The Adventure Trek of Kasol-Kheerganga

The Adventure Trek of Kasol-Kheerganga

Himachal Pradesh is a place full of adventures. There are a lot of adventures one can do whether they are treks, rafting, bungee jumping, sightseeing, cable car, etc.

One of these adventures is the Kasol – Kheerganga Trek. The trek is one of the most popular treks in India.

Kasol

Kasol is a small village nestled in the hills of  Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh. It is a popular spot among hippies, backpackers, trekkers and nature lovers. The nearby village is Malana (famous for Malana Cream) and is deep-rooted in the Hippie culture. Kasol is a hub for Psy parties and every year attracts many tourists from across the World. Kasol is calm and quiet and will give you vibes of OM Shanti!

Kheerganga

Kheerganga is another small village that lies at the end of the Parvati Valley. It offers numerous waterfalls, hot springs, snow-capped peaks, and all-around lush green forests. Parvati Kund or hot spring pool is very famous among the Hindus and Sikh people as they believe the water has sacred healing properties.

Kheerganga offers amazing views of the Parvati River and the snow-covered Lahaul Spiti Valley.

The Adventure Trek of Kasol-Kheerganga

The Amazing Kasol- Kheerganga Trek

The Parvati Valley provides stunning and captivating views of the Himalayas. The trek  starts from Kasol. This 13 km long trek ends in Kheerganga and provides ample opportunities to explore the natural bounties of the region. On this adventure trail, you will pass by Rudranag, a serpent-shaped waterfall. There are numerous captivating waterfalls which are the highlights of the Kheerganga Trek.

The trek is considered as the best trek for beginners. It is a short and easy trek. It will take you through dense forests of rheodordans, oaks, and pines. You will be passing by the village of Barshaini – a small hamlet and the confluence of the rivers Parvati and Tosh. You will be treated to snowclad mountains, breathtaking views, and scenic landscapes of mountains.

 

 

A few of the villages that you will come upon on your trek:

1. Malana

A small village near Kasol, famous for Malana cream ( a drug). The place is quiet and calm with people here following the Lord Shiva. You will also start the Chandrakeni Trek from here. Malana is a village more for backpackers and nature lovers and less for tourists.

2. Tosh

It is located at 2,400 meters in elevation on a hill near Kasol in Parvati Valley. The place is famous for waterfalls and surrounded by Apple Orchards. You will see wooden architecture all over the village and captivating views of Parvati Valley. Tosh village is located close to the base of Kheergange.

3. Pulga

A small Hamlet in the trail near Malana. It is a beautiful place to visit and experience the great views of lush greenery, snowclad view of the peaks and skies landscapes.

After reaching Kheerganga, it is time to take a dive into the hot waters of the Parvati Kund. Enjoy the hot springs and relax your sore muscles after the tiring trek. And enjoy ravishing views of the valley all around.

You will see many local restaurants and cafes in small villages. Restaurants serve German, Chinese and Israeli cuisines. You can also have tea, coffee and snacks at tiny tea stalls.

Camp near Riverside and get close to nature by seeing the beautiful sunrises and starry nights. Or opt for a homestay and get a chance to explore the life of locals and their culture.

The best time to visit Kasol – Kheerganga is totally depended on your own preference. In summer, the weather remains pleasant and calm. In winter, the weather stays chilly with snowfalls. Most of the trekkers opt for the winter. Kasol is famous for rave and Psy parties and attracts many Indians and foreigners. They come here to backpack and explore the Hippie culture. Getting to Kasol is an adventure in itself with different routes and forms of transportation.

Here are some basic tips for beginners who are planning to do this adventure.

  • Beginners are advised to take a trek leader along with the trek.
  • Keep a route map with you.
  • Always keep something to eat with you like chocolates, chikki, energy bars, etc.
  • Follow the instructions of your trek leader.
  • Carry minimum weight.
  • Take necessary medicines or a medical kit with you.
  • Keep yourself healthy and fit.
  • Inform your family in prior advance.

Kasol Kheerganga is just a weekend away. Plan your next trip in the mountains and feel peace all around. Beginners will love their first trekking adventure!

Live. Travel. Explore!

The Paris Series (Part 2) – Sainte-Chapelle

Among the many things that Paris is famous for, its collection of museums is second to none. There are over 50 museums and noteworthy monuments in and around Paris. There are of course many very well known ones including the Musee du Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Musee Picasso and monuments including the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Chathedral, Chateau de Versailles and more.

One of Paris’ greatest jewels, and often overlooked sites, is Sainte-Chapelle. As you walk down Boulevard du Palais, you’ll see a line of people that appear to be waiting to enter the Palais de Justice (a large building from 1868 that still functions as a court house). Behind the entrance and in the courtyard is what they are actually waiting for – the entrance to Sainte-Chapelle. (Unlike some other museum sites, your Paris Museum Pass does not get you queue-cutting access here).

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Sainte-Chapelle is a royal medieval Gothic chapel dating back to the 1200s and Louis the IX of France. Although damaged during the French Revolution, Sainte-Chapelle contains one of the most extensive and beautiful collections of stained glass anywhere in the world. As you enter the chapel, you’ll see a sample of stained glass and a gift shop. Look for the stairs on either side of the room to ascend a very narrow staircase to the second floor and you’ll enter the main room. You will be awestruck. It is absolutely spectacular and breathtaking !

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6 Steps to Create High-Impact Restaurant Photographs

When running a restaurant, one of the essential aspects of promoting and marketing the business involves choosing what photographs to use. A high-impact image can engage the senses, making the viewer see, smell, feel and even taste the food without having been able to try it yet.

A professional food photographer can accomplish these, and more. Hiring the top experts in food styling and photography is key to generating appetizing images for your restaurant website and other marketing materials.

It takes years of experience to produce quality food images. To help you understand how the experts pull it off, here are a few steps detailing how they create tantalizing restaurant food photography.

High-Impact Restaurant Photographs

1. Gather the equipment

The tools used vary depending on the project. More often than not, you may find food stylists and photographers armed with more than just cameras and the dishes themselves.

When it comes to food photography, the aim is to make the dish as irresistible as possible. This often involves using techniques that focus on making the dish look good and deliciously tempting even when the food prop has been sitting out for an hour because of the shoot.

For instance, stylists may brush oil over the ingredients to make them glisten. Scoops of ice cream are replaced by mashed potatoes or shortening as they don’t melt under the light. As such, you may notice food stylists armed with brushes, toothpicks and other tools designed to make the dish look fuller and fresh.

2. Use natural light

Natural light has a way of making dishes look fresh and appetizing. As such, photographers will often schedule the shoot during the day. Plates, silver and other dining elements are shot outdoors or near a window to make the most of the natural light available.

At times, photographers will use flash and reflectors. When bounced off a wall or the ceiling, the light from the flash will provide additional light and soften any harsh shadows.

High-Impact Restaurant Photographs

3. Use props

Although the dish should be the focus of any image, at times, stylists and food photographers will add additional relevant elements to put the dish into context.

For instance, an image of a slice of cheesecake may include a fork and may be accompanied with a cup of tea or coffee and some small condiments. Peppercorns and herbs may be sprinkled all over a chopping board that features a large slab of grilled meat.

It is important to strike a balance between context and clutter. A few extra elements may help but there is no need to fill the photo with food or other objects.

Stylists and photographers also need to be aware of the colors and textures of the elements and props being included in the image. Contrasting colors and textures can help make ingredients pop out more.

Props need to be carefully inspected before being used in the image because the slightest imperfection will be magnified in the photo. Plates and utensils need to be spotlessly clean while the ingredients should look fresh and devoid of any blemishes.

4. Shoot from different angles

Perspective can change how the viewer may feel about the dish. Professional photographers will often try to take as many shots from different angles as they can for a single shoot.

A shot taken from directly above the dish can be used to include ingredients and other relevant elements. This type of shot illustrates what goes into the dish.

High-Impact Restaurant Photographs

On the other hand, a shot taken from the side can show how the dish would look when served. For instance, a shot of a slice of cake taken from an angle can show the different layers inside.

5. Shoot quickly

Stylists and photographers need to plan, experiment and practice the shots days before the actual day of the shoot. Unlike studio lighting, natural light changes depending on the time of the day and weather.

The look of ingredients and even entire dishes can also change in just a few hours, minutes or even seconds. Vegetables are an example. To make them look fresher, they are often undercooked.

When it comes to salads, the dressing can be put in a small bowl on the side. This is to prevent the dressing from covering the ingredients or making them look limp.

By practicing and experimenting with different angles outside the shoot, the team can also determine what they need to bring and how to set up the shot quickly. This is especially important in cases where several dishes need to be styled and photographed in one session.

If you’re taking a specialty burger photo, taking an angle shot from the side would be preferable to one taken from above as the side shot would highlight the burger patty itself while a shot from the top would have to accommodate other elements such as the sides, utensils, etc., else, you’ll be left only with the image of the top (sesame seed) bun.

 

6. Add steam

With the exception of desserts and other dishes served cold, steam is a popular element that can be added to an image. Steam emanating from the food gives it the impression that it just came off the stove, oven or grill.

Natural steam is difficult to produce. Most foods do not produce enough steam to be captured by the camera. Plus, food can get cold quickly, reducing the amount of time when the photographer can take the shot.

Food photographers and stylists need to be creative with steam, with some resorting to using garment steamers and microwaved sponges or cotton balls, or devising even more inventive ways to create it for their shoots.

Experienced stylists and photographers have several other techniques that they use to produce stunning food images. With this guide, you have a basic idea of the amount of work and effort it takes to create stunning and delectable food photographs.

 

AUTHOR BIO

Barry Morgan is the creative force behind Barry Morgan Photography. His passions are photography, food and family, although not always in that order. He believes you should love what you do, to do exceptional work. Cooking was always a family affair in his home so naturally, once his passion for photography took root, he was drawn to food photography. Barry Morgan Photography now works with hundreds of clients, turning their tasty dishes into mouthwatering visuals.

 

Must Visit Locations in Australia

Australia is a big country full of natural wonders, laid-back cities and sandy beaches, and there are certain locations you must visit in order to experience that Aussie atmosphere and beauty. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious traveler or just a simple tourist, we present to you the top locations in Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is almost synonymous with Australia. It’s about 2,300 km long, making it a home for some of the rarest and most unique flora and fauna on Earth. Of course, you can’t see every part of the reef, but make sure to visit Whitsunday Islands that are simply gorgeous. Maybe the best way to see the reef is by taking a two- to three-day sailing tour. The Great Barrier Reef is full of scuba diving and snorkeling spots unique to the area and you will remember those sights forever.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay (1)

Byron Bay is not only popular with tourists, but it’s also a beloved vacation destination for many Aussies. It has many kilometers of sandy beaches, beautiful weather, surfing waves, scuba diving spots and many other attractions. Make sure you see the lighthouse in sunset and take some amazing photos or enjoy some music at the range of festivals all over the year. Byron Bay can be a bit crowded at times, but that’s normal for a top destination and a place as beautiful as this.

Uluru

Uluru

If you decide to visit Australia, you just have to see Uluru. Uluru is a huge sandstone formation surrounded by springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. It’s a sacred place for the Aboriginal people from that area, full of magic and history, and is simply so magnificent you must see it too. You can take a guided tour from Adelaide that lasts about three beautiful days. You’ll get to see not only Uluru, but explore the natural wonders of Watarrka National Park, see boulders of Kata Tjuta and have beautiful meals under the stars. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sydney

Sydney

You simply can’t visit Australia and not see Sydney! It offers so many interesting and beautiful sites to see. Enjoy the view of the famous Opera House from the Sydney Harbour, check out the Sydney Zoo and the renowned Mainly beach. If you want to see Sydney from above, visit Sydney Tower and enjoy a beautiful panorama of the whole city. If you’re young (or just young at heart) remember that Sydney’s one of the Australia’s nightlife centers. It has so many different clubs, bars or pubs that everybody will be able to find their favorite spot. When in Sydney, make sure to visit Randwick, especially if you’re a sports lover. Randwick is a suburb in Eastern Sydney that offers all kinds of different activities from chill walks to competitive team sports. But, make sure to take a walk along Randwick’s Coastal Walkway and enjoy wonderful views, and unique flora and fauna of the coastline. If you’re a surfer, you can try out the waves at Maroubra or Coogee Beach or simply enjoy surf carnivals from the shore. There are many Randwick serviced apartments located close to Randwick’s main attractions, so you don’t even have to worry about transport. Relax and have fun!

Melbourne

Melbourne

The indescribable atmosphere, art, multiculturalism, food and nightlife all make Melbourne a must-visit place in Australia. But, you simply must take a drive on the Great Ocean Road. What is interesting about this coastal road are the sights you’ll see on your way. Strong waves and winds over time created giant monoliths of rocks that are called the 12 Apostles. Now there are only eight standing, but are definitely worth seeing.

Australia has so many things to offer, and every traveler will find something to spark their interest. Start planning your trip and pick the hotels that suit your budget and your itinerary. Welcome to the Land Down Under and enjoy!

Exploring London’s Underground Secrets

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Over the past century and a half, London’s Underground has seen two world wars, millions of passengers, and more secrets than we could begin to count. The “Tube” is used by Londoners and visitors to the beautiful city every hour of every day, but most are unaware of the history they’re traveling through.

Once you learn of the 150-years’ worth of secrets and history housed below England’s capital, you’ll earn a completely new appreciation for this feat of engineering and human-kind.

Underground History
In the early 1800s, London was booming. The influx of people bustling about quickly made it apparent that a better method of mass transportation was needed, and fast. The Metropolitan Railway took on the immense challenge of constructing the first underground line below the city. After months of construction, the 3 and three quarter mile railway carried 38,000 passengers safely to their destination on the inaugural ride on January 10, 1863.

For the following five decades, London’s Underground saw changing ownership, builders, and thousands of passengers. However, once World War I began London saw its first air raid, and the tube was transformed into much more than a transportation system. The safe-haven continued on into the World War II.
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Initially, British government officials tried to prevent the tube stations and lines use as bomb shelters. But, after their attempts to keep people from taking shelter there were decisively ignored, they decided to regulate the shelters instead. Trains continued to run on certain lines, bringing supplies, food, and other Londoner’s seeking shelter. A number of unused stations were converted into factories for wartime productions.
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While the Tube was considered by many to be the safest haven, no place in London was completely protected from German Blitzes. Hundreds of Londoner’s lost their lives when the tube was hit by German bombs in 1940 through 1943.
Even in the times of crisis and tragedy, the Underground has remained as a point of togetherness for the people of London. It’s an unmistakable symbol of the ingenuity and strength of Britain as a whole.

Traveling the Underground Today
The Underground lines cover nine zones and stop at more than 200 stations. Even though there are nine zones, tourists typically stay in Zones 1 and 2 because they cover Central London where many of the major tourist attractions and hotels are located.

These days, 11 Tube lines transport locals and tourists throughout Britain’s capital:
 Bakerloo Line
 Central Line
 Circle Line
 District Line
 Hammersmith & City Line
 Jubilee Line
 Metropolitan Line
 Northern Line
 Piccadilly Line
 Victoria Line
 Waterloo & City Line
Generally, the Underground runs are between 5:00 a.m. — 12:00 A.M., Monday through Saturday. Sunday times are reduced by a few hours with later starting times and earlier stopping times.

Secrets Along The Stops
We alluded to the importance of the Underground during the World Wars, and proof of that is beneath 8 of the 11 Tube lines. For under these lines sit deep-level air-raid shelters. The construction of the shelters took place between 1940 and 1942. Originally reserved for government officials, 5 of the 8 shelters opened up to civilians as bombing intensified.

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The shelters that were constructed include:
 Chancery Lane
 Belsize Park
 Camden Town
 Goodge Street
 Stockwell
 Clapham North
 Clapham Common
 Clapham South.
After the war ended, several of the shelters were still used by London’s military. The Goodge Street shelter was used by the army until the 1950s. The Chancery Lane shelter was used for the Kingsway Telephone Exchange during the Cold War years.

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In addition to the secrets you’ll uncover while traveling the Underground, you’ll also see all of the most iconic sights of the region.
 Circle Line – Tower Hill Station
Tower Bridge – Built 120 years ago, the Tower Bridge is an engineering marvel and arguably one of the most recognizable attractions in the world. If you’re feeling brave, trek out onto the high bridges suspended between the bridges towers.

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 District Line – St James’s Station
o St. James’s Park
o Millions of visitors flock to the beautiful St. James’s Park every year. It’s the oldest of London’s eight Royal Parks, and it includes The Mall and the Horse Guards Parade.

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 Jubilee Line – Westminster Station
Big Ben – Is there a more iconic London sight than Big Ben? Lucky for visitors, this sight is right along the Jubilee Line outside of Westminster Station. Whether you’re a history buff or just want to check it off of your bucket list, you need to stop by Big Ben.

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 Northern Line – Waterloo Station
London Eye – The London Eye is a larger-than-life Ferris wheel on the River Thames in London. From here, you will be treated to the most spectacular views of the city and a ride you won’t forget.

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 Piccadilly Line – Covent Garden or Leicester Square Station
Covent Garden – The district of Covent Garden in London is a hub for local shops, delicious food, and incredible street performers. Once you hop out of the Covent Garden station, you’ll have a tough time fitting everything you want to explore into just one day.

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Parts of the Tube’s storied history are somber, but the incredible spirit of London persists and prevails. For once you wander the stations and secret passageways hidden beneath the surface, you’ll never think of London the same way again.

 

Discover the Wonders of Tahiti

This may be a cliché, but I always wanted to go to Tahiti and to visit French Polynesia. Who didn’t, right? I know, but I saved and saved and finally I got the money, found the time and was off to this amazing place. Imagine the photos of Bora Bora that stare at you from magazines and Internet travel sites? Well, the reality is even better. For those that  have the same dream as I do, here is are the best things about this amazing place.

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Culture of Tahiti

The first thing that comes to mind are the beaches and the nature, and that is fine, but the amazing culture somehow gets forgotten. The culture of Tahiti includes the amazing Marae stones. These were used as gathering places, something like temples. There was worshipping, of course, but they had social meaning as well. Visiting them and seeing how naturally they blend into the environment is really something. It seems that everybody knows about the tattoos and since I waited so long to visit Tahiti, it seemed like appropriate thing to do – I got a small tattoo while I was there.

Underwater World

If you haven’t been scuba diving, Tahiti is the best place to do it. The only problem is that once you go scuba diving, or surfing for that matter, you will hardly find another place on this earth that comes near to that experience. I am a keen surfer and I had the waves of my life there. As for the scuba diving in Tahiti, this is something that you just have to try. It is beyond words.

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Islands

Of course, Mor’ea, Huahine and Rangiroa are perfect and you have to visit them, but the one and only Bora Bora will make you feel like you are not on this planet. It is obvious why people choose this destination for their honeymoon. The nature and the beaches seem secluded and very private and the feeling of beauty overcomes you. The turquoise lagoon and rainforests made me feel I was the last person on this world, and in a good way.

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Housing and Food

As for the accommodation and food, you should check out your budget. I saved a lot because I wanted to be able to feel and eat whatever I wanted. People can choose between a variety of accommodation in Tahiti, depending on their needs and financial abilities. It can be expensive or cheap, but it’s bound to be wonderful. I stayed at a small family hotel which was very nice and perfectly clean. The owners were extremely friendly and they showed me some of the local dishes. I just couldn’t get enough of the lime marinated tuna, but chicken with taro leaves was pretty close.

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People, just like the nature in Tahiti, are friendly and amazing. They smile all the time; are respectful and hospitable. This has definitely been the most amazing trip of my life and I plan on repeating it as soon as possible, now that I know more and want more from Tahiti and the perfect and unreal Bora Bora islands.

This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.