Thursday, October 2, 2014

Eternal Beauty - Niagara

The journey from NYC to Niagara Falls was done in a Grey Hound bus equipped with free wifi and a charging point at every seat. The 9 hours journey could not have been more informative for me as I spent all the time hooked to my mobile reading more about WTC attack, how the rescue functions managed and how the US secret services tracked down Osama Bin Laden. The 9/11 memorial had a huge impact on me and hence all this digging out during the travel.

After reaching Niagara Falls - ya about this, even the city where Niagara Falls is situated is known as Niagara Falls! So after reaching there we headed to the hotel and freshened up for good Indian dinner. We were famished as we ate very little during our 9 hours bus travel. Niagara Falls has an array of Indian restaurants, all placed very close to each other. We had a wide choice and went to one which served Punjabi food.

It was 9 pm, when we ventured to the Niagara Falls. We parked our vehicle. I was expecting huge roars of the waterfall as we were in the vicinity of the falls. However I never heard anything except for the babble of the people around me walking towards the falls. You walk quite a lot from the parking till you see the Falls.

The first view of the falls - I was so mesmerized and captivated looking at the enormity of these falls. No photo, no video ever seen by you will match the thrill you experience seeing the falls by your own eyes! Trust me on that.....

The falls were a huge spread of water falling down. The water on the top was gushing and pushing with full force and energy. The moment it fell down, it became steady and saint like. Nature never fails to surprise me! The same water in two different forms - at the top and at the bottom.

Canada and USA are connected by a bridge called the Rainbow bridge. The border lies exactly in between of this bridge. The Niagara Falls lie between American and Canadian border. It is divided into 3 falls, from largest to smallest - Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie mostly on the Canada side, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls lie on the American side. These falls are separated by small islands.

At night, you see the falls dancing in  the lights. The Canada side has a better view. But more than the view, I was overwhelmed with the vastness of the falls and I literally sat near the falls on the bench in a meditative mode enjoying the rhythm of the water and feeling myself very lucky to have seen this beauty alive.

We stayed around the falls for around 2 hours and then returned to our hotel, excited to see the falls again in the brightness of the day.

Niagara during the day is even more splendid than the night. The waters and the sun, play with each other to produce a dozen of rainbows. We must have experienced atleast 10 rainbows during our 5-6 hours near the falls.

The Niagara Falls State Park is where one must head to see these Falls. There are quite a few things you can do at this park - The Maid of the Mist (a boat ride which takes you into the falls), The Cave of the Winds (a staircase built at the side of the falls where the fall water comes on you), Niagara's scenic trolley (a trolley ride which takes you around the park with a guide), Aquarium, Adventure Theater (theater with regular shows on the adventures people did near the falls) Discover Centre and hiking in the Niagara gorge.

We had just one day and hence we did the Maid of the Mist, Trolley Ride, Adventure theater and the Cave of the Winds.

Maid of the Mist as I mentioned earlier is a boat ride which takes you to the heart of the falls. They give you ponchos (a raincoat which covers your entire body) to protect you from getting drenched completely in the waters. As you approach the falls, your heart starts beating fast as you are scared to go near the falls where the water is falling with full power and force. And then you reach amidst the falls. At one point the water from the falls spills so much on your face that you are blinded for sometime. And then when you get your sight back, you just look at the falls in awe. No other word - you are just awestruck!

After the Maid of the Mist, we headed towards the Cave of the Winds. The Cave of the Winds is a staircase built below the Bridal Veil falls coming within 7.6 metres from the Falls where you can experience the water from the falls lavishly falling on you. The Cave of the Winds provides you with a new set of poncho - yellow this time and these cool floaters to protect you from slipping on the staircase. There is a hurricane point on the deck where the force of the water is maximum and it feels as if you are standing below the falls.

After the Cave of the Winds, we went to the Adventure Theater to see the short film on the daring activities people did near the Niagara Falls. The film depicted stories about a woman who survived falling from the falls in a barrel with her cat, a gentleman who crossed the Niagara falls on a rope and a kid who accidentally fell from the falls from a boat however survived even after falling from that height! The short film made me have goose bumps with every adventure that unfolded.

With this our tryst with the falls came to an end. The Niagara Falls will always be one of the best places ever seen by me. The vastness of Niagara makes you feel a tiny piece in front of it thereby making you humble and grounded, its freshness makes you rejuvenated and its eternal beauty just soothes you and your belief in nature's miracles just strengthens. 

They say at the rate at which Niagara Falls is eroding, we may not have the falls in the future! And so as we returned to our hotel, my soul prayed to God for the longevity of the falls for many to experience its splendor forever. Long live the Niagara Falls! 

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