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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

Changeable Hawk - Eagle

The drive from Wayanad to Mysore took us along the Kabini river, and through the Nagarhole National Park. On our way to Wayanad, we had surprised a Gaur and an elephant on the road, apart from numerous deer. The return journey saw the animals well out of the way, and it would have been a boring drive, except for the number of birds we happened to notice. While most were fleeting glimpses, barely enough for proper identification, this one made out day.....

From our bird book, it appears to be a Changeable Hawk-Eagle, a name which is as interesting as the bird itself! 

Salim Ali, in his book describes it as "A slender forest eagle in various confusing colour phases. Normally brown above; white below with black longitudinal streaks on throat and chocolate streaks on breast." 

Some subspecies among these birds have a crest. Others do not. And, as Salim Ali says, the colours vary too. This is what gives it its name. Interesting, isn't it? That a bird can either be a hawk or an eagle? or maybe we simply don't know what to call it!  

No matter what it was, the bird surely made our day. It was one of the highlights of the trip, more so since it was Samhith who spotted it! Besides, it stayed put for a long, long time on that branch, while I tried to click a decent photo without getting out of the car and scaring it away. It took quite a bit of effort, but the results are worth it, don't you think? 

That seemed to set the tone for the rest of our trip, and we seemed to see birds everywhere in Mysore!!! Watch out for my other posts to know which ones we saw!


  1. What a sighting and what a click, particularly the last one!

  2. Lovely sighting Anu! Wish I could see it too. :-)

    1. Thanks Atula! we were really really lucky that samhith spotted this!!! keep your eyes open! you never know!

  3. It is certainly the Changeable Hawk Eagle. Wonderful sighting and really shots. Must have been very close

    1. Thanks so much, Rajesh! yes, it was really very close. and i was so lucky that it didnt fly away while i was trying to get a better click, so the efforts paid off!

  4. what a spectacular bird! Great capture :)

  5. Brilliant click!!

  6. Nice capture. It looks like a combination of Eagle and Owl.

    1. THank you. yes, it does look a bit like an owl too!!! interesting bird, isnt it!


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