Friday, 30 May 2014

Thar Desert, India

The Thar Desert is also known as the Great Indian Desert lies in the northwestern side of India and covers an area of 200,000 square km or even more. The desert acquires the land of the Indian states of Rajasthan (most part of the state), Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat whereas it expends to Sind and Punjab province of Pakistan as well.

You will find gigantic rolling sand dunes, dust storms with dust-raising winds where the usual velocities of the blowing winds are 140-150 Km/hr. During the summer months, the day temperature never falls below 50 degrees centigrade with sand temperatures mounting to 70 degrees or more.

The texture of the desert soils is usually sandy-loam having rigid pan of clay, and rich in calcium carbonate, gypsum and silica. The ground level of the desert is rich in minerals like iron ore and petroleum.

The desert area is intermingled with hillock, gravel and sandy plains. The diversified habitat of the this arid region of the desert is perfect for rich vegetation and animal life where you will find twenty three species of lizard and more than twenty five snake variety, the great Indian bustard, the Indian gazelle, the black buck, and the wild ass are found here. You will catch the sight of peacocks here and there around the human habitat in this arid region.

The sight of the Camels, the ship of Desert is seen here and there and the desert safaris on camels are mostly opted by travelers to enjoy the beauty of Thar Desert. You can also get around the region in Jeep safari.

Sources: 1, 2 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Imperial Remnants: 7 Abandoned Wonders of Historic India

The remains of once-flourishing empires of India, from the ancient Mughal to the British colonies, now stand in varying states of decay, from the perfectly-preserved to the ruinous. Ghost stories, legends of curses and the shadow of thousands of fatalities hover about these historic abandonments located throughout the Southeast Asian nation.

Ross Island British Colony

Tree roots strange the remains of bunkers and other structures of Ross Island, a former British colonial settlement in the Andaman Islands of India first inhabited by Westerners in 1788. Poor weather conditions led to a high mortality rate in its first years as a colony, and it was abandoned, but in 1887, after a number of Indian uprisings, it was repopulated for use as a jail and penal colony. In 1942, Japanese troops invaded, but the British regained control after World War II was over and eventually passed the island onto the Indian Navy. Ross Island was established as a tourist attraction by 1993, and today, brick pathways enable visitors to explore the wild remains.

Bhangarh, India, “The Most Haunted Place in Asia”

Remote and rarely visited, the ghost village of Bhangarh is reputed to be ‘the most haunted place in Asia.’ Its location between the cities of Delhi and Jaipur, with no nearby shops or restaurants, makes it somewhat difficult to access. Established in 1573, the town began to decline by 1630 and was entirely uninhabited by 1783 after political strife and a famine. Entry is strictly prohibited between dusk and dawn, with locals claiming that anyone who does disappears, but during the day, occasional hardy tourists who have heard the legends about paranormal activity among the ruins trickle through. As the legend goes, the city of Bhangarh was cursed by the Guru Balu, who sanctioned construction of the town, but warned “The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, the city shall be no more!” A prince ignored the threat, raising a palace high enough to cast a shadow on Balu Nath’s retreat, resulting in a curse.

Whatever the reason for its decline, Bhangarh is a place of incredible beauty, the half-fallen village set against lush greenery and rocky cliffs.

Ancient Mandu

The ancient settlement of Mandu was the capital city of a northern Indian Muslim state between 1401 and 1561, but has lain abandoned for 400 years. Located in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh, it’s a fortress town full of impressively ornate stone mosques, palaces, Jain temples and other structures and encircled by a battlemented wall. Places of interest include a ship palace between two artificial lakes, so named because it appears to float, as well as a royal complex that still bears witness to the once-great society its residents ruled. Rarely visited by Western tourists, the ruins are a bit of a hidden gem.

Kalavantin Durg, India’s Most Dangerous Fortress

Reputedly the most dangerous fortress in the world, Kalavantin Durg can only be accessed via an extremely strenuous trek up the side of a near-vertical mountain. Today, stairs make it a little easier for visiting tourists to access the top for views that reach all the way to Mumbai. The fort is believed to have been built around the time of Buddha, roughly 500 BCE, for a queen named Kalavantin, but that’s about all anyone knows of its origins. The local Adivasi people climb to the top of the fort on every Shimga Festival of Holi. It hasn’t been in use as a fort for centuries.

The Ghost City of Dhanushkodi

The site of the only land border between India and Sri Lanka, Dhanushkodi thrived as a tourist and pilgrimage town until a 1964 cyclone destroyed the railway line from Mandapam, cutting off access. On the night the cyclone hit, a passenger train was traveling to the town from Pamban with 110 passengers and 5 railway staff on board. A massive tidal wave from the storm washed away the entire train, leaving no survivors. All together, 1800 people died, with all houses and other structures in Dhanushkodi flooded or marooned. The government declared Dhanushkodi an uninhabitable ghost town.

Fatehpur Sikri Ghost Town

Founded in 1569 as the capital of the Mughal Empire by Emperor Akbar, the walled city of Fatehpur Sikri consists of royal palaces, courts, a mosque, a harem and other buildings. Beautiful as it was, a shortage of water and proximity to areas that were in turmoil led to its abandonment by 1585, and after establishing a new base, the Emporer never even returned. It’s been abandoned ever since, but is rare for its level of preservation, with much of it looking virtually untouched. Situated on a rocky ledge, Fatehpur Sikri is made of the locally quarried red sandstone and boasts a dramatic 177-foot-high entrance.


Once home to 500,000 inhabitants, making it the second-largest city in the world at the time, Vijaya Nagara is a now-ruined capital surrounding modern-day Hampi. The most powerful kingdom in India at the height of its glory in the year 1500, the city was described by a Portuguese visitor in 1522 as “large as Rome and very beautiful to the sight” and “the best-provided city in the world.” But in 1565, the empire’s armies suffered a catastrophic defeat, and the capital was taken by the Muslims who razed, depopulated and destroyed the city. The whole area reverted to a more primitive agricultural society for centuries, but the construction of two hydroelectric facilities in the 20th century led to rapid growth in the local population. While the ruins are still abandoned, and officially a historic site, the surrounding area now has 2.5 million residents.

Source: weburbanist

Monday, 26 May 2014

Ouadi Qadisha (The Holy Valley)

Ouadi Qadisha is one of the most important settlement sites of the first Christian monasteries in the world, and its monasteries, many of which of great age, are set in an extraordinarily rugged landscape. Nearby are the vestiges of the great cedar forest of Lebanon, highly prized in ancient times for the construction of great religious buildings.

The Qadisha Valley site and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab) are located in northern Lebanon. The Qadisha Valley is located North of Mount-Lebanon chain, at the foot of Mount al-Makmel and West of the Forest of the Cedars of God. The Holy River Qadisha, celebrated in the Scriptures, runs through the Valley. The Forest of the Cedars of God is located on Mount Makmel, between 1900 and 2050 m altitude and to the East of the village of Bcharré.

The rocky cliffs of the Qadisha Valley have served over centuries as a place for meditation and refuge. The Valley comprises the largest number of monasteries and hermitages dating back to the very first spread of Christianism. The main monasteries are those of St Anthony of Quzhayya, Our Lady of Hauqqa, Qannubin and Mar Lichaa. This Valley bears unique witness to the very centre of Maronite eremitism. Its natural caves, carved into the hillsides - almost inaccessible - and decorated with frescoes testifying to an architecture specifically conceived for the spiritual and vital needs of an austere life. There exist numerous terraces for growing grain by the monks, hermits and peasants who lived in the region; several of these terraces are still under cultivation today. 

Linked to the Qadisha Valley through historic reference and contiguity, the Forest of the Cedars of God is the last vestige of antique forests and one of the rare sites where the Cedrus lebani still grows, one of the most valued construction materials in the antique world and cited 103 times in the Bible.

Criterion (iii): Since the beginnings of Christianity, the Qadisha Valley has given shelter to monastic communities. The trees of the cedar forest are the survivors of a sacred forest and one of the most prized building materials in ancient times.

Criterion (iv): The rugged Valley has long been a place of meditation and refuge. It comprises an exceptional number of coenobite and eremitic monastic foundations, some of which date back to a very ancient period of the expansion of Christianity. The monasteries of the Qadisha Valley are among the most significant surviving examples of the strength of the Christian faith.

Integrity (2009)

The Qadisha Valley comprises all the caves, monasteries and cultivated terraces that are associated with the activities from a very early phase of Christianity. The cultural elements of the site are for the most part existent, but their state of conservation varies: some religious buildings are dilapidated, their stability is precarious and with a few exceptions, the frescoes have almost all disappeared. The visual integrity of the Valley is disturbed by the increase in human settlements in the vicinity, especially on the ridges surrounding the Valley as well as by the uncontrolled visitor flow. The Reserve of the Forest of the Cedars of God is located within the boundaries of the property and is well preserved. However, its visual integrity is affected by souvenir shops on one side and by an illegal construction on the eastern side. The entrance to the Forest should be monitored and the illegal building should be demolished, in particular as it is located in an area subject to reforestation. 

Authenticity (2009)

The original character of the ancient monastic troglodyte habitats is still visible. The monastic architecture and the agricultural habitats of the Valley have not yet been modified or altered by substitution interventions. In addition, they have not been hampered by activities incompatible with the spirit of the place. Over time, some sites have lost certain of their characteristic elements such as frescoes or structures. The global authenticity of the Christian vestiges is consequently vulnerable. The Forest of the Cedars of God has maintained its authenticity as related to the survival of its trees. 

Source: unesco 

Amazing And Beautiful Places Around Asia

A dam in Rayong, Thailand.

Maya Bay, Thailand

Hiroshima Castle, Japan

Maldives Islands

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Rock Islands, Palau

South Korea

Neelkanth Mahadev : Blue Throated Shiva

Neelkanth temple is one of the most sacred place of worship for the Hindus. It is located on a hill above Swargashram in Rishikesh and is situated at an altitude of 925 mts. Neelkanth temple is considered to be an apt example of complete natural hill heaven that lies adjacent to mountain ranges of the Nar-Narayan. Because of its beauty & religious importance the devotees and nature lovers visit the place round the year. Neelkanth Mahadev temple is considered to be one of the most famous temples and is situated at the confluence of the Madhumati and Pankaja rivers, amidst three valleys- Vishnukoot, Brahmakoot & Manikoot.

Way to NeelKanth

The way to the temple is quite exhilarating. The steep & narrow roads taking above the hill, in which the river is flowing on one side and mountain terrain is on the other side. Road is very curvy and narrow with steep slopes as one can expect on any hill station, so be carefull while driving. Incase you don't have a experience of driving on hills better park your vehicle at Ram Jhula taxi stand and hire a cab. It's a drive of 32 kms from Rishikesh via barrage or alternatively one can walk 22 kms via Ram Jhula to get there.


The centuries old Neelkanth temple in Rishikesh preserves in itself the celestial aura and the spiritual ambience within itself. It is enriched with legendry anecdotes and mythological stories. The name Neelkanth has been assigned to Lord Shiva and the story behind the name goes as follows.

The Puranas state that during the churning of the ocean- Samundra Manthan, there came out a poison. The venom was extremely poisonous that it could exterminate mankind. Gods were distraught and didn't know how to destroy it. Lord Shiva took a precarious step of drinking the venom to save his devotees. He drank the poison but did not swallow it. He allowed it to remain in his throat which turned his throat blue. Neel defines the color blue, Kanth means throat & Mahadev means Lord of the Gods. It is said that this is the place where Lord Shiva drank the poison. The gods tried hard to placate him and decided to pour water on his head to calm him down. That is why devotees pour water even now on the lingam. Later, a temple was built around this place which stands even today in the honor of Lord Shiva.


The temple's exterior has a beautiful architecture. The entire Samundra Manthan has been depicted with colorful idols of Gods and Goddess. The entire story of samudra manthan has been presented on the walls in vivid colors and intricate architecture. The inner sanctum is equally beautiful. A life-sized idol of goddess Parvati is seated near the entrance. Her striking sumptuousness combined with the magnificent aura makes the place divine. The arena around the lingam is made of marble. On the columns are etched the minutiae of the Dwarpals (guards) with intricate detailing that showed their weapons. Opposite to the lingam is present Lord Shiva's mount Nandi, the bull. The lingam is encased in silver & it has an opening at the top to see the original form.

Gigantic and aged pipal tree is present at the exit of sanctum. Devotees tie up sacred thread on the tree for the want of their wishes, they revist the temple to open the tie whenever their wishes are fullfilled. Devotees visit Neelkanth Mahadev temple to seek moksha, solitude and inner peace of mind.

Source: therishikesh 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Most Beautiful Pools in Asia

Summer is here, outside temperature is hot and it stays bright till late. It is the perfect time to pick your holiday if you have not done so yet, and the following gallery with the most beautiful pools might help you.

Infinity Pool on 55-Storey Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

Maldives. Huvafen Fushi Resort

Infinity Pool in Maldives, Reethi Rah Hotel

Bali. Ubud Hanging Gardens Hotel

Munduk Moding Plantation Hotel . Bali

Alila Villas Uluwatu Hotel. Bali

Infinity Pool in Acuatico Beach Resort, Philippines

Thailand. Golden Triangle Resort

Source: viraleum