The village of Taliouine in the Souss region of south-west of Morocco is known for its large production of Crocus plants that yield small stamen known as saffron. Saffron is an important cash crop for thousands of people in this remote part of Morocco in the Anti-Atlas mountains. Morocco is one of the largest producers of top quality saffron which is exported to markets around the world and generates income of around $8 million.Harvesting saffron is a manual process and farmers typically involve all members of their families in the hard work during the short season. It takes about 150,000 flowers to produce one single kilogram of saffron.I had an excellent local guide Said from the Escale Rando Kasbah in Taliouine http://www.escalerando.com/ An early start is required to get to the harvest areas just after sunrise.
The Queensferry Crossing the longest three tower cable-stayed bridge in the world is due to open in 2016. The bridge is of a modern design using the latest technology and will reach 207 metres above high tide. Construction will use 150,000 tonnes of concrete, 30,000 tonnes of steel and 23,000 miles of cabling.
The construction is by a consortium of companies from Germany, Spain, USA and the Scottish company Morrison Construction. The project is providing around 1,200 job opportunities and a large number of sub contract and supply order opportunities for Scottish companies.
There will be two lanes of motorway and a hard shoulder running both north and south bound. Windshielding to almost entirely eliminate the need for closures during the frequent periods of high winds in the Forth estuary.
The Golden Temple in the northern Punjab city of Amritsar, India is the most sacred shrine for Sikhs. It was renamed Harmandir Sahib in 2005.
The temple complex is a major pilgrimage destination for Sikhs from all over the world and is also a popular tourist attraction. It remains open to visitors and pilgrims 24 hours a day, all year round. The temple houses the sacred scripture of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib. The Golden Temple of Amritsar is alive with religious sincerity and sacredness.
We were made welcome to join in the experience of the temple and also enjoy a free meal from the huge kitchen and canteen complex. The kitchen produces meals for around 80,000 people per day. Sittings of 3,000 people every 20 minutes is normal. Food is served to all visitors regardless of faith or background. The massive catering feat is made possible through donations of ingredients and a volunteer workforce.
Rough Guides has purchased one of my images from PicFair to be used in a travel feature.
This shot of an everyday scene in the backwaters of Kerala was taken near the town of Alappuzha. Alappuzha is an important tourist destination in India. The Backwaters of Alappuzha are one of the most popular tourist attraction in Kerala. Houseboat cruises in these backwaters is a delightful experience.
In the streets of Madurai in Tamil Nadu I came across these guys taking part in Thaipusam, a Hindu festival celebrated on the full moon days in January and February.
On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens).
At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with skewers is also common.