Category Archives: Travel

Grand Canyon National park – Day 3

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Day 3 we started off early around 7.30am to Page,AZ. Time for some drive in desert. Long roads, flat lands and no trees,only tiny bushes. We stopped by at burger King in Cameron for breakfast . For the first time in the last 4 days we paid for our breakfast in single digit.After breakfast we continued our drive towards Page. Wondering what’s in Page? The very famous and beautiful antelope canyon .

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Firstly you cannot directly goto antelope canyon and start exploring it all by urself . Visit to antelope canyon is only through guided tours . Muddy road and threat of flash floods are the reason. There are quite a few tours & travels who are certified to take people on the guided canyon tours here in Page . We found Navajo tours were reasonably priced  $43 per person. The best time to see this canyon is either 10am or 12 noon . The sun’s rays penetrate through the canyon and enhances the colors of this canyon around these times of the day . They also have exclusive photography tours which are priced high . 

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We took 11am batch to visit Antelope canyon . Each group in a batch is assigned to a guide.The guide has a modified jeep truck that can accommodate around 10 people . After we started ,we realized this road to antelope may not be fit for normal cars.  

Our guide JR took 10 of us to the Canyon . Here are the rules 

You always follow the guide .Do not mix ourselves with the other group .There is only a few mins given to click pictures . 

This canyon tour is 90 mins tour including 20 mins round trip time. So u basically have only 30 mins to admire this curvy canyon stone walls . 

The guide does a good job of explaining what structures u can see in these curvy walls . Like Lincoln’s face , Batman , Arizona sunset etc etc. 

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The Antelop Canyon is a mountain which is cut through by floods and winds over years . The water and winds flowing through these walls have given its curvy walls a unique texture . The colors of these curvy canyon walls are just mesmerizing. Unfortunately we had a cloudy day and hence not much light . But weather was just beautiful to be out on roads in Arizona . In 30 mins we were done walking through the Antelop Canyon and headed back .

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In about a mile or 2 on route 98 is the horseshoe bend overlook . The walking trail to this place is about 3/4 mile from parking lot . This place is a naturally carved horse shoe structure in the canyon with colorado river flowing through the base of the canyon. The Colorado River that flows here is visible as dark green waters. The view of green color water flowing at the base of reddish beige colored canyon is just beautiful . We sat at the edge of  cliff admiring everything about this place . Nature’s civil engineering work.

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After having spent enough time at the horseshoe bend , we grabbed lunch and started driving back to Tusayan. Way back we took a slight diversion which will later merge the routes back to GC. The place on this route is Edge cliff. There is a long stretch of smaller canyon mountains. The road is excavated between these rocks and the view is worth capturing . 

We stopped by at Cameron for refreshing coffee and back to our nest by 6.30pm .

Good night

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Grand Canyon National Park – Day 2

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We started our day 2 at grand canyon national park by 8.30am. Weather was  mix of clouds and sun but nicer temperatures . Unlike day 1 which was sunny but chillness in the air ,could not spend the day without a light jacket . 

This day was planned to cover the 64 East . Mainly the South Kaibab trail and the Desert view tower . The orange route shuttle from visitor center takes you to 2 points  yaki point and south kaibab trail . 

There is no connectivity to the Desert view tower using shuttles .Own vehicles are allowed in this stretch of the park , Hence we decided to drive ourselves . 

We stopped at 3 viewpoints before reaching Desert view tower . Grandview trailhead – you can hike down this trail if u prefer do to some hiking . There are few other points on this route where you can stop by for canyon views.

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Lipan point & Navajo point – here you get a much closer view of the upper part of the Canyon and Colorado River . 

By 11am we were at the Desert view tower . The Desert view tower gives a much closer and clearer  view of the top layer of the canyon descending to inner layers . The tower building itself is a historic native Indian architecture .

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After capturing all possible views , we stopped by to pick up something for lunch at snack bar . Pizza seemed like best option .We had a healthy and heavy breakfast at yavasupai restaurant which kept us full . 

On our way back from desert tower, we parked closer to the south kaibab trail head. Authorities don’t allow private vehicles to this location . Hence we had to park away and walk down . 

South Kaibab is a moderate trail without any water filling stations.Carry water as needed.The first stop on south kaibab trail is Ooh-Aah point which is 0.9 miles down into canyon.

Arvind and I decided to do cedar ridge .Cedar ridge is 3 miles round trip from top of the canyon. As we started our hike , we saw people reaching up huffing and panting . It gave us an idea of how the hike would be on our way back . We were hiking down to 1500 feet to get to cedar ridge . Hike down the trail was relatively easy by being a little careful at the edges .

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On our way down the trail we met couple of families sharing their stories of where they are from , what are their plans and other things . One family had booked their reservations at phantom ranch a year ago . Phantom ranch is a resort or accomodation campground for people who are hiking down to the Colorado River which is 6 miles down . It is suggested u never do a round trip hike to Colorado river in one day unless you are extremely fit .  Book your reservations a year before if you want to camp down at phantom ranch . 

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We all hikers reached at first point of the trail . Ooh-Aah point . It probably is Aah point for people who are trekking down . Here you get to see the 270 degree view of the huge canyon from within . We all clicked pictures for each other’s families . Most of them where excited that it will be the picture for their Christmas card since Christmas is around . 

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We continued further down the trail .In about 30-40 mins we reached the Cedar ridge . Feeling deeply sourrounded by the majestic canyon walls. We went to tip of the ridge . It felt like a different planet in itself . At one point there was no hiker around , just Arvind and me sitting at the edge of a rock and admiring the canyon . Arvind said this is how it would be if we were the last 2 creatures living on this planet  .Not sure if I like that feeling. After relaxing our feet a little bit and soaking in all the beauty and peace around , wondering and admiring about lot of things that are above our everyday life , we started back . 

The hike down felt so easy only when we started to hike back to the top. Now we know why people were panting so much . Because of the steep trail, getting back up against gravity got the heart pounding like drums in the ears . We took breaks where possible and made it to the top in 2 hours . So basically it took double the time to hike up . 

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It felt like mission accomplished after we reached the top of the trail . The humongous walls of the canyon makes u feel so small . We are those tiny shrubs in these canyons . 

We sat down in peace , relaxing and cooling off , admiring the path , feeling good with lot of pains here and there . 

We called it a day after having dinner at yavasupai restaurant . 

Good night . 

Grand Canyon National Park – Day 1

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It was our 7th wedding anniversary and a surprise was waiting for me . A trip to one of the 7 natural wonders of the world .

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We took an early flight and reached flagstaff where we rented a car .Grand Canyon National Park is one hour 30 mins drive further. we were staying at Canyon plaza resort hotel just outside the Grand canyon national park in Tusayan . This hotel had reasonable pricing, but no complimentary breakfast.Hotel was neat.

After the hectic day of long travel we had no energy to start exploring the park for the day . Also park’s visitor center was closed by 5pm . We decided to rest for the day . Soon we realized there are not many options for good food in Tusayan. It is also expensive given that area is a tourist attraction

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Grand Canyon National park has north rim and south rim.North rim closes by Oct 15th ,while the south rim is open throughout the year for travelers . Hence we could do only the south rim . 

We started our day with McDonalds breakfast at 7.30am . After breakfast we headed straight to visitor center to plan rest of our stay here at national park . Entrance to the national park is $30 for 1-7 days. The lady at visitor center guided us as to what we could do the next 3 days . We were all set to explore Grand Canyon National park – South rim. 

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Five mins walk from visitor center is Mather point – where you get a first view of grand canyon  . GC is just so vast with its huge walls ,layered and colored patterns that you could just stand and stare and keep wondering as to how this has happened . Just breath taking wow!. This point is also good for sunrise and sunset. 

From Mather point there is Rim trail that goes all the way to the Grand Canyon Village .

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You can view the Canyon from different points here on on this trail . Either take the trail or choose to take shuttle buses that start from visitor center. There are 3 different routes represented by 3 colors of shuttle buses . 

Red- scenic route of the national park

Blue – village transfer route .

Orange – route to Kaibab trail and Yaki point.

Red shuttle buses start only from bright angel trailhead . 

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We started on rim trail from Mather point capturing the beauty of grand canyon in the morning sun . We stopped by here and there analysing and comparing the heights and colors of the canyon . En-route there are many information boards about how, what and why’s of the Canyon . Everything about canyon is in terms of millions of years ! 

After taking small stops along the trail, the next main stop was Yavapai Point & Geology museum . Here again lots of information to know about the Canyon . The museum has glass windows from where you get to see complete 180 degree view of the Canyon .

Continue on this trail next stop is Verkamp’s visitor center and Hopi house .Verkamp’s visitor center has the historical information about the Grand canyon railway and how the community developed over years. Back in the days Hopi house was Mary Colters idea to sell the products made by native Americans. Now it has products made in USA . Just next to hopi house is the El tovar restaurant . Lunch seemed expensive and we decided to move on to next stop . 

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Kolb studio is the free exhibition of Grand Canyon paintings by various artists . Amazing paintings to admire or buy if you are interested .

Just before Kolb studio is the Bright angel lodge and restaurant . The restaurant here had very good food at reasonable prices and service was good too. Highly recommended place to eat . 

After kolb studio is where the Bright angel trail begins. This is one of the moderate hiking trails. 

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From Bright angel trailhead we took the red route shuttle to Hermits rest . There are 8 points on this route from where you can see the Canyon . Sunrise , sunset , different colors of canyon in layers , view of the Colorado River and standing at the cliff to feel the depth  are the different things you can do at these different points . Final destination of this route is Hermits rest . Here you can relax and have some coffee and snacks before you head back to village transfer shuttle stop . 

After refreshing coffee stop at hermits rest, we came back to bright angel trailhead to board a blue route shuttle also called village transfer shuttle . This shuttle took us back to visitor center where the car was parked .

We exited the park and came back to Tusayan where we were staying . ‘We cook pizza pasta’ is the place we decided have dinner . Their pizza was undercooked and expensive and we could do nothing about it since it was carry out. Probably the worst pizza I have eaten so far. Would never recommend this place . 

We are just so tiny in front of this huge divine creation.

More about Grand Canyon in the next post.

Good night ! 

Clean and Green Mysore!

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When we visit Mysuru(Mysore) we never miss the list of attractions as tourists.

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Chamundi Hills, Mysore Palace, Gumbuz, Ranganatha temple,Philomena Church, Sangama, Lalit Mahal, Jagmohan Palace,KRS and Mysore Zoo.

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Mysore is a very clean and green place. There are so many serene palaces to see which tourists won’t know. Only when you have friends who are local to the place and avid travelers,people like me get to see and experience the serene beauty of the place.Ajit and Dolly are two of my adventurous traveller friends who excited me with the offer of showing the real Mysore, serene precisely.

I was in Mysore for exactly 2 days.

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My journey of exploring non touristy places began on day one at 7am in the morning. Ajit and his 4 adopted dogs, Dolly and I started off with morning walk at The Mysore University. My friends are into fitness regime like running,cycling and trekking.I wouldn’t miss to see where they run.

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Mysore university campus is open for public. Early morning in this campus you get to see joggers,runners and morning walk people. The campus by itself is very beautiful. Not too crowded, clean, green and huge .Few of the buildings in the campus are historic and none of the new buildings can even be compared with the beauty of the old historic ones.

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After walk in the campus, we headed out for a nice breakfast at a local place. I had never even thought of eating street side breakfast in bandi(truck) or stall, but trust me it was as tasty and clean. Else my stomach would have given up in a hour.

Next we decided to goto a place call Paschima vahini.

Paschima vahini sangama is a place where 3 rivers Cauvery,Kabini and Hemavati meet. People visit this place to immerse the ashes of the dead.

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Sangama is the place where rituals are done. Away from sangama near paschima vahini railway station there are green fields and the river continues to flow by the ashram . This place is really beautiful to sit back, relax a bit in water and enjoy the lush greenery of the paddy fields and coconut trees. Apple,Pumpkin,Venu and Pupoon enjoyed their swim in the waters, while we tried to just walk in the waters. Rocks in the water were very slippery due to algae formation. We had to be really careful. But This place was serene.

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Then we headed to a tea stall in Palahalli. Devaraj tea stall. This place had the best tea I ever had outside home. I am a tea lover and this place was like a craving every few hours.

After some long talks, a little later we headed to Durgamba mess for lunch. They serve very good lunch. We had nice lunch and back home for some cooling off time. Mysore is hot in summer. Later in the evening we lazed a bit and tried another place for dinner. What better can a group of friends who love to eat do.:)

Day 1 complete.

Day 2 also began around 7.30 am. This day we went to Kukkarahalli lake. This is again a place for morning workout routine. Surrounding the lake is the area where u can workout. Lake with lot of bird variety to see early is the morning is definitely a motivation for workout.I really wished for a high end camera to capture the bird beauty.

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Evening around 5, Ajit and Dolly suggested I should not miss sunset at KRS backwaters. There is no connectivity to this place by bus. One can goto to see sunset only if you have a personal 4 wheeler. 4 wheelers is preferred option since sundown it might not be safe to travel on 2-wheelers. To my bad luck, 2 things went wrong here at the backwaters.

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One ,since the soil was wet in the area , car got stuck and we had to take help from the locals to pull the car out. Secondly, sun before setting got shy and hid himself behind the clouds and decided he wont show himself to me. Nevertheless, Place was peaceful. Don’t miss your chance to see the sunset at KRS backwaters.

we ended our day with Devaraj’s tea followed by dinner later at a food truck.

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I will go back again to see more of Mysore. I am not done yet :).

 

 

 

 

 

Bangalore Palace !

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It is so true that very often people living locally in a place would most likely have not seen all the local attractions, while tourists visiting the place have a better idea of all the places one could see or explore . Though I lived here in Bengaluru for around 8 years, I have not visited all of the local attractions. One of them was Bangalore palace.

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It so happened that we had close friend & family visiting us here in Bengaluru from Delhi. When they mentioned all the places they wanted to see in Bengaluru, I realized there were quite a few attractions I had not visited.

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Bangalore palace is a beautiful mansion built in Tudor style architecture by architect Kempe Gowda I. The palace has work of beautiful wooden carvings, the walls display pictures of the Wadiyars who were passionate about hunting and also paintings.

Audio tour gives clear information about the different sections of the palace in different languages. These historical Maharaja buildings always makes us think what a luxury it was back in those days :).

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We were running late and hence couldn’t get a complete clear front view of the palace. It is a must see place here in the busy city of Bangalore. You wont be disappointed.

The bright yellow walls inside the palace was a turn off. But, there must be some reason that color in on the walls.

Everything you need to know about this palace is posted on the Karnataka website. Here is the link,

http://www.karnataka.com/bangalore/bangalore-palace/

Bangalore palace is Near Mount Carmel Institute of Management, Palace Rd, Vasanth Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560052.

 

 

 

 

Diana’s Bath

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Diana’s bath is the the last place we visited before winter began in the US(year 2015). It was almost end of fall colors in the white mountains . I have not been blogging for few months now, took this long to get back to it.

Hannah, my friend had heard about this place from few of her friends. She was long waiting to explore Diana’s Bath. One day in fall we decided to check this place out. Arvind couldn’t join ,Hence I tagged along with Josh & Hannah.

It wasn’t easy to find this place at first.Few local hikers directed us towards the right way. This place is in the town of Bartlett,NH near village of North Conway in the white mountains .

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Diana’s bath is about .6 miles hike from the base of the waterfall.  It has big boulders on which water flows.One can hike onto the top of the waterfall to get all kinds of beautiful views of the waterfall and fall colors. Best part about this place is you can swim and cool off in these waters.

Summer or fall this place is beautiful to relax and spend a day.

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Here is what wikipedia has to say about the name “Diana’s bath”

“These curious circular stone cavities on Lucy Brook originally were known as the Home of the Water Fairies; tradition says evil water sprites inhabited the ledges, tormenting the Sokokis Indians until a mountain god answered the Indians’ prayers and swept the sprites away in a flood. But sometime before 1859 a Miss Hubbard of Boston, a guest at the old Mount Washington House in North Conway, rechristened them Diana’s Baths, presumably to evoke images of the Roman nature goddess. The pools are also called Lucy’s Baths.”

The name was official when the government purchased the land in the 1960s and made it part of the White Mountain National Forest.

Flume Gorge

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10 miles away from lost river is the flume gorge. I have been waiting all summer to visit this place. Flume gorge is waterfalls place. Avalanche waterfall,Cascade waterfall, Liberty pool are the names I remember.  The main attraction is the water flowing through huge narrow granite rock walls. You can read the history behind the formation of these granite rocks at the visitor center or online. The round trip trek to cover all these waterfalls is 3.2 miles up and downhill.

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There are also two caves here. a wolf den and a bear cave. We were too tired to explore these caves. May be next time.

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Liberty pool is a huge natural pool with depth of 40 feet. The height of the pool is 80feet. Water is so clear that you can see the ground. But cannot imagine it is 40 feet deep.

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The visitor center closes by 5pm in the evening. But once you get past the visitor center with tickets, you have an option to return back before sun down. Visitor center will be closed after 5pm.No staff will be around. But luckily there is a way to walk out. As you walk around the visitor center there are stairs that lead to front of the visitor center and exit from there. We realized this place may not be safe after the sunset . Hence be careful if you are stuck in there for long hours after sunset.

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Also friends say these waterfalls look even more beautiful in fall season. Vibrant and sober colors of fall add to the beauty.