Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Five Most Mystical Places of the World

The world around us is full of mysteries. There are things we believe in without even knowing about its existence. Science doesn’t always find an answer to all questions and that’s exactly why we still love to watch movies like “Lord of the Rings’ and read ‘Harry Potter’ numerous times. All mysterious things have a charm and the charm lies in the fact that we don’t know everything about it. From old civilizations to some of the cultural practices, mystery has been associated with every part of the world. There are innumerable places in the world which can be called mysterious for some reason or another. Let’s have a look at five of them which make it to the top.

Easter Island


Easter Island is one of the most isolated regions in the world, Easter Island makes to the top of the list. The region is full of giant volcanic rock statues called “moai”. The people of the island were called Rapa Nui and no one knows where they came from and where they vanished. The reason for the carving remains as unknown as the islanders. There have been a lot of research in finding out the stories behind these giant structures but there hasn’t been any concrete answer to this question.

The Pyramids of Giza


The largest and oldest of the three pyramids in Giza Necropolis, the great pyramids of Giza also called the Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest man made structure in world for more than 3800 years. The casing stone which originally formed the smooth surface on the great pyramid has worn off and what we actually see the core structure. Egyptian civilization is the said to be the most mysterious and advanced civilization of all times and the great pyramid only adds to the mystery.

The three largest pyramids are Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Kafhre and the Pyramid of Menkaura which are said to be the tombs dedicated for three different Egyptian king.



Located in the English country of Whltshire, Stonhenge is a one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. What makes this place special is the circular setting of standing stones. The stone monument is believed to be erected near 2500 BC though there is no concrete proof the origin. The region lists in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

The construction of the setting is quite impressive in itself considering the labor and time that went in making it. Stonehenge is believed to be a large earthwork constructed about 5000 years ago. The tools used are said to be equivalent to the earth digging and moving.

Castlerigg Stone Circle


This stone circle in Cumbria is an impressive pre historic monument in Britain. The stone circle is said to date back to 3200 BC and is a vision in itself. Not only is it flooded with tourists all around, it has also been a subject among archeologists. Apparently many of the stones of Castlerigg reflect features in the surrounding hills.

38 stones of different shapes and sizes form this circle. Some of the stones are as high as 5 feet. A mystery on how, when and why it was built, the Castlerigg is not a full circle and is flattened on the northeast. Inside the eastern side is a rectangular enclosure of about 10 stones. The purpose of this enclosure remains as mysterious as this whole structure.

Cenote in Mayan Civilization

cenote cancun mx Five Most Mystical Places of the World


Deep within the jungles of Mexico and Guatemala, this civilization flourished when Europe was still in the Dark ages. These people were the masters of mathematics and had mapped the heavens. These warriors called Maya had fought the Spanish. The cities were built with utmost perfection without any metal tool. The stone structures found in jungle talks about the genius they were. The Mayas are a mystery in themselves as such great architecture doesn’t seem to belong to that era.

The underground world called Cenote are water bodies which will make a chill rn down your spine if you manage to walk down the narrow stairs that led to this vertical hole. Nothing in the world can be more bizarre than the sight you see when you get used to light under 20 feet.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Night Photography of New York and Las Vegas by Jason Hawkes

The legendary photographer Jason Hawkes sharing at Boston.com some of his latest images of American cities seen from above at night: New York City and Las Vegas, both cities that undergo significant transformations after the sun goes down.

Jason Hawkes says: “The images of New York were shot on Nikons latest camera, the D3S, using three gyro stabilizing mounts and flown using twin star helicopters. (Eurocopter AS355). We flew from heights of just over 500 ft up to 2,500-ft with no doors on, it was very very cold. The images of Las Vegas were shot for a separate project, using a range of helicopters from a Robinson 44 toEurocopter AS355″.

Check out Hawkes’ newly-released book “London at Night”. A book of his New York at night photos is due for publication in the Autumn. Captions provided by the photographer. [JasonHawkes via Boston]One Worldwide Plaza, Eighth Avenue. Photo: JasonHawkes
The Williamsburg suspension bridge crossing the East River. Photo: JasonHawkes
View from the Financial District across to the Governors Island and Upper Bay. Verrazano-Narrows Bridge can be seen lit up in the far distance. Photo: JasonHawkes
Close up looking down onto Chrysler Building. Photo: JasonHawkes
Looking down onto Times Square. Photo: JasonHawkes
The Empire State building in blue and red on the left of the image looking up Lexington Ave. to the Chrylser Building. Photo: JasonHawkes
Central Park, Central Park Reservoir and Metropolitan Museum of Art, looking South up Madison Ave. Photo: JasonHawkes
The Statue of Liberty. Photo: JasonHawkes
The area around The MetLife Building on Park Avenue and Midtown. Photo: JasonHawkes
The Empire State Building. Photo: JasonHawkes
The Vegas Strip from above The Mirage. Photo: JasonHawkes
Excalibur, Las Vegas. Photo: JasonHawkes
The pyramid shaped Luxor Las Vegas. Photo: JasonHawkes
The sphinx at the entrance to the Luxor Las Vegas. Photo: JasonHawkes
Brooklyn Bridge, Las Vegas. Photo: JasonHawkes
The top of the the replica Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas. Photo: JasonHawkes
New York-New York Hotel and Casino. Photo: JasonHawkes
The Excalibur, New York and MGM Grand hotels, Las Vegas. Photo: JasonHawkes
The Venetian with gondolas, Las Vegas Hotel Casino. Photo: JasonHawkes
The Stratosphere Las Vegas. The tower has two observation decks, a revolving restaurant and three rides. Photo: JasonHawkes

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Trains for children

The Kishigawa train line in Japan has about 14.3km and two trains that are different from any other train: the Omoden and the Ichigo Ec, the 'Train of toys' and the 'Strawberry Train', repectively. The idea was to promote the use of this comfortable and safe means of transportation among children. And, as it seems, results have been surprising...

The concept for these two trains was in the hands of Eiji Mitooka, who made them attractive enough in the eyes of children and filled them with hundreds of toys, TV screens with cartoons and other artefacts for the young travellers. As was to be expected, the carriages are immaculately clean. Interesting detail: the station master is called Tama and is famous for being... A cat. Only in Japan!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Top 5 Most Dangerous Roads in the World

1. Bolivia’s “Road of Death”

North Yungas Road is hands-down the most dangerous in the world for motorists. If other roads could be considered impassable, this one clearly endangers your life. It runs in the Bolivian Andes, 70 km from La Paz to Coroico, and plunges down almost 3,600 meters in an orgy of extremely narrow hairpin curves and 800-meter abyss near-misses.

A fatal accident happens there every couple of weeks, 100-200 people perish there every year. In 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank named the La Paz-to-Coroico route “the world’s most dangerous road.”

Among the route there are many visible reminders of accidents, wrecked carcasses of lorries and trucks lie scattered around at the bottom… (read BBC article)

(images via 1, 2)

The buses and heavy trucks navigate this road, as this is the only route available in the area. Buses crowded with locals go in any weather, and try to beat the incoming traffic to the curves.

It does not help that the fog and vapors rise up from the heavily vegetated valley below, resulting in almost constant fogs and limited visibility. Plus the tropical downpours cause parts of the road to slide down the mountain.

(images via 1, 2, 3)

Apparently some companies make business on the road’s dubious fame by selling the extreme bike tours down that road. “Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking” is one of them. (you can read one such biker’s account here.) If you are nuts enough to consider it, please be advised that you will be only adding to the road hazards, as it’s hard to spot a cyclist on the road’s hairpin curves, and your shrieks (as you fall down the abyss) will disturb the peace and quiet of the villagers nearby.

(images via MarkoP, some originals unknown)

2. Russian Siberian Road to Yakutsk

This is the official federal-government highway to Yakutsk, and it is also the only one to get there. As there are no other roads, the intrepid motorists are doomed to wallow in this dirt, or wait in week-long 100 km car line-ups (they say women even gave birth there while waiting).

This can turn into a major humanitarian disaster during rainy spells, when the usual clay covering of the road turns into impassable mud blanket, swallowing trucks and tractors alike. In the meantime the city has to partly airlift food products.

(images credit: Pasik’s Journal)

Here is an aerial shot of this road in winter:

(image via)

The “Haunted Road” in Russia

There are also rumors of seemingly quite normal 30 km stretch of Russian country road, which nevertheless gets an unexplained amount of car accidents; the locals suspect underground gas seepage which causes motorists to fall asleep…

This creepy tale is supported by the evidence of car crash statistics and the tales of survivors, who do not remember anything prior to the crash and act strangely “drugged” afterwards. Hopefully this will be properly investigated before the road claims more victims.

3. Russian-Georgian “Military” Mountain

Sukhumi “Military” road in the former Soviet Georgia, in Caucasus mountains, which truckers and wine-drunk crazy “Lada” drivers navigate with the utter abandon, typical of the local mountain people… but we could not locate any photos of it. Only this old postcard… If you have any more pics, send them in.

First sent in pic (photo by V. Krasnogolovy) -

4. Nepal, Tibet & Bangladesh Roads

Those bound for Mount Everest will know what we talk about. There are some hair-raising, hardly maintained roads in the area - which bus and truck drivers have to negotiate to get to small villages. A road in Nepal, leading from From Katmandu to Everest Base Camp:A typical India-Nepal Road:

originals unknown)

5. Most Dangerous Tourist Hiking Trail (China)

Not a car road, but the most hair-raising experience you can have on your own two legs. This is a heavy-tourist traffic area in Xian (Mt.Huashan); this link explains more about the area.

The hanging wooden planks are a real tourist hike path, which hundreds of daredevils navigate - with no safeguards in sight. Try to step on them in slippery / snowy conditions… or better not.

(images via)

And when you’re finally through with all this excitement, here is an outhouse for you (but do not make any false moves):