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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

Malabar Giant Squirrel

The Malabar Giant Squirrel or Indian Giant Squirrel is described as “an upper canopy dwelling species, which rarely leaves the trees. It is a shy, wary animal, not easy to discover; it is active mostly early in the mornings and evenings, resting in the midday.”





Till recently, I had only had fleeting glimpses of the Giant Squirrel, usually as it disappeared into the dense canopy before I could get a close look. Which is why, when I saw one perched atop a tree outside my room, I waited till I got some decent photos before calling out to Samhith and the others, informing them of its presence.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. It was a regular visitor here, having its breakfast, and in no hurry to leave before it had its fill! It stayed on that particular tree for over an hour before finally taking a massive leap to another one, and disappearing in seconds!

The Malabar Giant Squirrels are a species endemic to the deciduous and moist evergreen forests of Peninsular India, extending as far as the Satpura hill ranges of Madhya Pradesh.

Incidentally, it is also the State Animal of Maharashtra, and is called ‘Shekru’ in Marathi. The Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary was created in 1984, specifically with the aim of protecting its habitat. However, I saw it, not in its protected sanctuary, but at Dandeli, at the Dandeli Jungle Camp, where I stayed for a night during my recent trip.
I visited Dandeli as part of a trip organised and arranged by Dandeli.com, a website dedicated to developing tourism in and around the area. 

Comments

  1. we recently saw the Malabar giant squirrel when we visited thekkady and went to the deep safari, it was there lazing and sleeping on top of the tree

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