5 Places you would love to visit in this lifetime.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
Saint Augustine

Everybody loves to travel. It is more of a luxury for some than others….. but I haven’t really met anybody who doesn’t love to travel. I am sure like me everybody has a list. Mine is very very….. long. So much that if I were to not do anything and just travel I wouldn’t complete that in this lifetime. Only if I would get a sponsor for the same ūüėČ

I am a big time kabadiwali at heart. I love old ruins and the stories that go with it. The best part of any travel for me is to sit in an absolutely ruined place and just imagine stuff that must have happened there….. listening to stories of the bygones and just soaking in the vibrations and the feel of the place. ¬†The photographer in me tries to give new perspective to places through my lens. A very difficult thing to combine both. In most cases I get lost in the stories at other times I am concentrating and composing so those stories come out in my pics. I have got a combination of both but not very often. Sometimes I come back with only the stories or only the pics.

My list is so long that just to name 5 from the whole list took me hours of thinking. Finally I took the ones that I would do anything to go to :

Machu Picchu :

pic courtesy nat geo

pic courtesy nat geo

Machu Picchu tops the list any day. This Incan built structure has been deemed the ‚ÄúLost Cities‚ÄĚ, unknown until its relatively recent discovery in 1911.

Archaeologists estimate that approximately 1200 people could have lived in the area, though many theorize it was most likely a retreat for Incan rulers. Yet another asserts that it may have been built as a prison for a select few who had committed heinous crimes against Inca society. An alternative theory is that it is an agricultural testing station. Different types of crops could be tested in the many different microclimates afforded by the location and the terraces.

From what I have seen of the pics on various mediums, this is a place that is surrounded by mountains and a river that flows around it plus it has various temples and is flaunted with little terraces all through. The sunrise and sunset are supposedly marvelous and the trek up is wonderful…. a truly photographers delight.

Pyramids and Sphinx of Egypt:

pyramids

pic courtesy Wikipedia

This has been my dream destination since my childhood. I have always been enamored by the stories of the long-lost tombs of the pharaohs. So much has been researched about the pharaohs and mummies. As for me, I have visited a lot of museums which have artifacts of the mummies. Recently went to one in Singapore where they had some beautifully preserved mummies on display. The attraction is the mystery surrounding the pyramids and its builders and an era that disappeared in the sands of the desert.

Stories of¬†Ramses,¬†Tutankhamun, Nefertiti, have always seemed so interesting that visiting them in person is something I have been wanting to do for a very very long time. Historically….. photographically this is a must go to place for me.

Angkor Wat:

pic courtesy wikipedia

pic courtesy Wikipedia

Angkor Wat is an iconic monument of Cambodia. It is a Hindu temple built by King Suryavarman II, dedicated to Vishnu which has later been converted to a Buddhist temple in the 16th century after it came under the care of Buddhist Monks.¬†Its perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief’s and sculpture makes it one of the finest monuments in the world.

It is generally accepted that Angkor Wat was a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II and oriented to the west to conform to the symbolism between the setting sun and death. The bas-reliefs, designed for viewing from left to right in the order of Hindu funereal ritual, support this function. This sandstone structure is flanked with sculptures of the Ramayana and Mahabharata embedded in its walls and alleys.

For me the stories of blending of two religions is very interesting. Photographically:  The temple at Angkor Wat is a bit unusual the fact that it was built to face the West (most temples have been built to face the rising sun.) As a result, the iconic image of the Temple with the sun rising behind it from the East is rare almost non-existent. There are just two times a year when this is possible; during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes (around March 20th and September 22 each year.) This is a must on my list.

Pristine beaches of Maldives :

pic courtesy Google images

pic courtesy Google images

Putting the kabbadi wali in me at a back seat….. I want to go to some really pristine beaches with clear blue water and amazing water world……. hence my choice of ¬†Maldives. The pics of these places are so beautiful also the documentaries that I have seen of them are simply mind-blowing. I want to spend hours and days just photographing the seascapes…… the sunrise and sunsets not to mention the colors of the sea at different times of the day and the shoals of multi colored fish.

Another agenda on my list while I am there is to make castles with¬†white sand ūüėÄ

Something about the sea just about relaxes me. Maybe its the waters maybe its just the walking barefoot on the sand. But I am very chilled out at any sea beach. I guess we all are!!!

Valley of Flowers

pic courtesy Hindu

When the earth is happy it produces flowers

If someone told you that you could have the most¬†¬†beautiful flowers in the most serene and peaceful places on earth….. and not require a passport or visa for it…… SIMPLY AWESOME!!!

I love flowers. I am a big time sucker for them. It is natures gift to us….. humans. ¬†I get lost photographing flowers. I can spend hours looking for different ways to make a flower look different and more beautiful. My most favored destination for flowers should have been Amsterdam. But for me it is the valley of flowers, not only because it is a place for beautiful flowers but also has a lot of significance for being one of the most peaceful destinations. It has been favored by many Indian yogis for meditation.

I first heard of the valley of flowers from a friend who had been there with her family almost a decade ago. I was simply in awe after that. Subsequent research about the place has confirmed it to be one of the must go to places for me.

Located in the state of Uttarakhand, nestled in the Himalayan range, the Valley of Flowers has many different colourful flowers, taking on various shades of colours as time passed. It has a vast variety of endangered medicinal herbs as well. Nestled in the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Gharwal region, the valley is also home to a large number of animals including the Snow Leopard and numerous butterflies.

This place also houses¬†the Hemkund lake, which is of religious significance to the Sikhs, who believe that Guru Gobind Singh meditated on these banks.¬†For the Hindus this is supposedly the nandan kanan…… the garden of Indra and this was the place from where Hanuman had revived the sanjeevani to revive Lakshman.

So these were my top 5 must visit places. I wanted to add the Forbidden city in Beijing, Vietnam, Japan, Italy, (Venice & Rome), Jungfraujoch and Interlaken in Switzerland, Petra in Jordan, Grand Canyon of Colorado, Netherlands¬†(Only for the flowers and windmills), Paris, Norway, Sarnath, Golden temple, Pondicherry, Marble Rocks in Jabalpur, Rann of Kutch, Kashmir, Kerala, etc. These were the shortlisted….. nominated ones¬†I debated on BUT……….. decided to go with the best.

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