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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.

Armchair Birdwatching - Hoopoe at Ooty

The Hoopoe is a common bird, but not so common where we live. Thus, its always a pleasure to watch one, whenever we do get to see it. Like at Ooty, when, sitting on the lawn outside our cottage, I spotted this pair, busy catching worms for their breakfast!

Over the next couple of days, I saw them each morning, about the same time, but never did manage to capture them in the same frame as I did, that first time I saw them!

This was also the first time I heard their call, and realized that their name resembles their call! Over the next few days, the clear 'Oop oop' sound had me rushing to the window to see if I could spot the pair again!  

It was peak summer when we visited Ooty, and unseasonal rains cooled the already pleasant hill station enough to make us shiver! There were few birds around, but these hoopoes were busy. Probably the rain brought out the insects and worms from their burrows to the ground, for, whenever I saw them, they were either foraging, or had a worm in their beak!


  1. Lovely captures Anu. It has been ages since I managed to capture a few decent bird shots and I miss it now.

    1. Thanks Mridula! But you have been capturing such interesting places as well as events and people!am sure the birds turn will come back soon!

  2. Beautiful clicks, their crest give them amazing look..

    1. Thanks, Meghana! You can understand how excited we were, the first time we saw them! We thought they were some rare exotic birds!

  3. They are quite showy, aren't they, with those crests and the bars across their wings and backs! We have some woodpeckers here in the SouthEast U.S. that have quite dramatic plumage too and that remind me of these hoopoe's. I love seeing your pictures of all the birds from your part of the world; you take great shots of them!

    1. Thank you, Natalie! Yes, they do look showy, but are quite common birds! And we have woodpeckers like that too, with crests. Will post a photo soon!

  4. Saw the hoopoe at kabini . they have a very distinct call which reverberates around .
    Lovely pics.


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