Category Archive: Travel Essays

A Grizzly Family of 4, Emerald Ponds, Memorial Benches, the Jagged Rockies and Beautiful Sunset Make it An Unforgettable Day in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country

Wow! Grizzlies, beautiful emerald coloured ponds, jagged mountains, and I will let the photographs do the talking.

Photos and Videos: Alberta’s Glenbow Ranch and Big Hill Springs Provincial Parks, and a Grizzly in Kananaskis Country

Malik Merchant continues to explore towns and wilderness areas close to Calgary, and is awed by the scenery and wildlife at two provincial parks as well as on the main corridor of Kananaskis Country, where he encounters a grizzly bear. He takes home with him photos and videos of the bear as birthday gifts to him!

Photos: Tributes to Loved Ones on Memorial Benches in Nature Settings

Malik Merchant has been struck by tributes to loved ones that he has read on memorial benches at parks, gardens and forests in Canada. He presents a special photo essay on the subject following his recent adventures in Alberta’s thrilling Kananaskis Country. In the piece, he also suggests resources where readers may obtain more details about contributing a memorial bench honouring your loved one.

Driving Through the Scenic 60 Km Gravel Road, the Smith-Dorrien Trail or Hwy 742, from Peter Lougheed Provincial Park to Canmore, followed by a Great Steak at Rustica!

Malik Merchant has come to love Alberta’s Kananaskis Country and recently drove through the famed gravel road, Hwy 742 or the Smith-Dorrien Trail to see some stunning mountain scenery. Here are his photographs and impressions of the 3 hour trip which ended with a lovely steak at the Rustica restaurant in Canmore.

Photographs: A Beautiful Summer Day in Calgary, Canada, Draws Thousands to the 2022 Ismaili Stampede and Eid al-Adha Breakfast

Malik Merchant heads to the Ismaili community’s stampede breakfast in Calgary, Canada, and comes away with photographs of a marquee event attended and enjoyed by thousands.

Photographs: Twelve Exciting Hours in Alberta’s Scenic and Adventurous Kananaskis Country

Malik Merchant explores the Kananaskis in Alberta, Canada, and provides his readers with astonishing photos of the animals, mountains and lakes that he encountered. It’s a must read and share post for anyone who loves nature!

Beautiful and Scenic Calgary: The Greatest City in Canada, and One of Top Five in the World!

Malik Merchant shares a beautiful collection of photographs that he has taken since relocating to Calgary, Alberta, a city that has just been ranked as the 3rd best in the world to live in!

My Wonderful Day at the Aga Khan Garden, Alberta, on Last Day of Spring: Impressive, Thrilling, Beautiful and Exciting…But Lackluster in Some Key Areas

Finally, on the last day of spring, June 20, 2022, Malik Merchant drives from Calgary to Edmonton to visit the Aga Khan Garden which was opened in 2018 in the presence of the Aga khan, and offers readers an exclusive selection of breathtaking photographs. Do not miss this post, and please share it as widely as possible.

Photo Essay: The Jalebi Takes Centre Stage at Colourful Celebration of Eid ul-Fitr at Montreal’s Headquarters Jamatkhana

Iconic Ismaili photographer Muslim Harji shares a beautiful collection of photos of the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr at Montreal Headquarters Jamatkhana, centered around the delicious Jalebi snack. Please view the photos and share them with your friends and family members around the world.

Navroz Mubarak from Calgary, Alberta, a City That is Home to Beautiful Ismaili Jamatkhanas and Lies in the Foothills of the Majestic Canadian Rockies

Malik Merchant’s departure from Ontario for a Alberta will not end his enthusiasm for picture taking. For the auspicious occasion of Navroz he offers a selection of photos of Calgary’s two Ismaili Jamatkhanas that he visited on March 17, 2022. Please read and share!

Photo of the Day: The Tanzanite Bridge – A Beautiful New Bridge in Dar es Salaam

A photo of Dar es Salaam’s new Tanzanite Bridge which begins operations on February 1, 2022

Beautiful Photographs: A Farewell to Ontario, As Bitterly Cold Weather But Warm Ismaili Hearts Welcome Me to My New Home in Alberta

Malik Merchant’s last week in Toronto and arrival in Alberta, with some beautiful photos taken at the waterfront parks in Pickering and Burlington as well as the Aga Khan Museum.

For Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan’s 85th Birthday, a Feast of Twilight Photos for the Enjoyment of the Worldwide Ismaili Jamat and Friends of the Ismaili Community

A feast of beautiful photographs of sunrise and sunset in Toronto!

Winter 2021/2: Toronto’s First Snowfall, and Scenes from Aga Khan Park at its Snowy Best

How lovely the grounds of the Aga Khan Park appear with Toronto’s first snow fall for the 2021/2 winter season! Malik Merchant arrives at the scene and presents a selection of photos of the beautiful grounds, and the surroundings Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Jamatkhana.

Toronto: A Gem of a City – “Yours to Discover”

A potpourri of delightful nature and wildlife pictures by Malik Merchant — from the rising of the sun to the great Salmon Run in a Toronto Creek! And for food lovers, Malik also names 2 restaurants that are his favourite!

Wow! Aga Khan Park’s Blazing Red Autumn Foliage and Spectacular Photos from Toronto’s Parks and Forests

We are almost at the start of the second week in November but the trees in Toronto’s Parks and Forests are still showing superb fall colours. Malik Merchant travels around the city to capture the beauty of fall. Share the article with your family and friends!

Photos and Videos: A Beautiful Fox at Aga Khan Park Amid Brilliant Autumn Colours and Captivating Photos from Countries on the Silk Roads

Malik Merchant enjoys a beautiful chilly morning at Aga Khan Park taking photos of the autumn foliage, and encounters a beautiful fox — a recent new visitor to the park.

Extraordinary and Amazing Nature Photos and Videos from Aga Khan Park and East Don Trail That You and Your Family MUST See

Wow! What an experience at Aga Khan Park and East Don Trail. Malik Merchant watches nature at its best with beautiful animals, scenic views as well as intimate encounters that you will rarely see! WATCH THE VIDEOS AND SHARE THIS POST.

Photo of the Day Inspired by a 1995 Quote of Mawlana Hazar Imam: On Land, in Water and in the Sky from Niagara Falls to Toronto’s 3 Aga Khan Projects

Animals, birds, people, flowers and trees as well as man made objects — they are all represented in this Photo of the Day feature in Simergphotos brought to you from Niagara Falls, Aga Khan Park and areas along the way

Ottawa’s Dazzling Tulips at Dow’s Lake, Rideau Falls and Major Hill’s Park; and a Peek at the Contemplative Garden at the Global Centre for Pluralism

Malik Merchant ends his brief trip to Ottawa by paying a visit to Dow’s Lake to see a dazzling display of hundreds of thousands of tulips. DO NOT MISS THE SHOW!

Aga Khan Park’s Story on the Tulip, and Ottawa’s Fantastic 2021 Tulip Festival Through the Lens of Nurin Merchant

Nurin Merchant’s love of nature is clearly seen in this fantastic series of photos from the 2021 Ottawa Tulip Festival. The Toronto Aga Khan displays about the tulip are incorporated into the piece making Nurin’s photo essay highly informative and educational for both young and old alike.

Photo of the Day: Gorgeous Sunsets in Vancouver and Cabot Trail in Canada, and Cartagena, in Colombia, South America

MUST SEE PHOTOS: Malik Merchant shares his spectacular sunset photos of his current trip to Vancouver, and his earlier visits to Cartagena in Colombia, South America, and Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia.

Photo of the Day: From Magnolias on Tree #049 at the Aga Khan Park in Toronto to Cherry Blossoms at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre in Vancouver

Malik Merchant arrives in Vancouver to pay respects to his mum who died 3 months ago, and feels an inner voice calling him to carry on posting new articles on his websites. Here is his Photo of the Day piece from Vancouver’s Ismaili Jamatkhana and the Burnaby Mountain.

Terry Fox: Celebrating a Canadian Hero During a 4500 Km Drive from Vancouver to Ottawa in the Midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic

MUST SEE PHOTOS: Nurin Merchant drove 4,500 km with her mom from Vancouver to Ottawa, passing through smoke covered mountains, forests and the Prairies. She then celebrated Canadian Hero Terry Fox at his memorial in Thunder Bay. Read her fantastic photo essay of the drive during the year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of the Day: Easter Traditions and Sacred Christian Monuments and Objects

Photos by MUSLIM HARJI As hundreds of millions of Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on April 4, 2021, in unusual circumstances again this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, we present… Continue reading

“DOORS” – A Photographic Tribute to Late Shiraz Bandali of Edmonton, Canada

Simergphotos is pleased to present an excellent collection of photos of “DOORS” that were captured by Shiraz Bandali of Edmonton, Canada, during his trip with his family to Morocco, Spain and Portugal. A passionate photographer, Shiraz alas passed away too early. This collection is a tribute to him as well as a celebration of his life.

Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan, Made Navroz March 21, 2021, the Most Joyous Navroz in My Life, and I Will Tell You Why

Malik Merchant reflects on the Navroz 2021 Talika Mubarak of Mawlana Hazar Imam, and explains why March 21, 2021 was the most joyous day in his life

Beautiful Daytime Moon Photos at Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 3 Unique Projects — the Aga Khan Park, Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum

Exceptional photos of daytime moon on a clear bright sunny day at Toronto’s Aga Khan Park, the Ismaili Centre, and the Aga Khan Museum.

On a Perfect Valentine’s Day, the Aga Khan Park, the Ismaili Jamatkhana Dome and the Aga Khan Museum Come Even Closer to My Heart

By MALIK MERCHANTPublisher/Editor Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos I couldn’t have asked for a better and happier February 14, 2021. I woke up very early to complete an exclusive photo piece of Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the… Continue reading

Hunza’s Remote Khyber Village Inhabited by Ismailis is Also Home to Rare Wildlife – See Beautiful Film of WWF Team Spotting a Large Herd of the Magnificent Ibex

In a fascinating 5 part travelogue of his trip to China and Pakistan, Ali Karim dedicated an entire post to the Ismailis of Northern Hunza. His visits to the villages of Passu and… Continue reading

Photos from our 2020 stories: Mawlana Hazar Imam and his family, Covid-19 impact, Aga Khan projects, the four seasons, and other events

A selection of recent and historic images published in Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos during 2020.

Toronto’s White Xmas: Photos of Aga Khan Park, Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum on December 25, 2020…and then on December 28 following rain!

Photos of the Ismaili Centre, Aga Khan Park and Aga Khan Museum on Xmas Day, December 25, 2020 after a 10-12 cm overnight snowfall.

VOA’s 5 Short Videos That Young and Old Alike Will Enjoy: Elephant Hoisted from Well in India; Baby Gorilla Born at Boston Zoo; and More

WATCH AND SHARE: In less than 4 minutes, see 5 videos of animals that the young ones in your family will enjoy, including an elephant being rescued from a well in India and the first baby gorilla born in a Boston Zoo!

Aga Khan Park’s Vibrant 2020 Autumn Colours

Beautiful autumn colours at Toronto’s Aga Khan park. See the red maples at their peak!

Spectacular Photos: The Lit-Up Dome of the Toronto Headquarters Jamatkhana, and the Aga Khan Museum’s Unique Garden Party

By MALIK MERCHANTPublisher-Editor Simergphotos,  Simerg, and Barakah The Aga Khan Park and Aga Khan Museum were colourful, elegant and spectacular on the night of Friday, August 14, 2020. The Ismaili Jamatkhana was absolutely inspiring. For the first… Continue reading

My Beautiful Moments with the Crescent Moon at Aga Khan Park and The Ismaili Centre, After an Invigorating Walk at Edwards Gardens

PHOTOS: Malik Merchant of Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos first visits the beautiful Edwards Gardens in Toronto and then sets his camera lens on the Crescent Moon rising above the Aga Khan Park and the Ismaili Centre.

Photos: In and around the Aga Khan Museum, as it reopens after more than a 100 days

Malik Merchant visits the beautiful Aga Khan Museum on its reopening and provides photos and his experience with Covid-19 guidelines in place!

Barcelona’s world famous La Boqueria market through the lens of Muslim Harji

A delightful photo essay by Montreal’s Muslim Harji on the world famous La Boqueira market in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district.

2019 Fall Rhapsody: A Superabundance of Autumn Colours in Canada’s National Capital Region, Ottawa and Gatineau, that no City in the World can (Ever) Match

Magnificent photos of fall colours in the National Capital Region of Canada – Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec.

A Day Trip to Fabulous Algonquin Park, Canada

Dr. Nurin Merchant and her dad, Malik, spent a fabulous day at Algonquin Park and enjoyed the park’s trails, sights, scenery and autumn foliage. This post includes remarkable pictures from their 12 hour trip, and highlights what can be accomplished during a day’s trip, even if you are travelling from Ottawa or Toronto! The post captures nature at its finest.

Spain’s architectural masterpieces: The Al Hambra Palace in Granada and the Great Mosque in Cordoba through the Lens of Muslim Harji

The Magnificent Alhambra Palace and the Mosque of Cordoba Through the Lens of Muslim Harji.

Photos from our 2017 posts: From the site of the 48th Ismaili Imam’s Bagamoyo landing to the Diamond Jubilee visits of the 49th Imam His Highness the Aga Khan

A collection of photos from posts published in Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos during 2017.

After an Amazing Silk Road Journey to Xinjiang and Hunza, Seasoned and Intrepid Globetrotter Ali Karim Offers Great Traveling Tips to Our Readers

Ali and Dislhad Karim have been travelling since 1977. Their latest journey took them to numerous cities, towns and villages along the the Silk Road in Xinjiang, China, and Hunza, Pakistan. Here they… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue by Ali Karim: (6) In Hunza’s Capital, Karimabad – Named after Prince Karim Aga Khan

Ali and Dilshad Karim at Altit Fort, strategically located, precarious for enemies. Legends speak of the spot where they are standing as the capital punishment spot where enemies were simply pushed over the… Continue reading

33 Awesome Photos that Summarize Our 2016 Posts: From Historical Visits and Landmark Ceremonies of His Highness the Aga Khan to Fantastic Travelogues and Photo Essays

PREPARED BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT (Publisher/editor — Simergphotos, simerg and barakah) (The photos on this page are representative of some thirty photo pieces that we published in 2016. The photos are not shown in… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue by Ali Karim: (5) Ismailis of Remote Northern Hunza Rise High Above the Tallest Peaks, and Set a Lasting Example for Us to Follow

Please send this page link to your friends and family members everywhere! (ed.) Ali Karim and his wife Dilshad at the banks of the Hunza river with the stunning Cathedral Peaks in the… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue By Ali Karim: (4) Scenes from Tashkurgan and an Encounter with an Ismaili Family, and the Drive to Northern Hunza on the Iconic Khunjerab Pass

BY ALI KARIM Spectacular scenery on the Karakorum Highway (KKH) during our drive from Kashgar to Tashkurgan, the very last town before the border between China and Pakistan. KKH runs approximately 1,300 km… Continue reading

Photo Essay: Sacred Spaces Through the Lens of Muslim Harji

BY MUSLIM HARJI INTRODUCTION: A sacred space is any space or area that has been dedicated for a religious or sacred purpose. All world religions have places set aside that are treated as… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue by Ali Karim: (3) More Kashgar and Spectacular Drive to Tashkurgan

BY ALI KARIM Please click on photos for enlargement. Spectacular scenery at Lake Karakul, located 12,000 ft above sea level. Photo: Ali Karim. Copyright. In this third piece of my multi-part travelogue on… Continue reading

Silk Road Travelogue by Ali Karim: (2) More of Turpan and Historic Kashgar

BY ALI KARIM A magnificent desert landscape outside Turpan. Photo: Ali Karim. Copyright. In this second installment of my multi-part travelogue on the Silk Road, I continue with more photos of my visit… Continue reading