Tools for Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science and Field Biology:
(Note: As of Fall, 2013, only Units II and III are active. Other Units will be added over the coming months.)

I. Scientific Inquiry: How to identify a research topic, question and hypothesis

II. Fundamentals of Field Sampling: How to design a field study

III. Graphing and Statistics: How to interpret your data using MS Excel

IV. Communicating Your Results: Tips for writing effective papers and making clear presentations

  maps of region where we're living

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September 26, 2013: Lake, Plains, the Ganges!

We recently visited several cities in other parts of the state of Uttarakhand. Little did we know that part of our travels would involve a ten hour bus ride that took us down to the northern plains of Uttar Pradesh. This blog entry is a brief travel log of that trip.

Screenshot from Google Earth showing several of our destinations (click for larger version):

Stop 1 Nainital
Nainital is an old British Hill Station situated on a beautiful lake. We stayed at Prakash's house which was about a 1km walk up a steep hill from the town center.

View of Nainital from across the lake:

The Lake:

There was a festival going on during our visit, so there was plenty of music, dance and celebration.

One of several bands that marched around town playing music:

Each morning we were woken by the call to prayer from the mosque near the town center, followed by Hindu prayer chants and bell ringing from a neighbor across the alley.

View down to town from near Prakash's house. The tall spire is part of the mosque in town:

There is a community of Tibetan Buddhists that lives in Nainital many towns in the region are home to Tibetans who have left their country since the invasion by China:

Bus ride from Nainital to Haridwar
Though we were told this ride would take about six hours, it took ten. It was quite the adventure as we dipped down into the hot and dusty plains of Uttar Pradesh along the way. Given the size of the seats, the crowded nature of the bus, and the soaring temperatures, this was the most trying day of our trip.

View of the brick that was holding up the bus driver's seat. I tried not to stretch my leg out and put my foot under the seat . . . who knows when that brick is going to fall out!:

Sign on the inside of the bus . . . we were happy that with our new knowledge of Hindi, we could read "Haldwani" and "Nainital":

The last leg involved a bike rickshaw ride from the bus station to our hotel.

View of one of the bike rickshaws we took to our hotel in Haridwar:

Stop 2 Haridwar
Haridwar is a very important Hindu Holy City. It's situated where the Ganges spreads out along the plains after leaving the Himalayas. Each day, thousands of Hindu Pilgrims bathe in the river along the Ghats (river landings).

View of the Ganges in Haridwar:

Another view of the Ganges:

Pilgrims bathing in the Ganges:

Rickshaw Ride from Haridwar to Rishikesh
This hour-long ride in a three wheeled motor rickshaw was a short adventure. Though the road was full of potholes, the vehicle had no shocks, and it's questionable whether there was actually any air in the tires . . .

Our auto-rickshaw driver:

Stop 3 Rishikesh
A more laid-back version of Haridwar, Rishikesh is tucked up in the foothills along the edge of the plains. Though it's famous among western tourists, most people we saw were Indian tourists. We visited a multi-storied temple with dozens of statues of Hindu Gods, and attended a music/religious performance on the banks of the River.

View of the Ganges near Rishikesh:

This temple houses dozens of statues of many different Hindu Gods:

A view of the evening ceremony by the river that featured chants and singing:

A pilgrim walking along the banks of the Ganges:

A view from the restaurant where we ate breakfast:

Taxi ride from Rishikesh to Almora
Even though this was an eleven hour taxi ride, we only travelled 90 miles as the crow flies! In the plains, I tried catching some video footage from my phone, but not surprisingly, it really doesn't do justice to the heat, dust, noise, smell, garbage, and amazing colors of the garments worn by many of the Indian women.

Stop 4 Almora
About six hours from Chaukori (where we're currently based), Almora is situated along a mountain ridge. There are some really nice views from this town. Also, some very photogenic cows!

View of Almora:

View from the rooftop terrace at the guest house where we stayed:

A cropped section from a 360 degree panorama I took with my phone:

Not only were these cows photogenic, but they were kind enough to do some advertising for the photo studio where they were posing:

That's it for this travel log. Stay tuned for some future posts on some of the environmental issues we've witnessed here . . .

This site created and maintained by
Dr. Rhine Singleton
Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science
Franklin Pierce University, Rindge, NH 03461
You can contact me at: singler at franklinpierce dot edu