If you had to pick only one picture …

December is here and unlike the other years, I am in a full on reminiscences  mode. So I asked myself- which picture would I pick if I had to pick only one picture from each of my trips! Now there was a problem with this concept. If I picked even just one picture from each of my trips, there would be 20 pictures in all! I decided to go easy and do it in batches of 5. So here I go, these were the first 5 trips in 2014.

Kutch, Gujarat (Personal Solo Trip)

Mandvi Beach
Mandvi Beach, Kutch Gujarat #Canon550D

It was very difficult to pick just one picture from the trip to Kutch because I have 963 pictures in all. I visited the Great Rann of Kutch on this trip with its white salt fields. Yet I went with this picture of the Mandavi Beach because in a way this is how I wish my vacations to be, golden sunlight on the beach with me lazing around! Only I always end up chasing pictures instead of lazing around.

Sariska (Personal Trip)

Sariska, Rajasthan
Sariska, Rajasthan #Canon550D

Sariska was one of the trips where I didn’t get many pictures worth showcasing. However, I did got the closest ever I could, to a peacock. It was easy picking up this picture as there were no serious rivals in this folder. The trip was special because I traveled with Chhavi.

Narkanda (Personal Solo Trip)

Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh
Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh #Canon550D

I went to Narkanda at the end of February all alone. It was one snow filled affair. With every passing day though, I wonder if it is wise to travel solo in India? And when I say solo, I mean traveling alone on my own, not when I am invited. On invited trips I have never ever felt unsafe. Let us see how I tackle solo traveling in 2015.

This was another trip where I feel I had only a few decent pictures, so it was not really difficult to pick this one.

Finland (with Nokia)

Levi, Lapland in Finland
Levi, Lapland #Lumia1020

Levi in the Lapland region of Finland was a snow filled wonder beyond compare. The house you see was the Levi Spirit Villa where I stayed. I consider it to be the most luxurious accommodation I have ever stayed in, till date. It had its own Jacuzzi, Sauna and Home Theater among other things! It was not easy to pick just one picture from this trip as I had a crazy snowmobile experience as well but in the end I picked this one for the sheer luxury.

Udaipur (with Justa Resorts)

Udaipur
Sunset at Udaipur #Canon550D

If you ever find yourself at Udaipur, do go to the Monsoon Palace at sunset. I was lucky that the sky put some extra drama but even without that, the view of the city is just gorgeous. Once again this was a trip that gave me many happy pictures but I absolutely adore the sunset ones and specially the one above.

So, which one did you like best?

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For the sky watch today, I am putting up ten pictures, 8 from my travels in 2014 and 2 from the backyard. You might have seen those pictures in some previous posts but I was tempted to put the eye candies in one place!

10. A Sunset in the Backyard

Sunset
A Sunset in the Backyard #canon550D

I usually reach home after the sunset, except for the peak of summer when the sun sets quite late. This evening I was lucky, the sun was yet to drop over the horizon. I clicked it from my balcony. One day I am going to see more sunsets rather than commuting through them!

9. Mandvi Beach, Kutch Gujarat

Mandvi Beach, Gujarat
Mandvi Beach, Gujarat #canon550D

I went to Kutch in January in 2014. It was a solo, last minute trip. I was so fed up with the hotel prices in Bhuj that I settled for staying at Devpur Home Stay. That was such a blessing as Krutharthsinh Jadeja ji fixed all my subsequent itinerary. It was because of his recommendation that I ended up at Mandavi and enjoyed the sunset at the beach.

8. An Evening in Hong Kong

Evening
Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong #canon550D

This year I took my niece and daughter on a trip to Hong Kong. The kiddos were quite fascinated by the Victoria Harbor. They were so engrossed that they did not notice that I was clicking pictures. I am going to take them out again but next year.

7. A Para-glider in Srinagar

A Para-glider in Srinagar, Kashmir
A Para-glider in Srinagar, Kashmir #canon550D

This was before the devastating September floods in Kashmir. I was there in June. I was getting out of Srinagar on September 7 as well, when Jhelum breached its banks. I hope J&K would recover from the disaster soon.

6. A Beautiful Sunset at Monsoon Palace, Udaipur

Sunset at Monsoon palace, Udaipur
Sunset at Monsoon palace, Udaipur #canon550D

There are some sunsets that get itched in your memory. The sunset at the Monsoon Palace in Udaipur falls in that category. It was such a beautiful evening, the sky had just the right amount of clouds so as to make the evening beautiful without overwhelming the sun!

5. Misty Mountains, Paro, Bhutan

Misty Mountains, Paro, Bhutan
Misty Mountains, Paro, Bhutan #canon550D

This was a morning shot. I usually open the curtains before I go to sleep. Around the time of sunrise I opened my eyes to see if there was something worth getting up. The mist had gobbled up the mountain range and re-drawn the shape of the mountain! It looked like someone had repainted the landscape. I went to the balcony to click a few pictures and then I went back to sleep again! That is how I approach sunrise photography!

4. The Beach at Maafushi, Maldives

The Maafushi Beach, Maldives
The Maafushi Beach, Maldives #Lumia1020

The trip to Maafushi, Maldives has been such a joy. I loved this lone coconut tree which was reclining at such an impossible angle towards the sea. I clicked many photographs but I like this one the best.

3. Batal, Spiti

An Evening at Batal, Spiti
An Evening at Batal, Spiti #canon550D

Mountains have been giving me only clouds, mists and rains since June 2013. Batal, Spiti was also going the same way till the clouds parted for a while in the evening. And that was the only time in this whole trip that they showed any mercy to me!

2. Sunset at Maafushi, Maldives

Sunset at Maafushi, Maldives
Sunset at Maafushi, Maldives #canon550D

Sunset at Maafushi was a magical time. It was a pleasure to be out on the beach and enjoy the sea. Sunsets became all the more special. I always thought Maldives would be beautiful but I never thought it would be so beautiful.

1. Construction Work in the Backyard

Construction Work in the Backyard
Construction Work in the Backyard #canon550D

Sometimes pictures happen in the backyard as well. I was trying to click the sun peeping through the construction site but it was not giving me anything worthwhile. Then decided to go for the silhouette.

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If you are keen on watching the sky you might notice that it puts on a special show only on a few days. The fact was specially prominent to me while I watched that special sunset at Udaipur.

Maybe as I am commuting most of the days at sunset I simply do not notice the drama on the weekdays. Whenever I have sat in peace at a sunset I have always liked it.On my recent trips two places stand out for sunsets, Maldives and Udaipur. So for today’s Sky Watch, Udaipur it is. At Maafushi, Maldives every evening was special. At Udaipur I had just one evening but the sky put such a drama!

Gates to Monsoon Palace, Udaipur
Monsoon Palace Complex, Udaipur

Have you ever noticed that if there are a bit of clouds in the sky the sunset usually is more spectacular? I have nothing against plain sky sunsets but when I saw the clouds around sunset time I let my hopes sore. Monsoon Palace is a beautiful place for watching sunsets. If you are in Udaipur do go there for sunset.

Sunset at Monsoon Palace, Udaipur
The Sunset Balcony, Monsoon Palace, Udaipur

There are two levels at the Monsoon palace. As I climbed the dimly lit stairways to the second level, my reward was a view of the balcony below along with the spectacular view. After a particular time the house keeper of the palace starts telling everyone to get out or they would get locked in. I remained long enough to hear that warning. Being locked in was not my idea of fun, not alone at any cost. I was also not sure if the resident ghosts use it for their affairs after everyone is gone!

Dushk, Udaipur, Rajasthan
As the Dusk Came, Udaipur

Finally the sun decided it has enough of the world and retired in a quiet corner. For me too it was time to head to the car park and go back to my hotel.

PS. This post is part of the awesome Skywatch Friday theme.

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City Palace, Udaipur is a beautiful place, only I had just enough time to run through it. The thing that amazed me was the camera fee of 200 Indian rupees. I know the SLR toting (myself included) crowd may not mind it. But 200 rupees even if you wanted to use a cell phone camera did feel steep. This is the highest amount for a camera fee that I have encountered. For me the entry and the camera fee was taken care by The Rajputana who invited me to Udaipur.

The construction palace was started by the Maharana Udai Singh and many other kings over the years. I actually attended a session by Maharaja Arvind Singh of Udaipur where he mentioned that the Lake Palace used to be his summer home! ! But without much ado and detours let me present a photo feature of the City Palace, Udaipur, which is what I wanted to do from the beginning.

 Entrance City Palace, Udaipur
The Entrance to City Palace, Udaipur

As far as I could figure out the tour could be done only in one way, which is a good thing for me, I don’t need much to get lost. But as I said I did a hurried trip and I could actually be wrong. I just kept following the signs and I got out of the place safe and sound. The stairs were the entry point for me into the palace.

Sheesh Mahal, City Palace, Udaipur
Sheesh Mahal, City Palace, Udaipur

To me the Sheesh Mahal was the grandest room of them all. I wonder what was it used for originally? Was it used for meetings and gatherings on special occasions, I wonder. There was an audio guide available, I paused around it but I knew I simply didn’t have time to do any justice to it if I hired one.

Udaipur City as Seen from City Palace
Udaipur City

There are many spots within the palace which give a fabulous view of the Udaipur city. But then why would I expect any less, after all this a place fit for kings and queens!

Passageways, City Palace, Udaipur
A Colorful Passage, City Palace, Udaipur

I really like the use of colored glass in Rajasthani palaces. Hawa Mahal, Jaipur also has many such nooks and corners. I also feel a lot of such features had practical use as well. I wonder if these glasses were better at keeping the sun out? Now if only they would let me sit down with a book in a corner somewhere along this passage!

 City Palace, Udaipur
A Long Passage, City Palace, Udaipur

Whenever I look at such long passages, me of the 2-3 bedroom drawing dining mentality, end up thinking how my whole home would fit in many times over in this corridor itself!

Rose Tinit Glasses
Tinted View!

I wonder if this is what is meant by wearing rose tint glasses? It, for sure, makes the view much more soothing to look at, even when the sun was harsh! But then what would I know, I hardly ever get to see the world through rose tint glasses, or do I actually get to do so sometimes?

Palki
A Palki Fit for Kings and Queens

The security personnel encouraged me to visit this section of the palace, as I was rushing out. You see, even by mistake I would not like to be left inside this vast palace. I am sure the resident ghosts must be coming out after the closing time to conduct their daily affairs! But I am glad I heeded to the advice as the section had a lot of silverware and beauties like this palki. However, after that I had only one thought, and it was to get out before the doors closed!

Ganesha Painting
Ganesha Painting at the City Palace, Udaipur

I paused again only when I was safely in the outer courtyard where vivid paintings graced the walls. I know this is not how a history blog post should be written. But this is how I felt about the place and it is the only way I know to write!

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