bhargavkesavan

Travelogue, Nostalgic memories and more…


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Manhattanhenge, New York’s Stonehenge


I have seen photos of Manhattanhange (without knowing the name then!) several years ago. I was not aware of such event until last year when I discovered something like this happens twice a year. One in May & another during July. The dates are May 29 & July 12, also a day before the above dates as well.

When I was reading newspaper last year (2015) I saw the Sunset photo and the news referred it as Manhattanhenge, I then googled about it & got to know I’d just missed it by two days or so. The disappointment level will be very high when you realize you could have witnessed something that happens in the very street you walk every single day & it’s historic which happens just twice a year.

Immediately I checked the dates for 2016  Manhattanhenge, it was May 28, 29 & July 11, 12. After a year, on May 29th I’d visited New York to see this, unfortunately everyone was disappointed as it was cloudy! The crowd waited until the sunset but it happened behind the clouds! May be the sun was shy to look everyone as hundreds of people were looking at it at the same time after an year!

The last time of the year to witness this came! I totally forgot about it on 11th, on 12th I remembered it after I boarded bus to New Jersey! I couldn’t stop bus as they won’t stop it once it’s started from departure until the first stop arrives. I waited until the first stop & crossed the road & waited for the next bus to New York.

Arrived at Times Square at 7:50, the streets were already crowded. Both sides of road were crowded and none crossed the road for the walk sign! Some taxi’s lowered the window and asked what are people looking at? Some people got down from Taxis after knowing about it. Cops were on the fly & ensured people are not blocking the traffic, as center of the road is best spot to see.

Everyday there is sunrise and sunset, but how many days are we looking at it? When was the last time you saw the sunrise & sunset by standing in a position just to look at it? But there is a point here, it’s not just a sunset, it’s a sunset that aligns in center of the street. Just like the Stonehenge in England which was constructed somewhere around 3000 BC to 2000 BC.

At 8:10, like the curtain opens before play, Sun came out with glittering rays from behind the building it was hiding. It was so beautiful to see the Golden sun surrounded with reddish ring and orange and golden glittering rays! At this evening, Nature was the celebrity! People shouted out of happiness and I kept smiling 🙂 It was the moment everyone was so happy and some even clapped for the nature 🙂 I asked someone to take a picture of me instead of just taking a selfie, what’s the use of having hundreds of people when we don’t talk to them.

People kept looking at the spot for a while even after the sun was set. More than hundreds including may not get another chance to see it next year or in future! Next time when you’re in New York City around May or July, do not miss this! It’s for this 10 minutes I waited an year! 

Checkout the video below!

 


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Luray Caverns, Virginia


We went to Chipotle before leaving D.C. and got take away for dinner. We were heading to Virginia for our night stay as we’d planned to visit Luray caves the next day. As we were heading to other state, the speed limit in the other state had increased, which was 70mph I think. I’d slept soon after we’d entered the highway. We missed to stay on a left lane which continuous to the highway & entered a different route, as the maps re-routed, the road we traveled was thrilling. It looked similar to the road that I saw in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil movie last month. By the time I woke up, we’d reached the night stay ‘Quality Inn’. It was a good place for stay. It was 23:30 when we reached, we had dinner as soon as we entered room. It was time to charge mobile, there were enough ports to charge mobile, however i thought to carry a three pin charger next time when I stay outside. I must mention that the room was neat and I’d a peaceful sleep.

I woke up first and got ready and alarmed others to get ready. one by one Ganesh, Ananth & Dhileep got ready. Meanwhile Varada and his wife were ready and were waiting in their room. We started from hotel at 10 AM. We stopped at Mc Donald’s for breakfast and the headed to Luray caves. It was not even a mile from there we’d reached our destination.

As we reached the destination I was wondering if that was the actual place for the caves. Because it appeared to me like a normal place. The entrance looked like a park or museum entrance. May be this is how entrance for all other caves looks, I don’t know… This is my first visit to a cave. As we were getting ready to enter, Ganesh had bought the entrance tickets. As we entered the queue we were asked to take pictures which the photographers will edit with the main theme of cave, we can buy it if we are interested when we come out of the cave, After taking pictures we entered the hallway, it was the store to purchase things about the caves, I was still wondering where the cave is.

We saw another queue inside the store and a women was allowing us to get to the stairs every 10 mins, as we’ll be escorted by the guide. Unlike India we don’t have to pay separately for guide nor the guide will scratch head end of the tour for extra money. After a few minutes we were allowed to enter a staircase which went beneath the store. Yaay! I could see the staircase leads to the cave. 🙂

As I entered the cave, I was so excited 🙂 We’d climbed down a few steps and we were on ground. That was the entrance to the cave and it was found by a farmer in 1878 in his land. It is now protected by Virginia state government. As I reached the ground I was so amazed at the rock formation and the way the cave looked. It was so beautiful and it the atmosphere was chill at the basement. After a few minutes a guide from Luray caves started explaining about the discovery of the place and that was the last thing I heard from him 😀 I was looking at the rock and turning 360 degree to enjoy the ceiling and the hanging formation of the rock.

As my group of friends were already on to photo session, I’d started moving forward alone to see the rest of the place as I was still at the entrance. As I headed forward I’d noticed the water droppings and I couldn’t find from where it was dropping. the ‘clip clip’ sound of the water dropping made me smile and I’d moved further. As I looked ahead of the path I was walking, the floor was constructed with bricks for the visitors, we were asked to stay on the bricks and not to walk on the rock surface as it might skit. The interior was so vast that we kept walking for two hours (of course looking at every place and slowly).

The path was almost similar to hiking a mountain but on a flat surface. There were ups, downs, zigzag, curve etc… What we could’t do was, there were many areas in the cave which were too deep, the vertical deepest point in the cave is 260 feet!

There is a place which is very famous for this cave, it is a water formation, a pond. It looks amazing! Such a beautiful view in the cave. The beauty about this pond is that it reflects the hanging sharp edges of the rock which reflects in the pond water. The pond appears to be 3-4 feet, but actual deepest point is 6-7 feet. This is must see point in the cave. A photogenic view in the cave. I moved forward without having my mind out of the pond.

As I went further in the cave, I could see giant pillars, which were architecturally looked like pillars in Indian temples. It was amazing when I realized that they are natural formation. I was enjoying the cave so much that I missed the group that was escorted by the guide I’d entered the cave with & not thought about the group of friends I came with 😀 After an hour or so my friends reached the place where I was still standing & admiring the beauty of the cave. The colors of the rocks varied from yellow, red, orange, green, grey etc…

DEEP DOWN IN THE HEART OF THE BEAUTIFUL CAVERNS OF LURAY, LIES THE LARGEST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT IN THE WORLD.

The musical instrument The Great Stalacpipe Organ was created by American mathematician and scientist Leland W. Sprinkle. I couldn’t hear the melody and beauty of the instrument clearly in the caves as some kids were crying & their parents were shoo-ing them to be silent which further made more noise & other group were talking loudly about how to pose for a photo, by that time the music had stopped playing! But I looked at those stones that had created the music 🙂

I’d found this wonderful video about this music, do watch this.

As I moved further, there was a wishing pond, with lots of coins in it. And I learnt that not only people in India, people everywhere in world has some belief and hopes their prayer should come true in someway. The pond was filled with more coins, though it didn’t give me the feeling of throwing a coin, I thought to pray for my parents and through a coin, but I didn’t had a coin, haha I never expected there will be such pond in U.S. 😀 I’d asked my friends and even they didn’t had coins. Like India, I’d asked a visitor from Spanish speaking country but she didn’t had enough coins to give me change. To mention, the guide said and even there is a board there that said, those coins will be collected every year & it’ll be donated to some NGO (America is famous for NGO! Don’t know where are those NGOs and whom they help, there are loooooooot any homeless in U.S. ok, forget it for now! Will discuss that in a diff post!)

I headed further from the wishing pond to know that I’ve reached almost the exit of the caves, walked slowly to hold the memory of the cave and finally came out with a fulfillment. Usually I buy a small… as much as small thing from any place I visit, just for the memory of that place. As I looked for such thing there, everything was ‘Made in China’! Why would I buy something that is made in china for a place that I’d visited in U.S? hmm! I looked at almost all products, even the stones that can be kept in showcase were made in china! Are those stones from the cave or from China? I should have asked the people at cave! Anyways, I bought a magnet hanging with the cave name which was made in China 😀

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How will a post end without my pic 😀