Sunday, August 25, 2013

Leech waterfall

24 August 2013

It takes about an hour of Jeep ride from the main road to reach near this waterfall. The day was perfect; clouded sky with no rains. The first part of the Jeep ride was comfortable as Kumar, our Jeep driver drove on the tarred road with jiffy. The streams were flowing full which added to the beauty of the area.

The tar road ended and the roller coaster journey began. The path as filled with slush and stones. At some places, Jeep just skidded. On the way, Kumar stopped to show us the place in the valley. The stream flowing down had formed a waterfall. But the stream and the waterfall were completely hidden. “It is not the time to see this falls, come after monsoon” were the words of the villagers.

We dropped the villagers who had hitch hiked with us in the Jeep.  They lead a tough life being situated in the remote corner. Electricity, which we have taken for granted hasn't yet reached the villages here. We see electric poles without wires.

We had to cross a stream coming from the waterfall. During heavy rains, Jeeps cannot cross this stream and the remaining journey had to done by walking. There is a small bamboo bridge to help the crossing. We did not have to use it as the water level was within ‘navigable’ limits.

Once we cross the stream, it was an uphill climb for about a km. By then, we had reached the point where the walking trail to waterfall diverted.

The falls makes its appearance behind the canopy of trees as we walked down.

The final walk is about 10 minutes from the place the Jeep was stopped. It is a single step waterfall that might be about 100 feet in height.

Unlike many waterfalls, this does not have a pool at the base!!

Later, when we were having snacks at a roadside hotel, we came to know that several hundred/thousands of acres of estate lie above the falls. It was owned by British before they left India in 1947. I was surprised to hear the names of the current owners. The length and breadth of some people’s reach is surprising. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Queen’s day in Amsterdam

30th April 2013

Queen’s day is a National holiday in Netherlands. It is actually the birthday of the Queen’s Mother which falls on 30th April each year. This year was different as the Queen handed over her throne to his Son Willem-Alexander on the same day. From next year the celebration will be called as King’s day!! And the day will fall on 27th April which is his birth date.

Why Queen’s day was celebrated on the birth date of Queen’s Mother and not on Queen’s birth date itself?
The Queen’s birth date falls on 31st January. But it is not a good time (winter!!) for outdoor activities in Netherlands!! Hence the Queen decided to continue with 30th April which was her Mother’s birthday!!

Our day
As we descended from the train in Amsterdam Central station, we were over whelmed by the “orange” presence. Almost everyone was wearing an orange dress!! On the streets we saw many shops selling orange coloured dresses and hats.

People were completely enjoying the time. Drinks were served generously and it was a party time!!

The crowd was concentrated at Dam square where the coronation ceremony took place.

People come in attractive dresses.

From Dam square, we walked further towards Museumplien.  Look at the crowds heading towards Museumplien.

We were hungry by then and had our food at “Mois”, a pure vegetarian restaurant!!

Amsterdam is a city of canals and parties happen on boats also!!

Museumplien is the place where all the cultural programs are held. We spent some time watching kids perform dance program and proceeded further to Amsterdam Zuid.

On Queen’s day people sell their second hand items. We could see lot of people set up the stalls on the streets selling the used items. Even kids were selling their old toys!!

We had walked nearly eight km by the time we reached Amsterdam Zuid station and in the process we had a great experience of Queen’s day celebration!!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Boxdabbe falls

27 July 2013

This is a waterfall that can be reached without putting much effort. The falls makes its appearance from the main road itself. Thankfully, it is not known to many people although it is famous among localities.

From the main road, we entered into a mud track. Very soon, we were in a private area. No one was there to stop us thanks to pouring rains and active leeches. A series of switchbacks brought us to a place where we could see the waterfall hidden behind the canopy of trees.

Another minute of walk and we were at the base of the falls. It is a two or three step falls. Thanks to heavy rains, I could only take out my camera for few seconds and click.

It is a ‘safe’ falls where people can easily enter into the water without the fear of being washed away. But it is not matter as we were already wet and did not bother to get in.

Later in the day we were having tea at a tea stall where we discussed about this waterfall. It was then we came to know that the locals identify the falls by an Ex MLA’s name!!

What a falls and what a name!!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Tulip gardens at Kuekenhof, Netherlands

28th April 2013

I had been to Netherlands many times on Office work but never got a chance to visit the most famous place in that country, the Tulip gardens of Kuekenhof. The simple reason was that I never visited Netherlands during Tulip season. The Kuekenhof gardens are open from 21st March to 20th May each year. My visit this time coincided with the tulip season enabling me to visit the largest flower garden in the world.

Kuekenhof is about 20 minutes of drive from Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. Plenty of buses are available from airport. Frequency of bus is increased during peak season.

It is interesting to note that the first recorded economic bubble was “Tulip mania”. The cost of Tulip bulbs reached astronomical heights and then suddenly collapsing. More information about this mania can be found here

The garden is filled with lawns and flowers

London bridge replicated here in the form of flowers!!

There has to be canals in Netherlands!!

No place is complete without a windmill in Netherlands!!

Note that Kuekenhof gardens do not contain “long fields” of flowers. They are situated outside the garden!!

The blue ones!! All these are owned by private.

The fields of Kurkenhof.

The white ones are also equally attractive!!

More flowers!!

Windmill in the background!!

Back to gardens!!

Lot of playing stuff for kids!!

Vast fields of flowers!!