Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Unexplored China - XI'AN

The grand Mausoleum of the first emperor of Qin and the warriors and horses buried on loess for over 2,000 years.

The Preface

The great archaeological excavation of Qin(221BC-206BC)Terracotta Warriors and Horses unfolded a strong army of altogether 7,000 life size pottery soldiers,horses,chariots and weapons arranged in battle formations symbolically guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang

Xi'an attraction- Terracotta Warriors!!!

Terracotta Army inside the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, 3rd century BCE.

My Picture Gallery....CHICAGO - Part 1

Picture perfect Chicago downtown ... the street leading to Michigan Lake from the Sears Tower.

SINGAPORE - Snapshots

Changi International Airport, Singapore

Outside Changi Airport .... drive to the city

Special statues before Christmas on the Orchard Road

Oh it's Singapore!!!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

History Unlimited....Mehrahngarh Fort, Jodhpur

It's time to be a Rajput-King and survey your kingdom in style!!!

Dazzling display of colours inside the fort..


Bird's eye view of Jodhpur city from the fort

Pics are taken from one of my innumerable trips to the 'Land of Kings'.

An Indian Summer

Unspoiled beauty

Mother Nature..

Kullu-Nahan....Devbhumi Himachal...


Way to Heaven:)


(Snaps from my fifth trip to 'The Valley of GODS' :))

The Desert Tale- Jaisalmer

Gateway...to a desert song!!!!!

The silent music in sand-dunes,Jaisalmer

Nature and life....GOD gifted!!!!

An unforgettable Bedouin ride...Sam(Sum)Dhani...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Breathtaking Bay Window.....Kovalam

The inviting Arabian Sea, solitary serene beaches, somnolent coconut-canopies, dreamy sunshine and beckoning deck chairs - an iconic romantic retreat. Welcome to the immortal cocktail of this unforgettable Malabar beach destination. Yes,.....it's Kovalam.....truly the 'Paradise of South'.

So, here we are....it's end of June, the lovely monsoon has already drenched Kerala. The lush green villages, paddy fields, coconut trees, beautiful houseboats, country boats and amazing backwaters weaving the perfect 'God's own country'. The scenic drive from Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) International Airport to Leela Kempinski hotel is truly captivating. The countryside is lush after a spell of rain. The palm fringed bays of Kovalam amidst secluded coconut groves promises an incredible beach holiday. It's got all the ingredients packed for an exotic break.....sun kissed picturesque beach, tall palm trees, thrilling water sports, sunbath in the tropical sun, luxurious hotel(s), Ayurvedic salons 'n' spas, fresh seafood, friendly locals: a vacationer's paradise, a perfect recipe for rejuvenation. The moment we enter we realise that time stands still here. Kovalam’s leisurely charm in a rather lazy way brings one sensuously and spiritually close to nature. Though, Kovalam is a natural bay ideal for kayaking, swimming, surfing and skiing, we preferred 'Doing nothing' - preferred following the “Give time a break' mantra. Nature is the lifestyle here.

This premier holiday destination indeed unfolds its rich history to all eager travelers. This small quiet fishing hamlet of Kovalam was unveiled to the public eye by the Maharaja of Travancore. The European guests of the erstwhile Travancore Kingdom discovered the potential of the Kovalam beach as a perfect beach destination as early as the 1930's. However, with the deluge of the “Hippies” – the wayward western bag packers, Kovalam shot to limelight. It still has high status among the tourists, from the Europeans and the Israelis.

Kovalam has three crescent shaped beaches - Light House Beach, Hawah Beach (Eve's Beach) and Samudra Beach - separated by rocky outcroppings. The largest beach is called the Light House Beach for its 35 metre high Light House, which towers over it atop the Kuramkal hillock. Further south of this beach, one can has a spectacular view of the VIZHINZAM mosque where photography is prohibited.
The second largest beach is the Hawah Beach. Each morning, this beach acts as the hub of the local fishermen. Visitors frequent these two beaches as they have steep palm covered headlands and are generously lined with shops that offer all kinds of seafood, alcohol, handicrafts and jewellery (from Kerala as well as from Kashmir and Delhi) .

The northern part of Kovalam is known as the Samudra Beach. A large promontory separates this part from the southern side. Samudra Beach doesn't have tourists or shops thronging it. The local fishermen play their trade on this secluded part. This beach, dotted with a few rudimentary wooden fishing vessels, is least affected by the changing times. Due to the presence of Ilmenite and Thorazite, the sands on these beaches are partially black. Though the Light House Beach is most mesmerizing, the secluded Samudra Beach beckons with a unique flavour of solitude...where you feel more than just a guest. The fishermen in the beach offer to take visitors out in the sea while they go out for their catch of the day. Sail with them and come back as the sunset paints the horizon with a beautiful shade of ochre.

Fact File

A. List of Hotels:
1. Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach, Kerala
2. Maanaltheeram Beach Village Hotel, Kovalam
3. Sagara Beach Resort
4. Uday Samudra Beach Resort
5. Le Meridien Kovalam Beach Resort
B. Best time to go:
September to May

C. Getting there:
By Air: The Trivandrum International Airport is about 10 kilometers from this beach.
By Rail: The Trivandram Railway station is at a distance of around 16 kilometers.
By Road: The Kovalam beach is well connected to Kerala by a wide network of roads.
D. ActivitiesSwimming
Beach Games
Sun Bathing
Massage on Beach
Balloon Rides
Water Games
Deep sea dolphin spotting
Sea food gorging along with choicest drinks
And of course……doing nothing

The Essence

There are small signs everywhere that make Kovalam what it is. Everything, from the beachside small cafes to the organic soaps, lend it the laid-back air. It's pure magic - the sun playing hide and seek through some coconut branches and then lighting up the horizon and the beaches, the sea lashing against jagged rocks and then frothing up with this effort, the local fishermen getting busy with their tiny wooden boats and then their cacophony disappearing with them in the deep sea. When it is close to twilight, my man by my side, on a sturdy rock few yards away into the sea that serves as our perch, we allow the waves to kiss our feet and gently touch our souls. A feeling of togetherness lurks every corner, a feeling that will be cherished forever. Far away, a faint haze of a ship keeps rolling along the placid waters of the mid-sea, perhaps inching to its destination, perhaps looking out for newer horizon. Call it good old nostalgia or a new found romance.....my only wish is to remain in this completely captivating paradise for eternity - a place where azure blue ocean and the glowing silky sand whisper 'sweet nothing' under the coconut-palm canopies – a place where love stands still forever.....forever.....forever.

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