17 October, 2017

The treasured memories of Diwali

There are four festivals I remember enjoying in my childhood. Ugadi (Telugu new year), Sankranthi (harvest festival), Vinayaka Chavithi  and Deepavali (Festival of lights). There are many other festivals too like Dussehra, Varalakshmi vratham, Krishnashtami, Maha shivaratri, Nagula chavithi, Karthika Poornima etc., but the four festivals that I mentioned have complete family participation. We celebrated them together as a family and they were not meant for only pooja.

I have lots and lots of memories associated with Deepavali from childhood. Now, being in another country, this is the time I mostly miss my home and our country.

"We didn't realize we were making Memories, we just knew we were having fun." - Unknown

Diyas, Candles, and Light
We used to buy diyas (pramidalu) made of clay before Diwali, light them and place them on Diwali night at every corner of the house both outside and inside. 'Deepavali' (in Telugu) means an array of lights. Our houses will be glowing on Diwali nights with beauty and light. We, as kids used to help our mother in arranging these diyas and ensuring that oil is refilled at the right time for them to glow continuously.
Flower rangoli with candles

We used to love firecrackers as children. Our uncle used to buy the longest sparkler so that we aren't afraid to hold it while it's burning. We used to put a bucket of water to dispose of used crackers then and there. I love flower pots and Ground chakras more than anything. I never liked the noise of 1000 walas but the beauty of the light that crackers generate is pleasing to the eyes.

Fireworks - Flower pots

After my marriage, I started a tradition of making a big colorful rangoli on Diwali evening to decorate it with flowers and lighted diyas. I used to spend 1 to 2 hrs on rangoli but always enjoyed that time. My kids help me now in decorating rangoli with flowers. I used to buy scented candles and floating candles to decorate for Diwali. I don't like the electric array of lights but I am crazy about different types of candles.
Rangoli made by me

Diya Painting
I started painting the clay diyas from last 4 years and I enjoy doing it with my older son (6 years).  Sometimes, we both used to paint diyas with acrylic paints and gift them to relatives and friends or just use them at our home on Diwali.
Basic Diya painting

I am not a foodie, so I don't enjoy indulging in sweets but my mother used to prepare 'bobbatlu' for Diwali, which I love the most. Sometimes, she used to cook 'Gulab Jamun' too and tamarind rice. After my marriage, I tried Gulab jamun but couldn't prepare to my satisfaction. We used to buy dry fruits and sweets (Motichoor laddu) to gift to our friends and relatives on Diwali. I think preparing and distributing sweets is an inherent part of this festival.
juicy gulab jamun Pc:www.pixabay.com

So, that was from my treasured memories of Deepavali festival.  How do you celebrate Diwali?
I wish all my readers a very happy and safe Diwali.

Until next time,

Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne, #HappySunday linky party hosted by Menaka, Vasantha, and Anubhuthi and Linking this to #QuotedStories hosted by Upasna and Rohank. Also, linking this to #ChattyBlogs by Shanaya.

Simple Indian Mom

Life through my Bioscope

16 October, 2017

Limestone caves and cliff dwellings - Colorado springs, CO, USA

Cave of the winds mountain park in Colorado springs is million years old though discovered only in 1881 by Pickett brothers. Later, electricity is provided inside the cave allowing it to public.
Near entrance

Tours are conducted every half an hour for tourists showing the limestone formations and explaining the cave geology. One most popular and basic tour is 'Discovery tour' for 45 mins. This tour charges $21 for adults and $15 for kids between 5 to 13 yrs. It's free for  below 5 years. These caves are one of the oldest attractions in Colorado.
Inside the cave



Stalcite formations are almost like a town structure

The cave features 10,750 feet of surveyed passages mostly which are open to public. There is a local legend that both Apache and ute native Americans beleived that these caves are home of a great spirit of wind. Thus, it got the name "The cave of winds". The cave has many beautiful and unique limestone and stalcite formations. The caves also have many adventure rides like bat-a-pult, wind walker challenge and terror dactyl.

Cliff dwellings

One more attraction near to caves is 'Cliff dwellings'. This place has Anasazi ruins dating back to 1000 years old. This 40 room site was originally located near Mesa verde and Dolores which is shifted to Colorado springs and preserved as a museum. This place has a museum showing the pottery, jewellery and artifacts of ute native Americans. It also has a souvenir shop. Entry is $10 for adults and around $7.5 for kids below 11 yrs( kids under 3 - free).
Cliff dwellings 

Tipi tent model 
Do you like caves and visiting ruins of a civilization? Then, you might love these two places.

Read my other #TravelTales from Colorado here:

1. A day with flowers and gardens, Denver, CO, USA

2. Hanging lake and hot springs, Glenwood springs, CO, USA 

3. Golden leaves and Gondola rides, Aspen, CO, USA

4. Rocky mountain national park #day 1

5. Rocky mountain national park #day 2 

Until next time,

 I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.

13 October, 2017

A day with flowers and greenery - Botanical Gardens, Denver, CO

I love nature and greenery but I have never realized my love for gardening until I came to the US. In India, life used to go at a fast pace with work, home, and kids. There were many nurseries near our home but I didn't get time to care for plants. This summer, I experimented with a small home garden with a few flower plants, basil, mint, coriander leaves, and methi. I am successful to some extent and want to try vegetables next year.
Exhibit in the garden

With this interest in mind, we visited Denver botanic gardens in the summer and the experience is more than what I expected.

Colours looked beautiful

Real treat to eyes

Model garden

Beautiful blooms

The botanic gardens is a public park located in Cheesman Park neighborhood in Denver. Entry is around $12.5 for adults and $9 for kids(kids under 2 are free). It has a wide range of gardens on 24 acres with plants from all corners of the world. There are garden models depicting different environments in the world like tropical, rain forest, desert areas.
Bonsai plant

Water fountains


Though our legs pained a bit, we enjoyed watching colorful flowers, beautiful ponds with fishes, gardens and water fountains.

So, how do you like this virtual tour? Do remember the botanic gardens when you visit Denver, CO.

Until next time,

 I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.

12 October, 2017

#ThursdayTreeLove- orange or red, I look bright

The leaves can be orange or red, but this tree looks beautiful.

Linking this to #ThursdayTreeLove hosted by Parul.

Until next time,

11 October, 2017

Gratitude List - September 2017

We celebrated a birthday of the family member, traveled to Aspen and had food family time in September. I was excited and waiting for the fall season in September. September was a busy month too as I volunteered to teach dance to kids for a special event here. So, days have gone with song selection and choreography.

Here are a few things that I am grateful for:

  • We celebrated the birthday of a family member. Children enjoyed cutting the cake. 

  • We celebrated Dussehra festival at home. I attended Dandiya party too decorating my dandiya sticks with designed ribbon. Festivals are a fun time for get-togethers.

  • I volunteered to do choreography to a children's group. Even though I got busy with many meetings and time spent on song selection and planning, I felt happy being busy after a long time. 

  • Our travel to Aspen is the most memorable trip in September. We all enjoyed the experience of riding on the chairlift. Read my travelogue here

  • I could take kids to the library on Saturdays and could complete 2 books in September. Read my reviews of Knitted Tales and The Lost Symbol

  • Labour day balloon lift off was awesome. It was amazing to see different designs of hot air balloons from nearer. Read my post on hot air balloons here
How was your September? Have a happy October :-)

Until next time,

Linking this to #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury, #Everydaygratitude hosted by Corinne and #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne at Everydaygyaan

09 October, 2017

Hanging Lake and Hot springs - Glenwood Springs, CO, USA

Glenwood Springs is a beautiful resort city in Colorado Rockies with many attractions like hot springs, caverns, Glenwood Canyon, Hanging Lake and Glenwood Caverns adventure park. We visited this place in summer. Glenwood Springs is also a good place for rafting and water adventures in Summer. 

Hanging Lake

Let me tell you about the most famous place here - Hanging Lake. Hanging lake is designated as National Natural Landmark. It is located in Glenwood Canyon at an elevation of 7323 ft. The turquoise waters in this lake lure tourists to this difficult hike. 
Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake trail is 2.4 miles round trip trail with uneven paths. There are footbridges over river crossings and summer season is the best time to hike. There are steep paths and dangerous sections of the trail which need more caution. It might take 2 to 5 hrs as per our energy levels to reach the lake and return back. 
View from the trail

Waterfall near Hanging Lake
The amazing views on the way, the gushing creek sideways, the green lake at the end and a waterfall near the lake make the hike 100%  worth. But, it is difficult to walk this trail with kids below 6 years. It is essential that we carry at least 3 bottles of water and snacks as there are no facilities at the Hanging Lake. 

Hot Springs

Glenwood Springs is famous for many natural mineral hot springs.  There is also a place called 'Yampah spa' which is an underground vapor cave. Ute Indians used this place for healing and rituals. This place offers therapeutic steam naturally. 
View of Colorado River from Iron Mountain hot springs

We visited Iron Mountain Hot springs which are located alongside the Colorado River. This place has 16 natural mineral hot spring soaking pools of temperatures ranging from 99 to 108 Fahrenheit. A dip in the hot pool for even 5 mins seemed very relaxing. 
Glenwood hot springs pool from Google images labeled with non commercial reuse

A trip to Glenwood Caverns and Glenwood cavern adventure park are also good if visiting with kids. Glenwood adventure park is the only mountain-top adventure park in North America and the alpine coaster there is Colorado's largest. Glenwood Canyon on the way to Denver is very good too. 
Glenwood Canyon from Google images labeled for non commercial reuse
I hope, you liked this #TravelTale. Do let me know your opinion in comments.

This #TravelTale is written as part of Write Tribe Problogger challenge. #Writebravely #WritetribeProblogger.

Until next time,

 I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.

06 October, 2017

Golden leaves and Gondola rides - Aspen, CO, USA

I am fascinated by the changing colors of leaves in the fall season. The nature is always beautiful but the beauty enhances when the leaves of trees change to a golden hue and then to bright reds.

This small but beautiful town Aspen in Colorado Rockies is famous for skiing in winter. But, Summer and fall are also great to visit this place. Aspen is at an elevation of 8000 ft above sea level. This place is famous for mountain biking in Summer, to view fall colors in the Fall and enjoy skiing in winter. Isn't it great?

Maroon Bells 
The Maroon bells is an ideal location to view the splendor of fall colors. This lake with the backdrop of snowy mountains and orange trees is the most photographed place in Aspen. The beauty of the scenery doubles when the fall colors reflect in the water.

Maroon bells recreation area charges $10 per vehicle after 5 Pm and visitors can tour the lake between 8 Am to 5 Pm by a shuttle bus (adult - $7, kids - $5) from Aspen Highlands. This recreation area has several trails and camping grounds. Crater Lake trail and Maroon lake trail are popular. Maroon lake trail is an easy 1-mile loop around the lake.
Maroon Bells, Aspen

Gondola and Chairlift
Since this is a skiing town, Aspen and the neighboring town Snowmass have Gondola and Chairlift rides for the visitors. The Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen is the longest single stage Gondola in the world which takes its visitors to an elevation of 11,212 ft. The Sundeck restaurant on the top of the mountain is amazing with 360-degree views of the mountains.

Gondola ride in Aspen

Snowmass is the largest of all the four mountains in the Aspen/Snow mass area(Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk). There are around 17 lifts. Elk Camp Gondola in Snowmass is open in Summer as well and the chairlift takes to the summit. Elk Camp restaurant has all varieties of food from Soup to Pizza and the food is tasty too. Chairlift is an entirely different experience. We enjoyed Chairlift in Snowmass more than anything else.

Chairlift in Snowmass

Summer Package worth $33 can be purchased online at https://www.aspensnowmass.com/. This package includes Gondola in Aspen, Snowmass, Chairlift in Snowmass, On mountain activities for kids, $10 lunch credit at Elk Camp restaurant and $5 beverage credit at Limelight longe.  We felt this package is good value for money.

Fall Colours
We found beautiful fall colors on the way to Aspen near Independence pass, from the Gondolas in Aspen and Snowmass and at Maroon Bells. Especially, the way to Maroon bells is in bright yellow hue.
On the way to Independence pass

On the way to Maroon Bells

This #TravelTale is written as part of Write Tribe Problogger challenge. #Writebravely #WritetribeProblogger.

Until next time,

 I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.
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