Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

It was a public holiday here yesterday so my Friend, his family and mysef decided to venture out on a trek to Bukit Timah.

Bukit Timah a nature reserve some 3043 hectares in size, home to 840 species of plant and around 500 plus species of animals is one of Singapore's best unspoiled biodiversity.

We set off for Bukit Timah around midday and after an hour long bus ride we arrived at our destination, it was a sweltering hot day, extremely humid, the first thing we all thought was, did we pick the right day to come. We grabbed some lunch at a local restaurant and made our way to the nature reserve. 

The first thing I noticed upon entering the forest was the vast canopy and the abundance of huge trees, if one were to compare them to skyscrapers they would easily be around 40 stories high. We trekked a few miles and discovered vast vines, I  unleashed the kid in me and swung from one of them, it really was quite fun!

 I bet you all are wondering, OK so he's mentioned that there's a lot of trees but where's the animals? We'll that's where it gets a little disappointing, we trekked through the forest for almost 3-4 hours but bar a bird or two we didn't see any of the wildlife that they had showed photos of at the entrance to the reserve, perhaps we chose the wrong time of the year to come,  nevertheless it was still a great experience trekking though the forest  in search of fauna and  flora.

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Countdown to Deepavali

Deepavali, the festival of lights is an important five day festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all over the world. For Hindus it marks the return of Lord Rama after his fourteen year exile with Sita and Lakshman and his defeat of the demon king Ravana, for Jains it marks the year in which Mahavira attained nirvana and for Sikhs it marks the defeat of Emperor Jahangir by Guru Har Gobind Ji at Amristar.

Singapore is home to some  300,000 Indians and most of them are located in a town called Little India, and for good reason. From the teeming  bazaars, to the markets, to the traffic and road regulations the Indians of Singapore have truly made this town their own.

Anyway going back to the topic of Deepavali, prior to my arrival in Singapore I had been reading about things to do, sights to see etc and one thing that caught my eye was Little India's celebration of Deepavali. So last night arming my self with my trusty camera I headed off on the MRT to Little India.

The first thing I noticed on arrival was the decorative street lights that stretched for miles, after spending some time taking photographs I headed down to the  markets as I heard that there would be Indian craftsmen and artists at work, being  an avid photographer I was rather intent of photographing these talented artists and craftsmen at work, however to my disappointment there were none about, I did however capture some photos of Henna artists at work. The Bazaar where these activities were taking place, also had huge displays of Indian bridal wear, Jewelery, carpets and more.

After about an hour of wondering through different markets, selling fruit, veg, spices, garlands etc I stumbled across a huge sign that said "Countdown to Deepavali concert 2010"  This looks interesting I thought and continued to head on, after about five minutes I came across a sea of people all queuing up in a cordoned off area. I knew I had come to the right place why else would there be so many people gathered in one area. However before venturing any further I needed to satisfy my stomach, so I headed off to the nearest Restaurant. After satisfying my belly to generous portion of spicy Masala chicken and peshawari naan I headed back to see what the big fuss was regarding   this concert, to my dissapointment I discovered that the concert was a paid event and furthermore only for those who were M1 mobile customers, "well this sucks" i thought to myself, but I didnt give up, I shoved my way through the sea of people eager to get a glimpse of this concert.

The concert started and I was still no where near it but I was still able to get glimpses here and there, every glimpse i got I would fire the shutter and capture the moment. It started off pretty slow but soon it had almost everyone on the streets whistling cheering and dancing, they were playing hits that I had heard many a time at my brother in laws house back home in London.  Everyone was so pumped with joy and excitement I decided I have to get a better view so decided to climb up onto a truck with a few others. This is much better I thought.  I could see better than before, still not great but now I had a view of the large screens they had put up, it was also a great spot from which to photograph the crowd.

2 hours went by and the moment I was waiting for had come at last the countdown fireworks. a 30 second countdown and whoosh, whoosh bang they exploded into the air, in a plethora of dazzling colors,  it truly was a magnificient display of fireworks, the crowd was going wild. You really ought to have been here to witness the celebration of Deepavali in all its glory!

It was now 12:30am the concert had ended, but for the populace it wasn't over, men were still dancing around singing and whistling, my goal now however was to get home as I had another exciting day ahead of me.  After about forty five minutes, I managed to flag down a taxi and make my way back home.

Countdown to Deepavali was an amazing night, one that  I will not forget anytime soon.

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