Skip to main content

Featured Post

The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan

Encounters with Wildlife on our Ujjain-Omkareshwar-Indore Trip

Travelling in an area which has some interesting wildlife sanctuaries, it was one of my greatest regrets that we couldn’t visit a single one on this trip, since it was primarily a pilgrimage to the two Jyotirlingams. However, we are now constantly on the lookout for birds, and make all efforts to photograph as many as possible.

The only wild animals we saw on this trip were monkeys and snakes. While we weren’t able to capture the snake on camera, the monkeys posed obligingly, especially at the Sandipani Ashram, Ujjain.

The Sandipani ashram would be an interesting place to visit; for we found some peacock feathers lying near a bush by the path (what was really surprising was that no one had picked them!!). Samhith was all excited, but unfortunately, the peacocks did not make an appearance. Just outside the ashram, though, we chanced upon a flock of birds which we couldn’t identify. The only one among them that I could capture on my camera was the little green bee eater (thanks T&S for your post, which helped me identify this one easily!)

Passing along the roads of Ujjain as we visited one temple after another, we passed pools of water which had collected due to the recent and unexpected rains. At every single pool were at least a few egrets and cattle egrets. At first, Samhith was so excited, he kept piping up “Amma look, another egret!!!”, but soon he got bored once he realized that there were egrets all over the place. And then, as we passed one more pool, I suddenly realized that the birds there weren’t egrets! We stopped and turned back to the pool where I got down to take pics. The only bird I recognized there was the pond heron (it is seen only in the last pic). I have no idea about the other birds. Can someone help me out, please?

I know this doesn't give a clear view of the bird, but I loved the way its reflection was seen in the water...

Our next encounter was at the Observatory at Ujjain where we saw plenty of butterflies, all blue in colour!

We saw drongoes everywhere, both, black drongoes as well as racket-tails, but this was the only one I managed to capture….

The biggest surprise and the best part of our trip was certainly Omkareshwar, where the first birds we saw were flocks of swifts flying all over the place. When we boarded the boat to cross the river, I noticed the swifts making regular trips to the rock face, and asked the boatman to take us there before going to the ghat. Here is what we saw there……

These look like nests of the swifts… and maybe there were swiftlets inside…. Were the birds bringing food to their young??

Our Omkareshwar Parikrama took us along the river and over the mountains, and we again had a lot of opportunity for bird watching, and I wished I had thought of bringing along my binoculars! While again I wasn’t able to identify most of the birds, here are the few I managed to photograph………

this one looks like the Indian Treepie...

Can anyone help in identifying this one????

The common myna, on an uncommon perch! and below it there is a coppersmith!

Again, I have no idea which birds these are? can anyone help me out?

Here is a bird I saw on a tree in the distance... Given my camera's capacity, this is the best I could do..... Both pics are of the same bird. Can anyone take a guess as to which one this is???

A Langur watched us as we walked the final stretch...

Indore was the only place we did not see any interesting birds…. After all, it is also a commercial city like Bombay, and we did not expect to see any, either. But wait, just this week, we saw something interesting from within the confines of our home, but that deserves another post, so wait till then to read about it!


  1. I love the butterfly shots and the nests, it seems birds are posing for u :)

  2. Swifts' nests are interesting. I've never seen these. I think the unnamed single bird is a type of pigeon. Can't identify the exact name.

  3. i guess the first unnamed bird is a 'spotted dove' - a type of pigeon as B mentioned.

    Isnt the second flock of birds, rose ringed parakeet?

    no idea abt the 3rd one. but, how big was it?

  4. Nests are really peculiar and first of its kind that i have seen.

    I must add, in Delhi it is rather surprising to find different species of bird during this part of year amidst pollution..And langurs seemed to be common all througout the metros

  5. @ Sri : the butterflies were beautiful! I felt so sorry that I could not capture the sight of so many butterflies on one plant!!!

    and I really wished the birds would pose for me! it was so difficult to photogrph them!

    @ Bindhu : Yes, this was the first time I saw these nests.. and the only reason I could identify them was that I recently read a blog about swifts building nests on limestone cliffs!!!!!

    @ Sandeep: thanks for the ID.. shall update the blog soon with its name.... the second flock didnt really resemble parakeets, but then they were quite far and against the sun, so i cant be quite sure....

    the third one was bigger than a crow... I first wondered if it was the female Koel... there are quite a few of them near my house... but once i saw the pic, i had doubts....

    @ Tarun : Langurs are there all over the place... esp where they know they can get food from pilgrims...... and yes, it is difficult to see birds in the city..... any city in india is too polluted and crowded for birds now! we see birds in our locality in bbay only because there are a lot of undeveloped areas within the colony.... its almost marshland...

  6. WOW, your passion for wildlife is awesome Anu. I can't image what you would do if you had the right camera gear. I m sure you would go berserk.

  7. @ T& S : thanks so much!!!! yes, i would certainly go berserk if i got the proper stuff, which is why i am waiting till Samhith grows up a bit more.... and when I do, you are the one i am coming to, for advice.....

  8. yes it would have been a real hard work, I guess thats why the shots are good :) bravo!!

  9. What a wonderful post, and I am just flattened by those bird nests.

    Goat in Attitude

  10. @ Sri. thanks so much! these days, i keep looking for photo ops for the blog... am wondering if i use the camera too much.. what say u???

    @ Bhavesh : thanks... yes, i was too.... and took so many pix.. these were the only ones that came out welll!!

  11. Great shots Anu!
    How exciting to see a variety in the wild like this.

  12. @ Indrani : thanks lot.... yes, it feels great when you see birds close to the city...

  13. i love the monkey and its baby shot,its describing the human relation with baboons
    Nature-By Deepak mc

  14. @ Deepak : Yes, there were so many mothers and babies... i took a lot of pics, and liked this one the most of all...

  15. The wildlife in India is not confined to any one particular part of the country. In fact every part of this subcontinent has something to offer. Depending on the part of the country you would like to visit and the kind of wildlife that you are interested:- India Tiger Safari and India Wildlife Safari

  16. @Bob: Absolutely!! there is so much to see in India that a lifetime isnt enough! thanks for writing in...

  17. This is wonderful!
    Did you go to Mandu as well?

  18. It is not a bad idea to hunt while you traveling. different people have different type of taste. some one love to travel to such places that have natural beauty, some one love to travel to beaches. Here you can also get perfect guideline from Hank Freid which is really helpful to you in organizing a travel towards your desired destination


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Bhedaghat - Home of the 81 Yoginis

The Narmada flows down the mountains , carving out a path for herself as she makes her way down to the plains of Central India. She cascades from the rocks, her fine spray making it appear as if billows of smoke (dhuan) arise from the flowing streams of water (dhaar), giving it the name Dhuandhar. Dhuandhar Falls The force of her flow creates a gorge , smoothening and carving out the rocks into fantastic shapes, the pure white of the rocks standing starkly against the shades of the water. It is a joy to cruise down the river in a boat, seeing the natural contours created by the river, now famous as the Marble Rocks. We are at Bhedaghat, located on the banks of the Narmada near Jabalpur, where thousands of visitors turn up to see these natural landscapes, creations of the sacred Narmada, and pay obeisance to her. However, to me, the most interesting thing about Bhedaghat, isn’t the falls or the rocks, or even the river. What makes Bhedaghat special is t