Daily Archives: 30.11.2015

The Canadian Heaven: Toronto



The Canadian Heaven: Toronto

The most popular city of Canada is Toronto which is situated on the coasts of Ontario Lake. With 2.6 million inhabitants living there, the city is the most astonishing tourist destination in the world. The city is in the center of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and is known as the anchor of the Golden Horseshoe area. This Golden Horseshoe region starts from the Ontario Lake and ends up at the Niagara Falls. According to the pools in North America, Toronto stands fifth in the list of urban agglomeration and is titled as the fourth largest city. The six internal neighboring cities are joined together in the year 1998 to make this mega city, named Toronto. These six districts that make Toronto are Old Toronto, Etobicoke, York, East York, North York and Scarborough. There are 16 official languages in Toronto. Toronto is the most multicultural city across the world as Canada is known as the country of immigrants but Toronto doesn’t demonstrate this fact totally.

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We can call Toronto the largest city of Canada and is the host to many high class shopping centres and malls and other watchable sites too. The Niagara Falls offers the most beautiful site of Toronto. People will get the opportunity to ride in a boat and enjoy the various sceneries of falls from various viewpoints. There is a train, the Canadian, which will take you to a comfortable journey of three days and will allow you to have the beautiful sights of Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Even a place named Jasper is the most visited place of Toronto. Tourists usually like to spend a night there to explore the place.

CN-Tower

The second largest free standing structure, CN Tower, is also situated in Toronto only. The structure is 500 meters high and consists of a glass elevator at its top. This glass elevator will take you to about 1,122 foot high. There is a restaurant also which is quite adorable and even the view from the top of the tower is incredible. One can have the view of the whole city from the tower. The floor of the observation deck at the top is transparent and that’s why people find it difficult to walk over there. Some people even make reservations to visit the place.

Eaton-Centre

Apart from the CN tower, the second most famous spot of Toronto is The Eaton Centre. It is an open and bright shopping mall which is situated in the heart of Toronto. The structure is four leveled and its dome is made up of glass. The whole building was designed by Michael Snow. More than 250 stores are opened on this mall. Most popular stores are Flight Stop and Geese Mobile. These stores are affordable and are budget conscious.

Casa Loma with Tulips in the foreground, Toronto, Ontario

Another interesting place to visit is Casa Loma which built in the 1900s by the famous Toronto businessman Sir Henry Pellatt. The architecture of Casa Loma is quite smililar to the Hearst Castle, California. The structure is a representation of one’s architectural dreams. The place is so beautiful that it was even used as a set for a film titled Chicago, which was released in the year 2002. If someone is in downtown Chicago then the person should spend some in the Distillery District of Toronto. The Distillery District is best suited for art and heritage lovers as the district offers some gorgeous heritage architectures, wellness centres, art and culture centres and even some pubs and restaurants also for regular people.

hall of fame

There is no harm in visiting the outstanding Hockey Hall of Fame which is always busy with exhibitions for kids and youngsters. The broadcast pods available will let you enjoy the actions of some of the latest epic hockey games including the famous Canada / Russia 1972 series. A gift shop, a dressing room and a trophy room is also featured in the building to give a perfect environment of backstage of Hockey. The tasty food of the restaurants of Toronto’s Chinatown is world famous. There are hundreds of restaurants lined in the Toronto’s Chinatown, serving authentic and fresh cheese along with other Asian and Vietnamese food. Apart from food, Toronto’s Chinatown is also known for its clothing, trinkets, exotic jewelry and even household stuff with a lot of bargain.

In addition to these places there are many other places to visit in Toronto including the AGO houses i.e. Art Gallery of Ontario. It is striking Frank Gehry building. This art gallery has a huge impressive collection of about 40,000 works. Thus, there is no doubt in the fact that this gallery stands at the tenth position among the largest art museums in the North America. This Art Gallery features the beautiful Canadian arts and also many masterworks from different countries across the world. To take a break from the hustle and bustle life of Toronto people can even visit the Centre Island and can relax on the beaches and recreational areas offered by the island. Another posh place of Toronto is Yorkville which is full of high class boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. Even the popular Toronto International Film Festival is also held there once in every year. Therefore, this amazing tourist destination has a bunch of exciting places for tourists. The tourists will not only enjoy but also memorize their stay in Toronto.

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The Backwaters of Kerala, India



The Backwaters of Kerala, India

Kerala, the moment you hear or utter the word you will feel or just imagine a picture of greenery, the Houseboat, the soft water flowing and the huge coconut trees surrounded by all the sides. It’s rightly called as God’s Own country. Every person on this earth wishes to get lost in the realm of nature and the Kerala sticks to it. The peace and enjoying the nature attracts everyone right from Family, Friends hanging out and specially Newly married couples. It will continue to be Hot spot for Honeymoon couples.

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Now let’s see what is exactly The Backwaters of Kerala. It is nothing but the network of large lakes, canals linking to one another which is parallel to the Arabian coast. Some are manmade and some are natural which is largely formed by 38 rivers. It covers half of the length of the Kerala state. The most interesting point is the river water meets the sea water but measures are taken by building barrage so that salt water does not sink deep into river water so that water remains fresh intact and can be used for irrigation purpose. In the middle of Backwaters there are number of towns and cities beginning and ending point. And we find rich ecosystem around us like fishes, crab, marine creatures, Birds like Kingfisher and lots of trees, greenery bushes which will make you to surrender to the nature’s lap.

Lets unfold the myriad forms of Backwaters what all it consists of. We can explore firstly Alapuzza – The Canal cruise. It links to Vembanad lake, which is the largest lake covering 200km distance. This is the most famous canal cruise where you can hire small boats to large boats but if you opt for small boats it would be too convenient to enjoy the scenic beauty and the birds. Even you can stop at nearby village and see the methods how a coir is prepared and also you can try various Kerala cuisines specially if your non vegetarian try Tapioca and fish cuisines. Do try coconut toddy, a liquid extracted from coconut trees.

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Next is the turn of Alumkadavu, which is located in Kollam. It is one of the major tourist attraction particularly known for its rice barges traditionally known as Kettuvalloms which is constructed and later converted to houseboats. It is constructed using bamboo, wood and coconut fiber. You can also watch how they are constructed and learn the technique. It is famous for its coir products. Next is Backwaters of Ashtamudi which means 8 channel. It is the second largest lake in Kerala stretching about 16km.It is the trip between Kollam and Alapuzza which takes you to the out of the world feeling why because it is journey of 8hour’s.Boats are available and you can see the glittering sun rays making way into water ripples.

Chandragiri Fort and River which is located near Payaswini River and the Arabian sea. It is the 17th century fort built by Shivappa naik of Bedanore  and from this fort you can see the breathtaking scenic beauty of convergence of both the river and the sea. And it is also famous for its sunset watching. You can savor this chance from the ancient temple Kazur state temple. Every year Pattu Utsavam an annual festival is celebrated there. There are many Boat clubs which will arrange for wildlife tours, boat rides, island camping, houseboat cruises etc.

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The next destination is the most fascinating destination ever you have visited it is none other than the Kavvayi Backwater at Payyanur. It is one of the most attractive tourist spot which will make you to fall in love with it.Here you can simply take a walk and enjoy its scenic beauty or else you can take a boat ride and experience the cool breeze soothing your senses which is active stress buster it can be.Kavvaya Kayal is the combination of five rivers i.e. River kavvayi, Kankol, Vannathichal, Kuppithodu and Kuniyan. And the other most interesting thing is that it is surrounded by many small and big islands.The backwater Kavvayi is the biggest wetland in Kerala with an area of 37km.

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Next we have on the Kerala backwater list is the famous Kumarakom village which is actually cluster of small islands and it offers variety treat to your eyes. Here a Bird sanctuary is their which is spread across 14 acres and here we can see various types of  birds and it is rightly known as ornithologist’s paradise. Various birds like Egrets, herons, darters, teals, waterfowls, cuckoo, wild duck and Siberian stork. Even fishing facility is also available at an old bungalow turned into resort. There are many cottages available in and around which is run by Kerala tourist board and many holiday packages are available including backwaters.

Kuttanad, the rice bowl of kerala.Here you can see many paddy fields and if you have visited in farming season you can see farmers doing farming activities in traditional manners .And you can also observe flocks of Parrots around Paddy fields and it is a treat to your eyes and if you closely observe up above the sky you can a flock of birds flying higher. Next is the Marine drive in kochi which is a popular hangout in kochi and you can enjoy the spectacular view of Backwater and Kochi Harbour. The rainbow bridge is also one of the major attraction spot.

The Coral Reefs, Mauritius



The Coral Reefs, Mauritius

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Swimming! We all enjoy it, right? The rush of simply being in water is a different experience even if it’s in a tank or a pool. For those who really love water and water citizens, it won’t be out of character to imagine taking a swim into the world of Poseidon.  Some do it as a part of adventure trip, some for hobby and others do it for the hell of it. Whatever be the reason, it is uber cool thing to try out atleast once in a life time. Now swimming with the sea creatures come in various forms, it may be snorkeling, scuba diving or deep sea diving. The choices are immense. One of the most loved choices is coral reef scuba diving. Mauritius boasts of a state of the art culture for arranging this particular experience. Apart from volcanoes, forests and gorgeous landscape, Mauritius is rightly proud of its reefs. How about a virtual voyage before you decide to go for the real one? Here we go.

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Just to paint a picture, consider yourself a part of the world of Nemo or Ariel. (Cartoon!) Picture wide and Blue Ocean; decorate the seabed with millions and millions of colorful breathing live rocks. They may be flat or fanned out.  Then add fishes and the entire cute little battalion of marine animals lurking around, a wise old turtle maybe. This picture is what becomes reality when you take a dive into the coral reefs of Mauritius.

Coral reef of Mauritius has been a point of keen interest for the world since 1960s. In 1997/1998 the world saw the overall coral population take a hit with majority of them vanishing from the Indian Ocean. But Mauritius remains as one of the safe zones for the corals for they survived here and today are a major tourist attraction.

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Coming to the corals of Mauritius, it is not less than slice of heaven for anyone who can appreciate a good place to enjoy this wet wonder. Northern Mauritius boosts of some of the most exquisite presence of colorful reefs with a plethora of fishes and sea turtle in their midst. Flat coral, fanned corals, soft corals all converge to during a riot of colors under water. The fishes swim in and around the reef making it a different experience for everyone who tries it.

The glass bottom boats are a good way to prep up for the coral visits for seeing the wonder first hand will make you want to go down there and have fun. The corals are a beautiful natural wonder of the world and hence the admiration for them is only expected.

If you do not know the drill, no problem. There are mandatory training sessions to be taken before you can dive headlong into the pool of fishes. The varied level of coral reef provides a wide canvas to divide the eager learners into groups varying from beginners to experts. With the right people and the right equipment’s you learn the drill and finally can join the fishes for a delightful swim. This can be a 4 day activity or a week long preparation as per the plan you choose but with every well-organized step you come a little bit closer to the reefs.

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If you have taken the lessons already and want a bigger share of the coral pie, head to the Blue Lagoon and coral reef monitoring dept. and register as a volunteer coral conservationist. This is an opportunity to study learn and most importantly BE with the coral reef all day long. You can register for a week or more and then out in the water you go. Work with the classiest people who know everything there is to know about coral reefs.

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If the training sounds like a deal breaker then how about a walk with the corals? Undersea walk is a real thing! If you have booked a hotel or are visiting with a travel agent, mention your interest in this activity. The lagoon waters are usually shallow providing excellent condition for the non-swimmers are the paranoids to don on a helmet, take the accessories and take a walk down the waterbed. The amazing color of the corals, the marine life will have you swoon. The pace of the walk is leisurely thus you can take your time to see feel and explore the region. The point being the corals, you get a magnanimous view of the life in water.

The coastal region of this island is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs. Due to the coral reefs Mauritius gets the famous white sand beaches and the calm lagoon of after. The lagoon is essentially the water between the reef and the beach. These two factors together combine to give marine tourism a big boost. The overall flora and fauna of the region is immense and varied with sharks, dolphins leading the show followed by few of the rarest of rare species of fishes in the world. The virgin beaches do not hurt a single bit.

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In past five years the population of the corals has reduced considerably. The government and the locals all pool their resources to bail out the reefs however the task is not an easy one.  Everyone who has seen this wonder wishes to see it over and over again, this says volume about its beauty and enormity. We hope and pray that the reefs survive for ages to come.

 

City of Alexandria in Majestic Egypt



Founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, City of Alexandria is known as The Pearl of the Mediterranean. Today the second largest city in Egypt, it served as the capital of Egypt during the Greco-Roman period. As a tourist location Alexandria has much to offer in terms of its archaeological importance and extremely rich history.

Citadel of Qaitbay

Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of ancient world was constructed here in 280 BC. Its fascinating history, and its remains discovered in 1994 are worth exploring. Today the Fort of Qaitbay stands in its location. Fort of Qaitbay or Citadel of Qaitbay was built in 15th century and it was built using the remains of Fort of Alexandria. Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qa’it Bay established this citadel as a defensive fortress.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Alexandria was also known as the home of the largest library of the ancient world, Library of Alexandria, which was graced by many of the then prominent scientists and philosophers. Today the Bibliotheca Alexandrina stands in its place, a modern library and research center, which also happens to be the second largest library worldwide.

Pompey's Pillar

One of the largest monolithic columns ever erected, Pompey’s Pillar is another tourist attraction replete with fascinating history.  The overall height of the pillar is estimated to be around 27 m, and weighs 285 t. It is made of red Aswan granite. It was built in 297 AD as a triumphal column. It commemorates the victory of Diocletian, a Roman emperor.

Located in Abusir in Alexandria, the Temple of Taposiris Magna was built in Ptolemy era. Today the only remains that stand are the outer walls and pylons. Animal necropolis was found by archaeologists strengthening the argument that sacred animals were worshipped here. It was used as a church in later centuries as is evident from the remains of a Christian church here.

Roman Amphitheatre Ruins, Alexandria

Kom El-Dikka, or the Roman Theatre was built in 2nd century AD. This Roman amphitheatre had capacity of 800 spectators and consists of white and gray marble tiers and mosaic flooring. For history lovers a visit to these ruins is a must.

Catcombs

Brilliant harmonizing of different architectural styles which include Greek, Roman and Egyptian styles can be seen if one visits catacombs of Kom el-Shogafa. It is among seven wonders of the middle ages. Objects of funeral rites dating back to Pharanoic cult were excavated here. These archaeological artifacts, as stated above, have Roman as well as Greek influences. Stone coffins, pillars adorned with papyrus and lotus symbols, figurines depicting falcons, human and animal remains, mass burial chamber called Hall of Caracalla are some of the distinguishing features of Kom El Shogafa. Exploring the remains and the whole ambience of the place is a delight for anyone interested in history and archaeology.

Alexandria also houses Shallalat Gardens. These ancient gardens still contain the remains of Alexandria Wall. Long line of pavement booksellers on Nabi Danyal Street, opposite the French Cultural Centre are a delight for all book lovers. Arab world’s most bookshops and book sellers are located in the old town of Alexandria.

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El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque, located near Citadel of Qaitbay is a famous mosque. It is dedicated to El-Mursi Abul Abbas, a famous Alexandrine Sufi Saint of 13 the century. Another popular mosque is the Attarine Mosque. After the Muslim conquest of Egypt it was converted into a mosque, but originally it was built as a church dedicated to Saint Athanasius.

Stanley Bridge

Designed in 1870, Corniche is a waterfront promenade near eastern harbor. It runs from Citadel of Qaitbay, and ends near Montaza Palace. A drive around the Corniche provides one with innumerable sites that add to the overall vibe of the city. Statue of Alexander the Great, Bridge of Stanley are some of the worthwhile sightseeing attractions. Stanley Bridge over the Stanley bay and Stanley beaches are located near the city centre.

Montazah Palace

Montaza Palace and extensive gardens were constructed facing Mediterranean beaches. The Salamlek Palace was also located within these grounds. It was built in late 19th century. In 1932, under King Faud I, Al-Haramlik Palace along with royal gardens was constructed within these grounds. The distinctive features of this addition include Italian Renaissance designs, sea facing open arcades as well as marked influences of the Florentine and Turkish architectural styles.

Beach, Alexandria

Maamoura Beach is a famous tourist attraction, located near Montaza’s royal gardens. Its stunning beaches and picturesque parks make it a beautiful location. Presidential Palace of Maamoura, Plaza Mall, and Paradise Inn Resort are some of the popular spots alongside this beach.  Tourists can sunbathe or indulge in water sports available along these beaches.

Qaitbay Citadel

There are many remarkable museums within Alexandria which display glimpses of various aspects of Alexandrine history in all their diversity and glory. Royal Jewelry Museum for instance is an art and history museum. Established in 1986 it contains invaluable collection of jewels of Muhammad Ali Dynasty. Other than the jewels, this museum also boasts of a collection of 19th century paintings and statues which are exhibited here. Several other museums in Alexandria include Alexandria National Museum, the Graeco-Roman Museum among others. The collections displayed here depict the vast and vivid history of this area dating back to Alexander the great.

Alexandria offers diverse and different avenues for tourists to explore. The city leaves one with unique and memorable experiences.

 

Amesbury, England – the city of historic Stonehenge



Amesbury, England – the city of historic Stonehenge

Amesbury is popularly known as the nearest town to the historic monument Stonehenge which is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. Stonehenge is a revelation of the science and skill of a Neolithic civilisation. Stonehenge consists of sophistically placed stones of which the largest weighs over 40 tons in a concentric architectural design by unknown builders.

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Archaeologists believe that the Stonehenge was built around 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The evidences found by the Stonehenge Riverside project states that The Stonehenge could possibly have been a burial ground as cremated remains containing human bones were found when the ditch and the bank were first dug. Stonehenge is a famous pilgrimage of religious significance. A number of myths surround the Stonehenge which gave rise to multiple theories some more plausible than the others subjecting to debate as it was produced by a culture that left no written record regarding this site. There is no direct evidence stating the construction techniques employed by the Stonehenge builders. It is believed that either supernatural or Anachronistic methods were used as an average stone weighs around 30 tons which were impossible to move otherwise. However using conventional techniques proposed by Neolithic technology as basic as shear legs have been effective at moving and placing stones of similar architecture. British archaeologists were successful in discovering the remains of a massive Stonehenge, or ceremonial circle, which is believed to be a part of the ancient and celebrated Stonehenge complex, a discovery that throws new light on how the monument was built and the religious uses associated with it.

The new henge known as “ The Bluestonehenge “ as it was built with blue Preseli dolerite mined more than 150 miles away in Wales on the banks of  River Avon is a place where ancient pilgrims used to carry the ashes of their dead relatives. “Stonehenge Decoded “ a 1965 book by the astronomer Gerald Hawkins stated the most comprehensive hypothesis to date of Stonehenge’s purpose. Hawkins in his analysis identified 165 separate points on the monument and linked them with astrological phenomenon like the two solstices, equinoxes, lunar and solar eclipses. The theory proposed by Gerald Hawkins is a difficult theory to disapprove and some evidence is persuasive. Some theories by others are even more inventive.
However, Amesbury  in history has great importance beyond being a mere stepping stone. Amesbury is located in southern Wiltshire, England. Amesbury has also been known as “Ambrosbury”, “Ambresbury” and “Amblesberie” at various times in the past. Amesbury is considered to be a hub of Christian worship for centuries. “Choir of Ambrosius”, a great monastery of 300 monks is situated in Amesbury. Ambrosius Aurelianus who was the leader of several British tribes in the 5th century is believed to be the founder of this monastery. He established the area “Ambrose Burgh” as his headquarters and it is believed that the name Amesbury is derived from this.
The Stonehenge serves as an evidence which shows that the land surrounding Amesbury has been settled since prehistoric times. Archaeological studies have discovered a large Roman graveyard in the area of Amesbury Archer burial which reveals Roman excavations from Amesbury.

Amesbury is linked to the Arthurian legend as it is believed that Guinevere retired to the convent at Amesbury after leaving Arthur. The phenomenal discovery of the richest Bronze Age burial site ever excavated in Britain was made in May 2002 which further lead to the revelation of the grave of a man dating around 2,300 BC while performing excavations for a housing development in Amesbury. And the media entitled the man as “The Amesbury Archer ” or “The King of Stonehenge ”. It is believed that “The Amesbury Archer” has its origin either from the German, Swiss or Austrian Alps.The two graves contained more than one hundred objects which includes arrowheads, copper knives and gold earrings et cetera.

“Vespasian’s camp” a concealed Iron age hill fort is situated one mile west of Amesbury. This fort has the history of never being excavated after the Roman general and later emperor who campaigned this part of Britain.
Amesbury’s territorial boundaries were three sections, Amesbury proper, South Amesbury and West Amesbury. The South Amesbury wanted to separate from Amesbury but the same was rejected by the state legislature. West Amesbury comprises of pretty and charming thatched and timbered cottages. West Amesbury houses have residences with mullion windows. West Amesbury was previously known as “Little Amesbury” and is thought to have been associated with the priory at Amesbury containing the remains of a medieval house.
Amesbury is considered to be a town that dominated manufacturing of transportation for more than one hundred years.

 

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Amesbury town has tremendously expanded in recent years after the establishment of the military and Armament experimental establishment. The old centre however has managed to retain its former charm dating from the earlier centuries even after new housing estates being constructed, and the most recent one is the Archers gate which has taken its name from the “ Amesbury Archer ”. There are many myths attached with Amesbury as well as The Stonehenge but the only certain consensus  is that as the sun rises and sets its mark, another day will pass with the complete answers to the mysteries about the sites origins firmly wedged in the past. Perhaps that’s how it is meant to be.