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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Guest Post - Kutch Diaries Part 2

In this, his second guest post, Niranjan continues his reminiscences of his Kutch trip, with a more detailed report of the fifth day spent on the Rann of Kutch. To read his earlier post, click here.

We started from Zainabad to Moti Virani, Kutch district on the morning of the fourth day of our trip – 28th December. We reached our destination by evening and had ample time to cool our heels and take some rest before embarking on another adventure into the wild. We were greeted with a terrific lunch. Whoever says that Gujarati food is sweet, should try out Kutchi food. It is very spicy and reminds of Andhra J

29, December, 2011

The morning began with a journey to the Banni grasslands Reserve. One sight of this place will remind anyone of the Savannah grasslands.

The day began with our capturing the brilliant sunrise and being treated with the sightings of many Montagu’s and Pallid harriers looking out for their early breakfast.

Pallid Harrier:

Montagu’s Harrier holding its prey in her legs

On the way, we also spotted Chestnet-bellied Sandgrouses:

After capturing many more Harriers, Common cranes and Indian Nightjars on the way, we made a stop in the open for having a breakfast. There we were greeted with a Red-tailed Wheatear on the rocks next to our car.

After having a breakfast, we started moving again and exploring the landscapes for more birds.
On the way, we saw Nomads passing...

by. I was told by the Naturalist, Mr.Jugal Tiwari travelling with us, that these nomads go on for days in this desert surviving only on Camel’s milk!

On the way, we were greeted by the Desert Wheatears:

We were ably guided by Mr.Jugal who runs an NGO in Moti Virani called CEDO(Centre for Desert and Ocean). We then went to an open area, where we saw Stoliczka's Bushchat.

On the way, we were lucky to catch a glimpse of the Common quail which is amazingly swift :

We also sighted an amazing number of Common cranes on the way back.

After an hour at lunch, we started again for the Banni grasslands for more of bird-watching.
We were lucky enough to capture Sociable Lapwings.

Grey Francolin:

We saw the MacQueen's Bustard at a distance, running from our jeep J

The 5th day of the trip of Kutch finally finished with a lovely sunset…

And before I sign off, here is one last with my friend, Nirvita in the frame....  

The trip was not yet over, and more was to come. Look out for my next post about the final days of our trip!

Related Post:
Kutch Diaries Part 1 


  1. That was quite an illuminating post! It was good to know about the Centre for Desert and Ocean! Thanks!

  2. Nice photographs.. is it the Demoiselle Cranes ??

  3. Amazing pictures..........

  4. Terrific shots. The Banni grasslands looks like a paddy field ready to be harvested!

  5. Superb pictures! Hard to say which one is the best, but I loved the camel legs!

  6. Thank you Saandip. Those are Common Cranes ...

  7. The birds are out of this world. What a wealth of feathered friends our  country has!

  8. the LRK and GRK are wonderful places for bird watching and it seems you have seen a lot of them... great :)

  9. Thank you Santosh :)
    Yeah, had an amazing no. of sighting :)

  10. Awesome photographs of an amazing place. Great adventure indeed.

  11. beautiful pics and wonderful place

  12. marvelous snaps...

  13. I love your blog its look nice and attractive. I like wildlife sanctuaries and visited many wildlife sanctuaries. I love wild animals and clicking too many photos of them. I have a good experience of wildlife sanctuaries trip. Photos are really awesome of your blog. I always keep in touch with your blog and going to bookmark also.


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