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Showing posts from July, 2011

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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Jungle Babblers

These are probably among the commonest of birds, but here, the Jungle Babblers are sitting on some beautiful works of art, which are equally uncommon......

A Pair of Ducks

We saw these ducks on the way to the Dhyanalingam at Coimbatore..... Does anyone know what they are called?

Grasshopper.. oops! sorry.. Cricket!!!

I have written earlier about how we have become interested in insects thanks to photography and blogging.... Of late, however, there has been a change. These days, Samhith no longer calls me to take a photo of an insect. He simply takes my camera and tries it himself! Of course, many of his attempts did not bear fruit, but here is one of his successful endeavors.....

Memorial to a loved Pet

I was wandering with Samhith around Gulab Bagh, the huge garden where the Udaipur Zoo is located. We had time to kill before we could catch the bus which would take us back to Mumbai, we had checked out of our room, and Shankar had already flown back the day before. Having so much time on our hands, but hesitant to wander into lonely places, we tried to stick to the well marked paths, at the same time trying to avoid the crowds thronging the park. Following a butterfly, we moved away from the well trodden path, and suddenly, right in front of us was a marble edifice. Curious, we moved closer, and both of us were stunned!

Eye of the Peacock

We have seen plenty of peacocks - both in the wild as well in zoos. At the Udaipur Zoo, the birds were peacefully having their siesta, and were totally unconcerned about all the ruckus around them. As we passed by the peacock enclosure, one of them looked up and cast such a disdainful glance at the spectators who were trying to rouse some of the sleeping birds, that I just had to take a pic!

Rufous Treepie

Here is another bird we have seen before, but never managed a decent shot - the Rufous Treepie.

More than just Coochie Coo!

It was hardly mean t to be a birdwatching trip, but we saw more birds than expected. Yes, many of them were common ones, but we saw them in uncommon positions, many of them either courting, or mating! These Eurasian Collared Dove s at the Nehru Park on the Fateh Sagar Lake were oblivious to the tourists as they went about their business during their breeding season. 

Brahminy Starling

It looked just like a myna from a distance. However, there was something different about it. It took some time for me to realise that we were seeing a Brahminy Myna or Brahminy Starling .

Anegundi Part 7 - A Walk along the Tungabhadra

It is impossible to miss the Tungabhadra , especially at Anegundi . The shortest way to get there is to cross the river by a boat or coracle, and most of the places there are located somewhere along the river. The last place we visited at Anegundi was on our way back to Hampi after visiting the Pampa Sarovar . We crossed a makeshift bridge made of fallen pillars laid across a stream merging into the Tungabhadra, and climbed up a hillock which would take us to a point right opposite the ghats of Hampi. On the way, we were told, was the cave where the monkey king Sugriva lived. We briefly entered the cave through the temple-like structure built at the entrance before moving on to other, more interesting things….

Anegundi Part 6 - On the Tungabhadra

The Tungabhadra flows between Hampi and Anegundi , and makes her presence felt all over the place. That the land is so fertile even months after the rains is evidently due to her, and the fact that even in January there is enough water is a sight which makes us smile.

An Unforgettable Encounter

We were just leaving the Pampa Sarovar , when we were hailed by an old man wearing a dhoti and a saffron kurta. I wouldn’t have called him a saint or a holy man, but he wasn’t a tourist either. He wanted a lift to his hotel, and since our driver said it was on our way, we agreed. We started talking, starting with Shankar’s favourite question – “Where are you from?”

Anegundi Part 5 - Pampa Sarovar

Much as I wasn’t inclined towards temples (quite unusual for me, I know!), our driver encouraged us to visit the Pampa Sarovar , and I agreed, simply because there was no climbing involved, and the story of Pampa was intimately linked to that of Hampi. In my post on the Virupaksha temple , I had mentioned the story of Goddess Parvati, who, as Pampa Devi, meditated on Lord Shiva, and married him at the place where the Virupaksha temple stands today. The Pampa Sarovar is believed to be the place where Pampa Devi meditated. There is a small pond here filled with lotuses, which is the highlight of the place…

Anegundi Part 4 - Prehistoric Cave Paintings

I first heard of prehistoric cave paintings at Anegundi through Lakshmi’s blog . It was especially interesting, since I was then planning a visit there, and decided to add it to my agenda. We had seen prehistoric cave paintings earlier at Lakhudiyar, on our trip to Binsar , and wondered what it would be like, here. As our rickshaw driver drove along the roads lined with hillocks on one side and fields on the other, I thought of the differences between the two places.  Lakhudiyar, though situated amidst the hills, was located among the only outcrop of boulders in the area, which had no foliage covering it. The rock overhanging the cave was shaped like the hood of a snake, and was distinctly visible, even from a distance, while here, there were boulders everywhere, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine which one of them had been the abode of our prehistoric ancestors!

Anegundi Part 3 - Gagan Palace

This is the Gagan Palace at Anegundi . .. Once, the home of kings, today it houses officials who run the town....Apart from them, there are of course, these cows and cowherds who are most at home! Related Posts: Hampi Posts Anegundi Part 1 - Navabrindavanam Anegundi Part 2 - Durga Temple

Anegundi Part 2 - Durga Temple

It’s been a while since I wrote about my Hampi trip, so those of you who have forgotten about the series, please read…. My Hampi Posts and Anegundi Part 1 - Navabrindavanam We had just half a day for Anegundi, and once we had visited the Navabrindavanam, we were eager to see as much of the ancient city as we could. We asked our rickshaw driver to ignore all the usual temples and also the places which would involve any strenuous climbing, and to take us to some interesting and different places that we could cover in the time we had with us. For a minute, the driver seemed to be at a loss. In a small town where you see only boulders no matter where you turn, it surely must have been difficult for him to think of a place he could take us to! At last, he agreed to show us some places which would involve a minimum of climbing, and would also be worth the effort. The first among these was the Durga Temple .

Mariamman Teppakulam, Madurai

Oriental Garden Lizard

The Garden Lizard i s a common reptile we see all the time. However, I still can not resist photographing it, especially when it decides to pose for me. Here are some photos of Garden Lizards taken at the Nehru Park on Fateh Sagar Lake....


Have you ever wondered about  the difference between pigeons and doves? I have, and when I thought of doing a post on the doves I photographed at Mount Abu, this was the first thing that struck me. A quick search revealed that it is simply a matter of nomenclature - the smaller ones are called 'doves' and the bigger ones 'pigeons' (in most cases, that is.. of course, as with every rule, there are exceptions!) The pigeons which haunt our house, looking for a nook to build their own homes are so common that I never feel the urge to capture them on camera. Doves are quite common too... at least some varieties, and we see them wherever we go. However, they look so graceful that I can't resist photographing every single one I see.... This is meant to be a photoblog of the doves or pigeons I have photographed, so without more ado, here I go....

Asian Koel

The call of the cuckoo or koel is one of the nicest to hear. The bird itself is not so nice. For one, it is a lazy bird, laying its eggs in another's nest, leaving the other one to care for it unknowingly. Also, the male looks just like a crow, which does nothing to improve its looks! The female looks more beautiful, a combination of brown and white which helps in camouflage. However, this also makes it harder to spot. I have seen koels in our colony, but never close, and certainly not close enough to get a decent photograph. 

Ducks in the Lake

The Nakki Lake at Mount Abu has a small island at the centre where some ducks have been kept.

Parrots in Love!

Star Tortoise

He was the star attraction at the Jaipur House, Mount Abu.

Sky Watch Friday - Changing Landscapes

The mountains near the Ambaji Temple in Gujarat are well known for their marble mines. In fact, the local name for the mountains and the forest there -   Arasur - comes from the word for marble. No wonder every temple in the area is made of marble! Here is one view of the hills.........

Red Wattled Lapwings

We have seen Red Wattled Lapwings in Mumbai, but got a really close look at them while at Mount Abu and Udaipur. Though it was summer, there was plenty of water, and these birds were prominently visible near every water body we visited.

Two Birds or One?

White Browed Wagtail

Udaipur , being a city of lakes, naturally attracts a lot of birds. However, considering that we were visiting the city in peak summer, I had little hope of seeing any birds. We might have missed the rarer ones, but there was no dearth of birds, even in the scorching summer heat, thanks to all the water in the lakes! Here is the first in the series of birds we saw on our summer vacation to Mount Abu and Udaipur.....

Purple Sunbird

We have plenty of Purple Rumped Sunbirds visiting our home, but the Purple Sunbird is rare. On our very first day at Mount Abu, as we waited in the garden while our room was being readied, these birds kept us engaged and happy. Sitting on the swing, seeing these birds flutter among the flowers was a wonderful beginning to our unplanned holiday.....

Purple Rumped Sunbirds and Tailor Bird - Sky Watch Friday

The monsoons having officially begun, the trees near our house have been pruned. I wondered if this would mean that lesser birds would visit our place, but was surprised to see that in fact, I saw more of them, thanks to the lack of leaves which helped them camouflage! The best thing was that I managed at last to photograph the purple rumped sunbirds which flutter amidst the flowers all day long.....