We started from Boondi to Gadaria Mahadev. After running on Jaipur Kota highway[ NH 52] for some time our vehicles turned and later on entered into an area having dry trees forest for a long stretch. Our vehicles ran on narrow uneven kachcha path and on both the sides stood short, dry trees with their arms extending to all sides. We have travelled through many dense tropical forests, forests of gigantic tall trees standing erect on high mountains but this one had an entirely different feel. As if each one of those trees has some tale hidden inside, a story different from that of lush green forests. This perhaps was part of Mukundra hills tiger reserve.  We visited the place with an intention to enjoy the spectacular view of famous turn of mighty Chambal river and the little shrine of Lord Mahadeva in the caves below.

 

As we reached the place from where we could see the Chambal river flowing down many feet below with hills standing guard on both the sides, the rugged panoramic beauty made us awestruck. We were the only visitors there at that time. As I said earlier, the river flew many feet below from the place we were standing but it’s width and slow, grave flow gave a very clear idea of it’s depth. Watching it from the rocks above the force of flow, waves or the churning in the water can not be apprehended but even from that far one can feel the wild, mighty and profound nature of the river. It as if clearly cautions not to mess with her. But then there was that tiny dot like boat coursing through its flow, the sole boat slowly making it’s way towards some destination. Watching it intently at first I wondered how the person or persons in that boat could muster so much courage as to go down there in waters and why on earth he was rowing a boat there but then slowly once again the realization dawned upon me, how so ever defiant, imposing the nature and it’s forces might appear we need to surrender to them with complete faith and our boat would definitely reach its destination.

 

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After enjoying the panoramic stretch for some time, we walked down to the shrine. On the way at some places steps are cut and on others rocks itself work as steps. Near the cave steps are cut, made properly. we reached the shrine. Three four locals were there. Pujari was there. He told us that he resides there only. In another very small chamber of cave his living quarters could be seen. High green trees surround the cave and down flows the Chambal. His living alone there in the wild surroundings once its totally dark, once again reinstated my faith in the miraculous powers of thoughts and beliefs.

 

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By the time we reached the shrine the tiny boat which we watched from above too had reached there. Its sole occupant tied the boat with trunk of a tree and started climbing the steep rocky terrain to reach the cave. To us it felt very dangerous, but he moved forward with ease.

We spent some time offering pooja, talking to priest and locals and treasuring the enriching experience continued our onward journey.

The place is about 20 Kms from Boondi.

Pictures @Sunder Iyer

 

Langkawi is an archipelago of about 99 islands, we visited only two besides the long walks and leisurely times spent on some beaches.

The first island cum marble geo park was Dayang bunting island and marble geo forest park. From a point on beach side we rode on boat and what a ride it was. Waters green blue to the limit of eyes, green forest covered islands standing in the middles of waters and the speed, it was thrilling, it was fun. We all shouted with child like enthusiasm whenever a wave under the boat bumped into the boat with force and pushed it upward.

 

IMG_6516nWe on our boat

 

 

 

Dayang Bunting island is said to be the second largest island in Langkawi. It is uninhabited island though various tourist activities, stores and hoards of boats keep it alive and buzzing during day time.

The literal meaning of Dayang Bunting island is island of a pregnant woman. It is said that one of the dominating hills surrounding the island is in the shape of a pregnant lady lying on her back hence the island is named so. While others relate to some folk lore related to a princess, who met her love at the lake. Their son died early and they decided to let him rest in peace in the lake. However local belief is that a couple aspiring for a baby get their wish fulfilled if they visit  and take a dip in the lake.

 

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The area of the lake and hills surrounding it where boats drop passenger for a walk into geo forest park.

 

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As our boat dropped us at island

 

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Though the surrounding area was full of green dense forests this tree in particular attracted us. It was standing at the starting point of the wooden platform leading to a view point deep into the waters . In fact it were the birds on the tree that made it beautiful. Their chirping sounded like a welcome song.

 

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A walk that not only took me to that shaded structure at the end of path but like a bird made me feel soaring up in the blue sky, over those green hills and then with outstretched hands coming down to touch the crystal clear water playfully with all the songs of joy in my heart.

On the opposite side of this, the concrete path where we landed from boat took us to dense green jungles. The path goes up and down. Amidst the tall trees are various rock formations. At the end of this path is lake Guillemard lake. This lake is a fresh water lake. The most unique part of this lake is that it very close to sea still it is a fresh water lake. Surrounding area is a part of Dayang Bunting geo forest park.

 

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The Guillemard lake 

The lake too is called as pregnant woman lake. The lake is formation from an underwater lake whose surface collapsed and the area is filled with water to form lake.

 

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A view of lake from the structure on the bank. Down are shops selling various souvenir and other essential items. 

 

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Another view of lake. People enjoying boating, bathing , swimming. Nature is amazing. In between it’s destruction too lies creation.  The faults, the plates trembles, shudders, shake, rocks rumbles down and in between those rumblings, trembling and stumbling features change and something beautiful emerge.

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resting on way back from the lake

This area has many rocks big and small. Shady trees and shades built provide respite on a hot, sunny day. But one needs to be a bit cautious of monkeys. They tend to snatch things if you are not careful. But then sometimes they entertain too. Look at this one. Somebody threw a beer can to him and he started enjoying it.

 

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“Devang bunting marble geoforest park that host the endemic palm is made of two main limestone formations the Setul- 490-370 million years and Chupina 285-250 million years formations with Singa formation in between. The tectonic movement….. brought up the entire Setul formation in the eastern part of langkawi to overlap  the much younger chuping formation in the west is among important evidence of the major tectonic event in the south east asian region during the period between late permian and late triassic-250-220 million years in langkawi, these two minor blocks collided along a plane called the kisap thurst fault dividing the pulau dayang bunting into two halves. this event was followed by the emplacement of the dayang bunting granite intrusion -220to 210 million years that transformed the limestone into one of the world’s best marble . Due to these faulting and intrusion the limestone had undergone severe fracturing thus facilitating ground water to penetrate the weak zone and dissolved it along the way. it is the combination between the ground water dissolution and have erosion under the influence of sea level changes that are responsible in the development of the complex island and terrestrial thrust landscape including the tasik dayang bunting.”

Above paragraph I took down from a rusting board from the site, I don’t know much about Geology and related phenomena but as the text written on the board was getting eroded due to climatic conditions thought of preserving it.

All pictures copyrighted by Sunder Iyer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After street art, our next stop was Penang Perankan Mansion.

Penang perankan mansion too is located in George town. The mansion is a museum offering the glimpses of wealthy, opulent life style of Perankan and their many customs and traditions.  Glimpses... oh no, what you encounter there is a dazzling show of affluence- furniture, crockery, attires, jewelry, decorative pieces, antique items and what not and besides these, is the magnificent architecture.

Perankans, to whom does the term refer to. Frankly speaking before visiting this mansion I had no inkling of even the existence of this community. The perankans was a unique and prominent community of Chinese migrants from their homeland to Straits Settlements of which Penang is a part. They married local Malay women, adopted their traditions and customs too and when these territories became British colonies , Perankans imbibed some of their life style also. So perankans came to be a unique blend of Chinese, local Malays and European ways of life style.  Their extravagant life- style carved out of the amalgamation of different cultures and customs is an extraordinarily rich legacy of the region. The head of the family was termed Baba[ man] and the lady of the house was called Nonya.

This mansion was originally built by  Chung Keng Quee, popularly known as Captain China., a very prominent local personality. He was a wealthy businessman, invested into various kinds of industries and businesses. He was also very influential politically, had amicable relations with British during their regime and later on came to be known as a great charitable personality. He donated lavishly for local causes and to various institutions too.

This mansion was built in 1894 and was used as a regular family home. eventually passed on through the generations. However it was in disarray for some time in the mid. Then in 2000 it was purchased by a wealthy antique collector, who restored it to it’s former glory and then it was opened to public in 2004 as a tourist destination.

It is not possible to capture in words the charismatic personality of the mansion in all it’s glory . However I will try to touch few aspects, yes , only glimpses of the rich heritages can be shown here. It is to be seen to encompass the enormity and depth.

 

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The entrance itself appeared to be an unique example of blend of the three cultures, the Victorian style balcony, windows, sparkling golden and red colour paint of Chinese origin while two bright coloured cycle rickshaws placed on either side of entrance resemble those beautiful rickshaws running on Penang streets even now.

 

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Crossing the gate we faced an open courtyard with covered verandahs on the four sides. Few benches were lying there and it felt good to enter the cool place after the scorching heat outside. Sitting on the bench there, when you start taking in the rich sight of beautiful carved doors, curved staircases and embellished balcony fences while the sky peeps down from the rectangular open court yard,[ though now the courtyard is covered with transparent sheets yet sky can be seen and felt] you feel like entering into some different era.  The heart fills with mixed feelings of anticipation of what lies beyond the courtyard.

 

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In the verandah on one side of courtyard was laid a big dining table. There were various wooden partitions and mirrors placed at different angles. Heard a guide telling a group of European tourists that the mirrors were placed in such a way that Baba sitting at the head of the table could watch all the entrance points of mansions reflected in the mirrors, all at the same time.

 

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The mansion is two storeyed building. Before climbing the stairs leading to first floor , one is required to take off one’s shoes. This floor has unbelievably beautiful collection of crockery, other porcelain wares, bed rooms , bride chambers, traditional attires on display, beautiful writing tables, dressing tables, an antique camera piece.

 

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The ceremonial marriage bed of the newly-weds all decked up in bright red colours with exotic , intricate carving. Each room has unique pieces of furniture and each one is ornately carved.

 

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One of the side doors of the mansion lead you to a small open space with a water fountain. On the wall behind fountain are some Chinese wall hangings and green plants are kept in this open space. I think running water fountains are considered very auspicious by Chinese. Few chairs were laid down there. It sure must have been a very cozy, private resting nook for may be Nonya and other ladies of the family.

After this fountain we entered the portion where halls after halls were glittering with gold. It felt like venturing into Some Midas land. Perankans opulent life style at it’s peak. from pins and anklets to purses, from rings, earnings to headgear, You imagine it  and it is there , glittering, resplendent . enjoy only a fraction here…

 

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head gears, hair pins….Nonya used to put more than hundred special kind of pins on her hair on wedding day .

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A side alley leads you to the family temple, private temple of captain China. It is said that the temple was used as entertainment area by Captain. the temple is definitely of quite different type. It has no deity. statue of captain is exposed in the temple and no deity is there. It is quite interesting.

 

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These scenes carved on the walls of temple tell stories

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The door of the temple opening towards main road

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We visited the temple at the end of our tour of museum. Sitting there I was thinking where has all the members , descendants must be at present. I read when Captain China left for his heavenly abode the roads of Penang turned into as if sea of people. His opulence, power, people around of him…. Ah! it all comes to an end. The wheel of time move on relentlessly sparing no one. Yet, history must be preserved. History is our inseparable part .

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Just prior to leaving the premises I rested on the inner side verandah of the ground floor, taking in it all .

Pics copyright- Sunder Iyer

#photography#travel#travelogue#malaysia#penang#pinangperankanmansion#museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

the museum is open for the visitors daily from 9.30 A.M. to 17P.M.

Admission fee for adults is 20 ringet per person, children below 12 are free.

guided tours are available.

 

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We landed at Penang at about 9.30 morning. As the check -in time of hotel was 2 P.M. we had already decided that after having light breakfast we would directly be going to explore the town.

In the flight my next seat neighbor was a lady in her business suit, a professor who was going to attend some professional workshop at Penang university. In fact I had noticed her in the airport too, as besides me she was the only lady there with a red bindi on her forehead. In the flight she was seated next to me and we fell into easy chatting exchanging pleasantries and other tit bits. She was from Sri Lanka but told me that she was born in India. The gentleman accompanying her, her colleague, belonged to Kumbhkonam and that gave us common grounds of communication. After a pleasant flight we were ready to enjoy the island in an upbeat mood.

We directed our Grab driver to drop us at Armanian street as we wanted to enjoy the street art of Penang first of all. We had read that penang street art is one of the major tourist attraction. The few pics we came across on net has already fueled our imagination and we were eager to see the wonderful initiative taken by Penang municipal corporation.

Georgetown in Penang has an impressive history, art and culture to boast of. In 2008 UNESCO declared it a world heritage site and this led to the vision of Penang state government and Penang Municipal council to give it a unique identity. Thus began the modern history of Penang Island. Murals, sculptures from iron, 3D paintings on the streets of Penang is now defining the character of the island.

State authorities invited Luthenian  artist Ernest Zachirevic to make alive the street walls of Penang with painting reflecting the daily life of the inhabitants of the place. Later on other renowned names joined in the project. Presently scattered all over the streets of Penang are many art works expressing various ideas, thoughts and art forms of different artists, known and unknown.There are paintings, 3D and 2D paintings using real articles with painted figures and are iron rod sculptures.

While roaming from street to street we also came across a covered gallery kind of place which was full of wall paintings and a poster there invited random people with any beautiful idea to come forward, share their ideas with concerned people and if accepted , to take the paints, colours from authority and create their own master pieces on the walls of Penang.

Though we tried to cover as much art displays as possible yet we know we could not cover it all.

Let me share few of the wonderful pieces with you.

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Random writings on the wall might not be termed as a great piece of art but they sure bring smiles to you.

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An Indian lady in saree with head covered in traditional Indian way — Indians are an important part of Malaysian history. She looked solemn, a tad sad too perhaps. I wanted to add smiles.

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yes, I am there and happy too. This entire wall full of vibrant flowers and that cat face in between– interesting , isn’t it ! this filled the area with light.

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cats as subject of street art are seen at a number of places, but why cats ? Don’t know the idea, thought behind that but came to know about another CAT- central area transit, the free shuttle but that runs through the streets of Penang. This bus service was launched in 2009. It seems in 2008 another CAT concept was introduced by Penang government, governance based on Competency, Accountability and Transparency.

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These street art pieces made by  wrought iron rods are also found in good number in Penang streets. This one too perhaps has a thought of preserving the earlier ways of life in the island. A man carrying some two vessels hung from a rod on his shoulder. I remember from my childhood the street hawkers in my home town here in India carrying two earthen pots on his shoulder in the similar fashion. They used to sell curd and buttermilk etc.

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This is another example of wrought iron caricatures and words explaining the thought behind it.  It definitely needs time to grasp the full meaning and reference behind each of these art pieces.

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This was a wall size painting of the face of girl/ woman. It was so alive, the sadness really palpable. Shhhhhhhh, don’t bare your pains to strangers……….

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What better way to hoodwink a watching eye than to hold a position above it…

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Trying to share the untold stories of longings, pains and the memories of those left behind.

Thoughtful street art is like good fiction. every graffiti has it’s own story and every individual interprets in his own way.

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Waiting for the one on the other side of the window..

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This is one among the most popular and famous art pieces- The boy riding the actual bike. Come on boy, drive on, you have to just drop me few blocks away. i am not going to hijack your bike.

There are many captures of the street art of Penang but I would talk about that in next piece.

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The quintessential cycle rickshaws of Penang. Each of these was decorated with vibrant colour flowers and added their own bit to make the streets attractive.

 

All the pictures@ Sunder Iyer

 

 

 

 

We landed at Penang at about 9.30 morning. As the check -in time of hotel was 2 P.M. we had already decided that after having light breakfast we would directly be going to explore the town.

In the flight my next seat neighbor was a lady in her business suit, a professor who was going to attend some professional workshop at Penang university. In fact I had noticed her in the airport too, as besides me she was the only lady there with a red bindi on her forehead. In the flight she was seated next to me and we fell into easy chatting exchanging pleasantries and other tit bits. She was from Sri Lanka but told me that she was born in India. The gentleman accompanying her, her colleague, belonged to Kumbhkonam and that gave us common grounds of communication. After a pleasant flight we were ready to enjoy the island in an upbeat mood.

We directed our Grab driver to drop us at Armanian street as we wanted to enjoy the street art of Penang first of all. We had read that penang street art is one of the major tourist attraction. The few pics we came across on net has already fueled our imagination and we were eager to see the wonderful initiative taken by Penang municipal corporation.

Georgetown in Penang has an impressive history, art and culture to boast of. In 2008 UNESCO declared it a world heritage site and this led to the vision of Penang state government and Penang Municipal council to give it a unique identity. Thus began the modern history of Penang Island. Murals, sculptures from iron, 3D paintings on the streets of Penang is now defining the character of the island.

State authorities invited Luthenian  artist Ernest Zachirevic to make alive the street walls of Penang with painting reflecting the daily life of the inhabitants of the place. Later on other renowned names joined in the project. Presently scattered all over the streets of Penang are many art works expressing various ideas, thoughts and art forms of different artists, known and unknown.There are paintings, 3D and 2D paintings using real articles with painted figures and are iron rod sculptures.

While roaming from street to street we also came across a covered gallery kind of place which was full of wall paintings and a poster there invited random people with any beautiful idea to come forward, share their ideas with concerned people and if accepted , to take the paints, colours from authority and create their own master pieces on the walls of Penang.

Though we tried to cover as much art displays as possible yet we know we could not cover it all.

Let me share few of the wonderful pieces with you.

 

malaysia_19w

Random writings on the wall might not be termed as a great piece of art but they sure bring smiles to you.   malaysia_16w

An Indian lady in saree with head covered in traditional Indian way — Indians are an important part of Malaysian history. She looked solemn, a tad sad too perhaps. I wanted to add smiles.malaysia_18w

yes, I am there and happy too. This entire wall full of vibrant flowers and that cat face in between– interesting , isn’t it ! this filled the area with light.

IMG_7448w

cats as subject of street art are seen at a number of places, but why cats ? Don’t know the idea, thought behind that but came to know about another CAT- central area transit, the free shuttle but that runs through the streets of Penang. This bus service was launched in 2009. It seems in 2008 another CAT concept was introduced by Penang government, governance based on Competency, Accountability and Transparency.

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quintessential rickshaws of Penang, each of them is beautifully decorated with bright coloured flowers. In the local language it is perhaps called becak, not sure whether I got it right or not.

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These street art pieces made by  wrought iron rods are also found in good number in Penang streets. This one too perhaps has a thought of preserving the earlier ways of life in the island. A man carrying some two vessels hung from a rod on his shoulder. I remember from my childhood the street hawkers in my home town here in India carrying two earthen pots on his shoulder in the similar fashion. They used to sell curd and buttermilk etc.

IMG_7536w

This is another example of wrought iron caricatures and words explaining the thought behind it.  It definitely needs time to grasp the full meaning and reference behind each of these art pieces.

IMG_7569w

This was a wall size painting of the face of girl/ woman. It was so alive, the sadness really palpable. Shhhhhhhh, don’t bare your pains to strangers……….

IMG_7573w

What better way to hoodwink a watching eye than to hold a position above it…IMG_7580w

Trying to share the untold stories of longings, pains and the memories of those left behind.

Thoughtful street art is like good fiction. every graffiti has it’s own story and every individual interprets in his own way.

 

IMG_7597w

Waiting for the one on the other side of the window..malaysia_15w

This is one among the most popular and famous art pieces- The boy riding the actual bike. Come on boy, drive on, you have to just drop me few blocks away. i am not going to hijack your bike.

There are many captures of the street art of Penang but I would talk about that in next piece.

All the pictures@ Sunder Iyer

 

 

Our car turned away from the main road and entered Griggs Reservoir Park area. Drive through main road too was very pleasant as it was the green season and nature on both the sides of road was fresh and sparkling. However drive through park area was much more pleasant. Scioto river flew side by side through out the length of the drive. though between Scioto and road long stretch of green plants bushes and grass ran along yet the the glimpses of rippling river were soothing and uplifting.

Scioto river flows through Columbus, Ohio, here it collects it’s longest tributary Olentangy river and meets Ohio river at Portsmouth.

 

 

 

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we parked our car near one of the shelters. there are many shelters in park, some facing river while others are scattered midst greenery on the other side of the drive way. Griggs reservoir park in Columbus is an ideal place for picnics with friends and families, for spending quiet me time in the company of rustling leaves, whispering woods while river goes on humming in the background.

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the shelter gives an unobstructed view of river and it’s other bank lined with dense rows of trees. boating can be enjoyed in Scioto here.

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It was evening time. the golden orb rested on the tips of trees on other bank. the sparking blue waters slowly turned into golden yellow. the group of ducks floated calmly, as if in a prayer mode. the serenity of the scene percolated deep down within soul.

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After their final goodbye to the day ducks walked away to their resting areas. it was a heartening sight to watch them crossing the road with confidant and firm steps . they knew in their heart that they are safe while crossing the road after all pedestrian is the king of the road.

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the park has designated disc golf course but as there were not many visitors there at that time we enjoyed our few flings on disc throw right on the drive way.

 

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This is the disc Golf course area. professionals play here.

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one step at a time is good walking

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without words we share a lot.

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There is always a relief away from the maddening crowd.

The park has driving, biking trails but walking on those paths is such a joy that you never think of finding an exit.

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This is the area near dam. one can go down right upto there and sit listening to the harmonious symphonies of water and leaves.

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The magnificent Griggs dam.

During our two three visits there we enjoyed the different moods of the place. That is the beauty of nature. Every day you notice some new flower, a new plant and then the magical sunlight paints the woods in different shades on different days and hours.

All the pictures @ Sunder Iyer.