Photo Of The Day: Pigeons Of Jaipur

Pigeons are odd birds. Common all over the world, especially in cities, they can be considered tourist attractions like in Venice‘s St. Marks Square, or considered a nuisance to city dwellers (myself included) who see them as flying rats. Still, any large flight of birds can make for a spectacular photo, such as today’s Photo of the Day from Jaipur, Rajasthan in India. The added pops of color from the building tiles, piles of spices, and ladies’ saris make a nice contrast to the grey birds, and the movement of the many wings puts you right in the action, though you might be happy to be viewing them from a distance.

Share your best travel photos in the Gadling Flickr pool for another Photo of the Day.

[Photo credit: Flickr user arunchs]

Photo Of The Day: Colors Of Rajasthan

Today’s image comes to us from Flickr user arunchs, who captured this visually striking shot inside the Hawa Mahal, a palace located in the city of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. I love the contrast between the two sides of the images – on the left, we have a muted off-white series of arches. On the right, a colorful collection of stained glass windows, the sunbeams casting rainbow checkerboards across the floor.

Taken any great photos during your travels? Add them to our Gadling group on Flickr – we might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Indian government relocates villagers away from tiger reserve

The village of Umri in Rajasthan, India, is no more.

The entire population of 82 families, some 350 people, has been relocated because the village stands inside the Sariska tiger reserve, the BBC reports. The move aims to protect the local tiger population, which is rebounding after being wiped out by poachers several years ago. This reflects a gain in tiger population nationwide after stronger efforts against poaching and mitigation efforts with local human populations.

Tigers are feared by the villagers, who not only worry for themselves but their livestock. Often villagers will hunt or try to poison tigers that come into their neighborhood. Humans also compete with tigers for land and wildlife.

Umri is the second village to be moved and all eleven villages in the reserve will eventually be relocated. The Indian government says the villagers are being compensated with free land, livestock, up to one million rupees ($20,241), and are being relocated as close as possible to their old homes.

The case highlights the problems facing conservationists worldwide. Human needs have to be balanced with those of the endangered animals, and doing that can be a tricky business. Relocating villages is a difficult and expensive task, and what will be done with the two national highways that pass through the park remains to be seen.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Blogger Ori Epstein

Where was your photo taken: The side of the road in some unknown (to me) village in Rajasthan.

Where do you live now: The beautiful brownstone neighborhood of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, New York, at least until I get priced out.

Scariest airline flown: I think I have the complete opposite of a fear of flying – I get so excited by travel that just getting to the airport or boarding a plane can leave me downright giddy. And even severe turbulence or drunk-acting pilots won’t shake that giddiness. Of course, it also helps that I typically fly airlines like Delta or JetBlue, rather than something like Khyber Afghan Airlines or Trans Air Congo. But if I really had to pick the scariest, I guess it would be the first time I flew with my then 3-month old daughter, a 12-hour, 2-layover Southwest cross-country slog. I don’t know exactly what the feeling was of changing a cranky infant’s toxic diaper in a cramped 737 lavatory 20,000 feet above Sacramento, but it might as well have been fear.

Favorite city/country/place: Barcelona? Jerusalem? Peru? Australia? How can anyone possibly answer this, there are so many incredible places. But fine, I’ll answer it – Mexico. It pretty much has everything: vibrant cities, quaint colonial towns, ancient ruins, beaches, jungle, desert, and an incredible cuisine. And best of all, for us Americans, it’s all right there in our backyard!

Most remote corner of the globe visited: It might not feel like it when you’re there, but Hawaii. Out in the middle of the Pacific, over 2,000 miles away from the nearest human settlement, it’s extraordinary that this tropical, volcanic, Asian melting pot is part of the United States.

Favorite guidebook series: I think that all the major travel guide publishers can be pretty hit or miss, and the authors are usually a better gauge of quality than the brand. But for this I’ll go with Bradt Travel Guides. I’ve never actually used Bradt, this is more of an aspirational choice. Their books, which cover places like the Congo, Somaliland, and Iraq, appeal to the adventurous traveller in me that I have not quite become.

Dream travel destination: Crossing the salt flats of Bolivia; exploring the Okavango Delta of Botswana; hiking to the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria. Basically, any country that starts with the letter B.

How did you get started travelling? My parents, inveterate passport stamp collectors, refused to let parenthood get in the way of their wanderlust. By the time I was 6, they had already dragged me along to places like Tanzania, the Seychelles, Israel, and Greece. Like it or not, they created a budding travel addict, and I can only hope to do the same for my daughter.

When I’m not writing for Gadling, I’m…either trying to corral a tireless 11-month old or pay off my law school debts.

Languages Spoken: Some Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Danish, and, thanks to my day job, legalese.

Save big money on Geographic Expeditions’ tours

If you’ve dismissed the idea of a guided tour due to financial reasons, award-winning Geographic Expeditions has your back. Pointing out that the travel industry employs one out of every twelve jobs, the company has lowered its prices – by a lot – in their own effort to stimulate the economy for drivers, staff, cooks, and guides.

Sample discounts include a $1,700 deduction (more than 10%) on a 17-day tour of Rajasthan, India; $1,400 (more than 20%) off of 12 days in Bhutan; and $1,200 off for 12 days in Vietnam.

It’s not budget travel by any means, but a good deal nonetheless. Check out Geographic Expedition’s website for more details. Happy trails!