Category Archives: Photography

Dubai – Sharjah visit

For last few months, got opportunity to travel to, explore and work in Dubai, for over a short period of time. The place isn’t much interesting for IT in terms of development. Of course, service and maintenance is a market there.

I captured this opportunity more in terms of travel! My uncle and auntie were major pointers for weekend visits.

I also learnt from grand-auntie that before 30 to 40 years the land was simply dry and like unexplored-undeveloped place. A few tribes settled on shores of Gulf. Post 90s, real and infrastructural development started. According to uncle, real and considerable development happened in just a span of 10 years from 2000 to 2010. Economic crisis of 2009 slowed this. But by then its been pretty much developed.

In general local people are very much calm and little lazy. However the land has accepted expats warmly. Indians, Pakistanis,Philippi, African are dominating expats in head count.

In general place is very much tourist friendly – specially. Being born and brought up in India, developing country, it was next to impossible without compare.

Had both side of experiences from Bus transport – at times drivers failed to respond properly, on the other hand drivers used to stop bus for long time on seeing passenger coming towards. Height of unexpected support and help was that once driver jumped (there is no conductor – helper in public buses) from his cabin and lifted two of my trolley bags and wished for happy weekend!

Help desks on metro / bus stations were also very much useful place to plan in a direction.

Shopping is obviously very much fun and enjoyable experience. Taste of fragrance of perfumes to body sprays, and electronics – I just loved it. Customer retention and care is very much considerable. I too had such experience – On purchase of major electronics the bill had minor error. After reaching home I called them to check and manager asked to visit them next day. He accepted error and ‘gifted’ an SD card on my visit!

I indeed enjoyed cashless shopping.

FMCG shopping has never fun to me, even at departmental store. Of course, being a hub joining east and west,Dubai and Sharjah stores are full of varieties and options from both sides of world. I was amazed to find two date counters with so many varieties!

Overall public transport is very good. Of course, routes were altered frequently – a few stations also being dropped. But this is sign of improving and reviewing transport system. Most places in Dubai were approachable with metro or metro+bus. Taxis were also easily available. However my little experience with taxi drivers was not much good.

For now, I am listing table of places I visited:

Date Place Nearest point (metro / bus) Photos
17 June 2011 Wafi Mall link
18 June 2011 Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Fort Khalid Bin Al Waleed Metro Station link
Al Sabkha Abra Station Bur Dubai
Dubai Gold Souq Deira link
25 June 2011 Ibn Battuta Mall Ibn Batuta Metro Station link
Palm Jumeirah & Atlantis Hotel DubaiMarina Metro Station link
30 June 2011 Jumeirah Mosque Karama Metro Station link
Mercato Mall Karama Metro Station
Burj Al Arab Mall of Emirates Station, Nakheel Metro StationSeaside
Madinat Jumeirah Mall Mall of Emirates Station
Jumeirah Beach Residence – The Walk JLT Metro Station
9 July 2011 Mall of the Emirates Mall of Emirates Metro Station link
10 July 2011 Burj Khalifa 124 floor Dubai Mall station link
Internet City Internet City Metro Station

I started listing places very much late, till then I visited Sharjah Museum, Sharjah Gold Souk, Sharjah Corniche area, Dubai Mall, etc.

Here goes misc photos.

I am yet to enjoy desert safari, visit toAbu Dhabi, Al Ain, Al Fujirah!

Exploring Himalayan Valleys

It’s been more than a month since I already returned from the vacation, but this summer reminds me to write and ruminate about it!

Yes, already excited since planned. The journey began from Chandigarh, a shared capital of Punjab and Haryana, 2 neighboring states. We reached Chandigarh on 28th March, 2010 morning.

Plan was to catch booked taxi and have a quick city tour of Chandigarh. But the taxi operator had some problems with the reserved taxi and driver. Also he could not manage for alternate.
With another contact of my uncle, somehow managed to get another taxi, fortunately, with that delay we could adjust the schedule to reach Mandi, by skipping Chandigarh sight seeing!

We reached Mandi, a pre destination place for halt on 28th late evening. Almost everybody was tired.

We again started for Manali on 29th morning. On the way to Manali, we found one of the best utility of gravitation force, an automated ropeway to transfer goods – between higher peak to lower peak in diagonal distance!

Automated Ropeway 1

Automated Ropeway 1

Automated Ropeway 2

Automated Ropeway 2

Idea was simply good. Use of 2 trolleys, one for carrying goods, another (with heavier water containers) for pulling goods to upper side!
Passing appx. 5 KM long tunnel and beautiful mountain ranges, we were following Beas river almost throughout route.

Tunnel

Beas River

Beas River

Rope Bridge on Beas River

Rope Bridge on Beas River

During this, I realized the value of rope, especially in mountaineering. Be it making a bridge or transfer of goods, ropes make these things dynamic!

View from Hotel @ Manali

View from Hotel @ Manali

We touched Manali by evening; found and finalized stay at a hotel, little away from main city and market, but closer to nature, a very peaceful area.

Hidimba Temple

Hidimba Temple

The next day we visited Hidimba Temple. The design was very different, had a touch of Mongolian building style.

Apart from this, its an historical place. The building design was different from what I had seen so far, it was constructed with both stones and wooden slabs as packing. Possibly this combination is an invention to protect against earthquake shocks and frequently changing weather.

Yak, near Hidimba Temple, Manali

Yak, near Hidimba Temple, Manali

I saw ‘live – moving’ yak, for the first time in my life!

The owner asked for Rs. 50 for taking photo, after it was captured!!! The owner should not keep his yak in public then!!!! 😀

Evening @ Manali Market

Evening @ Manali Market

Manali was beggar free, one good point especially being a tourist place.

Way to Rohtang Pass

Way to Rohtang Pass

Snow fall @ Rohtang Pass

Snow fall @ Rohtang Pass

Snowsuit

Snowsuit

Get ready to ski

Get ready to ski

Bhojpatra

Bhojpatra

On 30th March early morning started for Rohtang Pass, probably most exciting, adventurous and beautiful place.

Rain wear was available on rent on the way to Rohtang Pass. Gum boots and snow resistant suit made all look fatty. I made some attempts to learn skiing, but low air pressure and suddenly started snow fall stopped me for more attempts. But experience and feeling being under snow fall was amazing!

The icy hills are best condition for Bhojapatra – an ancient white tree to grow self. These trees’ skin was used to write notes in old days.

My evening was bit boring as elders were busy shopping in Manali market. I passed time by updating through tweets.

The financial year may although passed with a tag like ‘recession’, but end was definitely going to override such tags as I was enjoying vacation at heavenly places.

On financial year end day, we visited Naggar, a nearby place to Manali. It has renovated and hotel turned castle. Although castle is not gigantic viz campus, the structure and design is perhaps unique.

Naggar Castle 1

Naggar Castle 1

Naggar Castle 2

Naggar Castle 2

Naggar Castle 3

Naggar Castle 3

Naggar Castle 4

Naggar Castle 4

Next visit was a Buddha Monastery and Manikaran, a holy place for the Sikhs, situated on the banks of river Parvati.

Buddha Monastery 1

Buddha Monastery 1

Buddha Monastery 2

Buddha Monastery 2

Buddha Monastery 3

Buddha Monastery 3

Buddha Monastery 4

Buddha Monastery 4

Manikaran

Manikaran Gurudwara

Rafting in Beas 1

Rafting in Beas 1

Rafting in Beas 2

Rafting in Beas 2

By evening, shopping of shawls from Factory outlets in Kullu highway was finished. Thereafter I enjoyed water rafting in Beas river with my daddy and rafting crews!

For safety measure, the authority was running a parallel raft boat with ours! This was probably next major adventurous and exciting experience for me, next to Rohtang.

On fools day, morning we left Manali and started for Dharmashala, another place with scenic beauty and closest place to headquarter of the Lamas. Highway was beautiful as Tea gardens passed by.

We settled at a hotel in Dharmashala by evening.

On 2nd April only plan was to visit McLeod Ganj, the most important and famous place, especially for Buddhist. This place in fact was giving essence like a capital of Tibet, too many Tibetians and foreigners.

McLeod Ganj 1

McLeod Ganj 1

McLeod Ganj 2

McLeod Ganj 2

McLeod Ganj 3

McLeod Ganj 3

McLeod Ganj 4

McLeod Ganj 4

3rd April was driving us towards end of vacation. We reached Pathankot railway station to catch train for return journey, by noon.

Visit to such places definitely expects good driving skills for any vehicle owner. The only thing we could not enjoy much is food, either traditional food in Himachal Pradesh consists more of non veg or that food is not much in focus. The only served Punjabi dishes, that we ate, were also not always satisfactory. But we did not go to such places to have food, so was ok to compromise at.

We had Ramesh & Bharati Dave, a known couple in Gujarati literature, with us, during the trip. To us, they are living encyclopedia of trees and flowers. Having them with us was another angle of fun and chance to grab some knowledge about nature! Sapling and shawls were the only shopping that they did!

Photos of trip are available at here, credit goes to my dad, brother and me! 🙂

Royal vacation @ Rajasthan

This Diwali, I went to Rajasthan with family. Only three, very selected destinations were routed – Kumbhalgarh, Chittorgarh, Bassi

Kumbhalgarh has world’s second largest wall – of 36 kilometers length. Lighting on monuments and wall is major attraction.

Night View of fort

Night View of fort

We were fortunate enough to have a night view with beautiful lights on the place for more than 30 minutes. Usually the place is enlightened for about 15 to 20 minutes only.
The reserved accommodation was simple and clean. Food was not upto suitable taste, of course, not bad at all!

Second day and night was planned to be spent at Chittorgarh – city of forts where a bunch of monuments are surrounded in a campus on mountain peak.
There, we compromised over accommodation but got reasonably acceptable. We were dissatisfied for food, what and wherever we had!
However, an evening tour to the fort was fabulous. On entering the campus, we hired a guide, mainly to have glimpse of monuments and to get proper road directions. The fort campus is so vast that a motorized vehicle is merely needed to visit every monument!
Its history had a general element that the Rajaputs, mostly fought in defensive manner!

Carvings on ceiling of Vijay Stambh

Carvings on ceiling of Vijay Stambh

Vijay Stambh

Vijay Stambh

Almost all monuments have unique carvings. The Vijaya Stambh is really a symbol of such high and unique architectural and structural design.
The light & sound show of 52 minutes was really good to visualize history.

The last day and night was just an experiment, and at end has turned to be most memorable place we visited in this trip.
Bassi is a small town, 25 kilometers away from Chittorgarh, on the highway to Kota. Nothing special, nothing great appeared till we reached to our ‘accomodation’. But anything and everything, appeared thereafter had an essence of royal!
The home of the Chundawats – Bassi fort is a unique symbol of hospitality. Just surfing through Internet, for accommodation inquiries for Kumbhalgarh and Chittorgarh, I came across this name, and fascinated by reviews forced to add one more destination to the vacation trip.
They have their own way to welcome guests. Not just that, the uniqueness differs when number of arriving guests increases! Food – quality, quantity & taste was highly upto our expectation.
The palace has very selected number of so called rooms, decorated with choice, rich of wall paintings. The furniture with ancient style carvings is another feather of royal theme.
Candle light dinner in open space in palace campus itself was a rare experience. If I could increase my vacation by one day, I was in mood to be seated on one of the Jharokhas whole night!
The palace campus has a Kalpavriksha – wish fulfilling divine tree, which has holy values in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The tree and its fruits have unique characteristics – fruit has life of 3000 years and the tree can survive without water for 2 to 3 years, according to Randheer Singh Chundawat & others.

Ranvijay Singh a.k.a. Shaitan Singh

Ranvijay Singh a.k.a. Shaitan Singh

The prince Chundawat – fondly calling self as Shaitansingh Chundawat is a cute boy. He is naughty enough to attract anyone! He too was expressing his freedom – as is studying in a school of Udaipur. And the time of vacation allowed him to move and enjoy inside big campus of the palace!

Upto our surprise, family members of the royal Chundawats spent enough time with us, talking about activities, little bit of history etc. Not just that, family members as if divided into small batches, attended us twice!
Finally, when a time to leave the wonderful place and royal family came, I realized that we stayed in a heritage hotel, by the last bill; of course, reasonable in amount!

I salute such ‘kingdom’ where ‘king’ is down to earth and good enough to maintain respect of ‘servant’!

Pics of visit are available here.

Fantastic trip to Jambughoda

Before quite some time, I had made a plan to visit Jambughoda, along with cousins for the holidays of 15th and 16th August.

I was not well one day before, so was in confusion about the plan. But everything went almost on track and we were on track to Jambughoda, about 190 Kilometers away from Ahmedabad.

Before checking in to the booked palace hotel, we went to Kadaa, a natural dam. This place is close to our destination and provides good stay. But we came to know about the place late, had no booking!

The destination – Jambughoda, is the palace of the Ranas. Apart from historic values, the hotel turned palace is great place with pleasant atmosphere, greenery all around. Basically, the locality too is a part of forest, so is rich of trees, different species of insects!!

A 10 Kilometers place, Jhand Hanuman appears to be a great attraction to devotees. Of course, the way to reach there is roller coaster journey.

We learnt that we should be familiar with local language, of the place to visit. Asking for direction and stay to local public, we could not fetch proper information, because we were going to stay in Raj Darbar!!

Dining experience at the palace hotel was not at all good, or perhaps we expected something great! Of course, by other opinions from past visitor, I can assume that the cook was under training and was experimenting on us!! 😀
We discovered a near by town, Badoli is a good place to eat around.

Proper trained staff and management at the palace hotel can fetch more fame. However, overall hospitality was good. And, stay in forest can perhaps not be better than this.

Selected pics are here.

Moon Mission

This weekend, Saturday night a sudden power failure in our area stopped many activities, but gave me a chance. Moisture in air drove everybody to go on terrace. Suddenly an idea clicked in my mind to have photography experiment on my dad’s Nikon D60 DSLR camera.

Full moon gave another opportunity. Here are few results….

Once again...

Once again...

Moon with co-star, photo taken with improper settings led to the blur photograph.

Not bad

Not bad

Good photo with co-star far away, but acceptable result and concentration.

I felt this photo best – it has a costar visible, rough surface on moon (no Hubble telescope is used! :p), sharpness is at expectedly best level.

Mission accomplished!

Digital v/s Optical zoom

Today we are crazy about gadgets. But very few of us know very few of true features and manipulated features.

PMPO is a buzzword for hype. Actual measure of an audio system (or hi-fi system) should be considered in RMS watts, not PMPO. We are attractive to high figures of PMPO.

Similar is the case with zoom – enlargement.

Today a lot many varieties available for different ranges of digital cameras, even shopkeepers are unknown to the basic difference between digital and optical zoom.

Many articles are available on internet to clarify difference.

However recently I had gone through an advertisement by famous camera brand Olympus. This will probably be like a picture is equals thousands of words!

Optical Zoom

Optical Zoom

So, the basic difference is that when you say digital zoom, it means that the picture has that much depth – in other words, you can enlarge them up to certain limit after taking photo, using some software. Lesser the digital zoom, lower will be the quality of image after enlargement. In short this is considerable factor after picture is stored. For more clarity just remember those attempts when you tried to make a big picture from a small photo using some software. And you perhaps end up with blur image with large size. Pixel (no of horizontal & vertical lines in a frame) is the measure for that.

On other hand, optical zoom has relation with the moment when you want to take picture. Higher zoom gives you benefit of taking photo from higher distance.

Also, too high range is not always good. It may happen that you fail up on your own camera when you want to cover a wide (not far!) area with close distance.

DSLR (digital SLR) or SLR camera is a type of camera that really teaches and shows real photography skills. Every minute and manual setting is possible – whether its aperture or shutter speed or even flash light effects at some extent, focal distance and many more….!

My father is learning how to operate and play with his newly purchased D60 from Nikon. I hope and wish to learn after he gets good grip over it. 🙂

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