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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Panoramic Photos!

We now have panoramic photos from our trip!  The panoramics give a completely different feel for the place being photographed - much more space and light and perspective. (Our camera had a panoramic photo feature which allowed us to take some great shots.. we could only assemble/stitch them together into composite photos once we got to California though.  So here they are. Note that you should click on the image to see a bigger & better image.    You will see some weird effects in some of the photos - the stitching software had some problems.)

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RUSSIA - THE HERMITAGE, ST. PETERSBURG

The Hermitage is quite a huge palace, rivaling the Louvre in size and also in quantity and quality of art.  The photo here shows the front of the palace.  It was somewhat of any overcast day.  Note the little statues on the top of the building.

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RUSSIA - THE HERMITAGE, ST. PETERSBURG

This is a view of the building opposite from the Hermitage.  The archway in the middle goes on to an interesting part of St. Petersburg - lots of cafes, shops, canals and more!

Russia_stpetersburg2

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EGYPT - RAMSES TEMPLE, ABU SIMBEL

The massive status of Ramses II stand right in front of the temple.  In addition to being gigantic and very nicely carved, the whole temple, including the statues, have been moved uphill block by block to avoid being drowned under the waters of the Aswan lake.  There are absolutely no clouds in the sky and it is very hot - upwards of 40 degrees Celsius or 100 Fahrenheit!  And we've been awake since 3am to get here in time!  Note the tourist on the right-hand side who's leg was cut off by the photo stitching software!

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EGYPT - ABU SIMBEL

This photo shows both the Temple of Ramses and the Temple of Hathor.  You can see the hills above the two temple - both sets of hills were moved in their entirety to avoid the waters of the Aswan lake which you can see on the right hand side.

Egypt_abusimbel3

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EGYPT - ASWAN LAKE

Right next to the Temple of Ramses at Abu Simbel is the Aswan Lake, formed by the Aswan Dam.  The other side is Sudan!

Egypt_abusimbel4

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EGYPT - LUXOR

This is one of the walls at the Temple of Hatshepshut at Luxor.  In 1997, 50 Greek tourists were gunned down over here.  The hieroglyphics on the wall are fantastic.  For some reason, our guide kept talking about some James Bond movie being shot here.

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EGYPT - GIZA PYRAMIDS

One of the pyramids at Giza, near Cairo.  Again, it was a hot hot day.

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EGYPT - GIZE PYRAMIDS

All three pyramids at Giza.  You can see the entrance that goes into the right-hand side pyramid.

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EGYPT - GIZA PYRAMIDS AND THE SPHINX

You can see all three pyramids here, in addition the Sphinx.  There're a couple of nice lunch places right next to the Pyramids - somewhat a tourist trap but completely worth it after nearly getting sun-stroke walking around the Pyramids.

Egypt_pyramids3_1

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EGYPT - ELEPHANTINE ISLAND

Nubian ruins on Elephantine Island near Aswan (inhabited from 5500-3100 BC). The people who still live here speak Nubian and Arabic.

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EGYPT - ABU SIMBEL

Wall carvings from the interior of the Temple of Ramses at Abu Simbel.   Low ceilings and dim lighting made it hard to see much.

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EGYPT - MT. SINAI

The completely barren landscape near Mt. Sinai.  You can see the St. Katherine monastory to the right hand side.  The path to the top of Mt. Sinai continue behind the photographer.

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EGYPT - MT. SINAI

Sunset, as seen from the side of Mt. Sinai. The path continues on the right hand side.

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EGYPT - MT. SINAI

Chapel on top of Mt. Sinai.  Some campers brought their tents and pitched them here.  Apparently, the sunrise is quite spectacular.

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JORDAN - PETRA

Near the Treasury at Petra.  In the distance, around the corner, is the rest of Petra, including the amphitheatre.

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JORDAN - PETRA

Another fantastic view of Petra.  You can see steps on the left-hand side that have been worn away over the centuries by wind and water.

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JORDAN - PETRA

The walkway toward Petra.  The walkway leads to the Siq which is a gorge that runs for over a kilometer through solid rock, leading to the Treasury at the entrance to Petra.  Horses and their riders thunder up and down this pathway, trying to lure tourists.  On the right-hand side, you can see the Djinn rocks - huge boulders that look very strange and sometimes have tombs carved out inside them.

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JORDAN - PETRA

On the left-hand side is a small hill full of little tombs.  Some are fully carved out, some are half-carved for some reason.  The tombs themselves are not very high - one has to crawl or stoop to move around inside them.

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JORDAN - PETRA

The monastory at Petra.  It took us a good 1 hour to climb up to this monastory.  In the distant hills behind the monastory, one can see Aaron's tomb.

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JORDAN - PETRA

The view from the monastory at Petra.  Completely moon-like barren landscape.

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JORDAN - NEAR PETRA

On the road from Petra to Wadi Rum.  Apparently, somewhere in the distance, one can see Aaron's tomb.

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JORDAN - WADI RUM

This was apparently a house where Lawrence of Arabia lived.

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JORDAN - WADI RUM

Huge mountains rise up vertically from the sand.  The mountain sides have been carved away over the millenia by water and wind.  Also, several millions of years ago, this area was apparently under water.

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JORDAN - WADI RUM

View from our camp.  The rock in the middle somewhat resembled a tiger's head.

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TANZANIA - NGORONGORO PLAIN

You can see zebra and wildebeeste grazing here as well as some gazelles resting on the right hand side. 

Tanzania_ngorongorofloor

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TANZANIA - NGORONGORO CRATER

This is the view from the road leading to the Ngorongoro Lodge overlooking the crater.  It's quite an awe-inspiring moment to see the clouds drifting across the plain and also shadows moving across the plain which turn out to be huge bunches of animals.

Tanzania_ngorongorofloor2

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TANZANIA - NGORONGORO CRATER

This was the view from our room at the Ngorongoro Lodge.  The most spectacular view I have ever seen from a hotel room!

Tanzania_ngorongorofloor3

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TANZANIA - MT. KILIMANJARO

The view from the top of Mt. Kili, near Gilman's Point.  You can see the Kili glacier on one side.

Tanzania_topofkili

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TANZANIA - MT. KILIMANJARO

Half-way up Kili, we rested for a day to acclimatize.  That day we walked up to Zebra Rock (so named because of the distinctive striped running down the side, as you can see in this photo) and then back down to the camp.

Tanzania_zebrarockkili

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KENYA - KAREN BLIXEN'S HOUSE, NAIROBI

This is where part of the movie "Out of Africa" was filmed with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Karen Blixen herself lived here and this house was gifted to her by the Danish Consul General.

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SOUTH AFRICA - TABLE MOUNTAIN, CAPE TOWN

The view from table mountain is fantastic.  One feels like one is at the edge of the earth.

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SOUTH AFRICA - TABLE MOUNTAIN, CAPE TOWN

You can see the cable car cables on the left-hand side.  People come climbing up the rock also!

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SOUTH AFRICA - JOHANNESBURG

Football game between Nigeria and South Africa.  Emotions were running high!

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SOUTH AFRICA - SAFARI PARK

Safari park belong to Vijay Mallya, an Indian businessman.  You can the rhino eating peacefully on the right hand side.

Southafrica_mabalerhino

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INDIA - NEW DELHI

This is a view of the maidan near India Gate in New Delhi.  Lots of people playing cricket!

India_delhi_indiagate

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INDIA - GUJARAT

This is the Sun temple in Modhera, near Ahmedabad.  The geometric patterns of this place were quite amazing.  Apparently, this temple was built 200 years before the Sun Temple at Konarak and the Konarak temple took much inspiration from this place.  In the center, you can see a green area which is the bottom of the tank.  Rainwater would fill up the tank and people would use the steps to go down to the water level.

India_gujarat_ahmedabad_modhera

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INDIA - RANTHAMBORE TIGER RESERVE, RAJASTHAN

A rest-stop inside the tiger reserve.  Near the stream are a few crocodiles, basking in the sun.

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INDIA - RANTHAMBORE TIGER RESERVE, RAJASTHAN

Area near the lake at the tiger reserve.  You can see peacocks in this photo.

India_ranthambore2

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INDIA - RANTHAMORE TIGER RESERVE, RAJASTHAN

Central lake at the tiger reserve.  Towards the left-hand side, you can see a sambar (type of deer) that has waded into the water to drink.  Apparently, the tigers have adapted to this by plunging into the water in pursuit of the sambar.

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INDIA - WHITEWATER RAFTING CAMP, GANGA RIVER

All along the Ganga, above Rishikesh, there are a number of camps situated on clean white sand.  In this photo, you can see the lunch tent in the center as well as the tents we stayed in on the right hand side.

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INDIA - WHITEWATER RAFTING CAMP, RIVER GANGA

The white sand gave way to rocks on one side of the camp.  On the right hand side, you can see one of the rafts, ready to be placed in the water.

India_riverrafting2

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INDIA - TSUNAMI-HIT COASTAL AREA, VEDARANYAM

The coastal area had been completely swept clean.  There were patches of quicksand everywhere as well.

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NEW ZEALAND - KAIKOURA, SOUTH ISLAND

We went on a cliff walk on Kaikoura.  This is the view looking away from the cliff toward to mountains in the background.  The photographer casts a shadow on the right-hand side.

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NEW ZEALAND - ROAD BETWEEN QUEENSTOWN AND CHRISTCHURCH

Along the way, we stopped to admire some Lord of the Rings scenery.

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NEW ZEALAND - ROTORUA, NORTH ISLAND

The hot springs near Rotorua were quite colorful.  In the center, you can see an upwelling of rose/red/orange-colored water.  In the background, you can see a little footbridge that has been put in place to let people walk close to the hotsprings.

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BRAZIL - RIO DE JANEIRO

The photos below are all taken in Rio de Janeiro.  Beautiful views from the top of Sugar Loaf!

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BRAZIL - RIO DE JANEIRO

Sunset, as seen from Sugar Loaf Mountain. You can just about see Copacabana beach on the left-hand side.

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BRAZIL - RIO DE JANEIRO

The cable car is reaching the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain.  More of the sunset.

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BRAZIL - RIO DE JANEIRO

Little secluded beach about an hour north of Ipanema. 

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PERU - CUMBAYO, NEAR CAJAMARCA

This was taken on the road on the way up to Cumbayo.

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PERU - CAJAMARCA

An aerial view of Cajamraca city.

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PERU - CUMBEMAYO

The strange formation on the right hand side is volcanic.  We walked down to it and then through it!

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PERU - CUSCO

Cusco, city of the Incas.  The church in the middle was situated right in front of a beautiful ground.

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PERU - MACCHU PICHU

Beautiful setting of Machu Pichu.  It was the rainy season, so clouds kept drifting in and out.  We took this photo sitting near the caretaker's hut overlooking the main residential area of Machu Pichu.

Peru_machupichu1

Hope you enjoyed the photos as much as we did!

Cheers,

Dev & Smruti

Thursday, April 07, 2005 in Travel | Permalink

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