Thursday, Oct 02, 2014

Travelogue: My intimate affair with Australia’s Red Centre

aus-4 Indigenous dancing (Source: Sandip Hor)
Written by Sandip Hor , Edited by Parmita Uniyal | Australia | Posted: August 26, 2014 10:53 am | Updated: September 17, 2014 10:37 am

Iconic Uluru: It changes colours at different hours of the day (Source Sandip Hor)

Iconic Uluru: It changes colours at different hours of the day (Source Sandip Hor)

A reddish silhouette warmly welcomes us, the moment we come out of Ayers Rock Airport and head towards the Desert Gardens Hotel, our home for the next few days to explore the treasures of Australia’s famous Red Centre.

Located in the central part of the island nation, the destination is only few hours away from East coast cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and invite visitors from round the globe to sample not only the “Red Nature”, but also to experience some true indigenous culture and lifestyle that can’t be so handsomely encountered anywhere else in the country.

The domain gets its name from the vast plains of red soil that characterize the landscape, however the touristy repute primarily evolves from a huge monolith sandstone rock, widely known by its native name Uluru. For the interest of number enthusiasts, it stands 348 meters above ground, 3.1 kilometers from east to west, 1.9 kilometers wide and 9.4 kilometers around the base, thus making it the largest single-rock in the world. And more interestingly this rock extends even further to a distance unknown below the barren surrounds.

Statuswise it shares similar ranking with the Pyramids in Egypt or the Great Wall in China, the only difference being the former two are result of human endeavors, while this one being solely God’s. Perhaps that’s why it’s so piously worshipped by the indigenous population who are said to be living there for tens of thousands of years.

As expected, the rock dominates the open space but as a loner, as there is nothing around it other than some desert trees, flora and fauna. So it can be distinctly seen from a fair distance, even from our hotel which is part of lavishly spread Ayers Rock Resort complex dotted around 20 odd kilometers away from the iconic site.

My first glimpse of the much-hyped structure is from the top. While descending I spot through the aircraft window a huge, bacon-red protrusion, surrounded by red soil decoratively sprinkled with patches of green.

The second glance comes, still a fair distance away, from the balcony of our hotel room. The reddish looking figure strike like a giant elephant struck in ground, with nobody around to rescue. I sense an irresistible appeal to rush towards it for an intimate affair.

And finally when the moment of closeness arrives, I am simply awestruck by its hugeness, grandeur and colour combo.

From a distance the red mountain seems like concealed by a reasonably smooth surface, but when near its various curvatures, contours, splits and tears become evident. Visitors are allowed to walk around the rock and explore these valleys, deep gorges and caves some filled with indigenous art.

“If you go around the rock, you’ll learn twice as much about the people who use the rock shelter and the rock itself’, says Wille Gordon, award continued…

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