June 25, 2010

Sky Meets Sea

One evening I set out on a stroll by the seashore...

It was peaceful at the beach...

I found a bottle but there was no message inside...

Then for a while I thought I had the descending sun trapped inside the bulb...

After that the soft colors of the setting sun captivated me...

Then I played with the silver waves until the light faded away.


Go view a variety of skies around the world at: Skywatch Friday.

June 17, 2010

Sinai Sunset

Watch many other skies at Skywatch Friday.

In Egypt, under Ptolemy II, a road was built linking Marsa Alam and Edfu and is still in use. Tourists wishing to travel on this route used to do that in convoys until the recent past, and probably still do.

Taxis needs to take prior permission from the relevant authorities before transporting tourists.

I travelled on this road from Marsa Alam to Luxor one warm evening last year.

These are some shots of the sunset viewed from the desert road along the Sinai.

June 10, 2010

SWF: Himalayan Mana

This is the first time in quite a few years in summer that I am not able to make a journey to the Himalayan mountains. As I went through some old pictures in my albums, I had fond memories of some previous trips, and am posting these two pictures for this week's Skywatch.

Mountains of Mana based at a height of over 10,000 feet

These two pictures (re-publishing the first) were shot on an early morning walk from Badrinath to Mana village before the sunrise.

Set in a scenic valley, this rustic village of Mana shuts down in winter for 6 months or so as it gets snow-bound with sub-zero temperatures. Mana is situated at a height of 3,200 meters (over 10,000 feet) above main sea level.

It is presumed that it was in this little Village that the sacred Indian texts of the Vedas and Purans were supposedly compiled. The famous epic, the Mahabharata, is also believed to have been composed in one of Mana's caves, the Vyas Gufa.

The inhabitants of Mana in the Himalayan mountains are mainly Indo-Mongolian tribals. It is the last village on the borders of Indo-China region.

Mana Village women on their way to Badrinath for work
(photograph shot at 6:21 am)

Enjoy skies and views from across the globe at Skywatch Friday here.

June 5, 2010

World Environment Day

How long does it take for plastic to decompose?

I guess no one knows for sure, but it is presumed that plastic does not begin to decompose in a landfill for at least 1,000 years and in certain types like styrofoam, it is estimated that the decomposition process can last up to a million years!

Thankfully, use of plastic is being minimized in many places now, some countries have restricted use of plastic bags and a few cities have also banned it. I am also guilty of carelessly discarding chocolate wrappers everywhere in the past but not anymore since I have taken Ecology and Tourism seriously.

Hemkund is a popular pilgrimage site for people of the Sikh religion. It is accessible only by foot from Ghangaria and is situated in the lap of higher Himalayan mountains at an altitude of 4,200 m (13,770 feet) from the sea level!

Here are some pictures taken while on my way to Hemkund after my trek to the Valley of Flowers. It was a misty day.

Himalayan Brahmakamal (Saussurea obvallata)

Himalayan Blue Poppy (a species of Meconopsis)

In the pictures above are two rare plant species. The first is the much revered Brahmakamal and the other is the Himalayan Blue Poppy.

Now look at this picture:

In this photograph is seen a raincoat irresponsibly discarded in the lush green valleys of the Himalayas!

Many pilgrims make a day trip to the Hemkund gurudwara to and from Ghangaria during the tourist season and, not mentioning other litter, I came across quite a few pieces of plastic raincoats discarded along the way to Hemkund Sahib. Pathetic.

At this rate, how long can our biodiversity last?

Today is World Environment Day. Though we should respect the environment we live in everyday, June 5 every year is highlighted to stimulate awareness of our environment and calling out for some public action to save our planet.

What did you do or intend to do to contribute on World Environment Day? I’ve put up this blog post. You could write a post too, or:
  • Dispose of garbage responsibly
  • Avoid littering
  • Use public transportation as far as possible
  • Use recycling facility if available
  • Conserve water
  • Conserve electricity
  • Not disturb wildlife
  • Plant a tree
  • Respect nature
The list can go now, but I'll stop. I’d love to hear how you contributed in your own little way.

As I am about to publish this post, I see a person outside my window carelessly discarding a cigarette butt on the ground.

Cigarette butts are not bio-degradable due to the presence of cellulose acetate, another form of plastic, in them. These filters can leach toxic chemicals and persist in the environment like other forms of plastic. Studies have pointed out how cigarette butts pose a threat to wildlife. Cigarette filters have been found in the digestive system of birds, fish, whales and other marine creatures who mistake them for food!

It is no wonder that despite mounting efforts, the loss of world's biological diversity is continuing at an alarming rate!

On this World Environment Day, let us strive to become responsible human beings of Planet Earth.

June 4, 2010


Go view many more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday at this link.

Passing through a village in Maharashtra...

Villagers leading an animal...

While another is busy digging into the soil...

And the mayflowers are in bloom...

Botanical name: Delonix regia