Thursday, 27 December 2012

Eka Shila Nagaram, Orugallu (Warangal)

Warangal, located in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, is at a distance of about 150 km from Hyderabad. Capital of the erstwhile Kakatiya Dynasty in the 12th century, Warangal was also known as Orugallu and Ekasilanagaram. The city known for its beautiful lakes, ancient temples, and forts, features in the travel dairies of Marco Polo.

The city with its glorious past, has many interesting places to see, especially those of architectural importance. Undoubtedly, a haven for tourists. The grand Kakatiya architecture is visible in the the Thousand PillarTemple built by Rudra Devi in 1163. Richly carved pillars, delicate screens, elaborate and detailed sculptures... you will be awestruck. The Warangal Fort, now in ruins, dates back to the 13th century, it has beautiful archways and fine geometrical intricacies. Also, present are beautiful temples like the Ramappa Temple, Bhadrakali Temple, and many more, which will transport you back into time.

All important Hindu festivals such as Dassera, Deepavali and Sankranthi are celebrated here. In addition, the district also hosts a fair - the Sammakka - Saralamma Jatra or congregation. Every two years, approximately 6 million people converge for over three days around the small village of Medaram. This fair is said to be the largest repeating aggregation of tribal communities in the whole world. Bonalu and Bathukamma festivals, symbolic of the Telangana region are also celebrated here.

The Regional Engineering College, National Institute of Technology and The Kakatiya University which is headquartered in Warangal are some of the major educational institutions located here. Warangal can be easily reached from wherever you are, through road or rail.

The Beautiful Key Monastery, India

Key Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on picturesque hilltop at an altitude of 4,166 metres above sea level, close to the Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. The monastery has the distinction of being the oldest and the biggest in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh and a religious training centre for Lamas. It is home to around 300 lamas who receive their religious education here.

The monastery is a wonderful example of the monastic architecture that came into prominence during the 14th century because of the Chinese influence. Regular invasions have led to temples built on top of one another. There are low rooms and narrow corridors. Dimly lit passages, difficult staircases and small doors lead to prayer rooms which themselves do not conform to a single design.

The walls of the monastery are decorated with beautiful paintings and murals, thangkas (a painted or embroidered Tibetan banner), valuable manuscripts, stucco images, and unique wind instruments. There is also a collection of weapons which were probably used to defend the monastery from the attackers. The wind instruments are still put to use during the enaction of Chham in summers.

The monastery is around 12 km north of Kaza and can be reached by covering a distance of 210 km from Manali to Kaza. From there daily buses takes you to the Kye Monastery.

Republic of Croatia

Croatia is a country situated in the Central Europe. It is to the east side of the Adriatic Sea, to the east of Italy. It is bordered by Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Bosnia to the southeast, Serbia in the east, and Montenegro to the south.

Of all the gifts of Helsinki's year as World Design Capital, travellers might be most grateful for the Suvanto lounges at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. The 22 islets - created as part of the biennial event that sets out to raise the profile of cities that use design to improve social, economic and cultural life - have a comfortable lounge with a plywood surround in which passengers can make phone calls or read documents in relative privacy.

The lounges are free and at gates 16, 17, 26 and 36. And no matter if you miss out on a seat; wi-fi is free throughout the airport and mobile devices can be recharged wirelessly with PowerKiss, a Finnish innovation, of course.

Readerly types can also get new material on the way to board a flight at its Book Swap station. Travellers can mark their book's journey on a sticker on the inside cover for future readers. Meanwhile, another legacy of the design year in a country of 37 national parks will be the nature-focused centre Haltia, 25 kilometres from Helsinki on the edge of the Nuuksio National Park. Set to open in March, visitors will be able to get close to the country's environment and wildlife, with several installations in the three-storey wooden building powered chiefly by thermal and solar energy.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Fabulous nature scenery

25 Haunting Shipwrecks Around the World

Turks & Caicos

Fellow blogger Tom Moran from Urban Ghosts inspired this post. His excellent article on ‘Ship Graveyards: Abandoned Ships, Boats and Shipyards‘ sent me on a quest to find some incredible photographs of shipwrecks around the world. The United Nations estimates that there are more than 3 million shipwrecks on the ocean floor [Source: Wikipedia]. These once mighty vessels, both sunken and beached, are a haunting reminder that nothing lasts forever. These beautiful ships used to rule the seas they traveled. Now they serve as a window into our past. 

15 Incredible Libraries Around the World

Moldova National Library

These pillars of higher learning are also home to some of the world’s most incredible architecture. Below is a small collection of stunning libraries around the globe. From the historical to the modern, these centres of knowledge and learning also preserve the history and culture of their respective periods. Personally, I would find it hard to concentrate in some of these places, they are too beautiful for the eye not to wander. 

Monday, 24 December 2012

The Ellora Caves Cliff Temples of India

           Located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, the magnificent Ellora Caves are 34 structures excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills. An official UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ellora Caves consists of 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain temples and monasteries built between the 6th and 10th century.They stand as a testament to the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history. The Ellora Caves are the most visited ancient monument in the state and are a must-see for any tourists in the area. Enjoy the incredible photographs below with information on these historical monuments sprinkled throughout.

 The Buddhist caves (also called Vishvakarma caves) are the earliest of the Ellora Caves, dating from 500 to 750 AD. All except one are viharas (monasteries), which were used for study, meditation, communal rituals, eating and sleeping The caves become steadily larger and more elaborately decorated as they progress to the north, which scholars have explained by the growing need to compete with Hinduism for patronageThe earliest Hindu caves at Ellora date from 600 AD, right in the middle of the Buddhist period

Created during a time of prosperity and revival of Hindusim, the Hindu caves represent an entirely different style of creative vision and skill than the Buddhist cavesThe Hindu temples were carved from top to bottom and required several generations of planning and coordination to take shape. There are 17 Hindu caves in all, which were carved between 600 and 870 AD. They occupy the center of the cave complex, grouped around either side of the famous Kailasa Temple In contrast to the serene and solemn Buddhas of the earlier caves, the walls of the Hindu caves are covered in lively bas-reliefs depicting events from the Hindu scriptures. All of the caves are dedicated to the god Shiva, but there are also some images of Vishnu and his various incarnations

The Jain caves, dating from the late 800s and 900s, are 2 km north down an asphalt road (rickshaws are available). They reflect the distinctiveness of Jain philosophy and tradition, including a strict sense of asceticism combined with elaborate decorationThey are not large compared to others, but contain exceptionally detailed artworks. Many of the Jain caves had rich paintings in the ceilings, fragments of which are still visible


The Famous Chand Baori Stepwell in India

Chand Baori is a famous stepwell located in the village of Abhaneri near Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is situated opposite of the Harshat Mata Temple and was constructed in the 9th century. Chand Baori consits of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 storeys. It extends approximately 100 ft into the ground making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India. 
Stepwells, also known as kalyani, pushkarani, bawdi, baoli, barav, or vaav; are wells or ponds in which the water may be reached by descending a set of steps. They may be covered and protected and are often of architectural significance. Most common in Western India, they can also be found in arid regions of Pakistan.
The basic difference between stepwells and tanks or wells is that stepwells are easier for people to reach the ground water. They are also easier to maintain and manage. Stepwells also served other purposes, such a relief from the daytime heat and as a place for social gatherings and religious ceremonies.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Breathtaking Melissani Cave in Greece

Melissani cave can be found on the east coast of the island of Kefalonia in Greece. It is located about 2 km from the town of Sami and 10 km from the town of Argostoli. The caves are surrounded by forests, while a mountain slope is located to the west. Below you will find a gallery of this magical place along with additional information on the cave’s history as well as the best time to visit and what you can expect to see.
The cave is 100 meters long and the lake takes about one third of its length. It was first discovered in 1951 and was opened for the public in 1963. The lake water is brackish, a mixture of sea water and sweet water. The cave is about 500m from the sea and the water level is a meter higher than sea level. The brackish water rises from a 30m deep cave system on one side of the cave and flows to the other end of the cave. This was discovered by dye tracing experiments in 1959.
The cavern, once two big chambers, caved in several thousand years ago. Today the cave has the shape of a ‘B’, with two big water filled halls and an island in the middle. The first hall has a big oval opening to the surface where the sunlight shines in. The second is a huge cavern with an arched roof and numerous stalactites and stalagmites. The best time to visit the cave is in the middle of a bright sunny day. Tours are done by boats that take you on a trip through both halls.

Soreq Stalactite Cave in Israel

Soreq Cave, also known as Avshalom Cave or Stalactite Cave, is a 5,000 m2 cave on the western side of Mt. Ye’ela, in the Judean hills of Israel. Discovered by accident in May 1968 while quarrying with explosives, it is 83m (272 ft) long, 60m (197 ft) wide, and 15m (49ft) high.
Like other dripstone caverns (e.g., Jeita Grotto in Lebanon), Soreq Cave is teeming with stalactites and natural sculptures formed by hundreds of thousands of years of mineral-rich water drops slowly leaving behind a rock residue.
A lighting system has been put in place to help preserve the cave’s stalactites and stalagmites. Apparently the biggest threat is algae and if left unchecked, the magnificent formations — naturally amber, brown, rust and white — would turn into moss-covered green and black blobs. By using only a limited part of the colour spectrum of light and focusing on certain shades of orange, blue and green, scientists are betting the new system will eradicate the algal threat. 
Opened to the public since the 1970s, the natural wonder attracts 200,000-400,000 visitors a year. For a 360 panoramic tour, 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The incredible 'alien' skulls discovered in a Mexican cemetery

Archaeologists in Mexico today revealed the astonishing skull of a person suffering from a cranial disfiguration.Believed to be 1,000 years old, the find was made near the small Mexican village of Onavas.

The find is believed to be the first in the region showing the practice of binding a skull to change its shape.'Cranial deformation in Mesoamerican cultures was used to differentiate one social group from another and for ritual purposes,' said archaeologist Cristina Garcia Moreno, director of the research project.The burial ground consists of 25 individuals; 13 have intentional cranial deformation and five also have dental mutilation.

'This unique find shows a mix of traditions from different groups of northern Mexico,' said Moreno.The use of ornaments made from sea shells from the Gulf of California had never been found before in Sonoran territory and this discovery extends the limit of influence of Mesoamerican peoples farther north than has been previously recorded,” she said in a video posted to YouTube.Some of the individuals were wearing ornaments such as as bangles, nose rings, earrings, pendants made from shells found in the Gulf of California, and one burial contained a turtle shell, carefully placed over the abdomen, according to Past Horizons.

Garcia Moreno has been conducting work on behalf of Arizona State University with approval of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).The dental mutiliations discovered are believed to be a rite of passage.'The dental mutilation in cultures such as the Nayarit was seen as a rite of passage into adolescence,' said Moreno.'This is confirmed by the findings at the Sonora cemetery where the five bodies with dental mutilation are all over 12 years in age.'

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Yenisei River seasons

The Yenisei River powers Russian heavy industry and carves picturesque vistas as it flows over 3000 miles from Mongolia through Siberia before emptying out into the Arctic Ocean. Reuters photographer Ilya Naymushin documents much of the life on the river from his base in Krasnoyarsk, a city of nearly a million at the intersection of the Yenisei and the Trans-Siberian railroad. Gathered here are images of the Yenisei River through the seasons by Naymushin, most taken near Krasnoyarsk.

Diwali 2012 Festival of Lights

Hindus worldwide recently celebrated Diwali, a five-day "festival of lights" that marks the new year and honors the principle of good over evil. One Diwali ritual is honoring Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. The occasion is also celebrated with fireworks, the sharing of sweets and gifts, and by decorating homes with lights and candles. Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.

The wake of Typhoon Bopha: Philippines

Typhoon Bopha, an incredibly powerful typhoon, has killed hundreds, triggered landslides and floods and left immeasurable destruction in its path in the Philippines. The death toll stands at over 500 – entire families washed away – many still missing. At least 200 of the victims died in Compostela Valley alone. A muddy wasteland of collapsed houses and trees felled by ferocious winds; 300,000 left homeless in great need of water, food and shelter. – Paula Nelson 

Typhoon Bopha is shown moving toward the Philippines from the International Space Station, Dec. 2, 2012. The typhoon slammed into the Davao region of the Philippines early Dec. 4, killing hundreds and forcing more than 50,000 to flee from inundated villages. (NASA/Associated Press)

Snow Beuty

For those who desire a layer of snow with their holiday season it's been mainly green and brown so far this year in the Boston area. Since the start of December, here are some places that have already had the chance to experience the beauty and sometimes annoyance of a winter wonderland.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Google’s Data Centers Around the World

 Earlier today, Google released a massive gallery of pictures of their Data Centers around the world. In an effort for greater transparency, Google also published a guided tour on YouTube and even a Street View tour of their data center in Lenoir, North Carolina.With 13 data centers around the world (7 in the Americas, 3 in Asia and 3 in Europe) running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it’s fascinating to see how the world’s biggest Internet company is powered.
For all pictures, video and information, be sure to visit the official Google Data Centers site at: 

1. Douglas County, Georgia, USA 

Photograph by Google“These colorful pipes send and receive water for cooling our facility. Also pictured is a G-Bike, the vehicle of choice for team members to get around outside our data centers.” 

Inside Amazon’s ‘Chaotic Storage’ Warehouses

As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon needs somewhere to put all of those products. The solution? Giant warehouses. Eighty to be exact. Strategically located near key shipping hubs around the world.The warehouses themselves are massive, with some over 1.2 million square feet in size (111,484 sq m). And at the heart of this global operation are people (over 65,000 of them), and a logistics system known as chaotic storage.

An Amazing Gallery of Camel Hair Art

Throughout India, Pakistan and the Middle East you will find camels. These domesticated even-toe ungulates are not only hard workers, but they also provide milk and meat. These animals are celebrated in a variety of festivals including the world famous Bikaner Camel Festival in Rajasthan, India and camel beauty pageants in Abu Dhabi and the Cholistan Desert in Pakistan.According to photographer Osakabe Yasuo, this incredible camel hair artwork can up to three years to create. For the first two years, the hair is grown, trimmed and prepped. For competitions, the hair is then trimmed into intricate patterns and dyed for the dramatic effect you see below.Please enjoy this gallery of incredible camel art. Big thanks to Osakabe and the other photographers for documenting this fascinating tradition with such wonderful photos.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Bathing Bond beauty

Olga Kurylenko reveals her slim frame in a monokini on Miami Beach The make-up free 33-year-old emerged from the ocean flaunting her slim frame in the strapless one-piece, which she accessorised with a pair of cat-eye sunglasses.

River of fire

These astonishing aerial images captured by a NASA satellite reveal molten lava spewing from a Russian volcano that suddenly erupted after lying dormant for 36 years.The Plosky Tolbachik volcano on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula burst into activity on November 27, sending clouds of ash almost 10,000 feet into the air, and leading some experts to warn it could go on to unleash an eruption as powerful as that seen from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokel in 2010, which caused more than a week of air traffic disruption.Lava flows pouring from the mouth of the volcano - which appear like a river of fire in one infra-red image released by NASA - are reported to have destroyed two research camps and forced schools in nearby villages to close.

A second visible light image again picks out the lava flows - this time as a river of darkness coursing from the mouth of the volcano, which was continuing to spew clouds of ash into the air a week after the eruption.The images were captured by the satellite last week, in the days following the eruption on November 27. A third, composite image released by NASA combines a picture of the volcano from July 19 with fresh infrared data from December 3, post-eruption.The earlier picture is used as the background, with vegetation highlighted in red, older lava flows in dark grey and snow in white. It has been overlaid with a night time thermal infra-red image, captured on December 3, which picks out the hot lava flows in bright yellow.Russian authorities have now downgraded Tolbachik's alert status from red to orange, according to a report on But experts are said to be continuing to monitor the volcano for signs of further activity.

World’s largest container ship

The Marco Polo is also far bigger than the nuclear-powered French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, western Europe's largest warship.Her length is equivalent to well in excess of 100 family saloon cars and the ship can carry more than 16,020 containers on her vast decks. Marco Polo the new giant of the waves is five times bigger than an Airbus A380 or the size of four football pitches. Vessel is 51 times longer than superliner Queen Mary 2.Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering of South Korea, the new ship boasts a vareity of environmentally-friendly technologies, such as an electronically-controlled engine that allows reduced fuel consumption.With an improved hull design, the Marco Polo's CO2 emissions are much lower than the average cargo ship and a ballast water treatment system helps to prevent pollution.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Futuristic looking spaceport america

Spaceport America, dubbed as the first spaceport in the world, looks like a gigantic moth, its rounded wings outspread against the arid, reddish-brown dirt of southern New Mexico. The view from east reveals a curved, pitched glass facade, soaring steel hanger doors and a white-on-white interior. The lofty architecture encapsulates the equally lofty dream of this complex – to serve as the launch-pad for commercial spaceflight and the dawn of second space age.

The $209 million project has attracted worldwide attention because of its bold premise, stunning architecture and the fact that it is home to the world’s first commercial passenger spaceline company, Virgin Galactic which has signed a 20-year lease and has already launched 12 suborbital flights from the spaceport as of August 2012.

Spaceport America includes basic operational infrastructure such as an airfield, launch pads, terminal / hangar facility, emergency response capabilities, utilities and roadways. The site will be capable of accommodating the activities of both vertical and horizontal takeoff space launch vehicles, serving as the base for pre-flight and post-flight activities, and providing a tourism experience for interested visitors and spectators.

The complex is located in the Jornada del Muerto desert basin in New Mexico, United States just west of the White Sands Missile Range, about 140 km north of El Paso. The low-lying form is dug into the landscape to exploit the thermal mass, which buffers the building from the extremes of the New Mexico climate as well as catching the westerly winds for ventilation; and maximum use is made of daylight via skylights.

To say the site is remote doesn’t do it justice. A power substation had to be installed, wells dug, water and sewer systems put in place. And while the spaceport will have a restaurant, at the moment the nearest place to grab a meal is more than 20 miles away. Although Spaceport America officially opened in 2010, the public areas aren't slated for completion until 2013 by which Spaceport Authority hopes to make the place more inviting. Plans are afoot for an elaborate visitor center complete with interactive exhibits devoted to all manner of space-oriented activities.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

World’s Largest Underground Flood Water Diversion Facility

You are looking at the world’s largest underground flood water diversion facility. The Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel, also known as the G-Cans Project, is an underground water infrastructure   project in Kasukabe, Saitama, Japan. It was built to prevent overflow of the city’s major waterways and rivers during heavy rain and typhoon seasons. Work on the project started in 1992 and was completed by early 2009. It consists of five concrete containment silos with heights of 65 m (213 ft) and diameters of 32 m (104 ft). It is connected by 6.4 km (4 miles) of tunnels, 50 m (164 ft) beneath the surface. There is also a large water tank (shown above) with a height of 25.4 m (83 ft), a length of 177 m (581 ft), and a width of 78 m (256 ft). There are 59 massive pillars connected to a number of 10 MW pumps that can pump up to 200 tons of water into the Edogawa River per second.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

10 Incredible Object Graveyards

Have you ever wondered what happens to decommissioned machines and other similar facilities that people once used? Some of these objects are being recycled, and many of them are piling up on the so-called Object Graveyards and there waiting to be completely eaten by the ravages of time. Places of natural decomposition of such objects can be unusual tourist destinations and sites to captureamazing photos.
1. Aircraft Boneyard, USA

The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), often called The Boneyard is located near Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. For those of you that have never seen it, it's difficult to comprehend the size of it.

The pea souper that killed 12,000

The pea souper that killed 12,000: How the Great Smog choked London 60 years ago this week

A dense, green-yellow fog choked the streets. Cars edged forwards with passengers sitting on the bonnets shouting instructions. From behind the wheel, drivers could not even see as far as their own headlights. Mothers took their children to school with handkerchiefs and scarves wrapped over their faces. With their hands tightly clasped, they shuffled along in ‘crocodiles’.
One pedestrian remembers bumping into a motorcyclist who asked: ‘Which way to the Tube station?’

A thick, greasy, grimy fog descended on the city and killed 12,000 people in four days. A blanket of soot hung over the streets so thickly that visibility was reduced to a couple of yards or less.It was a pea-souper, a ‘London Particular’ — and it was the worst in history. The city had been paralysed by swirling fogs since the Napoleonic era, 150 years earlier. By the time Dickens came to write about them, he imagined dinosaurs stalking out of the mists. Readers of Sherlock Holmes cannot imagine the great detective without seeing him striding up Baker Street shrouded in eerie tendrils of fog.

But the Great Smog was not romantic. It was murderous. People and animals suffocated in appalling numbers, making it 20th-century Britain’s worst peace-time catastrophe. Londoners again had to summon up the Blitz spirit which had sustained them through the war. Professor Roy Parker, now a social historian, was living with his parents in Lewisham, South-East London in 1952. His father, a World War I veteran who had been gassed in the trenches, was intent on cycling to work even though the choking conditions caused severe pain in his damaged lungs. ‘He was 56 and in great distress, gasping for breath, struggling.’ But still he cycled on. Trams and buses could not run. One driver who tried said ‘fat flakes of soot stuck to the greasy windscreen like paint’ and could not be wiped off. In order to see just a couple of yards ahead, to where his conductor was walking with a torch to light the way, he had to lean out of the window.

The magic of Madagascar

Staggering landscapes and breathtaking natural beauty in the world's most unique ecosystem 
This breathtaking collection of photographs documents the staggering natural beauty and scenery of the island of Madagascar home to a unique collection of animals found nowhere else in the world.Deciated photographer Paolo Torchio, 51, spent over a month travelling through the Western region of the island just off the coast of Africa to capture the stunning shots.On his travels he captured the island's famous Baobab Trees as well as the jagged 'stone forest' of Tsingy, carved out over millions of years by acidic tropical rain.

Monday, 3 December 2012

The 'frozen wave'

At first glance these beautiful images from the Antarctic appear to show 50-ft tall waves that have been instantly frozen as they break.Some people have posted the pictures online, taken by scientist Tony Travouillon at Dumont D'Urville, with a description claiming they are a tsunami wave which was frozen.But although email chains and internet forums back this claim up, what is really pictured is the natural phenomenon of blue ice.
Imposing: Although this is not, as widely rumoured, a wave frozen while breaking, it is still an incredible phenomenon

One man and his tiger

It is quite common for people to form close and loving friendships with animals.But it is quite a different matter when that animal is a 27-stone tiger with a fondness for fighting.Abdullah Sholeh, 31 has formed an unbreakable bond with four-year-old feline Mulan.He regularly sleeps, plays and fights with the enormous tiger. The pair spend every day together after Mr Sholeh helped raise her from a three-month-old cub in Malang, Indonesia.He now cares for her full-time for owner Noer Mohammaed Sholeh - and has become affectionately known as the tiger nanny. The pair are so inseparable, Mr Sholeh often shuns his own bed to sleep alongside the big cat in a rickety outhouse.And Bengal Mulan is even known to 'mock attack', hug and kiss her companion when they play in the garden behind their home.However, despite the playfighting, Mulan clearly doesn't appreciate her strength.As one picture shows, Mr Sholeh was left with a bruised and bloodshot eye after being caught by one of Mulan's paws.

The pair spend every day together after Mr Sholeh helped raise her from a three-month-old cub in Malang, Indonesia

Travel Photo Challenge - Wondrous Waterfalls

Jennifer Lawrence – Bikini Candids in Hawaii

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