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Showing posts from August, 2014

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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

Birds from my Window - Crow Pheasant

The Greater Coucal , called a Crow Pheasant, is neither a crow nor a pheasant, but belongs to the cuckoo family. They are commonly called 'Bharadvaj', and sighting them is believed to be a good omen.

Ganesha on a Govardhan

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi, and with everyone writing about Ganesha in some way or the other, I thought I should do a post too, but related to something I saw on my recent visit to Jaisalmer. Are you now confused? And wondering what connection Ganesha has to Govardhan and that too, Jaisalmer? Well, then, first, let me show you what I am talking about….

Stories of the Desert

“It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story”                                      – Native American Saying All of last week , sitting on my computer, trying to write the next post in my Suryagarh series, I was lost – for words, for ideas, for inspiration. Most of what I wanted to say had been said by others before me, and I began wondering if I should be writing at all. Then, this morning, I stumbled onto this quote, and suddenly, the ideas poured forth, as if a thousand voices were indeed telling me their own stories! And therefore, without much ado, here they are…

A Flag of Devotion

On our way to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur, we often saw groups of people walking, those in the lead holding a flag, and the others carrying bottles of water on their head. These, we were told, were devotees of Baba Ramdev of Ramdevra near Pokhran (not to be confused with the Yoga guru of the same name), walking to his shrine. Like the warkaris who walk to Pandharpur for Ashadi Ekadashi, these devotees  walk to Ramdevra during the months of August- September, to participate in the festival commemorating their guru’s Samadhi. I wasn’t able to photograph them, or the flag they carried, but, when we visited the Jaisalmer Fort, I was surprised to see the same flag flying high! Apparently, a shrine to the saint has been erected near the temple at the base of the fort!! This is certainly a new development, one which wasn’t there when I last visited, but I took the opportunity to click the multi-coloured flag! Post by A Wandering Mind .

Viceregal Lodge, Shimla

This Independence day , let me take you to Shimla, where the Indian Flag flutters over the erstwhile Viceregal Lodge.

Of Ker and Sangri - not as food, but in nature.

This tiny flower, nestled amidst thorns, is so pretty, that I brave the thorns (and the others' warnings) to try and get a decent photo....

Re-tracing the Silk Route on the Sands of Time

A caravan makes its way across the desert, the lead vehicle stopping often to check their route. They have a long way to go, and the desert terrain is rough, and easy to get lost in. It is monsoon, and they are relieved to be spared the scorching sun. The cloudy sky is such a blessing after the harsh summers they have experienced here. The landscape offers them a change too, with pools of rainwater breaking the monotony of the sand dunes.

Wildlife in the Desert

Black Bucks ran across the road, peacocks danced as we watched, birds flew into the air, and insects and reptiles scuttled into their safe havens at our approach. Our recent trip to Jaisalmer was full of such 'wild' encounters! 

Of old journeys and new ones... and a glimpse of my recent trip

June 2007: Shankar and I head out to Jaisalmer, 4 year old Samhith in tow. It is a memorable trip, one where we walk for hours over the Golden Fort, clicking photographs with our trusted old Kodak camera, as we take turns carrying Samhith and posing! We trudge across sand dunes on camels, even as I close my eyes tightly to avoid the queasy feeling, and then happily play on the sand, though it still retains some of the heat of the day! I return with so many tales from the trip that my sister in law suggests I start a blog. A string of camels walk across the desert. Somewhere in Jaisalmer @suryagarh #monsoonmagic pic.twitter.com/MhSnaIkU4s — Anu Shankar (@anushankarn) August 2, 2014