Skip to main content

Featured Post

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

Tigers and Spiders, Crocs and Turtles - at the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

I first heard of the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary from Lakshmi and Deepak, when I asked them for offbeat suggestions for my Goa trip. They gave me identical replies - "Take Samhith to the zoo at the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary. He will enjoy it." Normally, I am less than enthusiastic about visiting zoos (the Mysore zoo is the only exception!), but when two blogger friends I think highly of, recommend the same place, I take their advice! As it turned out, we missed our route, and had to take a very long detour to reach the place, but I stuck my ground, in spite of the driver grumbling about how there was nothing to see there.

At first glance, it appeared as if our driver was indeed right. The first couple of enclosures, with a sleepy porcupine hiding from the afternoon sun, and a palm civet fast asleep were nothing to write about.

Then, we came to the Sloth Bear, who had a whole enclosure to himself… and he walked around all the time, looking at us just as curiously as we were looking at him. Yes, it did help that we were the only visitors around, but our enthusiasm only increased from then!

The Leopard glared at us through his cage, as he paced to and fro...

The Tiger sat royally in his enclosure, which, for once, was really big enough! Can you spot him here?

Take a closer look now.

Even while I was busy trying to click a good photo of our National Animal, Samhith was busy elsewhere, having spotted a Giant Wood Spider! Spiders always trump Tigers, at least in his book!!

There are quite a lot of animals here, but I didn't click all of them, and am only posting some of the photos I did click, in an effort to keep this post short. However, there are a couple more photos I have to show you….. This was at the Crocodile enclosure. What do you see? Two crocs fast asleep? Look closer…..

Can you see the Turtle?

This was Samhith’s work again, spotting this interesting friendship! One that now is our most enduring memory of the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary! Thank you, Lakshmi and Deepak, for suggesting I go there!!


  • The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is the smallest of the three sanctuaries in Goa, and is located about 35 Km from Madgaon and 52 Km from Panaji. The main attraction here is the zoo, though there is also a botanical garden here. There are also a few eco-tourism cottages built here, and bookings can be made through the Goa Forest Department. 
  • Suggestions
    • We made a day trip from Goa, combining a visit to the sanctuary with the Tambdi Surla Temple, the Shantadurga Temple and the Mangeshi Temple. However, staying here might allow you to explore the area a bit more, through the treks the Forest department conducts here. I was unfortunately unable to gather any more information about them, since the office was deserted when we visited.
    • I also read that a number of stone carvings were found here when the sanctuary was being developed. It is believed that these may have been hidden here in the forest to preserve them from destruction by the Portuguese. We didn’t see any of them, but we only explored a small portion of the sanctuary, so if you visit, keep your eyes open!


  1. Really nice :)
    I especially liked the turtle and the croc!

    1. Thank you, Varsha. Such sights are really rare, aren't they?

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Niranjan. You can go here the next time you are in Goa :-)

  3. I really liked the pictures and the flowing narration, Anu! I have unfortunately been to Goa just once for the International Film Festival of India in 2012 for barely three days. This is another place I'm adding in my to-do list in Goa. Dudhsagar Waterfalls is another place which I strongly recommend.

    1. Thank you, Akshay! and we were there this time for just two days :D though I have been there thrice, each has been a short visit, so I am sort of discovering the place bit by bit. and as i said, i only went to this zoo because both my friends recommended it/ as it turned out, it was a good choice :) and i havent been to dudhsagar yet, tho am sure that time will come too.

  4. Place looks interesting!! Thanks for sharing.
    Will include this place along with Tambdi Surla Temple.

    1. you are welcome, Aravind! Hope you get to go soon and looking forward to reading all about it!

  5. Some time it turn around to be more than u expected .... seems a wonderful peaceful place and off course very much different from the normal zoo - Beautiful photograph too :)

    1. Thank you, Sharmila. As zoos go, it isnt really great. it is simply our interesting experience!

  6. nice one:
    Try to visit mysore zoo again mam if you can, they have changed few things in past few months, it is even beautiful now, enriching of enclosure, completed the fountain etc.

    1. I definitely hope to visit Mysore again, someday. lets hope they continue to maintain it.

  7. any idea about the minimum expected time required to watch all sections of animals n plants ??

    1. That depends on you, Prathamesh! You can complete the whole place in an hour, and also spend more than 4 hours in there! depends on what you want to see and how much you enjoy what it is that you see!!

  8. Awesome post!
    Thanks for sharing..


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

Rama Temple, Gokarna

To my right , the waves rush to the shore, eager to merge with the sand. To my left, the same waves crash against the rocks, their spray diverting my reverie as I ponder over the beauty of nature, and wonder what first brought people here. Was it this beauty that encouraged them to build a temple here, or was it the fresh, sweet spring water flowing from the hill here that made this place special? No matter what the reason, I am glad my auto driver brought me here. We are at the Rama temple in Gokarna, just a few minutes away from the Mahabaleshwara Temple, yet offering so different a perspective.

Pandharpur Yatra 2023

The first time I visited Pandharpur was back in 2007 . The names Vitthal and Pandharpur, were just names to me. I had heard of them, but that was about it. Seeing the lord standing on the brick, hands on his hips, was memorable, but more memorable was the sight that greeted us as we walked out of the main sanctum of the temple. In the mandap just outside were a group of devotees singing abhangs , and dancing. This was the first time I had heard abhangs , and even almost 15 years later, I can remember the welling of feeling within me, listening to the songs, and how fascinated I was by the sight of the devotees dancing, lost in their love of the Lord. Over the years, as I have read more about Vitthal, and participated in Ashadi Ekadashi programmes at Puttaparthi, that first experience has stayed clear in my mind and heart. Every time I tell my Balvikas students of the saints who sang of Vitthala, it is that experience that I re-live. I visited Pandharpur again, in 2010, but that experie