Ruins photography is a relatively new form of photography that focuses on the aesthetic and artistic value of modern urban decay. It’s increasingly becoming popular and getting notoriety.
In ruin photography, the subjects are typically large industrialized cities (e.g. New York City, Chicago, or Detroit) but can be any landscape, building, or symbolic representation of modern ruin and deindustrialization.
An abandoned factory hall in ruins
Ruins photography aestheticizes the abandonment and decline of the city most of all and has sparked conversations about the role of art in various revitalization and restoration projects from Detroit to Berlin.
San Galgano Abbey Ruins
Popular staples of ruins photography can include abandoned houses, neglected factories left over from the Industrial Revolution or auto industry booms, as well as bridges, abandoned lots, tenant or apartment buildings, or gutted theaters or offices.
Heiligendamm Villa Ruin in Germany
The style relies heavily on lighting, detail close-ups, long shots, and digital imaging.
Ruins photography is different from historical architectural photography in that it does not focus on comparisons between past and present but instead focuses on the state of the subject and how it came to be dilapidated.
Summit Castle, Burgruine in Switzerland in Ruins
Ruins photography as a way of marketing for potential tourism, while yet others have insisted that it can serve as a powerful call to action to do something about the city.
Detroit, Michigan is a major center for ruins photography. Since manufacturing jobs began leaving the city in the 1950s, Detroit has not only seen a decline in population, but also has seen many buildings and homes abandoned, vandalized, and destroyed.
Many other major cities and smaller settlements that once thrived have decayed over periods of time, some even becoming ghost towns due to economic hardship or civil unrest.
The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, saw its population vanish due to a fire that spread from a nearby cemetery and ended up sparking smoldering flames in extensive abandoned coal mines below the district.
The state of Pennsylvania has blocked roads to the area, but there are about ten vigilant inhabitants that remain. Other examples of urban decay include Gary, Indiana, and Camden, New Jersey.
Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan was an empty island that became populated due to its coal deposits. Home to some of Japan’s first concrete high rise buildings, it became a ghost town when petroleum replaced coal.
Another example of a ghost town is Kolmanskop, Namibia, built by Germans into a successful diamond mining community. After the mining stopped and the workers left, the desert repossessed the area.
Oh! when the summer arrives, Antarctica sounds divine, doesn’t it? The summer months and early winter months mark as a travel season for most of the North Americans and Europeans. Many fly halfway across the globe to visit their dream destinations.
If you are planning to visit Antarctica, why fly and spend big bucks when you can immerse yourself in the excitement of an Antartica cruise! Antarctica might be the coldest and the driest, but it is also the queen of polar expeditions.
So, when you get a chance to ditch all the regular tour packages and embark on a polar voyage, why not take it?
Visit in November
Golden sunset in Antarctica
Traveling to Antarctica is not all flowers and the sunshine. That is why most of the travelers tend to visit during the summer months.
But we recommend that you travel in winter. Since Antartica is in the southern hemisphere, it means the months of November and December are warmer while the northern hemis[here begins to get chilly.
The Austral Spring is already on the go and you can see the sights that you will seldom see if you take the cruise at any other time of the year.
You see the cute penguins following the courtship rituals, humpback whales feeding on the zooplankton, Crab-eating Seals guarding their younger ones and Southern Elephants on the watchdog duty.
It is only at this time of the year that the entire Antarctic habitat decides to unveil itself.
It is not just the animal habitat that is in its ultimate glory. The white sheet of icebergs shine and glow with the nests of various animals. It is the best time to capture the unadulterated magic of the Southern Pole.
The Hurtigruten Way
Hurtigruten is an age-old cruising company, based in Norway. Instead of flying, you can cruise along in the expertly designed ships and see the frozen beauty of Antarctica up close.
There are many cruise packages that Hurtigruten offers. And that includes three of its leading ships – MS Fram, MS Roald Amundsen, and MS Midnatsol.
No of Cruises available – 8
Short trips – 5
MS Fram is a trendsetter in the line of adventure travel ships. It offers five short voyages to Antarctica. It’s usually a two-week voyage from Ushuaia. Argentina through the mysterious Drake Passage.
They also have tours in January-February, but it’s more expensive than November. We recommend traveling in November when the price is lower, and the sights are gorgeous.
But the golden deal is in October. It is just the time when the Antarctic ice starts melting and you can see the polar wildlife come out of their hiding. MS Fram departs from Montevideo, Uruguay in South America.
Another season package is available in February, where you get to see the beautiful Chile Coast. As we said earlier the price tag during January – February goes a notch higher.
A golden sunset in Antarctica
No of Cruises available – 9
Short trips – 9
MS Midnatsol offers shorter voyages than the other two ships. And it gives a luxurious experience even in the remotest of locations. You get a Jacuzzi and a sun deck in the freezing poles, isn’t that exciting?
All the itineraries of MS Midnatsol are short and swanky. The ship offers a two week trip in November and a few trips in February.
If you really want to celebrate White Christmas, then MS Midnatsol does offer a Christmas voyage each year. A two-week adventure trip to Antarctica is the best way to finish strong and start your new year!
If you are interested in seeing the Chilean Fjords or touching the icebergs or if you want to enjoy the views of the Patagonian Coast- then check out MS Midnatsol tours.
Hiking on the slippery ice might sound tempting and MS Midnatsol makes it possible. You can go on circling and enjoying the beauty of the South American coast and may even visit the Falkland Islands.
Light reflecting through frozen polar ice
MS Roald Amundsen
No of Cruises available – 3
Short trips – 2
This brand new addition to the fleet of Hurtigruten is MS Roald Amundsen. It defines sustainable travel to perfection. It uses modern technology in an environment-friendly design which is commendable.
There are number voyages of MS Roald Amundsen to Antarctica each year. Usually, the tours span to 18- 19 days and are far pricier than the other ships. But as we mentioned earlier, you can’t go wrong on any of these ships!
For some time now, the idea of living in Mars has preoccupied and fascinated quite a bunch of us. Surprisingly, this fascination began even before we made our first ever landing on the moon.
Mars has not only been a prominent case study in various sci-fi projects, but it has also inspired numerous dreams of both exploration and adventure.
Now, after years of extensive research, determination, as well as scientific breakthroughs, we can now conclusively state that the mars journey is indeed on. Yes, we are really traveling to Mars!
A Tour to Mars
Photo: NASA (CC0)
According to Elon Musk, an accomplished space entrepreneur, and founder of SpaceX, an independent city on our neighboring planet with approximately one million inhabitants may well be a reality within five decades.
He has particularly warned that humans would eventually need to desert earth to avoid not only an imminent Doomsday Event’ but also our ultimate extinction’ from the massive earthquakes or other numerous catastrophes.
In fact, SpaceX is anticipating the launch of a massive rocket, designed to ferry individuals to the red planet. Musk is developing a reusable space vehicle that can transport about 100 individuals with the very first mission commencing in 2022.
Photo: SpaceX (CC0)
While the plans seem underway, there are, however, several pending questions about the whole mission and what it would mean if they indeed do succeed. Some of the most prominent ones include:
NASA has outlined that in the next decade, they will have established a spacecraft that can travel to Mars; a massive 2500 ton SLS which will be combined with the Orion Capsule.
This vessel will allow astronauts to traverse and explore beyond the typical safety of Earth’s low orbit, the first mission of its kind since the Apollo Moon Program ended in 1972.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners (Space exploration)
Nonetheless, Safe landing could be challenging. While NASA used a dynamic sky crane in successfully landing its 1-ton Curiosity rover in 2012, Orion Capsule alone weighs about 10 tons, not to mention the inclusion of landing rockets and service modules.
NASA is however presently creating inflatable giant heat shields purposed for slowing spacecraft as they are approaching Mars, which makes the landing of larger craft realistic.
Lastly, there is the small issue of cost. Traveling to Mars will be extremely expensive. Although it is not yet clear how much it would cost to go to Mars, the figure can be estimated to tens of billions of dollars.
After a safe and successful landing on Mars, we will, of course, need food, water, power, and of course air for survival.
While we could initially rely on the supplies we bring along from Earth or earlier sent during supply missions, we are, however, going to have to generate our own and establish a self-sufficient Mars base.
Photo: NASA – Mars, a red planet (CC0)
The 2020 Rover made by NASA will conduct an electrolysis test that will use carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere in extracting oxygen.
Evidence indicates that this planet was initially overflowing with water bodies. As such, there is a possibility that there are traces of water either at the ice caps or perhaps beneath the surface.
Additionally, extraction of water from sweat and urine through effective recycling system-initiated on the ISS (International Space Station) may also help although it will be short of the amount needed to sustain an entire community.
Therefore, we could tap into any available water source.
What could be difficult is perhaps food production. A non-profit Organization is conducting experiments by growing crops in their secluded research station based in a Utah desert.
Digby Tarvin, a software engineer and also a Mars enthusiast says the results are exciting but not entirely conclusive.
Finally, when it comes to power, there are several options on how to generate fuel. First, we could use nuclear batteries and fuel cells amplified by sun rays (solar).
Alternatively, we could split the frozen water in the permafrost of the Martian subsurface into oxygen and hydrogen, both of which could be used for breathing, drinking, and propelling the travel gadgets.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners (An Artist’s vision of Space age)
Initially, we will be residing or staying in hibernation within the capsules they arrive in, possibly enhanced by several inflatable domes and capsules sent before.
However, just as is the plan to use local resources to acquire food, water, as well as energy, we will as well look to use local materials in establishing larger colonies.
Photo: NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover (CC0)
It would work if we used Martian rock in burying the habitats to assist in shielding dwellers from radiation. Later, we could drill the surface to create caves or even excavate rocks for building materials.
Who knows, we may also perhaps also extract valuable minerals for glass or metal.
Each step of launching human civilization on the red planet is ideally possible; and with effort and dedication, it is actually doable. The question, however, remains: are we really up for it?
This is the story of how a distance of 480 km took us three days on a motorbike on one of the toughest terrains in the world. Yes, you read it right, the Manali–Leh highway in Northern Himalayan region of India is one of the toughest terrains.
Biking Manali Leh Highway
Four of us started with two Royal Enfields. Three of us could ride and we all took turns. The only traffic here is the occasional Indian Army trucks and other soul-searching wanderers who are also willing to test their will.
We started this adventure to ride what is claimed as the highest motorable road in the world. In this remote region, the phone connectivity is unheard of and you have to enter your details at every check post to let them know you’ve survived, to tell the tale. To live another day.
It was around 1 in the noon, when we had to stop riding. The tire was now wobbling beyond control. We couldn’t prolong it anymore. 12 spokes were broken. And we were in the middle of nowhere.
Our friend’s bike had gone ahead. We were wondering what to do next when we saw a bike coming from the opposite direction. Delighted we stopped him, asking him if he had seen our other rider somewhere ahead. He had, but almost an hour earlier.
No way of contacting the other bike, no towns spotted in the vicinity, and with no other riders for as far as we could see. This was not looking good. This was not how I had planned my bike trip to go when we started 3 days ago.
They said it would take us three days to do it. We had rented our bikes in Manali, filled them up with fuel, carried extra fuel in cans and off we went.
We knew the roads could get brutal, the climate could turn any moment without notice from warm sunny mornings to mild showers. At noon time we were enveloped in clouds and in the evenings we were greeted by the chilly winds.
Let’s recollect the journey. Let’s start at the beginning.
With all our gears on we slowly rode out of Manali towards Rohtang pass. Our journey had begun. Rohtang is the first high altitude pass (3987 M) you encounter when you set off towards this Himalayan journey.
We were initially cruising at a decent speed wondering why people take two-three days, as the roads though mountainous were well maintained. Soon we reached the beginning of the pass and it was here we encountered how brutal the mountains can actually get.
As we started ascending the pass, the roads started deteriorating. Pretty soon they became non-existent. All there was, was mud sloshed due to the slight rain which made it almost impossible to ride on, especially with a pillion.
Biking in the Mud
So two of us had to get off and walk down the road while the other two struggled to keep the bikes steady. The adventure had just begun. The muck which was almost 10 cm deep and your feet would go right in till the ankle.
The only people who were actually still cruising at their original speed were the truck drivers. At one point hitchhiked in the truck till a point where the roads got decent again which was after an easy half an hour.
We made it past the pass and down to a nominal altitude by 4 pm. Which was where we realized we had only covered 80 km in 5 hours!
Rest in Keylong
The other 40 KM of the day took us another 4 hours and by the time we reached Keylong it was pitch dark. We could hear the sound of a river flowing right next to us while the only source of light was from our bikes headlight.
One wrong turn could leave us going down the cliff into the icy cold water or right into the rocky mountain on the other side.
Dirty, exhausted we made it to the end of day one. After a quick dinner we went to our beds. Dreaming of how tomorrow would be.
DAY 2. KEYLONG-PANG (180 KM)
The next morning we were mentally prepared for what was ahead. We set out after a hot breakfast, cruising through the road for about an hour thinking we had gotten better after the previous day’s experience.
Of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy, we soon stopped at what was a waterfall flowing on the road. Rocks below, water flowing from the top. Even if the pillion got off, we still had to walk across the water and since we were not wearing gumboots the water went through our shoes. And our feet froze.
We rode past many such streams/waterfalls which flowed right through the road, the occasional rocks which fell from a landslide here and there, the muddy slush, the sandy road, and rocky terrain that day.
The Beauty of Pang
After riding through one of the most beautiful landscapes with natural rock formation, clean blue skies, and yellow-brown rocky cliffs, we reached Pang by evening.
Pang is just simply mesmerizing. It is a village with no phone connectivity at all. It did have an army base however which had a landline connection. Pang is a high altitude village located at almost 4200 m above sea level. And at that attitude sleep was hard to come.
The stars you see during the night from this village are mind-blowing. We saw almost one shooting star every ten minutes and the mesmerizing view of our milky way galaxy to make up for the lack of sleep.
We started our final stretch riding through another high altitude pass where the lack of oxygen and us being tired due to lack of sleep made it hard for us to continue.
The other bike went further ahead while we were cruising at a slower pace. As we crossed around 40 KM, we came past an amazingly rare straight stretch with well-maintained road our spirit rose.
All was well when suddenly our tire started wobbling. It was here we stopped to find out 12 spokes were broken. And there was no mechanic or civilization there. We then somehow pushed the bike and walked for about a Kilometer when luckily we found a small village with 10 houses.
A Kind Stranger
A small shop owner told us we could stay there while waiting for vehicles which could give us a lift. After an hour of sitting by the road hoping for a vehicle to pass by we finally saw a minivan. The villager stopped the van, spoke to the driver, explained our problem and he finally agreed to haul our bike on the back and take us to Upshi, the next town 30 KM away with a mechanic.
We were saved. While we hopped on the van, the other bike which had gone ahead came back as they heard about us stuck here through another rider. Now all four of us were together and we were finally heading towards Leh.
When we reached the mechanic, he did not have the needed bike spokes and asked us to go look for the spare spokes in Leh and to get it repaired there. (Sigh!)
Upshi to Leh
Now, Leh was another 15 KM away from Upshi. So one bike entered Leh carrying the tire of the other bike, going from one shop to the other for almost 2 hours trying to find the spare parts. By 5 PM in the evening, we finally got them and by 6 PM, we were back to the mechanic who told us to come back the next morning for the bike.
So this was how we finally made it to the city of Leh at 7 PM in the night after 3 full days of the journey.
Conclusion: Himalayan Wisdom
We started off with 2 bikes but reached the city with one! The mighty Himalayas can change all your plans and teach us how insignificant we truly are in the big picture.
If anything, this trip taught us the valuable lesson of humility and how everything is connected in the big picture. Strangers can be nice and helpful. Things can go wrong when you least anticipate them. After all, all things are connected and there is a reason behind it all. We must find our place in this world.
Blessed are curious for they will find answers to the mysteries. Many questions pop into our head from time to time. Many unsolved mysteries spark interest in our minds. And I can’t rest till I find the answer to it.
Tibet is the land of a series of world’s highest mountains, and you would be surprised that no planes fly over Tibet. What is the reason behind dodging Tibet for flight routes?
Why Planes Don’t Fly Over Tibet
Aerial View of Tibetan Plateau
Before we delve into the reasons, let us look into a few interesting facts about Tibet.
Facts About Tiber
Tibet is an autonomous region of China. It is in the southwest part of China, and it shares borders with India on the West, Nepal on the Southwest, Burma, and Bhutan on the southeast.
Tibetan Plateau is the highest one in the world, and it is home to the Great Himalayas. Mountains like Everest (8850 m), Kangchenjunga (8586 m), Mount Kailash (6638 m), Makalu (8481 m), Cho Oyu (8201 m) stand high in the Tibetan land. The average height of this mountain ranges is 8000 m or 26000 ft.
Tibet has one international airport, one is Lhasa Gonggar Airport, the other airport Ngari Gunsa Airport is a dual-use military airport. The Lhasa Gonggar Airport is 62 km away from Lhasa the capital city of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
And the average elevation of this area is 3650m. You need to wait patiently till your breathing pattern adjusts to the height slowly.
These facts help you understand why planes choose not to fly over Tibet.
The Elevation of Tibet
With a series of world’s highest mountains, the highest being Everest at 8850m (29035 ft)- It becomes a giant huddle for the planes. The highest cruising altitude that is allowed to commercial planes is 28- 35,000 ft (8000 m). And as you can see the elevation of Himalayan mountain ranges is around 30000 ft, the aircraft generally do not fly over the Himalayan ranges.
You must know that there are layers of the atmosphere. That is the next reason of why planes do not fly over Tibet.
Air Turbulence in the Layers
We all know that there are four layers of the atmosphere. And the closest one to the Earth is the Troposphere which continues from ground level to 7 miles above the ground level. The Himalayas are at the height of 5.5 Miles. They are at a point in the Atmosphere where one layer gives in to the other.
The Troposphere changes to Stratosphere. Most planes fly in the upper boundary of the troposphere. And flying in the lower layer of Stratosphere is only advised if you have enough supply of oxygen.
As the height of atmosphere increases, the air thins. It means that the volume of oxygen in the air decreases as we move above. And with an increase in height, there is also increase in air pressure. That results in air turbulence and disturbances.
If there would be no mountain ranges, then the pressure of winds at such a height would be easier to deal with. But the mountain ranges make it harder for the planes to deal with Turbulence at the lower layer of Stratosphere (where there is already less oxygen and water vapor).
Avoiding Risk of Drift Down Procedure
Most of the planes have a capacity to fly higher than 20,000 ft. But most of the airliners have only 20 Minutes of passenger oxygen. And according to Aviation rules, a flight must descend to 10,000 ft before running out of passenger oxygen.
With the wide expanse of mountain ranges in Tibet, at a height of 28,000-30,000 ft, it becomes difficult for pilots to bring down the planes to a height of 10,000 ft early enough. Even though any pilot pulls off this trick, he will land with an oxygen deprived blue colored passengers. The airliners do not want this kind of fuss, so maybe they avoid flying over Tibet.
Airplanes follow a geodesic curve while flying. Geodesic means the shortest distance between points in terms of constant velocity. If there is an airport where you have to reach, and your plane hops at one airport on the way, there is also an airport nearby with the same distance from your destination (in the case of emergency).
All plane routes are planned according to this geodesic curve. But Tibet lacks airports. As we mentioned earlier, there are only two airports in Tibet, which are at 1357 km from each other.
It is not a mystery that Planes do not fly over Tibet, But it is the scientific reasons which make it impossible to fly over Tibet.
Our world is a strange place to be in. It is not a bed of roses. There are many dangerous places which will scare you. If you are looking for adrenaline, be sure that this places will give you that. The badass in you will squeal at the prospect of this dangerous places. Live your holiday with an edge to it. Below listed places are deadly either by nature or by human atrocities.
DANAKIL DESERT, ETHIOPIA
You can test your endurance in the cruel of ways. The temperature soars to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot winds blowing across the desert will parch your throat. You will be met by a vast expanse of barren landscape.
Don’t be fooled by the barren scene ahead of you. Walking on the colorful landscape is tempting. You will be tricked by nature as well as people. The crime rates in the nearby region are terribly high. Many travelers go to Danakil seeking adventure.
DEATH ROAD, BOLIVIA
The name aptly describes the type of passage it is. You will wind down the dangerous road to meet your doom. Travelers and cyclists attempt to make this 11,000-foot path. You will just go down and down on the road.
The steady decline of height will make control impossible. Challenging the gravity is something adrenaline junkies have attempted yet failed. Three hundred motorists and cyclists die each year on Death Road.
THE EIGER, SWITZERLAND
Are you a fan of Star Wars? Then you will recognize the farm buildings here. The idea of the planet was taken from Tataouine. The area has an alien feel to it. That is the reason George Walker made his set on this land. Skywalker buildings still stay here.
The place comes in the way of the most violent group of history-ISIS. The jihadists travel through this way. Take care if you are anywhere near. Traveling here might not put the fear of God in you, but it will put the fear of Jihadists in you.
BARDARBUNGA VOLCANO, ICELAND
Located in Iceland. It is second largest in the country. The dangerous thing about it is what lies beneath it. Tectonic plates are unreliable. The tremors hit anytime they want. It recently erupted in 2014.
The thrill of unknown barren landscape lures travelers. If you want to be adventurous, go there. But don’t be a fool. Going too near can lead to intake of poisonous gasses.
It sounds like a beautiful Indian name, doesn’t it? Its beauty is lethal. The top of the city is a dream come true. Tetragonal paragons are clustered upon each other. The Old part of city proclaims the glory of bygone days.
The capital of Yemen is an architectural masterpiece. But it is declared unsafe to travel by British and American authorities. You never know when someone will slit your throat or gun you down. Now terrorism rules the ancient corners of the city. Travel at your own risk.
Somalia did not have any tourists till 2010. Mike Bown reached the country and declared himself a visitor. It is not a stable country. We would not recommend it for your safety. Many militant groups are spread across the country. Riots and terror are a daily occurrence. If you are ready to risk your life while traveling, go ahead. Some facts about Somalia are surprising.
QUARTER OF CAMEL POPULATION IS IN SOMALIA
In the arid conditions of Somalia Camel is a friend. Nearly quarter of camel population is in Somalia. Camel was first domesticated here. Moving in sandy plains is difficult. That is the reason Camels are used for transport. Milk from them is also a source of nutrition. In the third millennium, BC camels were used as burden animals. From then on their use increased.
NO WORSHIP PLACES EXCEPT MOSQUE
It is not all tolerant of other religions. The Al Shabab has declared war against all other religions. You will not find a church or temple anywhere here. There are some Christians, Hindus, and Jews in the nation, still, they cannot practice their religion in public. If a public place of another religion is created, it is attacked.
NATION OF POETS
It is unbelievable that in a land full of terror poetry still exists. People live and breathe poetry in Somalia. No business is conducted before a poem is read during the opening. Mothers write emotional poems showing their devotion to their newborn babies. Poetry is also used in politics as well as advertisement. Poetry has become a major part of Somalia.
CAPACITY OF A RICH NATION
It was a huge disappointment when the nation suffered an economic deficit of $300 million. But Somalia is a country which is fierce. It got back to its feet real fast. In the year 2008, it did the biggest export in history. An export of the exact amount $ 300 was made. It included precious stones, cattle, leather. The country has a potential of being a rich country. If only they stopped fighting.
HIGHEST QUALITY MYRRH
Somalia is ahead in many areas. One of it is its Myrrh and Frankincense. 90% of world’s Myrrh and Frankincense is produced by Somalia. Their resins are one of the best you will find in the international market. They can be used for health purposes. It is used to cure gum diseases, skin diseases, digestion problems, etc.
FIRST ATM IN 2014
It might have made a huge profit in revenue during the past years. But they are lagging behind in the field of technology. Forty-five years after the USA installed its first ATM Somalia installed it. It is not a great surprise that a nation which had its first tourist in 2010 got an ATM in 2014. Wonder what problems Bown must have faced?
ITALIAN WAS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
Somalia might be intolerant toward religion. But the people here have made their business to learn languages. During the rule of Italy here, Italian was the official language. Its use has decreased to a minimum. Nowadays you can only hear older generations speaking the language.
“Hirakud“ the name suggests a place of diamonds. If water is diamond, then Hirakud lives up to its name. It is the first multi-purpose hydro project built in India. Located on the river Mahanadi, it is the longest man-made dam in the world. It runs for 25.7 kilometers. Many places are hidden to us. We can’t visit them because they are not highlighted.
Hirakud is one such beautiful place which is underrated. Being the longest dam, you would think it is flocked by people all time of the year. No, Hirakud is a quiet place. Not many tourists visit it. What will I do here? You might ask. For that reason only we have listed some of the activities you can do when you visit Hirakud.
CLIMB ATOP GANDHI MINAR
If you are not afraid of heights, you can climb the spiral staircase of Gandhi Minar. It is located adjacent to Hirakud dam. At the tower, the view is gorgeous. Minar will start rotating if it is not overcrowded with people. You can see the vast body of water submerging nearby mountains.
The artificial lake Tehri is beautiful from here. When you visit it in monsoon, you can see the clouds crawling over water. The monsoon wind will blow over the minaret. And in flood situations the gates of the dam are open. You can see massive crests of water bubbling out of the dam. Watch nature in its untamed glory. Climb and withhold the communion of nature and man. Before heading here remember to book a pass at the counter on your way up.
DRINK FROM LOCAL CAFÉ
Once you have the view of the longest man-made dam, You can come down. The temperature here is always pleasant. A cup of tea sounds heavenly when the river is roaring beside you. Or if you crave something cold too, you can have ice-cream. It is more of a stall rather than a café. Just to add a romantic twist to tea, there are mini huts here. You can seek shelter there if it’s drizzling. Cuddle up with your partner and sip tea. The view of the river from the hut beside the café is lovely.
RIDE ON THE DAM
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The thought will cross your mind here. Two minars are at each end of the dam. One is located in Burla, the other in Hirakud. There is a straight road connecting the two minars above Mahanadi. Just standing on the minar you will want to drive on that risky road. An epic ride on longest man-made dam!
But you need a pass to take a ride along that road. Because it is dangerous, it is not frequented and is closed to locals. But if you have planned your trip ahead of time, you might get a pass. “ Water water everywhere not a single drop to drink.” We are quoting Coleridge, as that is how you will feel when you drive above that angry current of water.
RELAX IN THE PARK
When Hirakud was inaugurated in 1957, it was popular. Maybe because it was the longest man-made dam in the world, it was thought to become a tourist attraction. That is why there are some attractions created to lure tourists. Sadly, the number of visitors have decreased. But the park is still beautifully lush. You can walk hand in hand with your partner along plantations. Coconut trees are towering above the garden. The nearby Tehri Lake is also worth a look if you want to have a picnic.
HAVE LUNCH AT HONG KONG
We are not talking about the city! But the restaurant. After your sightseeing, you can head to Sambalpur. It is 15 kilometers from Hirakud. After reaching there in no time have a delicious meal at Hong Kong. It is an exclusive Chinese restaurant. The little red lanterns hanging everywhere give a Chinese feel to it. You should try the momos here. They are lip-smackingly delicious. But if you prefer vegetarian you can order a hot and sour soup. What tastes better than it on a cold day.
India is a symbol of the diversity of nature. From blistering temperatures to snow laden mountains, India has it all. If you are fed up with the clichéd Taj Mahal or Ooty, head out for some adventure. India has many destinations which will provide you adventure. Gear up for some scary fun with nature. Warning- Only for the daredevils.
CAVING IN MEGHALAYA
Lighting a fire on your own, and warming yourself up inside a cave! It sounds like you have gone back many centuries. But trust us, you will love the feel of it. Meghalaya is sprawled between lush forests. The green landscape is enhanced with gushing waterfalls. You have to pack your bags carefully.
Nobody knows when you will run out of food or water. Keep in mind to pack sufficiently. Use your resources wisely. When you are at the heart of nature, you will be enchanted by it. The beauty has a wildness to it. Make sure you carry a weapon for safety. You might encounter jungle friends on your way.
SKYDIVING IN MYSORE
All those who fear heights, this is your chance to conquer it. You can feel the wind on blowing your face. And The weightlessness of your body when you freefall. You might be scared to dive from the heights. But once you take the leap you will want to be in the air. The view of Mysore is stunning. With crystal, blue sky overhead and dense valleys below your heart will skip a beat. You might scream out loud when you jump. Then you can drink in the scenery around you. Take the lead of an expert. You will be safe.
MOTORCYCLING IN SHIMLA
This trip is for those who love being on the road. Nothing feels as good as discovering unchartered destinations. Gang up with your friends who share a common passion. Hit the road from Shimla to Leh. You might freeze your bones on the way.
Dress warm and carry rum with you. You will desperately need a sip. It is best if you join the rally “The Raid de Himalaya”. The tour will take you through freezing places. But at the end of the day its adventure, remember?
BUNGEE JUMPING IN UTTAR PRADESH
Now you would have warmed up to height a bit. It is the perfect time to let the fear go. Rishikesh has an 83 meters high podium. It might be high. But what fun is bungee jumping without the super height? Jump from heights of ecstasy. You will land in the holy waters of Ganges. Rishikesh has a wide range of adventure sports options you can pursue. River rafting and paragliding are also on the menu if you want a taste of it.
SCUBA DIVING IN ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR
These gorgeous islands are a part of India. But they are not so visited by tourists. Their untouched beauty and tribal culture are popular. You can take a dip into the turquoise waters of Andaman. What you will see before your eyes will amaze you. Under the blanket of blue waters, there are beautiful basalt formations. The natural coral barriers are colorful when the sun shines on them. You can do a lot of Water sports in the islands. The hotels here cater to luxury. You can pamper yourself with the adventurous experience.
FLY-BOARDING IN GOA
The sandy beaches and sea shells call for a lemonade. But you will not have enough time for lounging in Goa if you are into adventure sports. All kind of water sports can be performed here. Are you a speedster? Do you love water? Then what are you waiting for? Flyboard! Tourists from all around the countries travel to Baina beach. Help your girlfriend on the board. It will feel good when someone grabs you tight when you ride on.
TREKKING IN ROOPKUND
Your fear will start now. Even though you did not feel a thing while jumping or diving, you will be scared by trekking here. We are not joking. The scene here is something taken out of a horror movie. The path winds around the Roopkund lake. It is littered with skeletons. Researchers say that the skeletons belong to the ninth century. People died in a hailstorm, and their skeletons still line the glacial lake. You will need to wear warmers. Not because it is Uttaranchal but because it is located at high altitude. Dare to travel beyond. That is what adventure is all about.
Welcome to Nagasaki, Japan. The name of the hotel is “Henn-Na Hotel” which literally translates to “Strange Hotel”. This the world’s first all Robot staff hotel.
The choice of robots as the staffs is not about creating a futuristic, sci-fi world but rather to cut operating cost. When you first walk into the Henn’na Hotel there are only three employees. The first is a dinosaur with a soft voice who(which?) can help you check in.
The dinosaur can speak and communicate in English. I mean, just imagine that! I would visit this hotel for just this experience alone.
“Excitement meets comfort. Introducing state-of-the-art technologies, Henn na Hotel is the world-first hotel staffed by robots.”
The next employee is a beautiful young woman. She only speaks Japanese. She can check your luggage and even store it in a locker for short stays.
Looking at her face, you wouldn’t think twice and would instinctively trust her just as you would any other human staff.
The third employee is about one foot tall. He’s blue and white and can find your room number for you. He will also use facial authentication to verify your identity.
At the cloakroom, the robotic arm will store your luggage for you, and the porter robots will carry them to your room.
THE ROBOT HOTEL
Henn’na is the first ever hotel that’s staffed with only robots. It’s located in the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Nagasaki, Japan. This may seem all too mechanic, but guests are reporting otherwise. These robots do seem to be somehow human (maybe because they can talk with you), and the fun moments with these robots will warm your heart.