The Caucasus or Caucasia is a region at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black and Caspian Seas.  It is home to the Caucasus Mountains which contains highest mountain peak —-Mount Elbrus.
Pliny the Elder’s Natural History (AD 77-79) derives the name of the Caucasus from the Scythian “KROY-KHASIS” (ice-shining, white with snow).  The northern portion of the of the Caucasus is known as the CISCAUCASUS and the southern portion as the TRANSCAUCASUS.  The CISCAUCASUS contains the larger majority of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range.  It includes South western Russia and northern parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan.  The TRANSCAUCASUS is bordered on the north  by Russia, on the west by the Black Sea and Turkey, on the east by the Caspian Sea and on the south by Iran.  It includes the Caucasus Mountains and surrounding lowlands.  All of Armenia, Azerbaijan (excluding the northern parts) and Georgia (excluding the northern parts)…

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Palais Ideal



Palais Ideal (Ideal Palace) is in the “otherwise forgettable village”, that is Hauterives, north of Valence, France.   It is the handiwork of Facteur (Postman) Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, who spent 33 years of his life building it.
Cheval (1836-1924) left school at the age of 13 to become a baker’s apprentice, but eventually became a postman.  Neither snow nor heat nor rain nor his own wildest fancies stopped him from  walking 32km a day.  He was a wiry man with a straggly moustache and small fierce eyes.  In his dreams he had built a palace, a castle or caves.  He did not tell anyone about his dreams for fear of being ridiculed.


One day, when he was on his rounds, he stumbled on a stone.  The stone had a strange shape, he put it in his pocket to admire it at leisure.  It was a sandstone shaped by water and hardened by…

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Kailasa Temple


Kailasa Temple top view

The KAILASA (Sanskrit : KAILASANATHA) Temple is one of the largest rock-cut ancient Hindu temples located in ELLORA, Maharashtra, India.

It is a major attraction in MARATHWADA region of Maharashtra.  It was built in the 8th century by the RASHTRAKUTA King Krishna -1 as attested in Kannada inscriptions.
This is one of the 34 temples and monasteries known collectively as ELLORA CAVES.  These extend over more than 2km, and were dug side by side in a wall of a high basalt cliff in the complex located at Ellora.  The KAILASA (Cave – 16) is a remarkable example of Dravidian architecture on account of its striking proportion, elaborated workmanship, architectural content and sculptural ornamentation of rock-cut architecture.

Kailasa Temple, Ellora, India

The Temple was commissioned and completed between 757 – 783 CE, when Krishna -1 ruled the RASHTRAKUTA DYNASTY.  It is designed to recall Mount Kailash, the home of Lord Shiva.  It is a megalith carved…

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The land of Bolivia is truly a peek into a lost civilization, and is also a cornucopia of myriad never-before seen sights.
The capital of Bolivia, La Paz, is the highest international airport in the world at 13,000ft.  The air here is so rarified that planes find it difficult to take off or land.


The first glimpse of La Paz can take your breath away, the buildings, brick-red in colour cling to the mountain sides and spill over into the canyon below, with the imposing snow-capped Mount Illimani (6,420mt) as a backdrop. The city has several cathedrals, museums and unique markets that should be savoured over a few days, basically by foot.  The many quaint narrow streets also allow you to imbibe the local culture and flavours of this beautiful hill station capital.


The industrial town of Uyuni is the gateway to the Salar De Uyuni and other sights in…

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Butterfly Valley


butterfly valley

BUTTERFLY VALLEY (Turkish : KELEBEKLER VADISI ) is a valley in FETHIYE District of MUGLA PROVINCE, southwest  Turkey, which is home to diverse butterfly species.  It is situated at the foothill of BADABAG (6,480ft high) mountain nominated for preservation as World Heritage.
A wide-strip sand beach at a bay on the TURKISH RIVIERA protrudes from the valley.  IN the form of a narrow canyon stretching over 3-4km, the valley’s steep walls are 1,150-1,30ft high.  A trail, in the valley, leads to 2 small waterfalls dropping from 200ft all the year around.  In the middle of the valley, a creek runs carrying water from a spring in nearby FARALYA VILLAGE to the sea.  A road from OLUDENIZ to UZUNYURT, which is part of the LYCIAN WAY ULTRA-MARATHON ROUTE runs atop the rocks around the valley.


A hidden valley without electricity, TV or any other material amenities, but with 1000s of butterflies, shining…

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The IMPALA is a medium-sized antelope.  The vernacular name “IMPALA” comes from the Zulu language meaning “gazelle.”  The scientific name is derived from the Greek words ‘aipos’ (high), ‘ceros’ (horn), ‘melas’ (black) and ‘pous’ (foot).  Up to 6 sub-species have been described, although only 2 are usually recognised ——- the common and the black-faced impala.  While the former is abundant throughout southern and eastern Africa, the latter is restricted to south-western Africa.
Only the males are ‘horned’. The horns consist of BONE CORES, surrounded by a covering of ‘keratin’ and other ‘proteins,’ and are, often, ‘curved’ or ‘spiral’ in shape.  The males are also, noticeably, larger than the females.  The coat is glossy reddish-brown.  The red hue fades away towards the animal’s sides and the underside is white.  Facial features include white rings around the eyes, as well as a light chin and muzzle. There are black stripes on the…

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Inaccessible Island


Inaccessible Island

INACCESSIBLE ISLAND is 14 sq.kms in area, rising out of the South Atlantic Ocean, 28 miles south-west of Tristan da Cunha, is an extinct volcano (last active 6 million years ago).  It is part of the Archipelago of Tristan da Cunha which is part of the overseas territory of the UK known as Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.  Along with Gough Island, Inaccessible Island is a protected wildlife reserve and both make up the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE of Gough and Inaccessible Island.
Inaccessible Island was discovered in January 1956 during a voyage by a Dutch ship under the command of Jan Jacobszoon, 146 years after Tristan da Cunha was 1st sighted by Portuguese sailors.  Jacobszoon originally named it “NACHTGLAS” Island.
There are 2 explanations for the name “Inaccessible” Island.  One is that on maps, the newly-found island was referred to as “Inaccessible”, because the Dutch crew who landed were…

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