A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed, and is, thereby, a true manifestation of what one feels about life in it's entirety. . . I believe in photography as one means of achieving an ultimate happiness and faith! - Ansel Adams

Friday, 2 October 2009

World Smile Day :)

Smile, cheer up! There are people in this world who do not have access to even the most basic amenities in life and yet find a reason to smile.
World Smile Day is celebrated every year on the first Friday of October i.e. today. For details check out http://www.worldsmileday.com/

Being a child again

Oh! How I wish I could be a child again! The scene outside the famous Jyotirlingha temple at Trimbakeshwar (near Nasik) resembled a fair on the day we visited (Dushera + Monday). After paying our obeisance to Lord Shiva we strolled around to check out the local shops. It was an absolute riot of colours.
The place is a must see on one's visit to Nasik not only for the pious but also for those wishing to enjoy the mighty Godavari river which originates from the Brahmagiri mountains behind the temple. One can check out the point of origin by climbing some 700 odd steps.


Flap flap

Bench strength

This picture was taken inside Sula Vineyards at Nasik. The folks over here arrange an informative tour of the vineyard and also hold a tasting session. Charges for the tour are nominal and one can buy one's favourite bottle at a discount to the market price.

Window to the world

This picture was taken inside the Little Italy restaurant at Sula Vineyards. The restaurant overlooks a vineyard, Gangapur lake in the distance, and mountains on the other side.

Panoramic Sahyadri

This picture was taken on our way from Bhandardara to Amruteshwar (an ancient Shiva temple in nearby Ratanwadi). The Sahyadris or the Western Ghats have a charm of their own owing to their distinct rugged identity (mountains appear in bizarre shapes and forms unlike in other parts of the country). These mountains are a trekker's delight because of their seeming invincibility.
This is what wikipedia has to say - the area (Sahyadris) is one of the world’s 10 "hottest biodiversity hotspots" and has over 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species. At least 325 globally threatened species occur here!
Check this one out: what appears like a fort is in reality a rock formation atop the mountain.

and check this one out: straight out of Mackenna's Gold

I could just go on and on...

Flower power

Simply gorgeous.

Idyllic Bhandardara

Bhandardara is a lazy vacationer's paradise. Its beauty is accentuated during the monsoons when the surroundings are verdant. Situated on the banks of Pravara River, its principal attraction is the Wilson Dam (one of the oldest and highest earthen dams in the country) and the lake formed as a result, called Arthur Lake.

One can just sit by and enjoy the breathtaking sights (how I wished to own a house here) -

or contemplate the meaning of life (probably indulge in some angling as well) -

or tour the lake and listen to the villagers' tales -

Bhandardara is located about 180 Kms from Mumbai and 40 Kms from Igatpuri. Its other attractions include Umbrella falls & Randha falls (India's 3rd highest fall) where many a Bollywood actresses have been picturised in white drapes, Agastya Rishi ashram and Ratangad (Shivaji's favourite fort).

Head in the clouds - Majestic Kalsubai

Kalsubai, at approx 5,400 ft, is Maharashtra's highest peak and keeps a watchful eye over Bhandardara. Kalsubai is also a trekker's delight. There is a temple at the peak (dedicated to a lady Kalsu who died at the spot) and on the day we passed by it a number of villagers were on their way up and appeared like an army of white ants from below.

A Bollywood locale

One cannot help but wonder in how many Bollywood films one would have seen such fields. However, these are sunflower fields and not mustard fields (rather sarson ke khet) and the place is our very own Maharashtra and not Punjab. The road from Igatpuri to Bhandardara (about 40 Kms) abounds with such fields and keeping them company are the majestic Sahyadris in the background. Monsoons are the best time to enjoy this scenic drive.

Dog's day

I saw this faithful animal cooling himself in a small pond while we had halted for tea n snacks en route to Bhandardara. With rains having shortchanged us this time around, it was indeed getting quite hot under the collar! Never thought a dog could be the subject of my envy!

A journey to remember

Igatpuri, which is about 130 odd Kms from Mumbai and 40 Kms from Nasik, is largely known as an industrial hub and home to the famous Buddhist Vipassana center. It, however, is also a scenic location surrounded by rugged mountains and deep valleys (Bhatsa valley, Camel valley). During monsoons the place is verdant and replete with waterfalls (small and big). The best way to enjoy the delightful sights is to travel by train as it passes numerous tunnels and bridges (such as this one).
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This work by Maneesh Goal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.