Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sikh Gurdwara (temple) Delhi India

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib is a Sikh gurdwara or house of worship located in Delhi, India. We visited at lunch time when the kitchens were busy with members preparing food in massive kitchens to feed the thousands who visit each day.

After removing footwear and donning head coverings (provided), guests may walk through the kitchen and enter the place of prayer and worship.

There is a large courtyard with a pool and attractive architechture.

Here's a brief video from my YouTube channel presenting the sights and sounds of our visit along with views of the kitchen, meal area, courtyard and pool. No photography is permitted within the place of worship.

Read more online at this Sikh site.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Agra Fort India

Agra Fort, on the Yamuna River was home to the Mughal emperors until 1638 when they relocated their capital to the Red Fort in Delhi. Other names for the fort are Fort  Rouge and Red Fort of Agra.

We entered via the Amar Sing Gate

Mughal emperor Akbar rebuilt the fort in 1558. According to the government website, 1,444,000 workers completed the project after eight years in 1573.

Within the red sandstone walls are buildings of white marble including Diwan-i-am

Musamman Burj

Khas Mahal

Here's a view of the Taj Majal from the Fort

You can find tourist information at the government website.

Taj Mahal Agra India

A visit to India seems incomplete without seeing the stunning marble tribute to love, the Taj Mahal in Agra.

According to the government website, the Taj Mahal (Crown Palace) was conceived by the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan (1592-1666). The monument is a tribute to his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Princess, who died after giving birth to 14 children. She and Shah Jahan are buried in the monument.

The white marble monument gleams in the sunlight adding to its beauty. The structure is recognized for its beauty, geometry, and symmetry. The height of the monument is 73 metres (240 feet).

The four minarets are 130 feet tall. They are constructed at a slight angle so that in case of collapse, they would fall outward and thus not damage the monument.

Example of artwork. The white marble is inlaid with precious stones.

This red sandstone gate to the Taj Mahal is a phenomenal work of art in itself.

The calligraphers learned their art from Italian craftsmen. The text is from the Quran.

The Yamuna River runs behind the Taj Mahal

In addition to the landscape, I also appreciated the birds (egrets pictured) and other interesting scenes.

We rode back to our bus in style.

More notes...

The construction took over 20 years.
It is a World Heritage Site.
Learn more at http://www.history.com/topics/taj-mahal

There is a fee for admission.
Arrive early to beat the day tourists making a round trip.
The monument is closed on Fridays.
Photographs are permitted outside but not inside the mausoleum.
Guards screen for metal objects. Check the rules.
Note the rules about food and drink.
Vendors are everywhere practice safety as you would around any monument.
See the website for current details.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wildlife Safari Ranthambore Tiger Reserve India

There's no doubt that the thrill of seeing a tiger in its natural habitat drives people into the tiger preserve at Ranthambore (see tiger photos and video below). But there's more to the park than tigers.

Visitors enter the gates in approved vehicles, which are open air jeeps or trucks. One of 10 routes are assigned to the drivers and guides.

The landscape affords a variety of beautiful views with hills and valleys, ponds and meadows and a great variety of trees and plants.

A zoom lens is a must - it was difficult to see the Mugger (or Indian) Crocodile, Black-headed Ibis, and Indian Darter (or snakebird) with the naked eye.

Deer are ubiquitous. The park is home to both Spotted Deer

and Sambar deer.

Black-faced monkeys are prevalent.

Rufous Treepies are everywhere.

And of course we saw a tiger who wandered about for nearly half and hour on route 5 in the afternoon. Here's a collage and I will insert a video from my YouTube channel.

Tiger Collage. All photos by Geoff Sutton 2017

This tiger video is a bit shakey because I was atop a truck seat (sometimes moving) and using nearly a max zoom.

Jeeps are better than the large trucks, which can throw you out of the seat when sitting at the back.
Mornings can be cold in January- wear gloves, hats, warm clothes.
Binoculars may be needed to see some animals and zoom lenses for photos and videos.
Duck to avoid getting hit by branches on some routes.
Allergy/coughing alert - dust is everywhere, especially when stirred up by vehicles.
Afternoons are rumoured to be best for seeing tigers.
Bring toilet tissue and wipes. We stopped once for toileting behind bushes.


My Website www.suttong.com

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Elephanta Island and Caves India

On our second day in India, we walked to  the India Gate in Mumbai where we boarded a ferry to Elephanta Island (World Heritage site).

The trip took about an hour to travel approximately 10 km to the islands located in Mumbai harbour of the Arabian Sea.

The ferry boats are well worn but the plastic seats are comfortable. We paid 400 Rs for two - you can save a few Rs if you but direct at the dock. On board we paid 10 Rs each to sit on the upper deck.

You'll have good views of the India Gate and Taj Mahal Hotel from the back of the boat.

After arriving at the Island, it is a steep walk past numerous vendors to the park where the caves are located.

You pay to enter the small island village and again to enter the park near the top of the hill.

You will see a main temple with a long hall. Various stone sculptures are taken from stories of Shiva. These date from about the 6th century.

Along the way, locals offer to be your guide.

At the end of the trail is a toilet- plan to bring your own paper and hand cleaner if you must use it.

Monkeys are everywhere- and will steal your snacks if you put them beside you whilst resting (happened to my wife).

On the return, some locals fed the gulls, which show no fear of coming close.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


As the sign says, Bekonscot is a model village and railway.

Follow the winding path to see a great variety of village scenes- cottages, industrial works, airports, waterways, a zoo, a circus and more.

Trains run everywhere throughout the village.

And many scenes are animated.

Bekonscot Model Village is located at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. We took the train from London to Beaconsfield. It's a short walk from the station to the model village.

Here's the link to their website http://www.bekonscot.co.uk/

There is a modest entrance fee.

You can buy refreshments onsite or enjoy a picnic lunch at their facilties.

It wasn't crowded when we went 6 May 2016.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


The Royal Botanical Gardens (Kew Gardens; www.kew.org) offers a floral feast, a pleasant place to walk, and a place to learn. The gardens are open every day except 24 and 25 December.

We visited in May 2016. We took the train from London to Kew Gardens Station, which is near the Victoria Gate. You pass several local shops between the station and the gate. There's more information on the website.

In addition to a variety of gardens, you can visit Kew Palace and Royal Kitchens. The first royals here were George II and Queen Caroline. Perhaps a more famous monarch is George III. His wife, Queen Charlotte has a cottage nearby. The buildings are not open all yar so check the website.

One of several interesting features is the Treetop Walkway.

There's a lot to see so we'll have to go back.

There are places to eat at Kew. And there are places to enjoy a picnic.

The shop has a range of affordable gifts.