Photo Of The Day: Find The Odd One Out

She’s pretty obvious. Striped shirt. Green pants. A stance that says, “Hey! Pay attention to me!”

This classic scene of monks outside a temple in Paro, Bhutan, is interrupted by the presence of a small, sassy little girl. Captured by Bangalore-based Flickr user Arun Bhat, the image is a powerful reminder of the modernity that is slowly seeping into Bhutan, a geopolitically isolated Central Asian nation surrounded by Nepal, Bangladesh and India.

Do you have travel photos that juxtapose tradition and change? Upload your shots to the Gadling Flickr Pool and your image could be selected as our Photo of the Day.

Lost Maya Temple Discovered In Guatemala

A lost Maya temple has been rediscovered in GuatemalaArchaeologists have announced the discovery of a lost temple in the remote jungles of Guatemala. The 1600-year-old structure, which is part of a larger complex, is believed to have been located at the seat of power for El Zotz, a small but industrious kingdom in the Maya Empire.

According to National Geographic, the building was known as the Temple of the Night Sun and it was designed to leave a lasting impression, particularly on the nearby rival kingdom of Tikal. The temple’s outer walls feature 5-foot tall, intricately carved masks that represent the various visages of the sun god as he moves across the sky throughout the day. The faces include those of a shark, an ancient being that drinks blood and local jungle jaguars. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the faces were painted bright red so that they would stand out even from a great distance.

The temple, which is only 30 percent excavated so far, sits at the heart of a Maya city. Near by archaeologists also found a 45-foot tall Diablo Pyramid, a royal palace and what is believed to be the tomb of the city’s first ruler. As they continue the process of unearthing the site, they believe they’ll uncover other clues about how the inhabitants of El Zotz lived and why they decided to suddenly abandon the site sometime in the fifth century.

The video below gives an indication of the importance of this find and shares images from the temple itself.

[Photo credit: Edwin Romain, Brown University]


Delos: the birthplace of a Greek god

Delos
An ancient theater on the Greek island of Delos has received funding for a major renovation. The Greek government has earmarked 1.5 million euros ($2 million) to make the site more attractive for the thousands of tourists who visit it every year.

Delos was an important religious site in ancient Greece, being the purported birthplace of Apollo. Delos is one of the smallest of the Cyclades Islands, which are a favorite destination for many travelers for their historical importance and natural beauty.

The theater was finished in 250 B.C., and constructed entirely of marble. It could seat up to 6,500 people and it may be used as a theater again once the restoration is completed. Restoration work will include putting together the jigsaw puzzle of many broken pieces of marble, clearing away the plants that have grown on the site and providing drainage to minimize water damage.

The entire island of Delos is one of Greece’s seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is rich with archaeological remains. Archaeologists from the French School at Athens have been excavating at Delos since 1872 and are still making major finds. One of the most attractive is the Sacred Way leading to the sanctuary of Apollo. The road is flanked with carved lions, much the way sacred paths in Egypt were flanked with sphinxes. Besides Apollo’s sanctuary, there were also spaces set aside as sacred to Dionysus. Several giant phallic symbols sacred to the god of wine and partying have been found. You can see a couple in the photo gallery below.

Sumptuous mosaics have been discovered in many of the buildings as well as statues and richly painted pottery. Many of these finds are displayed in the local museum, one of the best in Greece.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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Photo of the day – Feeding the fish

photo of the day

Visitors to India know that cows are considered holy and not to be eaten, but in some parts of the southern state of Karnataka, you can cross fish off the menu too. The fish at the Sringeri temple on the banks of the Tunga River are also considered sacred and fishing is banned, though pilgrims and visitors can feed the fish puffed rice. As photographer and Flickr user PointingandShooting notes, all that food can make for some enormous fish!

Make it a New Year’s resolution to add your photos to the Gadling Flickr Pool; you could be the next Photo of the Day.

4 unique accommodations in Japan

japanAccommodations like hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, and apartments are often the norm for people going on a trip. When traveling in Japan, however, there are a few lodging options that are a bit out of the ordinary, but are definitely worth checking out.

Ryokan/Minshuku

If you’re looking for an authentic local experience, a ryokan can provide that. This type of accommodation is a traditional Japanese inn. A minshuku is similar although it is more basic and usually family run. While very expensive, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand per night, these types of accommodation can give insight into the culture. Also, multi-course meals for breakfast and dinner are usually included and can take you on a culinary tour without having to leave your room. Don’t expect eggs and toast for breakfast, as you’re more likely to be served seaweed, miso soup, pickles, and other Japanese-style options. Imagine sleeping in a tatami mat room with sliding doors on a pile of thin mattresses that are put away during the day, making the room feel very simple. There is also sometimes a low table surrounded by cushions for tea drinking.

One thing to keep in mind is that bathing is usually a communal activity. Not in the sense that there is one bathroom on the floor that everyone shares, but as in you shower in the open without stalls. First you wash yourself off to get clean, then you relax in a hot bathtub. Luckily, the rooms are usually separated between female and male.

Click here to browse ryokan and minshuku lodging.Love Hotel

You can probably guess from the name what type of accommodation this is. These are usually clumped together and can be spotted by their gaudy decor and flashy signs. You can choose between paying for a “rest”, which is if you’re in the mood for a quickie, or “stay”, which means sleeping overnight, usually from 10PM on. To ensure your privacy, there are no keys or sign-in involved. Instead, you choose your room from a panel of buttons on the wall. The rooms are often themed, sometimes going all-out and including rotating beds, mirrored ceilings, or being styled like a dungeon, classroom, or hentai anime room.

Generally you don’t make a reservation for a Love Hotel.

capsule hotelCapsule Hotel

Staying in a capsule hotel reminds me a lot of climbing into a big washing machine. The capsules are stacked two high in long rows and there is very limited space, although enough to sit up. A television is built into the ceiling and there is a small shelf for personal items. Luckily, there are lockers outside of the capsule to put your things, as well as communal baths, toilets, and a common room. Although this kind of accommodation is aimed at businessmen staying the night or people who have missed the last train home, staying in one can provide an interesting and affordable experience.

Buddhist Temple

While the room style and bathing situation are similar to that of a ryokan or minshuku, at a Buddhist temple in Japan your multi-course meals will consist of vegan fare. Not only that, but you’ll have the opportunity to meditate and chant with the monks early in the morning, as well as to explore the grounds which are often closed to the public.

Click here to browse Buddhist temple lodging.