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Archive for the ‘Photo of the Day’ Category

(Photo by arunar)

 

Goa is located on the western coast of Indian peninsula in the region known as the Konkan. It is the smallest state in India, but also its wealthiest and one of its most popular tourist destinations. Each year, hundreds of thousands of international and domestic tourists come to the region to visit its beaches, temples and world heritage architecture. It also has rich flora and fauna due to its location near the Western Ghats mountain range, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The Western Ghats are home to more than 1800 plant species and 330 different kinds of butterflies.

 

In 1510, the Portuguese defeated the ruling kings of the area and established a permanent settlement in Goa. The area was also briefly occupied by the British during the Napoleonic Wars. When Indian achieved its independence in 1947, the Portuguese refused to give up their settlements in and around Goa. These had to be forcibly taken by the Indian armed forces in 1961. Today, Goa is a modern and thriving area with much industry and culture.

 

Originally constructed around 1560, Sri Mangesh temple at Mangueshi is dedicated to the deity of Lord Shiva. Its structure has evolved over the years, with much of the present building being constructed in the 1600s, and it is now one of the most visited temples in all of Goa. The temple is small yet ornate and contains all the elements typical of a Hindu temple, including mini shrines, grand towers and spacious courtyards. The legend associated with the temple is that Shiva’s wife, the goddess Parvati, was frightened by her husband disguised as a tiger on this spot. The words she uttered in terror, “Trahi Mam Girisha” (in English, “Protect me, Lord of mountains”) subsequently were shortened to “Mangirisha” or “Mangueshi,” which this the modern day name of this location.

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(Photo by superde1uxe)

 

Today’s photo shows off the glistening turquoise waters of Smuggler’s Cove on the island of Tortola. Located just east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, Tortola is a British territory and falls under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.  The beautiful island of Tortola has been under British control since 1648, when it was wrested from the Dutch.  More than forty islands make up the British Virgin Islands.   Of these, Tortola is the largest and most populated.  The primary industry here used to be sugar cane production, but in modern times Tortola, and the British Virgin Islands as a whole, depend on tourism.  There is no shortage of tourists these days.  The British Virgin Islands are a popular stop for cruise ships in the Caribbean and many thousands of visitors fly into Tortola’s international airport each year.

 

Smuggler’s Cove has a good sized coral reef, making this area a perfect place to snorkel.   If you’ve brought your own snorkel gear you’ll see plentiful fish and sea life just below the surface of the water.  If you prefer to lounge on the powdery white sand, you can do so with cocktail in hand.  There is a small bar and snack stand at Smuggler’s Cove.    This beach is not typically very crowded, as it is somewhat remote and located down a long dirt road.  However, it is certainly one of the most breathtakingly scenic spots on Tortola.

 

When visiting Tortola, keep in mind that hurricane season runs from the beginning of June until the end of November each year.  You will find great prices on travel to the island during that time, but will encounter more frequent rainfall and perhaps even a hurricane.

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(Photo by Ahron de Leeuw)

 

In the western deserts of Egypt can be found a series of oasis towns, settlements that cluster around underground water sources and are vital to caravans crossing the desert.  The ancient capital city El Kasr is one such oasis.  Comprised of mud houses situated along narrow alleyways, the town has become a tourist destination reachable by car and bus.  It’s a small settlement with fewer 4,000 residents, much smaller than the desert city of Kharga, about 100 miles to the east.  Kharga has been modernized whereas El Kasr retains its old traditions and appearance.

 

In El Kasr, which means “the castle,” visitors will find a spring of hot sulfured water, a wooden ox-driven flour mill and the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to the Egyptian sun god Amun.  Walk along the narrow streets, designed this way to block both desert sun and wind, and step back in time.  This city has changed little since Medieval times.  It was built in the 11th century, perhaps on the footprint of a much older settlement, but has been only sparsely populated since the 19th century.  Parts of the town are beginning to be swallowed by sand, its ground floors returning to desert.  Tourism brings busloads of foreigners from the nearby oasis town of Dakhla to wander the town and  marvel at its construction.

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(Photo by bigeoino)

 

The rising sun shines on a magnificent rock formation located in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.  This wonderfully beautiful park is a favorite with hikers, featuring glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, meadows filled with wildflowers and the spectacular Los Cuernos mountains. The park was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and is celebrated for being one of the most natural and unspoiled places on Earth.

 

These rock towers, called “Cleopatra’s Needles” by Lady Florence Dixie in her book about the area, are the result of ancient volcanic activity, compressed piles of lava and sediment which were later eroded at their base by receeding glaciers.   Southern Chile is still an active region for volcanoes, the most recent eruption taking place just last year.   Visitors travel to this area, located north of Puerto Natales, to view the towering beauty of the rocks and enjoy the many outdoor pursuits the park offers.

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Photo of the Day: London

(Photo by Rene Erhardt)

 

Three red double-decker buses sit along Northumberland Avenue in London.  Northumberland Ave. runs from Trafalgar Square in the west past London’s Ministry of Defence to the Thames Embankment in the east.  The buses carry thousands of passengers daily throughout the city and they remain one of the most iconic images of London tourism.

 

London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.  There are endless resources online devoted to allowing you to plan your trip to the capital city of England.   Fodors.com has a very comprehensive destination guide complete with lists of attractions, suggested itineraries and hotel recommendations.  The London Tourism Board presents a website filled with historical information, lists of what to see and do in the city and a roundup of Top 10 London Attractions.  If you’re looking for free sights and activities in London, National Geographic Traveler has a good list.  This is really just scratching the surface.   The value of the pound has dropped in recent months, and while this is bad news for Britons, it makes a trip to London more affordable than it has been in previous years.  British Airways offers more flights to London than any other airline.  Book that trip!

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(Photo by tylerdurden1)

 

Jiuzhaigou Valley is located in Sichuan Province in southwestern China. This stunning nature reserve was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and the landscape is dominated by forested hills and crystal-clear lakes.

 

Jiuzhaigou is Chinese for “Nine Village Valley,” so named because there used to be nine Tibetan villages spread throughout this region. Only seven are still inhabited today. While Jiuzhaigou Valley attracts both Chinese and foreign tourists, its location is remote and can be difficult to reach.  The most common method of arrival in the valley is via bus from the capital city of Chengdu, a journey that takes 10-12 hours.  The waterfalls, woodlands and native animals (including giant pandas) make this destination worth the effort it takes to get there.

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(Photo by CamilG)

 

The town of Sibiu is one of the largest cities in Transylvania and a major cultural and transportation hub.  Sibiu boasts Romania’s second largest orthodox cathedral, notable for its massive gold chandelier and neo Byzantine details.  Rising above the cathedral is Suru Peak, part of the Fagaras mountain range, the highest mountains in Romania.

 

In 2007, Sibiu was named a European Capital of Culture, placing it firmly on the tourist map.  Visitors to the city can stroll through the medieval historic district,  tour the many art museums and churches and hike in the nearby mountains.

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