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Ladakh Diaries Part 9: Lamayuru

Lamayuru is one of the most ancient monasteries in Ladakh, the oldest surviving structure dating to the 11 th century CE. What makes this monastery particularly fascinating, is its location, amidst what is today called the “moonscape”, for the spectacular natural rock formations, which truly are “out of the world”! As per legend , there once existed a huge lake in this area, populated only by the Nagas (serpents). It was prophesized that there would be a great monastery built here. This prophecy came true when the great acharya Naropa (756-1041 CE) arrived. He emptied the lake, meditated for many years inside a cave, and built the first monastery here. The present structure is a new one, built around the cave where Acharya Naropa is said to have meditated. This legend seems to fit well with the geological formations seen in the area, which suggest this was a paleo-lake, which disappeared around 1000 years ago. Lamayuru is about 130 km from Leh , and the Indus River flows along th

Memories of 2013 - Birds

When it came to birds, the theme this year was  - See birds when you least expect them! 

Changeable Hawk Eagle
This was especially true during our visit to Mysore, when we saw birds everywhere we went. From a bunch of Munias happily twittering near the Palace, to a beautiful Changeable Hawk Eagle which perched on a tree ignoring us completely, and an Egyptian Vulture sitting on a rock by the roadside during the same trip. And then, on our visit to Gokarna, we stumbled upon a Flamingo, during the monsoon! I don't think aything stands out as vividly in our memory as that bird peacefully wading in the water near a field! 

Spotted Munias


The highlight of course, was our visit to the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, where we saw so many birds, it was impossible to keep track of what we saw! I have yet to write about that experience, so you can look forward to loads of bird pics in the coming weeks! 

Painted Storks

Meanwhile, closer home, my backyard birding seemed to have hit a low for a while, since a tree nearby was cut down. However, our winged friends surprised me nevertheless. Our usual Red Whiskered and Red Vented Bulbuls, Sunbirds, Coppersmith Barbets and Rose Ringed Parakeets are very much visible, but we also had new visitors this year - a pair of Fan tailed Flycatchers arrive at the same time everyday, as do a flock of Alexandrine Parakeets. Every now and then, a Long tailed Shrike visits us, as does a Black Drongo. Recently, we have also noticed a flock of Spotted Munias, which only gives me hope for the coming years! 

White Browed Fantail Flycatcher
Meanwhile, this year, we also discovered a birding spot quite near our home - the Bhandup Pumping Station, and, though it is much frequent by bird photography enthusiasts, have enjoyed the sight of Garganey Ducks and Stilts, not to mention Terns and Gulls, plentifully and peacefully going about their work. In the coming years, we hope to go there more often, and enjoy some peaceful time with the birds, minus the photographers! Will I leave my camera behind? That, of course, remains to be seen!


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Comments

  1. You know, when I read exotic names of all the birds that frequent your backyard, I am amazed! Is it that you have some magic patch of space or is it that I am so ignorant when it comes to birds? I am sure there must be loads of them around where I live too! Loved the last picture. where is that bird sitting? And what is its name?

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    1. They arent all that exotic, Zephyr! am sure they are around your place too.... all you need to do is see them once, and then you will notice them more and more often :D the last one is a tern.. forgot which kind, there are so many.. and that one was at the bhandup pumping station..... would you like to come along on a birding expedition sometime with us? can show you just how many kinds there are in just our neighbourhood!

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