popular destination amongst the pilgrims as well as the nature lovers. The pilgrims believe in circumambulating the mountain on foot through which their sins are compensated and they are bestowed with a good fortune; and if done in a single day, it is all the more beneficial. The completion of the 52 km journey takes approximately 3 days and requires immense physical and mental strength. Pilgrims also have a faith that if the summit is circumambulated for 108 times, the person is ensured of enlightenment. The nature lovers, on the other hand explore the flora and fauna through the expedition towards the final destination. The peaceful surroundings and the cool mountain breeze is what hey aspire for throughout this process. The mountain is infamous for its tricky and strenuous path and needs a lot of prior preparation of the mind and body before one begins with the journey.

Manasarovar

With an overall rating as a pilgrim site, the Kailas also has a magnificent view of the two lakes on either sides of the mountain and the snow covered peak. The Lake Manasarovar, meaning lake of enlightenment, has cool waters which are believed to show you the path of enlightenment once you take a dip inside it. On the other side, the Rakshas Tal, the lake of demons is another enchanting place. It   is also said that the two lakes resemble the shape of the sun (lake Manasarovar) and the crescent moon (lake Rakshas Tal) symbolizing the presence of solar and lunar power around the mountain. The sun’s rays falling on the tip of the mountain make it a surreal view and make it too difficult to take your eyes off of it. The shadow of the ridge also forms a rough swastika which is the holy symbol of the Hindus. The pyramidal shape of the mountain, with the edges pointing towards the four major established directions, further add up to the mysterious and whimsical evidences of the supremacy of the place and the roots the myths deeper. The place has always been under debate and considered as the mysterious yet powerful place on the Earth.

All in all your expedition to this place will never go in vain. The hardships and the arduous path of travel really pays you back in the form of a tranquil soul and a terrific treat to your eyes.

The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia



The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

plitvice 4

The Plitvice lakes National Park, was founded in 1949 and is the oldest in south east Europe and the largest in Croatia. The National park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register, among the first natural sites worldwide. The park receives around 1,200,000 visitors every year, which is a great contribution to the economy of the wider region. The Park is well known for its lakes arranged in cascades.

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Since time immemorial, humans have inhabited the areas around the Plitvice lakes. After the Croats eventually took over the area in the 6th century, they decided to permanently settle down in the area. The lakes that now exist formed a minor part of the Medieval Kingdom of Croatia. Under the Croat rule the region prospered economically.

The lakes which are visible from the surface are a result of a junction of several small rivers and Karst Rivers. These lakes are interconnected and follow the flow of the water. The national park is a home to flora and fauna that is exclusive to the area and that have existed since even before the emergence of the early man.

Plitvice_Lakes_National_Park

Earlier famers and natives of the region, failing to realize the ecological value of the lakes, would fill the small lakes with mud to use them for their individual benefits. As times changed, people started becoming conscious about the harm being caused to the park and the lakes. They decided to preserve the park, build pathways and upgrade the tracks.

After the end of the Second World War, the true value of this park was finally acknowledged and numerous nature protection measures were given a green signal. Also the Plitvice lakes were declared as a national park area. Roads were constructed and hotels came up. The Plitvice lakes are presently one of the most frequently visited tourist attractions in Croatia. Due to their high natural, cultural and tourist significance, they have been a motor for the local economy.

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There is a slight confusion as to how the park was named. One opinion states that the park was named after the phenomenon that created the lakes. The word ‘Plitvak’ in croatian literally means shallow. The height of the dams in the national park keeps changing.

While a second opinion stated by the scientists says that the river Plitvica is the reason behind the name of the national park, as its been there since the park’s origin. The park has its own set of admirerers, who happen to be ace photographers, film makers and novelists.

The national Park extends, across two political sub divisions; the area is divided between, Lika-Senj County and Karlovac County. Hence, the national park authority is under national jurisdiction.

The whole water body spreads across 2km sq.. Proscanko Jerezo and Kozjak, are the two largest water bodies in the park and cover about 80 percent of the park. Low noise and ecologically friendly electric boats are being used to commute. There are something like 19 settlements in the vicinity of the national park. They are collectively known as the Plitvice lakes municipality.

Since time immemorial, humans have inhabited the areas around the Plitvice lakes. After the Croats eventually took over the area in the 6th century, they decided to permanently settle down in the area. The lakes that now exist formed a minor part of the Medieval Kingdom of Croatia. Under the Croat rule the region prospered economically. A monastery was constructed at the lake on what remains of the ancient settlement. The foundation of the monastery was made of travertine rock and today only the walls of the ancient construction exist.

The local population has preserved their old customs, and tried to keep their traditions intact. These significant customs, cultures and traditions play a vital role in luring tourists to the Plitvice lakes. Even now certain regions have houses with roofs made of straw and shingles. The costumes adorned by the natives tell us a lot about the social standing or regional affiliations of the people wearing the costumes.

Up until the 20th century, social gatherings called the ‘Prelo’, during the winter season was a typical tradition of the region. The evenings were planned with drinks and dances and the local cuisines included soft cheese, lamb and sausages. These gatherings served for the joint production of textiles, or butter or for the further processing of harvest products.

The fastest north south road connection within Croatia is the A1 Zagreb-split, which is about 50km away, towards the west of the plitvice Lake National Park. The nearest airports are the Zadar, Zagreb and Rijeka. The nearest railway stations are the Josipdol and Plaski. As far as the bus routes are concerned, although there are no direct bus connections from these railway stations, but if one wants to use public transport, they can do so by taking the direct buses from Zagreb, Zadar or split (highway).

The national park has been used as a set for many Hollywood ventures, one of them being, The Treasures Of The Silver Lake.

If there’s is a place called paradise and if it exists on earth, then I won’t be surprised if it’s the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan



Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is situated in the city of Hiroshima, which happens to be the largest Island in Japan. The city is popularly known as the first city to be targeted by a nuclear weapon when USA dropped an atomic bomb on it during the end of World War 2. The park was built on an open field, which was created by the explosion in the center of Hiroshima, Japan. The Park is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima’s horrific past of being bombed. Every year, a million visitors get attracted to the park that houses a number of museums, monuments, lecture halls and memorials. Apart from memorializing the victims and the memory of the horrific blasts, the park is also dedicated to advocate the abolishing of nuclear weapons and spreading world peace.

The notable features of the Park include:

  • The Bomb Dome– also called Genbaku (atomic bomb) Dome and Hiroshima Peace Memorial, is a part of the park and has been enjoying the UNESCO World Heritage Site status since 1996. The ruins serve as a token of memory to the thousands that were killed in atomic bombing on 6th of August 1945. Over, 70,000 lives were taken instantly, while another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries. Even now, there is no growth of plants or even grass on the parts where the bomb had exploded. The building is the product of the imagination of Jan Letzel , who is a Czech architect. The construction work ended in 1915 and the building was christened Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition hall. It opened its arms to the public in the same year in August. Since, it was nestled in the largest business district next to Aioi Bridge; it was a primary home for art and educational exhibitions. The name of the memorial was changed twice, in 1921 it was changed to Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition hall and in 1933 it was changed to Hiroshima Prefectural Promotional hall.

When the nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the building now called Genbaku Dome, was the only structure standing near the bomb’s hypocenter. Since, a major part of the building was still intact, the idea of demolishing the dome, just like all the other damaged buildings, was dropped. The existence of the dome flared a controversy, one group of locals wanted the building to be torn down while the other group  pleaded for its preservation as a memorial of the devastating nuclear attack and as a symbol of world peace. As an end result the skeletal remains of the building stood proud amidst the reconstruction work of Hiroshima. A resolution to permanently preserve the dome was adopted by the Hiroshima City Council in 1966.

Cenotaph_Hiroshima

  • Children’s Peace Monument- the peace monument is a statue dedicated to the children who died as a result of the bombing. The statue is in the shape of a girl with outstretched arms, with a folded paper crane rising above her. The statue is based on a true story of a little girl, Sadako Sasaki, who believed that if she folded a thousand paper cranes, she could be cured, but unfortunately died of leukaemia which her mother referred to as the  ’the bomb disease’. Till date, children from all over the world send folded paper cranes to Hiroshima , which are later placed near the statue.
  • The Rest House- another bombed building in the park’s premises, the Hiroshima Rest House, was built as the Taishoya Kimono shop in 1929. The shop was later used as fuel distribution station when there was a shortage of fuel in 1944. When the bomb exploded the roof was crushed, the interior was destroyed and everything consumable was burned, except the basement.
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum- is the primary museum in the park, built with the motive of educating the visitors about the atomic bomb. The museum covers information relating to the build up to the war, the role played by Hiroshima in the war up to the bombing and extensive information and numerous pictures of the atomic bombing and its effects. The museum has the International Conference Centre Hiroshima to its west.

The monuments in the park include:

  • The Memorial Cenotaph- the cenotaph is near the center of the park and it’s covered with a saddle shape building. The arch shaped the cenotaph built in 1952, represents the shelter for the souls of the victims. The Cenotaph consists of an inscription written in Japanese, which means “Please rest in peace, for we/they shall not repeat the error”.
  • The Peace Flame- another monument in memory of the victims. The catching point of the flame is that it has burned continuously since it was lit in 1964 and will continue to burn until the whole world is embraced by peace.
  •  Peace Bells- the park consists of 3 peace bells. One is situated in the East building of the museum. The more prominent one hangs near the Children’s Peace Monument, visitors are encouraged to ring the bell for world peace. The bell carries an inscription, written in Sanskrit, Greek and Japanese, which means ‘ Know Yourself’, a quote by the famous Greek philosopher Socretes. The bell was donated to the park by the Greek Embassy.
  • Gates of Peace- were added in 2005 and consists of ten gates with ‘Peace’ written in 49 languages from around the world. They represent 9 circles of hell, plus one: ‘The Living Hell of Hiroshima caused by atomic bombing’.

There are numerous other monuments situated in the park.

H park 2

The two major festivals held at the park are-

  • Hiroshima Flower Festival- the festival is celebrated from the 3rd of May to the 5th of May and includes multiple platforms for entertainment; there are several small little shops, also a small zoo and various other attractions. There are a lot of concerts, dance shows; fashion shows etc. that take place during the flower festival.
  • Hiroshima Dreamination- is held during winters and is an electric light festival. The word ‘Dreamination’ is a product of the combination of two words, ‘Dream’ and ‘Illumination’. The festival began in the year 2002.

The ceremonies held in the park include-

  • The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony- held on the 6th of August every year. During the ceremony 1 minute silence is observed to honor the victims and pray for peace.
  • The Lantern Ceremony- on the same day as the peace memorial ceremony in the evening the Lantern Ceremony is held.  The purpose of this ceremony is to send off spirits of the victims on lanterns with peace messages floating on the Motoyasu River.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing, so do make a trip to the park and send a message to the souls of the unfortunate victims of war, it will make a difference for sure.

H park

Where the medieval and the modern co-exist- Hanoi, Vietnam



Where the medieval and the modern co-exist- Hanoi, Vietnam

With a steep past and the impression of hostility along the pretty natural landscapes and scenic spots, Hanoi, the Capital City of Vietnam has been one of the topmost tourist destinations of the world. This historic 1000 year old place has many a tale to tell. This beautiful capital city lies in the northern part of the Mekong Delta. This place has been a witness to many wars and natural hostilities, although, it has been built with elaborate networks of canals and ages old embankments. This city is blended with the Sino-Vietnamese theme with distinctive french trails. Hanoi has been evolving to be one of the fastest developing cities in the South-eastern Asia.picturehanoi

History

The city Hanoi has a long history lasting over a thousand years into the past. This city has been through numerous transformations, restorations and inhabitants tha add to its rich heritage and traditions. The city has undergone many changes since the 13th century. Initially was known as Thang-Long which was conquered by Chinese and was renamed as Tong Bing. The name Hanoi was set by the Nguyen Dynasty is the 17th century.  It has also been the ground for many battles and wars. In spite of them all, it has evolved as one of the most sought after places for scientific research and development. There are only a few 5 storey buildings in this places.

pagoda

Culture

Vietnam has always been noted for its culture and traditions. It is an unusual custom here for people to talk to strangers. When you walk around in the streets of Hanoi, people would talk to you. It would seem highly unusual in the beginning but is very helpful when you get lost in the bustling streets of Hanoi. Hanoi was also the capital of the French Indochina which was a place for many centres of education and learning that comprised of western and eastern principles of teaching.

opera house

The City

This city is known for its riverside landscapes and people. There are many notable landmarks in this city like the  Old Quarter, Colonial Hanoi and its many museums.

Old Quarter

old wuarter

These old buildings of Hanoi comprise of over 40 streets and are always packed with shops selling goods of different kinds. Every street is named after the goods that used to be sold there, in those very streets hundreds of years ago. You need more than 3-4 hours to visit this major landmark of Hanoi. Its known for its numerous cycles and pedestrians that are present all over the place. This should be a must visit when you are in Hanoi.

National Museum of Vietnamese History

museum

This museum showcases its histories and times that ruled over this beautiful city. It was designed by Ernest Hebrard and it exhibits a blend of french and traditional vietnamese architecture.

Thang Long Water puppet theatre

puppet

This place has recieved a lot of fame from the world over. It has remained as one of the top tourist attractions in northern Vietnam. There are so many enthusiasts that watch this brilliance at the theatre which results in the tickets being sold out much before hand.It is best that you book the tickets as soon as you get to Hanoi. This has been a culture of Hanoi. They showcase various cultural ages, harvest times and also tell the tales of the land. These puppets are controlled by eight puppeteers. Traditional music is played to accompany the skits. This place will surely have you amazed. Its a definite visit.

hanoi food

Cuisine

Vietnam is known for its rich cuisines. The famous dishes are Pho Bo and Pho Ga. These dishes are believed to have originated in Hanoi. Pho Bo is made of beef and Pho Ga is made of Chicken. The national dish of Vietnam, Pho has been named as one of the top five street foods by a global magazine. The specials in their menus are dog, snake,insects, etc. The insect laden menus are famous in Khuong Thong village.

the streets

Transport

There are many modes of transport that you could use while travelling through the streets of Hanoi. The cyclos, cars, buses, motorbike drivers, etc. You could either rent a bike or buy one to travel across the country. The buses are extremely comfortable and are fast. The roads are crowded with heavy traffic. Buses would be the best option to travel around the country. Taxis are always there. You could use them too.

Where would you stay?

Vietnam is known for its brilliant hospitality. There are many hotels in Hanoi that  offer you a great experience while you are there. Staying in one of the Vietnamese hotels would be the best option. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi and Crowne Plaza West Hanoi are one of the well know hotels in Hanoi. The winters in hanoi are cold and nice. Visiting during the summers would be bad because it gets very humid and turns into a mega sauna. The winters are the best time to visit the city of Hanoi.

From-Hanoi-with-love_Logo

Vietnam is known for its rich history and culture that is span over a wide timeline. The city would give you an enthralling experience when you get there. The people and their customs are unique and the famous cuisine of Vietnam is the icing on the cake.

Sigiriya: The Lion rock of Sri Lanka



Sigiriya: The Lion rock of Sri Lanka

sigiriya fortSigiriya also known as the Lion Rock is to be found deep in the middle of Sri Lanka in the green tropical forests. It is an ancient palace which was built by King Kasyapa and is situated in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla of the Central Province, Sri Lanka. This is a historical and archaeological site that holds special place in the cultural history of this country. This palace was built by the king over 1500 years ago and today this place stands as one of the oldest example of ancient urban planning and is also an example of the ancient Sinhalese culture. Today this place is amongst the UNESCO listed World Heritage Site and is also the most visited place of Sri Lanka. The rock is about 660 feet tall and the palace was built on the top of this massive rock. It features frescoes, a thousand year old graffiti covered wall and Asia’s oldest surviving landscape gardens. The splendid rock fortress is visible from miles from all the directions. Also the view from the top of this rock from the fortress is magnificent.

sigiriya

In 477 A.D. King Dhatusena was the one who ruled over Sri Lanka. But his throne was seized by one of his illegitimate son, Kasyapa. Kasyapa feared that after the death of Dhatusena the throne would be taken over by his brother Moggallan and hence to get the throne for himself he killed Dhatusena and in the meanwhile his brother survived the assassination and fled to India in order to raise his own army. Kasyapa crowned himself as the king and ordered to relocate the royal seat to Sigiriya. He chose this place because this place would give him a strategic advantage as it offered a 360 degree view. A huge lion was carved out of the rock which served both as a welcome to visitors and a warning for the enemies and a palace was constructed on the top of the rock. Sigiriya was both a palace and a fortress which had five gates and consisted of a citadel that is an upper palace on the top and lower palaces on the ground level. There were also beautiful lavish gardens constructed throughout the place. After a few years his brother arrived and declared a war on the king and Kasyapa committed suicide by cutting his own throat and the capital was shifted to its original location again and Sigiriya had been converted into a monastery complex.

sigiriya stairway

Today only the lion’s massive paws remain which indicates how enormous the rest of the carving must have been. A new stairway has now been constructed on the side of the rock to allow access to the top to the visitors in order to walk around the ruins of this palace and to catch the breath taking view from the top of this massive rock. There are also two water tanks that used to be for bathing and drinking which still fill up with the rain water but during the reign of Kasyapa there was a sophisticated pumping system that was used to fill these tanks from a lake situated at the foot of the rock.

sigiriya-entrance-lion-paws

There is a stone stairway that takes the visitors to the caves and hollows where the Buddhist monks lived and worshipped and further to a gallery which is half way up the rock enclosed by a three meter high wall. Large sections of the mirror wall are still intact where the king used to watch himself as they were highly polished. It is here where the graffiti artists have inscribed their messages and a few of them being ten centuries old. Further 14 metres above the mirror wall by climbing the spiral staircase there is an ancient graffiti which refers to the Sigiriya Maidens that has been protected for centuries from the rain. It is not known as to who painted these stunning frescoes but the Maidens give evidence of the highly advanced Sinhalese civilization at that time.

sigiriya-maidens

Another breathtaking feature of Sigiriya is its gardens which are divided into three distinct components namely the water gardens, the cave and boulder gardens and the terraced gardens. The water garden is in the central section of the western precinct. Over here three principal gardens are to be found. The first one is a plot surrounded by water. The second one consists of two long and deep pools that are set on either side of the path. There are two shallow streams that lead to these pools and there are fountains made out of limestone plates placed here. The third one is located on a higher level compared to the other two and has a large octagonal pool with a raised podium. The second being the Boulder Gardens comprise of many large boulders that are linked by winding paths. These gardens extend from the northern to the southern slopes. The terraced gardens, the third type are the most impressive ones. They are formed from the natural hill at the base of the Sigiriya rock. These landscaped gardens are one of the oldest surviving gardens in the world.

sigiriya-gardens

Thus, this rock has a very deep rooted history and even after the death of King Kasyapa the grandeur of this astounding rock lives on.

Panjin Red Beach – China



Panjin Red Beach – China

Panjin beach

Remember the line from a Bollywood movie which says, ‘Take the world and paint it red’? When you visit the Panjin beach, you realize that nature has taken this line too seriously. A vast spread of bright red carpet of a sea weed that extends in front of your eyes, is a mesmerizing view altogether. The Panjin Red Sea beach is a magnificent example of the nature’s grandeur and its ways of proving its pride and greatness. The entire vegetation starts blooming during the early summers and has a green color when young. As it reaches the stage of maturity during the autumn season, the color turns from the cool green to flaming red. The fiery red color perfectly contrasts the calm and cool blue skies which makes it a perfect contrast scene. The best time to visit the beach is peak of the autumn season. Although only a very small portion of the entire beach is open to the tourists and visitors, you definitely do not want to miss the marvelous sight of the red beach. Most of the part of this beach has been declared as a State level reserved area and is closed for public use or visiting purposes. In spite of this, you will find fleets of heads soaking in the beauty of the nature standing on the bridge-like structure (piers) made through the weed floor beneath. The Suaeda or Seablite (a type of weed) is found in abundance in this humungous wetland and is the reason behind the red color of the beach. Its ability to grow in the saline and alkaline soil makes it the ultimate and prominent survivor of the wetlands. The red color is believed to be due to the alkaline surroundings the weed thrives in.

Panjin Beach 1

Situated in the Liaohe River Delta and 30 km southwest of the Panjin city of China, the beach is a shelter to almost 260 different species of birds and approximately 400 types of wild animals; it forms a complete ecosystem in its own. Hence the high level of protection and prohibition to this area just for the sake of keeping it pure and unharmed in any which way. The Crown Cranes and the Black Beaked gulls are the endangered species especially found in these marshes. The birds found here are usually the ones migrating to and from Australia and south Asia. The large tortoises, turtles, seals and other sea creatures are equally alluring when you see them through the reddish expanse. People can enjoy here with the bird sightings and the serenity of the nature without human influence on its existence. The color filled experience of the nature and the astounding pictures that you can click, are surely the star mark of this place. The only human adulteration is the archaic wooden structures that have been constructed in the unreserved area, where one can take a walk through the beach using the bridge to enter the sea to some extent and a small shelter or resort like feature for the tourist to rest and find an abode. Kind of an interference in the natural artistry, but it still blends in adequately due to its wooden framework. The accessibility of the place is a moderate issue and can be sorted out using the help of the locals. Communication can be a problem as most of them do not know English and you have to bring forth all your expressions and hand gestures to communicate precisely what you need. Amazingly, all the efforts you take, the whole lot of bargaining every time you board a new automobile and the sweat you put in to reach the place, vanishes in a snap when you see the sea! This is the way nature tells you its hold on the entire world and the captivating power it has.

Golden beach1     Golden beach

Apart from this red treat to your eyes, the city of Panjin has a lot more that can be toured. The city reflects a strong and rich history of China. It is situated on the northern coast of Liaodong Bay of the Bohai Gulf and is known for the oil production. Mostly renowned for its untouched natural habitats, it has many reserves to be explored and viewed. The city is packed with natural beauty and tranquil conditions to sooth yourself. The Shuangtaihekou State natural reserve is also a famous place visited by all the bird lovers and peace seekers. A marshland reserved with the aim of maintaining the habitat especially for the 20 endangered species of birds and of course the other 300 birds as well; this place has contributed a lot in preserving these delicate creatures. The cranes being the most abundant, Panjin is also known as the “Home of the Cranes”. The Golden beach is another attraction of Panjin. The clam mound is known popularly for the freshness and size. The clam collection or picking is a tourist activity that I guess most of the sea food lovers will be excited about. Apart from the clams, the golden and soft sand that extends over this area is the reason why this name turned up. A romantic place to spend some quality time, with your feet dug inside the silky sand and a soft conversation between the two of you; is a perfect description of the beach.

Thus Panjin not only works for the preservation of nature, it also strives hard to give us the most amusing snaps that never ever get erased; both from the hard disk as well as you brain!

The Ever Cheerful Chandni Chowk, Delhi



The Ever Cheerful Chandni Chowk, Delhi

‘Chandni Chowk’, in hindi literally means ‘Moonlit Square’ or ‘Moonlit Market’. One of India’s oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi (old Delhi or ‘purani dilli’, was the walled city of Delhi, founded by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan and was filled with Royal mansions, shops and courts), Chandni Chowk is a paradise for shoppers, paratha lovers, chaat crazy people and the one’s who are lovers of historical architecture.

Chandni-Chowk

Chandni Chowk was built by Emperor Shahjahan in the 17th century and the place was designed by his daughter Jahanara. It is India’s largest wholesale market, which was once divided by canals.

Princess Jahanara, Empror Shahjahan’s favourite daughter, designed and established Chandni Chowk. She designed the square employing elements of elegance and elaboration. She got a pool constructed  in the centre of the bazaar, the presence of this pool added to the flambouyance of the market as it shimmered in the monlight, a feature which was perhaps responsible for the nomenclature of the the marketplace.

The theme of the Chowk was apparently the moon, since even the shops were built and arranged in a half-moon shape, but of course the shape is lost today. During Shahjahan’s time the chowk was famous for its silver merchants, which could also have been the possibility of it being named Chandni Chowk, since silver in hindi is called ‘Chandi’.

Chandni Chowk also called ‘Delhi 6′, runs through the middle of the walled city from Lahori Gate of the Red Fort to the Faterhpuri Masjid. Originally Chandni Chowk was divided into three sections-

chandni chowk

Lahori Gate to Chowk Kotwali- the section was close to the imperial residence and hence was called the ‘Urdu Bazaar’ i;e. the Cantonemet market. The Urdu language got its name from this encampment.

Chowk Kotwali to Chandni Chowk- the pool reflecting the moonlight was replaced by a clock tower which was later damaged and demolished in the 1960s. This section was known as the ‘Johri Bazaar’. Johri in hindi literally means a diamond merchant.

Chandni Chowk to Fatehpuri Masjid- this section being closely situated to the Fatehpuri Masjid came to be known as the Fatehpuri Bazaar.

Even today, when Chandni Chowk seems to be brimming with people, the places in and around it still retain their historical names, such as-

Chandni-Chowk_2007408c

Havelli- literally meaning a mansion in hindi, is usually characterised by a big courtyard, surrounded on all four sides by spacious rooms and another walled courtyard on the exterior as well. The only well preserved haveli in Chandni Chowk is the Chunnamal Havelli, belonging to late Lala Chunnamal, a brocade textile dealer.

Kucha– a zone with houses who’s owners share some common attribute, mostly their occupation. For example, a neighbourhood belonging to gardners was called the ‘Maaliwara’.

Katra– similar to the idea of guild housing in Amsterdam, these places had houses who belonged to tradesmen and craftsmen belonging to the same trade. They usually lived and worked together.

Chandni Chowk has historical residential areas, served by narrow lanes on both the sides.

The Chandni Chowk street houses various religious buildings, which lend the street a genuine cultural harmony. The buildings, apart from The Red Fort, include-

The most famous mosque in Delhi, the Jama Masjid, which was built in 1950.

Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir- which was established in 1965, with a bird hospital built in 1929.

Hindu Gauri Shankar temple, built by a Maratha General, Appa Gangadhar in 1761.

Christian Central Baptist Church, built in 1814.

The Sikh Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, built by the 9th Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur and his followers. These Gurudwaras were built as memorials in Delhi under the command of Baba Baghel Singh.

Muslim Sunehri Masjid, built by Fatehpuri begum 1650, who was one of the queens of Shah Jahan.

The Havelis in Chandni Chowk-

Begum Samru’s Palace, built in 1806 – Begum Samru was a nautch girl in the 18th century India, who eventually became the ruler of Sardhana , which was a small prinicipality near Meerut. She also played a vital role in the political power struggle in the 18th and the 19th century India. The palace is now known as the Bhagirath Palace.

The Naughara Mansions in Kinari bazaar- dating back to the 18th century. The name literally means ‘nine houses’ in Hindi. Most of these houses are owned by Jains.

Khazanchi haveli- Khazanchi were Shah Jahan’s accountants. The street is called ‘Gali Khazanchi’. The money was transferred safely through a long underground tunnel which connects the haveli to the Red Fort.

Mirza Ghalib’s haveli- Ghalib was a classical Urdu and Persian Poet, from the Mughal empire during the British colonial rule.

Haveli of Zeenat Mahal- she was Bahadur Shah Zafar’s favourite wife and ruled the Mughal empire when he was improsioned by the British. Her haveli is situated in Lal Kuan bazaar.

Haksar haveli- situated in Sitaram bazaar, is where Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India, got married to Kamla Nehru.

Naharwali Haveli- situated in kucha Sadullah Khan, was where Parvez Musharraf, the former President of Pakistan, was born.

Chandni Chowk has numerous shops with goods ranging from shoes, to saris, to Indian sweet delicacies, to electronics and whatnot.  The cloth market with furnishing fabric.  Nai sarak with books and stationary and decorative material.  Also, bridal sarees and lehengas. Lal kuan with hardware and hotel kitchen equipment. Daribe with its silver and gold jewelry shops and much more.

Eatries in Chandni Chowk include-

  • Chaatwallah
  • Paranthewali gali
  • Annapurna Bhandar
  • The Jalebi wala
  • Bikaner sweet shop and a lot more.

Chandni Chowk has been used in famous Bollywood ventures such as, Chandni Chowk To China, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Black And White and Delhi 6.

Visiting Chandni chowk is not a big deal now, since one can take the metro rail that stops somewhere right in the heart of the Chowk.

So grab the camera, wear comfortable clothes and shoes and hop onto the Chandni Chowk streets. Also, don’t forget to starve yourself before hitting the streets; I’m sure you don’t want to miss out on the mouthwatering street food !

Flavorsome pani-puri



Flavorsome pani-puri

Pani puri- An extreme activation to your taste buds. The first snack that strikes the mind after listening the words like ‘toothsome’ and ‘mouth watering’ can’t be anything else other than flavorsome Pani puri. It lies among well liked street food in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Karachi and Lucknow. Pani puri is a crispy spheroid filled with certain items like sprouts and flavored ‘pani’. One can’t take a break while eating the same until the tummy is not fully filled. Apart from the taste, It is also included in low calorie snacks.

pani puri

ORIGIN:
Pani puri had its origination from south Bihar earlier known as Magadha. The alternative names of the former includes Gol gappe, Pani ke Batashe, Gup Chup and Pakodi. People from different places refer the same by different names. For example, Phulki in M.P., Pakodi in Gujarat, Pani puri in Maharashtra, Puchka in West Bengal, Gup chup in hydrabad, patashi in Rajasthan and Gol gappe in Punjab. More over Puchkas are considered to be the king among the variety of snacks in Kolkata. For the tangy taste of Gol gappa, it act as toothsome and flavorsome for people all over India. After the origination of Pani puri, soon the recipe became popular in other states with different flavors of ‘pani’ and stuffing.

Origin

RECIPE:
The recipe of this mouth-watering snack comprises of using certain delicious ingredients like mint, tamarind, ginger, green chillies etc. The ‘puri’ also called phulkis are prepared by combining semolina, Plain flour, soda, water and salt . Dough is made which is divided into equal portions and later the same are placed under a damp cloth. The puris are ready by deep frying the former in kadhai. Puris are then drained on absorbent paper. The crispy phulkis are now ready to get dipped in flavored water. Besides this, the recipe of ‘pani’ includes soaking of tamarind in water for some hours and then mixing the pulp with water, black salt and mint like ingredients. The prepared water is then left for an hour to two to get chilled. Stuffing in puris are done with boondi or sprouts and sometimes tamarind chutney. The whole steps are combined to give pani puri a tag of most wanted street food of India. Soon it has became one of the popular snack and more over, we may find many puchka-freaks all over the country.

recipe

THE DISTINCT PRESENTATION:
The pani puris are very attractively served. Serving includes placing 4 or 8 puris on a dry sal leaf or it is served one by one by street vendors. A small hole is made on the spheroid to crack it from middle then the same are stuffed. Puris are then dipped in flavored water. The way of taking puchkas is something very interesting which makes it different from other snacks. It is eaten by placing the whole one puri at a time. The vendor also have to keep different preferences of different people like some of them like to eat with sweetened water while others need extra stuffing. The whole process then ends with taking a puri without pani. The whole way of presentation is very commonly seen among the most street vendors.

The distinct presentation.

DISPARITIES AMONG DIFFERENT AREAS:
In different parts of India, plenty of variations can be seen in recipe and way of presentation of Pani puri. Even the name ‘pani puri’ also suffered a lot of variations. In the origin i.e. Bihar , it is being stuffed with Black gram and yellow peas . The former is then mixed with red and black pepper, garlic, ginger, onion etc. Whereas in Lucknow, the snack is called ‘paani ke batashe’ . The place has a variation in ‘pani’.
In places like west bengal and Jharkhand, people enjoy eating phulkis with mashed spicy potatoes. Orissa also has same pattern. On the other hand in Maharashtra, the recipe of all the three i.e. pani, puri and stuffing suffers variations. The pani has some delicious flavors like ‘nimbu ka paani’, ’imli ka paani’ or ‘pudine ka paani’. It is also eaten with curd and bhujia in Maharashtra. In Bangalore, the name has its transformation as ‘puchka’ and onion is also stuffed along with sprouts and other ingredients. In Jamshedpur, the ‘gol gappe’ stuffing is done with boiled and smashed potato along with hot Chole and onion. In this way the stuffing and pani vary from region to region.

Disparities among different areas.

VARIETIES:
The first one includes Pani puri which is served with flavored water and mouth watering stuffing. The paani and stuffing varies from area to area. It is sometimes eaten with curd and some sweetened water also. The water may have different varieties like tamarind flavored, lemon flavored, or mint flavored. Some street vendor serves with 6 flavored pani. The successive varieties of the same includes Dahi puri and Sev puri. Dahi puri is taking puris with yogurt thing instead of water. It gives a wonderful taste to mouth. It is the best dish or snack to be taken in summers. Sev puri on the other hand soothes your palate. Sev puri are prepared by some extra stuffing of puri with bhujia and onion.

Varieties.
So, let your taste buds to have an activation with crunchy, spicy and tooth some pani puri.