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USA: Eastern Sierra, Los Angeles, New York City, Niagara Falls, Orange County, San Francisco

USA: Niagara Falls
by Nupur Bang, India

The voluminous, giant, breathtaking Niagara Falls can mesmerise anyone!

These beautiful, 167 feet waterfalls are seen in Buffalo, New York, USA, and in Ontario, Canada. The river Niagara flows in the USA, but falls between both the countries. People having a visa for both the countries can cross the international border, to go the other country. There are tour packages especially designed so that one may see and experience the most popular sights and attractions on both sides of the border without duplication.

American Falls, Niagara Falls, USA We stayed at the Crowne Plaza, USA, just ten minutes walk to the Falls. With only American visa, we got our best deal for the tour from the Niagara Observation & Visitor Centre. The 4-hour tour took us to the wondrous attractions on the USA side of the mighty Niagara. In a bus of about twenty tourists, our driver cum guide initiated our exotic tour.

The tour began from the Niagara Falls State Park. It is a huge park that allows you the view of the falls from above. Standing on the NY State Observation Tower in Prospect Point Park, we realised that the Niagara Falls is composed of two major sections separated by Goat Island: Horseshoe Falls, the majority of which lies on the Canadian side of the border, and American Falls on the American side. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the main falls by Luna Island.

We could see the milky white water gushing down over the falls. Our guide informed us that originally, about 5.5 billion gallons per hour of water flowed over Niagara Falls! Now, half is diverted by the US and Canada for power. The falls are the largest producer of electric power in the NY state. We went down the elevator, where we were given a blue coloured raincoat each, before stepping on the Maid of The Mist - the boat that ferries the tourists through the waters right up to the base of the Horseshoe Falls.

Bridal Veil Falls, Niagara Falls, USA The raincoats are quite useful! Or one can get completely drenched because of the huge mist before the falls. We first crossed the American falls. The water rushed with great force on the rocks below. And right next to this fall was the Bridal Veil Fall, which very much resembled a bridal veil! We saw a wooden pathway below these falls, made for a closer experience of the powerful falls. That was the Cave of the Winds, where we later went.

Sailing ahead, we reached quite close to the Horseshoe Falls - the larger part of the falls, the shape of which is that of a horseshoe. We were getting wetter as we got closer, and there was so much mist between us and the falls, that after a point everything around us was all white! White, complimented with a melodious sound of gushing and churning water all around us. They stopped the ferry there, so we could capture the enthralling beauty around us, in our hearts! It was an experience, different from any other one - the ride of a lifetime! Tiny droplets of water fell on my face, and I could only stare at the gigantic falls, that created milky froth as they fell. We were in awe of the falls! The boat slowly headed back to the shore. And as we were getting off board, I noticed smile on every face.

Niagara Falls, USA Our group was then taken to Terrapin Point, Goat Island. We also saw the Luna Island. These places gave us magnificent views of the Niagara Falls. And then it was time to go to the Cave of the Winds. This time, along with yellow raincoats, we were also given rubber footwear. We were to trek on wooden path under the American and Bridal Veil Falls, and those footwears were ideal for that. As we stepped closer to the falls, we got wetter and wetter. But we didn't mind because half the fun of experiencing the fall was in getting wet!

The guide was full of stories of men and women in the past that tried crossing the Niagara Falls in different ways. Most of them failed, few were successful. He also showed us the Daredevil Museum.

Falls by Night, Niagara Falls, USA We ended the tour after visiting the Three Sister Islands, which lies on the west shoreline of Goat Island. It was evening, and the weather beautiful. There we saw the river Niagara flowing in full force. There was a fantastic spot at its bank for taking pictures. So, with a rainbow in the background, we took turns to get our pictures clicked. Thereafter, our guide dropped us back to where we started.

About 10 pm, we went back to the Terrapin Point Park. Every night, the Canadians flash colourful lights at the Niagara Falls and people from both sides of the border gather to view the world-famous nightly illumination of the Falls! The colours of light change from purple to pink to blue to red to yellow! On weekends and holidays, there are exciting fireworks displays.

The Niagara Falls has its own charm during the day as well as at night that leaves one mesmerised!

Niagara Falls Image Gallery Photo viewer Photo viewer

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