Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mumbai-Taj Mahal Hotel

Rarely does a hotel become a part of a city's legend, but in Mumbai, the Taj Mahal, like its inspiration in Agra, is a local landmark. This elaborate structure with its charming cupolas and oriental d├ęcor was actually commissioned by Jamshedji Tata, a leading Indian industrialist. The architect was a Briton by the name of Chambers, who inexplicably designed the hotel with its back the sea, a mistake that has never been rectified. Even today, the grand old lobby faces the road behind (Darn. If only I had known beforehand. I was wondering why the lobby entrance was so tiny for a grand hotel)


One of the staircase leading up to somewhere. Didn't explore.

Mumbai-Victoria Terminus

Modeled on the lines of the St Pancras Station in London, Victoria Terminus is undoubtedly the Raj's piece de resistance, Complete with carved stone friezes, stained glass windows and flying buttresses.


It is Gothic architecture at its best, an awesome edifice that most citizens view with deep pride.


At the top of the central dome stands the triumphant figure of Progress.


The station was christened to commemorate Victoria Jubilee Day in 1887 when India's first steam engine puffed out to neighboring Thane, about 45 kms away. Today it has been rechristened Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus after the Maratha warrior.


Train platforms.


Ticketing office.

Mumbai-Gateway of India

Mumbai's most famous monument, this is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city.


It was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, complete with four turrets and intricate latticework carved into the yellow basalt stone. Ironically, when the Raj ended in 1947, this colonial symbol also became a sort of epitaph: the last of the British ships that set sail for England left from the Gateway.

Mumbai-Dhobi Ghat

Composite picture of the world largest open air laundry.

Row upon row of open-air concrete wash pens, each fitted with its own flogging stone, while Bombay's dhobis (around 200 dhobi families work together here) relentlessly pound the dirt from the city's garments in a timeless tradition


Known as the world's largest outdoor laundry, Dhobi Ghats is where Mumbai's traditional launderers -- or dhobis -- provide a wonderful service, collecting dirty laundry, washing it, and returning it neatly pressed, all for a very small fee. Stubborn stains are removed by soaking garments in a boiling vat of caustic soda.


Drying takes place on long, brightly colored lines; and heavy wood-burning irons are used for pressing. Amazing that they don't get the clothes mixed up confused with others, at least you don't hear of any.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Mulu - Clearwater Cave

The roof of Clearwater cave. At the entrance, we go down after the climb of 200 steps (LH counted; It is actually only 199).


The river that runs through the cave and out via an underground passage.





Bridge of Kazar-dum in the mines of Moria ... muahahaha.


The clear and refreshing (meaning cold) waters from the cave.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mulu - Wind Cave

Stalagmites in a part of Wind Cave named King's Chamber (i think).








This formation is like a thin sheet.


Vertical view of the ceiling that caved in eons ago. The incoming light bathes the surroundings giving it a very surreal feeling.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mulu - Deer Cave

The entrance to the Deer cave is the largest in the world. I was unable to capture on camera the immensity of the place. I heard you could put in St. Paul's Cathedral of London inside ... no problems.


Attempting to give you a sense of how enormous the cave entrance is, look at the bottom of the picture below; There are a group of tourists there to show how minute they are against the cave.


That ain't no discoloration on the ceiling but bats! Lots and lots of them and if there are bats on the top, you can pretty much guess what will be directly below them. Yup, guano.. *YUCKS* big time.


Garden of Eden


Lincoln's silhoutte at the entrance of Deer cave.

Mulu - Lang Cave

This cave was named after the person who discovered it. It is perhaps the most beautiful of the 4 show caves in terms of formations. To protect the delicate formations, the use of tripods was not allowed inside hence I hope you will bear with some shaky pictures.













Wednesday, December 14, 2005

10 Hours vis-a-vis 30 Mins

There are no roads into Mulu national park. The only way in is via the river that snakes through the land and takes you 10 hours from Miri to Mulu or, take the MAS flight that will get you there in 30 mins.

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Rural Air Services

This was our ride into Mulu National Park, a Twin-otter. Quite an experience and weather was kind. I heard it can be a hair-raising ride if the weather was stirred.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mulu National Park Teasers

Evening sunlight from the entrance of Deer Cave.




Hundreds of thousands hungry bats leave the cave in search of food in the evenings.


Sometimes they fly in circles until the formation is large, then they fly off together.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Passages

The new leaf springs forth. Fresh and vibrant in the sunlight giving sustenance.


Photosynthesis, making food for the tree and converting Carbon Dioxide to Oxygen for life around it.


The end of its cycle but not its usefulness. As humus, it will become sustenance itself.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Interstellar Traffic Lights?

Here's somthing you don't often see. At least I don't and if you don't know what it is, great because I don't either. This photo was shot on 4the Dec 2005, 1:17am. There was these two strips of lights on the clouds above. I can't see any thing that could have caused the lights to appear on the cloud above. The moon had set much earlier and besides, it was not even quarter moon yet.

So far, the best explaination is that of Ladyhawk's; Its an interstellar traffic light. Makes sense doesn't it? Anyone has a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy?