Friday, December 23, 2011

Dinosaurs at the Smithsonian

No visit to Washington DC can be complete without  a visit to the various museums on the National Mall in the city and amongst these museums, the most interesting, informative and educative is the National Museum of Natural History.

The National Museum of Natural History is part of the Smithsonian Institution and houses a national collection of more than 125 million natural science specimens and cultural artefacts. Some of the most popular displays are the dinosaur skeletons, artefacts of early man, a live coral reef and many more. The  Museum is a great place to learn about the natural world through specimens, collections and exhibits.

Tyrannosaurus Rex, 40 feet long and still fearsome after 65 million years
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is a repository of the natural world. The world's natural and cultural wonders can be found in this preeminent museum. One can see the gigantic fossilized bones of creatures that roamed the earth as far back as 210 million years ago in  The Dinosaur Hall

TheTriceratops ( Greek for 3 horned face) is the most distinctive dinosaur of its time - late cretaceous ( 70 million years ago).

  A Stegosaurus, a plant eater of the late Jurassic Period - about 145 million years ago.

Art Prints

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Apotheosis of Washington

Washington DC is a city with many classic sights and architectural wonders  - particularly the numerous majestic buildings. The US Capitol is one of those majestic buildings that any tourist must visit. . At the heart of the building is the Rotunda - a circular hall of 96 ft diameter.  At the center, a 180 foot above on the ceiling is a massive fresco - ' The apotheosis of George Washington'. This mural consists of a portrait of the first President of the United States rising to the heavens flanked by the figures of Liberty/Authority and Victory/Fame.
The Apotheosis was painted in the true fresco technique by Constantino Brumidi  in 1865. Brumidi (1805-1880) was born and trained in Rome and had painted in the Vatican and Roman palaces before emigrating to the United States in 1852. A master of creating the illusion of three-dimensional forms and figures on flat walls, Brumidi painted frescoes and murals throughout the Capitol from 1855 until his death.

If you are tourist on a Trip to DC, remember to book a guided tour into the US Capitol . This can be done online at
 US Capitol, Washington DC.
May 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Union Station in Washington DC

There is more to Washington DC than the US Senate and the White House. The best way to see Washington is to take a bus tour. There are three major bus tour companies operating - Tourmobile, Open Top Sightseeing and Old Town Trolley. We took the tour mobile from the Union Station.  The  Union Station is the city’s main train station with over 32 million people visiting the station in a year. The station has an interesting shopping area and a large food court for a quick bite. 
                The Union Station in Washington DC
Food Court at the Union Station
Christopher Columbus Memorial
In front of the Union Station is the Christopher Columbus Memorial . The memorial is a large fountain with carvings of a native American, an elderly European, the figure of "Discovery" on the prow of a ship, and a globe. The three flagpoles represent the ships that carried the Columbus discovery party to the New World. Atop each pole an eagle perches on a small sphere .

You will also see a large metallic bell fixed on a stand in front of the station. This is the Freedom Bell donated by the American Legion. The bell is nearly twice the size of the real Liberty Bell
Utsav in front of the Freedom Bell. Note the Union Station in the background.
Washington DC. June 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Miami in Florida is one of the finest vacation destinations in the US for everyone. The miles of friendly beaches make it difficult to leave Miami. One historice landmark in Miami is The Art Deco District . The Art Deco District is the largest collection of art deco architecture in the world and comprises of hundreds of hotels, apartments and other buildings built between 1923 and 1943.
Simply put, art deco is a style of architecture that in it's hay days of the 20s and 30s was considered ultra modern.
There are 800 structures of historical significance in this area.
The art deco district springs to life as the sun sets and teeming crowds can be seen in the sidewalk cafes and night clubs.

After the sun goes down and neon glows, the famous art deco district of South Beach in Miami springs to life in a  colorful and beautiful rhythm of world class entertainment and  feasting on the finest cuisines. Visit to the various nightclubs and bars is a must !
Art Deco District, South Beach, Miami
May 2011.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


As you walk down lower Broadway and approach Wall Street, you will see a a large bronze sculpture of an animal leaning back on it's haunches, head lowered and nostrils flaring as if ready to charge - this is the 'Charging Bull of Wall Street' . This iconic figure of New York symbolises Wall Street and the Financial District. The Wall Street Bull is a symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity.
The bull is 3200 Kg in weight and stands 11 ft tall and 15ft long. The sculpture is a hugely popular tourist attraction and thousands of tourists visit the Bull to see , touch and be photographed with it.
Created by Arturo di Modica, almost US$ 360,000 was spent to create, cast, and install the sculpture following the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of the "strength and power of the American people. It was installed on December 15, 1989.

New York, May 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Flatiron Building
New York City has many historical buildings. One famous landmark is the Flatiron Building, one of the first building s in the world to use a steel skeleton. The Flatiron building was completed in 1902

Municipal Building
Another historical building of New York City is the Municipal Building. This forty floors tall building incorporates elements from Roman Imperial, Italian Renaissance and French Renaissance architecture. Built in 1913, the Municipal Building stands 170 Mtrs. The building also

The Building is capped with the 25ft tall Statue of Civic Fame . The figure stands barefoot on a sphere wearing flowing robes and  a crown of laurels . The statue is made of copper sheets.
New York City, USA
May  2011.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


This year decided to head for the United States for our annual vacation and our first stop was Washington DC - the capital of the country. A beautiful city, Washington has some of the most majestic and grand buildings anywhere and the grandest of these all is The US Capitol, the seat of the US Government. 
The building  is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. It stands today as a monunent to the country and the American people. The U.S. Capitol houses the meeting chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives where meetings have been conducted for the last 2 centuries.

The most prominant and famous landmark , probably in the entire United States is the Dome on top of the United States Capitol. The dome was constructed with 8,909,200 pounds of ironwork and finished at a total cost of $ 1,047,291. 

Atop the Capitol Dome proudly stands the 'The statue of Freedom'. This was put in place in the year 1863. Freedom is a massive bronze statue standing over 19 ft and weighs 6800 Kg. Her crest peaks at 288 ft above the East Plaza.
 Another view of the U.S Capitol
As a visitor , you must go inside the building and see the magnificiant interiors. You can enter the building through the Capitol Visitor Centre located underground on the East side. You could also take a tour of the building - however this has to be booked in advance online through the official site of Capitol -
The original plaster cast of the Statue of Freedom at the Capitol Visitor Centre
The visitor centre is mainly designed as a holding zone for visitors waiting to take tours of the Capitol. Visitors are free to roam around in the CVC which houses an exhibition hall, 2 gift shops and a 530 seat food court. 
The Visitors Centre also has a number of statues on display . These are 24 in number.
Be sure to take an official tour of the US Capitol. It is free but you need to register online for the specific time slot available.
 More on the US Capitol in my next post.
Do visit    Caught on Camera     for many more images and photographs of Washington DC and other interesting places.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Situated at one of the most popular and central node in Vienna,  the 'Karlsplatz' is one of Vienna's  important tourist destinations -  the Karlskirche. Dating back to 1715, the Karlskirche or St Charles Church in Vienna is unique and one of the most visually stunning churches in Vienna. The Karlskirche combines different architectural styles ranging from Roman, Greek and Oriental. The church was built by Emperor Charles VI to ward of plagues and is dedicated to St Charles Borromeo. The great columns of the building which are an imitation of Roman architecture with the baroque dome on the top make this a most interesting church that has not been replicated anywhere.
The church has a park like setting facing a pool of water which is also a favourite place for people to relax.

This grand church is close to the Karlsplatz Metro station and is surrounded by gardens. Visitors can take a tour of the interiors of the church for a fee .  Be sure to take the escalator to go up to the roof.
August 2010

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Certainly, the view of the Charles Bridge from one end with an array of statues lining both sides of the bridge leaves an indelible image in the minds of any visitor. There are 30 baroque statues on this historic Gothic bridge dating back to period between 1683 and 1714.
View of the old town bridge tower with it's numerous sculptures.
Statue of Saints Norbert of Xanten, Wenceslas and Sigismund 
St. Cyril and St. Methodius
Statuary of the Holy Crucifix and Calvary
The statue of John of Nepomuk.
 Amongst the most notable of all sculptures is the statue of St John of Nepomuk. Legend has it that if you make a wish and touch the statue, your wish will come true.
Make your wish come true !

It is believed that St John was murdered and his body thrown into the river.7 Stars appeared over the spot where his body was thrown . These are depicted as a halo on his statues.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


One of the most popular tourist spots in Prague is the Charles Bridge over the river Vtlava river. This 14th century Gothic stone bridge was started in 1357 and was finished in 1402.
A must-see on all tourist's iternery, a visit to Prague would be incomplete without a visit to this all pedestrian bridge. Both sides of the bridge are lined with vendors selling soveniours, musicians and painters with thier paintings of Prague. You could also get your portrait sketched by one of the many painters present.
There is a tower standing on both ends of the bridge giving it a very interesting look.
A great time to visit the Charles bridge is at Dusk when the Prague Castle gets lit up and a breathtaking view of the castle awaits you. Another great time to visit the bridge is early morning when you can have the bridge all to yourself and enjoy the fresh air blowing in  from the river.
The bridge is 516 metres long and nearly 10 metres wide and rests on 16 arches and is protected by three bridge towers. It is believed that egg yolk was used to strengthen  the mortar during construction to bind the stones blocks together.
Walk down to the Charles Bridge from the Prague Castle when you visit the castle. It is a short interesting walk.
Prague. August 2010


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