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Fire on the mountain

DC | ZENOBIA LATHEEF
Published Jan 26, 2014, 8:06 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 8:05 am IST
The Hawaiian chain of Islands offers a study in fierce contrasts.

What does peace look like? Technicolour sunsets, hammocks by the beach, rhythmic swishes of grass skirts are visions of peace come to life when one visits the Hawaiian chain of islands. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, shimmering in different shades of cobalt blue, jade green or gleaming gold, Hawaii is synonymous with the most picturesque beaches in the world. Palm frond-lined white sandy beaches take a back seat here, beach-goers are treated to red, black and green sand beaches. The Hawaiian coast is lined with diverse beach landscapes, towering sea cliffs, waterfalls and jungle gardens, making each beach a unique treasure.

Water sports are a way of life in Hawaii. Surfing, sailing, scuba diving, every facet of the ocean is explored. The Hawaiian beaches get you up, close and personal with a variety of aquatic life, including whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays and the like. Gazing into the islands, the natural brilliance feels like a hallucination. Jungle-smothered volcanic peaks loom along every highway. Silvery waterfalls foam and plunge 420 feet in one sheer drop; scenic highways hug cliff and coast; pineapple patches are interspersed with lush foliage, bamboo jungles and fragrant island flowers vie for attention.

 

The Haleakala peak — meaning ‘house of the sun’ — stands at 10,000 feet. Visitors brave frigid temperatures and strenuous hiking to be rewarded with a spectacular sunrise at the summit. The sun emerges from under a blanket of clouds and the colours of dawn pan across the horizon. During sunrise, a native Hawaiian sings a traditional song at the summit.

Born of the fire and sea, the Hawaiian islands were the result of a volcanic eruption; volcanoes thus have a special place in their landscape and legends. The Volcano National Park houses two of the most active volcanoes on earth. Some of the surreal attractions of the park include cauldrons of volcanoes roiling with molten rocks, underground lava tubes that open to rain forests, lava-spewing fountains and sizzling lava fields flowing into the cool sea .

 

Helicopter tours offer a bird’s eye view of entire islands, hovering over active volcanoes, ancient Hawaiian settlements, cascading waterfalls and miles of coastline. A luau (feast) is an integral part of the Hawaiian experience. Set on a beachside, the luau goes on for hours, dozens of Hawaiian delicacies are served, accompanied with a hula performance. Graceful hula dancers and fire knife artistes bring the Islands’ legends alive. The distant glow of volcanic embers only enhance the performance.

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