Apr 18, 2014

A Tree from Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah is a very interesting place. With beautiful scenery and sad history. Well, hiking here was a delight. On the way, I saw many interesting rock formations and twisted trees. This was one of them.

Apr 15, 2014

Random Pictures- Hungry Cats!

Just back from a trip to Goa and Coastal Karnataka with family. Loads of fun and interesting pictures from streets of India. I love the expressions of children and animals. So unpretentious! My niece who is also into the same hobby pointed her finger to these two cats!

Apr 7, 2014

Natural Wonder- Salton Sea, an accidental lake!

Largest lake in California or call it strangest backwaters, Salton Sea is a shallow rift lake located right on the San Andreas fault. This terminal lake with saline water is considered as a crown jewel of biodiversity! It is a major resting stop on the Pacific Flyway. The sea/lake was accidentally created by the flooding Colorado river when an irrigation canal broke. The current surface of the lake is 227ft below the sea level! Within 150-miles from popular cities Los Angeles and San Diego, Salton Sea is one of the lowest points on Earth!

Apr 4, 2014

National Monument- Sonoran Desert, the land of giant cacti!

Largest hottest desert of North America, home for organ pipe and the spectacular saguaro cacti, Sonoran Desert is a place of biodiversity. The Saguaro cactus- popularly known as camel of the plant world, is found ONLY here. These cacti can grow up to 70ft and absorb around 1,500 gallons of water in around ten days. It seems they grow their first side arm at the age of 75-100 years! Isn't it a great experience to stand beside one?!

Apr 2, 2014

Petroglyphs- V-Bar-V Ranch Heritage Site

Petroglyphs are rock engravings created by the pre-historic people by abrading or carving the rock face. V-Bar-V Ranch petroglyphs is the largest known petroglyph site in Verde Valley left by the Sinagua Indians for us to interpret. More than 1000 symbols are on display on this rock. The symbols- mostly classified as zoomorphs and anthromorphs are clearly preserved.

Mar 31, 2014

Heritage- Montezuma's Castle and Well, back in the time of ancient cliff dwellers!

The 5-storey, 20-room castle with apartment style dwellings around, so called Montezuma's Castle National Monument has reputation of best preserved Sinaguan cliff dwelling of North America. It is not a castle where Montezuma lived. Early settlers believed that this neat structure belonged to the 16th century Aztec Emperor Montezuma. In reality, the castle was built by the Sinagua Indians in 12th century and they had abandoned the place a century earlier than Montezuma was even born!

Mar 28, 2014

Natural Wonder- Sedona, The Queen of Red Rocks!

Sedona- sounds very familiar huh? And very popular city in the American South-West! Located at the elevation of 4,500ft in Arizona, Sedona is surrounded by high standing red rock formations with spiritual energy! The rocks and surrounding area offer hundreds of opportunities for hiking and mountain-biking. Its mild summer and winter make is a vacation destination. Sedona's signature red rocks appear in more than 50-60 Hollywood movies. It is a delight to see these rocks glowing in the golden light of rising or setting sun.

Mar 26, 2014

National Parks- Tuzigoot National Monument, Arizona

Listed on the National Historic Places Register Tuzigoot is a National Monument near Clarkdale, Arizona. It is a pueblo of 110 rooms built on an outcrop above the Verde river floodplain. The stone masonry rooms do not have doors instead they used ladders to enter the rooms from the opening in the roofs. Tuzigoot in Apache means "crooked water"- named after a small meandering river nearby. 

Mar 24, 2014

Heritage Railroad- Verde Canyon, a ride through the red rocks!

The 40-mile roundtrip, 4-hours long scenic ride on the tracks that were installed in 1912 crossing over old fashioned bridges and trestles, and passes a 680ft long tunnel- all in the red rock country along the Verde river! Verde Canyon Railroad excursion line started in 1990 between Clarkdale and Perkinsville- it a heritage railroad. Classic FP7 vintage locomotives pull the passengers through the towering red rock pinnacles.

Mar 21, 2014

Natural Wonder- A boat ride to Rainbow Bridge

World's highest natural bridge formed in a Triassic age sandstone stands in a remote, rugged and an isolated canyon. Native Americans hold it sacred for centuries who call it Nonnezoshe which means Rainbow turned into stone. Rainbow Bridge with a span of 234ft can be reached by a 2-hour boat ride on the waters of Lake Powell and a mile long easy hike. It is one of the most easily accessible large arches in the world. Though the Bridge Creek didn't have any water flowing the bridge and the surrounding landscape was enchanting!

Mar 17, 2014

National Monument- Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati

Sabarmati Ashram Ahmedabad Gujrat

Recently I had been to Ahmedabad and well, visit to Ahmedabad is incomplete without a mention of Sabarmati Ashram or Gandhi Ashram. I am not going to write anything about Mahatma Gandhi here- His greatness was in his simplicity and so is his ashram. Located on the banks of Sabarmati river-  Sabarmati Ashram is one of Gandhi's residences and he lived here for around twelve years. A beautiful and peaceful place in busy Ahmedabad.

Mar 14, 2014

Natural Wonder- Monument Valley, an abode of beauty, peace and spirits!

Internationally recognized icon of American South-west- Monument Valley is one of the most spectacular and most photographed landscape on earth. Located on the state-line of Arizona and Utah Monument Valley lies entirely within the Navajo Nation. Navajo people call it The Valley of Rocks and their imagination and beliefs see much more in these rocks. At the elevation of more than 5,000ft asl the Monument Valley Tribal Park, is home of very beautiful cluster of large red sandstone buttes, spires and mesas. Most part of the park is accessible only with the guided tours. The most interesting masterpieces are hidden in the remote areas.

Mar 12, 2014

Urban Wildlife- A little monkey who tried blowing a balloon!

For the last couple of months I had been living in Vadodara, Gujarat my favorite place next to Bangalore. Since my parents are along I am doing great deal of pilgrimage :) Well, that is a whole different story and has nothing to do with this little monkey. Only that I met the little one in one of the temples.

Mar 10, 2014

Temples of India- Sun Temple at Modhera, defines the beauty of Indian medieval architecture

One of the very few shrines dedicated to Hindu God Sun, Modhera temple is one of the masterpieces of medieval architecture in Gujarat, India. The brilliant architecture, exquisite carving on sandstone just two hours away from the busy-crazy Ahmedabad! Though plundered by enemies and earthquakes the temple has much to offer even in its dilapidated state! One of the magnificent specimens of Indian medieval architecture!

Feb 28, 2014

National Monument- Canyon de Chelly, where the walls tell history!

Canyon de Chelly which means 'rock canyon', the home of Navajo people! If you know Native American history then you know the Battle of Canyon de Chelly between Navajo Nation and United States military, and also the Long Walk of Navajo people. It is the only National Monument completely owned by Navajo Tribal Trust and cooperatively managed by National Park Service (NPS). By federal and tribal law, visitors are allowed to travel inside the canyon only when accompanied by a Navajo guide. But, there are no restrictions in place to view the canyon from the rim. The law is in place to protect the sacred Navajo sites and the household of the people still live there.

Feb 26, 2014

Natural Wonder- Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater is a 50,000 year old meteorite impact crater privately owned by Barringer family in Arizona. The crater is 3,99ft wide and 570ft deep in the almost barren desert. Earlier known as Canyon Diablo crater it is a National Natural Landmark and also a popular tourist attraction. Since there is no vegetation cover the crater can be viewed very clearly.Visitors are charged an entrance fee ($16) by the Barringer Crater Company to see the crater. Worth a visit if you are near Flagstaff or you are driving on I-40 near Winslow.

Feb 24, 2014

National Parks- Petrified Forest where the trees turned into gems!

Vast desert shrub steppe as far as you can see and the painted badlands emerging out of it with crystalized wood scattered all around is what you see in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. The amazement you feel is limitless! Blue Mesa, Painted Desert, Tepees in this eroded badlands are beyond one's imagination. I had never thought the drowned trees might even turn into logs of gems! Yes- it is possible when nature finds a way to do it!

Feb 21, 2014

Natural Wonder- White Sands National Monument, a white heaven!

I have seen black sand in Hawaii, pink sand in Utah, normal sand in Pacific coast and also Indian coast then I saw white sand in New Mexico. Well, not on any ocean or lakeside beach but, the wave like gypsum sand dunes in the middle of New Mexico! I had seen tons pictures of this landform prior to my visit but, when I was standing there on one of the highest dunes looking 360 deg around me none of those pictures including the pictures I have posted here make any justice to the beauty of this natural wonder!

Feb 19, 2014

Natural Wonder- The 'Hat' of Mexican Hat :)

First, Did you know there is a tiny place called Mexican Hat in Utah, USA? If yes, then do you know why is this town named Mexican Hat? Well, Mexican Hat is a hardly known small settlement on the banks of San Juan river located at the edge of most popular Monument Valley, just 22-miles away. Very few people live here, may be less than 100!

Feb 15, 2014

National Parks- Mesa Verde, a tour back in time!

Well, I had mentioned about Anasazi Civilization earlier with little info I have about these ancient people. But, then there is much more they left for us to dig deep as far back in history as we can possibly go! I visited Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado and was awestruck by the well preserved cliff dwellings. Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado is one place where these ancient dwellings are best preserved. The park is designated as a World Heritage Site because of its archaeological relevance.