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Hawaiian Style

06
10/2013

When most people think about Hawaii, Honolulu and the famous Waikiki Beach come to mind. While there’s no doubt that Honolulu and the island of Oahu have a lot to offer, the “neighbor islands” of Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai’i, and the Big Island are, in my opinion, a whole lot cooler than Oahu.

A lot of people who aren’t familiar with the geography of Hawaii tend to think that Honolulu, as the largest city in the state, is on the Big Island. They’re dead wrong. The Big Island of Hawaii is the southernmost island in the chain and is home to the second largest city in the state, Hilo. The Big Island offers some of the best scenery and sights in the state, and is less crowded and less hectic than some of the tourist areas on the other islands. It just feel a lot more real.

Let’s take a look at some of the cool things that Hawaii’s biggest island has going on.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

There is no where else in the United States, and only a few places in the entire world, where you can get up close to an active volcano. An active, lava-spewing, potentially deadly volcano! Kilauea Volcano in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has been active since the 1950′s. Visitors can see the caldera which is near the park’s entrance, or drive down the Chain of Craters to, hopefully, see the lava flow as it enters the sea. There are also a lot of hiking trails to explore, and you can camp in there too, with a permit, and as long as the lava isn’t going nuts at that particular moment.

South Point and Green Sand Beach

About an hour south of Hilo is a sign that shows the way to South Point. After you wind your way through a wind farm, you’ll reach the cliffs. This is the southernmost point in the USA. The views here are incredible, as there is no land between this point and Antarctica. The brave ones jump off the cliffs here, and the rest of us just admire the view, and pretend that we’re going to jump in a little while, when the wind dies down. But the wind never stops. And we never jump.

Also in this area is the “road” to Green Sand Beach. It’s only suitable for a four wheel drive vehicle, so if you don’t have one, start walking. It’s about an hour by foot, or you can try to hitch with somebody who was better prepared than you. This small beach is one of only four green sand beaches in the world, and the sand is made of olivine, and is formed when ancient lava met the sea. The current here can be really strong, so if you’re not a great swimmer, you should stay out of the water. There is also a pretty big tiger shark that is rumored to call this area home. I hear he loves white meat.

Mauna Kea Observatory

Located over 9,000 feet above sea level is the Mauna Kea Observatories. The site is owned by the University of Hawaii, but scientific departments from all over the world operate telescopes here because it’s seriously the best place on earth to watch the sky. There’s a visitor’s center where you can get a cup of cocoa (Are we still in Hawaii? It’s f*%king cold!) and acclimate to the altitude. There’s also a star watching party every night, and the astronomer points out all of the planets, constellations, and other heavenly bodies.

You need a four wheel drive to make it up here, as well. However, if you could only afford the economy car, don’t worry. Lots of tour companies will haul your ass up the mountain for a small fee. 

There’s a lot to do on all of the Hawaiian islands, but the Big I is always going to be my favorite. But don’t take my word for it, come on over and see for yourself.

And remember, if you’re going to try to jump off at South Point, pics, or it didn’t happen.

The city is best known for its architectural and artistic monuments . Among them, Gol Gumbaz, or “Rose Dome” is the most famous. Regarded as one of the largest domes in the world, it is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shahi, former Sultan of Bijapur.  Ibrahim Rauza is an architectural wonder, and its been referred to as the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. Jumma Masjid is another prominent place with unique architecture and is known as the largest mosque in this area. Malik-e-Maidan is also here and is known as the largest medieval cannon of the world.

Additional monuments that attest to the city’s importance are Asar Mahal, Chand Bawdi, Gagan Mahal, Barakaman and Upri Buruj. Bijapur is also home to several well maintained gardens. All of these things combine to make Bijapur one of the most interesting cities in India.

The people of the area are well known to be very hospitable and fun loving, hence the large number of festivals hels through out the year. The most prominent festival is Bijapur Music Festival,  which is regarded as the cultural peak of Karnataka and is conducted annually by the local government. Other popular festivals are Holi, Asar Mahal Urs festival, and Deepavali, or Diwali.

The nearest airport to Bijapur is Belgaum, which is reached via Mumbai or Delhi. The airport is 205 km away from Bijapur. Bijapur railway station is connected with all the major cities of the southern region and others like Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Hubli. KSRTC bus services connect Bijapur with the neighboring cities of Karnataka and other states. Bijapur experiences moderate weather except during the summer, when it is very hotTherefore, October to February is typically the best time to visit.

For history or archaeology buffs, or anyone interested in seeing another side of India, Bijapur is a city not to be missed.