Through My Lens

Exploring the World Through Photography

Jeep Safari in Chitwan National Park

As one of Nepal’s biggest National Parks, Chitwan National Park is a true must visit in a country filled with “must visits.” It started as a hunting area for the…

As one of Nepal’s biggest National Parks, Chitwan National Park is a true must visit in a country filled with “must visits.” It started as a hunting area for the royalty of Nepal but was converted to a National Park to preserve the animals in 1971. The 360 square miles house everything from rhinos and tigers to elephants and crocodiles and the best way to get deep into the park is by hiring a jeep safari. There are over 43 species of mammals in the park and the best time to visit is anytime other then the monsoon months of June – September, when the park is overflowing with water.

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When I went my safari was a half day in a jeep, which took us way back into the park. In order to get to the jeep area though we had to cross the river by canoe and walk past a elephant before finding the jeeps.

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The elephant minded his own business and seemed more concerned with his food then with the humans that were walking near him.

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The jeeps themselves were pretty nice with open tops and elevated row seating and we headed out into the park.

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Right off the bat we caught a rhino bathing in the river and it didn’t even seem to care that we had snuck up on it and we were able to get great views for 5 minutes before proceeding on.

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From there though we saw a lot less animals the rest of the day but it was a beautiful area to drive around in regardless. Here is what we saw.

Rhino

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The king of Chitwan, it is so cool to see these tank like animals up close. We were lucky enough to see three on our trip. The above one was the best as he just stared at us for a while.

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I was even able to get a shot of the guide we had who got close to the rhino to take a picture. Not very safe but I am sure the shots are good.

Deer

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Deer are everywhere in the park and we saw a lot while driving around. Often times we would see them out in the open but other times you had to watch closely to see them in the bushes.

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Pumba

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Yes, we saw a warthog, it was a nice citing in the afternoon. Our guide loved calling him Pumba.

Peacock

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The national bird of India also lives in the wild here. We saw a lot in the park.

Monitor Lizard

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These deadly lizards are best to avoid but are cool to see from afar. They are much bigger then I anticipated them being.

Insects

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We stumbled upon a tree full of red bugs that was pretty neat to see as well and there are bugs everywhere.

Birds

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I don’t have to much bird knowledge myself but we did see a lot of beautiful birds in the park.

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The ride itself was very bumpy and after 4 hours you are pretty ready to be out of the jeep. The area you are driving through is beautiful though and even when you are not seeing animals it is nice just to take in the surroundings. Our guide took us by the crocodile park and I recommend that as well. It is pretty far into the park and is a fun way to see some crocodiles up close in a safe environment.

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All in all it was a good trip, but I would have to say that my safari on the elephant was much more fun then the jeep trip personally.

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World Peace Pagoda above Pokhara, Nepal

As you walk around the town of Pokhara you will notice the World Peace Pagoda from pretty much every location you are at. This massive structure sits on the mountain…

As you walk around the town of Pokhara you will notice the World Peace Pagoda from pretty much every location you are at. This massive structure sits on the mountain to the left of the city and was created in 1999 as one of the many peace pagodas around Nepal. This was the second that I saw on my trip as I saw one in Lumbini as well. This pagoda was originally built here in 1973 but was town down by the government in 1974. Since that time many people tried to bring it back before it was eventually completed in 1999.

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To access it, the simplest way is to take a taxi to the base of the 500-600 rock steps and then climb them to reach the pagoda. Be warned, this road is slow going in the taxi as it is one lane and has small sections of dirt with the concrete.

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You can also access it by taking a boat across the lake then climbing up the other side but I didn’t do that myself so I can’t really comment.

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As you walk the steps you will be greeted with many different little shops and eateries where you can take a pause for a cold drink on the way up or down, and while not too hard, it will still be a good little workout to get to the Pagoda.

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For me though, I enjoyed the stairs as it seemed like a more unique way to experience the monument then just driving somewhere and getting out.

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As you near the top there is a small restaurant with epic views and you will start to see the city below and the Annapurna range in the distance, if the weather is clear.

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The Pagoda itself is almost identical to the other one I saw, but at its perch on top of the mountain it is a very worthy experience. As you would expect in Nepal there are prayer flags all along the way as you approach and many Buddhist people were meditating and enjoying the surroundings when I was there. Here are some of he pictures.

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The first of these pagodas was built in Japan in 1954 and since then the goal has been to build 100 of them throughout the world.

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I found this area to be very peaceful and I really enjoyed just sitting up here near sunset and just relaxing as I look out over the view. I highly recommend it as no trip to Pokhara would be complete without it.

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Devi’s Falls In Pokhara, Nepal

I have a hard time figuring what to write about Devi Falls as it is a pretty strange way to experience a waterfall. Pretty much it goes like this, you are…

I have a hard time figuring what to write about Devi Falls as it is a pretty strange way to experience a waterfall. Pretty much it goes like this, you are driving down a busy street and you stop by a massive amount of shops, in the middle of all of them is a small sign for Devi Falls. After walking through the shops you will be at the ticket counter and entering into the falls area, then boom, a waterfall.

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I love waterfalls and I go out of my way to see them, but it is not as enjoyable to have a relaxing waterfall experience in the hustle and bustle of shops and city. That being said I am still glad I went as the falls themselves were amazing and unique since the water runs through a tunnel from the lake before it enters the falls.

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Devi’s Falls were discovered in 1961 when a man named Daniel, who’s had a wife named Devi, were swimming in the lake and she got sucked into the tunnel. Her body was never found but the falls were discovered. After that the falls became a popular attraction for the many people in the area to come and see.

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Currently the small park offers a few nice views of the waterfall which descends through arches and tunnels as it makes its way to Gupteshwor Mahadevcave, the cave you can also visit across the street. Here are a few photos.

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The front view of the falls is the best as you can see most of it from here, I was a little confused about the layout of the other platforms as you walk to them and cannot see anything at all, so it seems like the layout could have been better.

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Here is a picture with me in it so you can get a sense of scale.

Devi Falls me

There is also a wishing well that is very popular and you can get coins from the ticket counter to toss in.

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Lastly, there is a very random area with 3D clay people with no faces that you can pose behind if you want to have a quick laugh and a funny photo.

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All in all this is a nice waterfall, but you could see Pokhara without seeing it if you are rushed for time.

Pro tip – the shops outside the falls are pretty cheap. I bought a medium-sized sounding bowl for only 500 rupees here (after bartering).

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Sunrise at Sarangkot: Annapurna Range in Pokhara, Nepal

Pokhara is known as the gateway to the Annapurna Range and you can see it with all of the knock off Northface shops they have in the area. However, no…

Pokhara is known as the gateway to the Annapurna Range and you can see it with all of the knock off Northface shops they have in the area. However, no trip to this city would be complete without marveling at the sheer size of these mountains from the cities best viewpoint, Sarangkot.

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This area is accessed by either taxi or hiking and having done both I would say taxi is a must for sunrise as the trail is very hard to navigate in the dark, but hiking is a good option for sunset if you are into a grueling walk up the mountain.

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After leaving the hotel at 4 in the morning I arrived at the top of the mountain around 4:30. After walking the last 20 meters to the top of the mountain and I was able to secure a great spot for the sunrise. Within ten minutes over 150 people came to the spot I was at, so I highly recommend getting there early if you want to get a good view.  You can also pay 100 ruppees to access the roof of a nearby coffee shop and enjoy a seat and a tea for the sunrise if that is more your thing.

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What followed was one of the best sunrises of my life. The massive above 20,000 foot peaks sparkled in the sun with their snow-capped peaks, and the sun itself split the mountains with rays you wouldn’t believe. I sat there for 45 minutes just taking it all in and taking photos. Here are some of my favorites.

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This was the first time I had seen these mountains on my stay as the fog had kept them pretty covered the rest of the time I was there, so I was blessed to see them as well as I did. The funny thing was when the sun was fully up, the mountains started to disappear into the clouds again and it was back to reality.

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I couldn’t believe how amazing this was and I highly recommend it as a must see in Pokhara. You may never see a better sunrise then this. The location itself is easy to get to and very popular, any taxi should be able to take you up the winding road to the top.

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Park Güell In Barcelona, Spain: Attractions you Should See

In the Northern part of one of my favorite European cities, sits the  strange and beautiful Park Guell, the brainchild of famed Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. While Barcelona itself is…

In the Northern part of one of my favorite European cities, sits the  strange and beautiful Park Guell, the brainchild of famed Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.

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While Barcelona itself is pretty much Antoni Gaudi’s city, his crowning achievements are Park Guell and Sagrada Familia. Park Guell was built between 1900 – 1912 after Guadi bought a house in the failed housing development and started to create works on the land. The house he lived in for 2o years is now the Guadi House Museum, as for the park, here are the sites you must see.

  • Cost – 8 Euro

The Gate Houses (Porter’s Lodge Pavilions)

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The first thing you will see as you as you enter are the two crazy looking buildings that sit on either side of the entrance. I often liken them to those of your favorite childhood stories with their free-flowing roofs and palette of colors and styles. One is also a lot taller since it has a massive spire with a cross on the top.

The Dragon

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This very popular piece, right as you walk through the entrance, is known as “el drac” (the dragon) and is a unique fountain that greets the visitors while they walk up the stairway. It is heavily watched by guards after it was vandalized a decade ago and they will even yell at you if you take to long posing for your picture to “move along.” It is a great spot for a photo opp though and you will see this famous piece in tourist shops all over Barcelona.

Hypostyle Room

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Right under the nature square is the Hypostyle Room, complete with 84 stone columns and a meticulously decorated ceiling. It is a good place to escape the heat or just to wander around while looking up at the ceiling. This room also funnels rainwater down to an underground tank and the excess water is what comes out of the dragons mouth.

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Nature Square

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One of the main attractions in this park is that of the Nature Square. This large dirt field sits atop the Hypostyle Room and provides an excellent vista point of the gate houses and the city below. It was designed to house concerts and other events but that has never really happened. It also features an exceptionally long sea serpent bench that extends around the entire interior and provides a place to sit and bask in the beauty and colors of the inlaid stones.

The Birds Nests

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These rock and clay sculptures look much like the bird’s nest you would see in a common tree, yet they are 10 times the size. I was also told that they are designed to look like the trees that were planted in them, a collection of shrubberies and palm trees and you can see the resemblance.

The Laundry Room

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This walkway, called the laundry room, which leads to another set of gardens is designed to look like a wave slanting out on top of the columns. It is a great place for a stroll and to understand a little more on the architecture of the area.

The Austria Gardens

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One of my favorite spots in the park, this collection of gardens are lush and overflowing with plant life. From here you can see the clay and stone walkways that will lead you up to the top of the park. I love the way these look, they are perfect for photography. The stones that make up the columns were taken from the site itself when they were built.

So there you have it, my favorite spots in the park, let me know yours in the comments and check out the pictures below.

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New Navajo Falls in Havasupai, Arizona

In the upper part of Arizona, just outside of Grand Canyon National Park, sits an Indian Reservation that houses some of the best waterfalls the world has to offer. They…

In the upper part of Arizona, just outside of Grand Canyon National Park, sits an Indian Reservation that houses some of the best waterfalls the world has to offer. They are only accessed by an 8 mile hike down from the canyon walls into the small reservation (the last place in the United States that still sends mail via horse) and you must have a permit to make the hike. There are a series of four waterfalls on this trail and the first that you will get to is arguably my favorite, New Navajo Falls. It has two distinct sections, Upper and Lower Navajo Falls.

Upper Navajo Falls

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When walking the main trail to the campground you will want to watch for a spur about 1.5 miles from the town. This is the spur that leads to upper New Navajo Falls and since it is easy to miss it is often less crowded then the other falls.

Navajo Falls

This waterfall looked a lot different before a flood came through the canyon and made it into what it is now only a decade ago.It is now is a 150 foot wide majestic falls that cascades over jutting rocks and fills pools of all sizes at its base. To this day it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. You can swim in its water, head under some parts of the falls to find little caves, and just bask in the beauty that it creates for days without getting tired of it. The blue-green water that flows from it is a marvel in and of itself.

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Lower Navajo Falls

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About a forth of a mile down from New Navajo falls is lower Navajo Falls. While not as striking at its brethren, this waterfall houses a secretive back area that you can swim up to and climb into. It is a perfect place to watch the crazies cliff jump from above, as this is a popular cliff jumping spot, or to just find some peace and serenity while indulging in the sound of the water as it careens into the pools below.

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You can see how far the two falls are from each other in the picture below. Be sure that if you make the trek in that you get a campsite or a room at the lodge as you want to make sure you have time to see these falls plus the other three.

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This place must be seen to be believed and is one of my favorite places in the United States. Check out the other waterfalls here and make sure to leave a comment.

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