Sunday, January 2, 2011

Valley of the Gods and other mountain images

By Vasudev Ram

I was browsing some web site and saw an ad for Manali (some people call it the Valley of the Gods). Manali is in Himachal Pradesh, a northern Indian state, known in ancient times as Dev Bhumi (the Abode of the Gods or Land of the Gods).

Haven't been to Manali nyself, but I remembered that a relative of mine had expired there many years ago when on a visit there. I decided to check it out further on the Net. Here are some of the links and images I found:

1: WikiTravel entry for Manali.

2: Snowfall in Manali.

3: Manali Kullu (Manali is in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh).

4: Manali hill station

5: Another image of snowfall in Manali

Hadimba temple, Manali

Incidentally, HTML can be weird stuff (or rather, browsers' rendering of it can be weird - as if you didn't know). Case in point: the image numbered 6 above did not initially render properly - or rather, the text label within the image tag did not - instead of showing below the image, it showed to the right of the image, with the bottom of the text aligned with the bottom of the image. I had to tweak the HTML. For no particular reason (other than thinking it may work), I inserted a BR (break) tag within the text label within the IMG tag, then it rendered as it does now - better, but still not correct, because although the text label is now below the image, the number 6 is now at the bottom left of the image, instead of above it as the other numbers are. I am viewing this (in Blogger's preview mode) in Google Chrome 5.0.375.99; it may appear differently in other browsers, of course.

7: Another lovely image of Manali. (Looks a lot better in the original, due to Blogger scaling issues.) I really like this one. Somehow it reminds me of some of the wilder parts of Southern India's Palani Hills, where I have lived for a while:

The above is just one image of the Palani Hills - they are huge in area and diversity of physical terrain. Also, that photo is distorted with respect to width versus height of the actual photo - though I must say it does look more impressive this way :) not that I did it on purpose - it is due to a limitation of Blogger and my current blog settings. I'll check later if I can tweak them to fix the issue and also the issue of some broken image links below - not sure right now why they are happening since the same image URLs show fine when opened in different windows. Meanwhile, click here to see the original image and get an idea of how much it is distorted by Blogger and/or my blog settings - basically, the image in this post has been squashed and/or truncated a lot horizontally and stretched a lot vertically, compared to the original, which has a much more wide, panoramic view of the hills.

8: Here is a photo of Kodaikanal in the Palani Hills.

One of the best features of the Palani hills is the
sholas -
a type of high-altitude evergreen forest.

9: Here is a photo of the Brahmagiri shola - some shola forests interspersed with montane grasslands - this is a typical feature of the Palani Hills.

Though those patches of forest look small, they are very dense with trees and creepers, and almost feel like tropical rain forests in their density, greenery and moisture level - in the rainy seasons - I say seasons, not season, because the Palani Hills get some of both the South-West and the North-East monsoons that come to India. Except that the sholas are much more cool, of course, than a tropical rain forest.

- Vasudev Ram - Dancing Bison Enterprises

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