Lady Liberty : Tuesday Photo Challenge – Promise

This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt from Frank  is  “Promise“.

Liberty

Does she still stand for promise of justice and liberty for all?

I think Ellis Island Immigration Museum below holds more promise for the coming generation to remember  the legacy of immigration that made this country the land of the free and the home of the braves.

Ellis Island_1


Both of these photographs, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum, were taken by me during my visit in September of 2017.  I wish I had more time to spend in the museum.

Advertisements

Koko Head Trail : Tuesday Photo Challenge – Height

This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt from Frank  is  “Height“.

My entry for this week is from my trip to Hawaii last year. This photo was taken on my hike up the Koko Head trail.  The trail is about 1.5 miles round trip from the parking lot, 1200 feet high ( ~ 1000 feet elevation gain) and up nearly vertical and  steep 1048 steps of abandoned railway steps.  But the trip was also memorable to me as providence, in the guise of my beloved wife, saved me from near death ( or at least a broken body as I slipped during my return trip.  I do not know where she got the strength ( I weigh roughly 1.5X her weight ) to hold on to my shirt without herself slipping and stopping me from rolling down steep 500 feet.

Kokohead_1.jpg

Koko Head Trail, Oahu, Hawaii – September 2017.  Last 500 steps up is really steep.  As per veloviewer.com statistics, average grade is 39.8% with a maximum grade of 85.8% (https://veloviewer.com/segment/1577261/Koko+Head+Trail+Climb).

As I promised Frank, below is my photo from Capilano Suspension Bridge taken during my trip to Vancouver, BC in December, 2004.

IMG_0671_3

Kilauea Volcano : Tuesday Photo Challenge – Rise

This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt from Frank  is  “Rise“.

On September 17, 2017, Wednesday early morning, I and my eldest son got up and drove from our rented house near Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park  to Kilauea volcano to see the sun rise.  My wife and other two kids decided to give it a pass as they were tired from the drive from Kona and the day long activities and sightseeing of the day before. As it turned out, we were deprived of enjoying the sunrise due to the heavy fog created by rising steam from numerous steam vents.  As the saying goes that “when one door closes, another opens”, nature did not deprive us of its bounty. We were rewarded with another rise, lava and steam rising from Kilauea cauldron.  We had been there the night before but it was not as spectacular.  As Kilauea volcano is in the news currently, erupting and damaging a huge area and several homes, I thought this would be an appropriate post for this week’s photo challenge prompt.

P1020342_R1

Pregnant Sky and Rainbows : Tuesday Photo Challenge – Rain

This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt from Frank  is  “Rain“.

I grew up with rains, lots of it, about seventy inches in average a year.  Monsoon, thunder and lightning.  Sound of raindrops drumming on the rooftop.  Hot, humid summers cooled down by a sudden downpour.  Flash floods and muddy roads, swift flowing rivers, overflowing drains.  And the place with most rain, Mawsynram, four hundred seventy inches of it, is about sixty miles away from the city I grew up.

Now I live in place with hardly any rain, just an average of fifteen inches a year and that too in winter.  Last few years we had much less than fifteen inches, with about eight inches in 2015 and about four inches in 2013.  So as you can imagine many a times we play hide and seek with rain clouds and we get deceived. Today is such a day, the sky is gray, the day is cloudy and there is just a nine percent chance of rain.  From experience I know it is not going to rain.  Here is a photo of  grey sky today pregnant with the promise of rain that will turn out to be deceiving.  Couple of months back I had posted a poem, Flirtatious Rain Clouds , on this topic.

bf85894e-9884-43f2-b84d-70333be6ff2b
Sun fighting a losing battle with the clouds but chances of rain is minimal.

But there is always hope and what is hope if not that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And where would be a rainbow without rain.

rainbow

Apple and Orange Blossoms : Tuesday Photo Challenge – Future

Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt for this week is  “Future“.

I was looking for a suitable photo to post to represent “Future” theme.  Today was Linda’s One Liner Wednesday prompt and suddenly an opportunity presented itself to kill two birds with one stone.  Please don’t get me wrong. I am not for any killing, specially birds.

Weather had been really nice here for last couple of days and I was working in my garden to take care of various plants.  Orange trees and apple tree are in full bloom.  The apple tree is small and comparatively young.  It also did not give us any fruits last year.  As I was coming back from my morning walk with my dog, Skooby, I looked at the blooming apple tree in my front yard.  I hoped that this year it will bear fruits.  My wife had been talking to the gardener for some work to be done for a vegetable garden and she had talked with him regarding some needed care for the apple tree.  As I was looking at the tree and the apple blossoms, the one liner quote suddenly came to my mind that would also work for the photo challenge prompt “Future”.  So here it is and for good measure, I am including my entry for One Liner Wednesday prompt also.

Apple Orange Blossoms_R1

A present not taken well care of will not bear fruit in future.

©Pranab Sarma, 2018

Orange blooms are from a California navel orange tree in our backyard.  Couple of years back we had so many oranges that few branches broke because they could not bear the weight of the fruits.  Last year there were barely a few on the same tree.  My wife had been caring for that tree during last year and looking at the new blossoms, we are hopeful that it will bear fruits this year.

Let’s see what the “Future” beholds.

Memories: Tuesday Photo Challenge

This post is in response to Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt Memories.  Memories are of many things, travel, birth, death, graduation,wedding etc., etc., etc. Capturing two of them here, one from our travel to Crater Lake, Oregon in July of 2002 and the other from my eldest son’s high school graduation in 2004.

Crater Lake July 2002_R1

Preet's graduation_R1

High School Graduation Cake for my eldest son, July 2004

Trip to India – Dec 2017: A Mini Travelogue : Tuesday Photo Challenge – Place

During my trip to India in December of 2017, I had a plan to post a travel diary of my journey.  However someone up there had a different plan.  During my transit at Seoul, South Korea, on my way to India, I lost my notebook computer and that was the end of the story.  I had taken lots of photographs during the trip but never got back to write a travelogue.  Sheer laziness on my part.  Hope to share some of those today with you as an opportunity presented itself.
Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt for today was “Place”.  I decided to take this opportunity to write a mini travelogue while adhering to Franks prompt.

Bagala Devi Temple ( Nilachal Hill), Kamakhya, Guwahati, Assam- December 16, 2017
Kamakhya Temple, one of the most prominent Shakti Pitha of the fifty one Pithas of Hinduism, is situated in Nilachal Hill, about 7KM from Guwahati.  Though Kamakhya is the main temple, there are numerous other temples on the hill, specially ten temples dedicated to ten Mahavidyas (ten forms of Goddess Durga). The temple to Devi Bagalamukhi is one of them.

BagalaDevitemple, Nilachal Hills, Kamalhya_R1.jpg

Banaras and Sarnath, December 18 – December 19, 2018
Banaras (Varanasi) or Kashi is one of the holiest place for Hindus and the abode of Lord Shiva.  It is also the city of my alma mater, Banaras Hindu University or in short BHU.  My family had never been to Banaras.  After 2000 AD, this was the first time the family would be together in India.  So we made it a point to make a trip to Banaras

SunriseoverGanges_R1Sunrise over River Ganga (Ganges) – December 18, 2017
BoatsRiverGanges-R1
Boats on River Ganga, morning of December 18, 2017
Dasaashwamedh Ghat_R1
Dashashwamedh Ghat, December 19, 2017
GangArti_R1
Ganga Arti (offering puja to Ganga Mata, Mother Ganga) Evening of December 18, 2017, Dashashwamedh Ghat (taken from the roof of the guest house we stayed). This is not to be missed while in Banaras.
IITBHU_R1
Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (my alma mater), December 18, 2017.  This visit was nostalgic, to say the least.
Buddha Temple, Sarnath_R1
Maha Bodhi Temple, Sarnath, December 19, 2017.   Sarnath is less than 15 KM drive from Banaras. Lord Buddha gave his first sermon here after attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya.
SarnathStupa_R1
Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath, December 19, 2017. Site of Lord Buddha’s earliest sermons.
SarnathArcheologicalSite_R1
Archaeological excavation in Sarnath by ASI , December 19, 2017.

Kaziranga National Park(KNP), Assam, December 21 – December 23, 2018.  Home of one horned rhinoceros.

Dipholu RiverKNP_R1
Dipholu River (KNP), December 22, 2017, morning.
RhinoKNP_2
The gentle giant (one horned rhino) grazing peacefully at KNP’s Kohora range, December 22, 2017 afternoon.  Its population is being decimated by well armed poachers with AK47s and other automated weapons because of its horn. The horn is in high demand in oriental medicines due to its perceived aphrodisiac power. I wrote one of my earliest poems, ” I can’t speak out for myself, will You ( shortlink: https://wp.me/p73yZZ-7J)” about poaching of rhino. It is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart.
SunsetatKazirangaNP_R1
Sunset at Kaziranga National Park, Dec 22, 2017.  No one is allowed inside the park after sunset except guards and rangers. Poachers, of course, do not wait for permission.

Majuli (Largest inhabited river island in the world), Assam, December 23 – December 25, 2017.
We crossed over river Brahmaputra from Neemati Ghat to Majuli on December 23, 2017.  The ferry trip took around one hour due to the sandbanks in the middle of the river.  We had rented a ferry to take our cars ( five cars in our family group) over.  We stayed for two nights at DekaSang Resort on the bank of river Luit ( original channel of river Brahmaputra).  Majuli is the seat of neo-vaishnavite monasteries (Satra).  Originally there were about sixty five monasteries. Now  only thirty two of them are still there as many had to move to the main land due to constant erosion of the island during the flood season.  We visited four satras on December 24, Auniati ( the largest satra in Majuli), Dakhinpat, Kamalabari and Samaguri.
CrossingRiverBrahmaputra from NimatighattoMajuli_R1
Crossing river Brahmaputra on ferry, December 23, 2017 to Majuli
DekaChang Resort, Majuli_R1
At DekaSang Resort, Majuli, morning of December 24, 2017
AuniatisatraMajuli_R1
Auniati Satra, Majuli, December 24, 2017
DakhinpatSatraMajuli_R1
Dakhinpat Satra, Majuli, December 24, 2017
MasksatSamaguriSatra, majuli_R1
Samaguri Satra, Majuli, December 24, 2017.  The culture of mask making is practiced in Samaguri Satra for centuries and is being kept alive under the able teaching of Shri Hem Chandra Goswami..  These masks are used during religious performance and traditional dramas(Ankiya Naats  and Bhaonas).
RiverLuitMajuli_R1
River Luit, in front of DekaSang, Majuli, morning of December 25, 2017
SunsetinMajuli_R1
Sunset in Majuli, December 23, 2017

Chandubi Lake, December 28, 2017, Dist. Kamrup, Assam.
Chandubi Lake, at a distance of 65 KM from the city of Guwahati ( my home town) is a natural lake formed due to a massive earthquake in 1897.  Situated at the foothills of Garo Hills, it is a very scenic and tranquil place.  We( my family of five and my brother’s family of four) drove from our home to the Inspection Bungalow by the side of the lake and after some refreshment there crossed over to the other side of the lake in a country boat.  There are a few jungle resorts on the other side managed by the local tribal villagers. We had arranged to have our lunch there( that nearly became a dinner due to our late arrival). The home cooked meal was well worth it.  Did some hiking but generally just relaxed and detoxified ourselves.
ChanddubiLake-R1
Chandubi Lake
Crossing the lake by countryboat_R1
Crossing Chandubi Lake by country boat
Enjoyingafternoonsun_R1
Enjoying afternoon sun. It was very mild weather for late December.
Swing_R1
Enjoying a swing ride
DinnerTimeatChanddubi_R1
Lunch(dinner) time. Dining room in the foreground.
EveningatChanddubi_R1
Evening was fast approaching and boats were ready to ferry us across.  Time to bid adieu to Chandubi.