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Showing posts from November, 2014

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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

Birds from my Window - Hoopoe

One of the best things about birdwatching is the excitement we feel on spotting a new bird. Even better is spotting a new bird in our own backyard! We were decorating the road outside our building with rangolis to welcome a procession of a local deity, and Samhith, who was hanging around, giving his opinion of our artistic skills, suddenly called me... This is what we saw....

When stories come alive - An Encounter with a Hanuman Langur

Bheema, it is said , once came across an old monkey, lying with his tail across the path. Not wanting to step over the tail, Bheema asked the monkey to move. The monkey replied that he was too tired, and could Bheema himself move the tail, since he was so strong? Bheema, always confident and proud of his strength, bent to lift the tail, but was surprised that he couldn’t even shift it an inch! After trying multiple times, he finally gave up, acknowledging that his strength was no match for the monkey. Pleased, the monkey revealed his true form. He was Hanuman, the older son of Vayu, the wind, and thus Bheema’s elder brother. He then blessed Bheema, promising to stay by his side in the great war which was to come.

Skywatch Friday..... So many shades of blue!

We were on the ramparts of the Dansborg Fort at Tarangambadi, when Samhith excitedly pointed out the clouds looming low over the sea. "Amma, look at how many shades of blue there are!" he exclaimed...... Tarangambadi in Tamilnadu is where the Dutch first landed in India, and this little town was once a Dutch colony. Today, it is a sleepy hamlet, with the restored fort the biggest attraction, and the sea a constant reminder of nature's vagaries. The Tsunami of 2004 washed part of it away, and the scars remain, making the sea not very safe for bathing or swimming. It rained through the two days we spent there, and we enjoyed the experience of just sitting, listening to the pitter patter of the raindrops, and the roar of the waves... no wonder the name of the town, in Tamil means "Land of the singing waves" I am posting this as part of Skywatch Friday ... Lots more pics and stories coming up about Tarangambadi soon! 

My tryst with the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

What is it that you look for, in a phone?   Photo Courtesy: Sony Xperia Z3 website  

All Lit up! Lamps from Tamilnadu and Maharashtra

Diwali is over , but kandeels still hang, a reminder of the festival. My post on the festival has been long overdue, and, here is my article, which appeared in print, as part of a series on the festival....

Asian Open Bill or Asian Open Billed Stork

We first saw these birds at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary , but on my recent trip to Tamilnadu, we saw this one in a rice field, somewhere between Mayiladudurai (Mayavaram) and Tarangambadi (Tranquebar).... Would I be right in thinking that its the Cauvery which draws them? What do you think? P.S. Posts on the blog will be erratic for a while because of some major renovation work in our house which has restricted my access to the computer. I will, however, be posting regular updates as well as photographs on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram . Please follow me there to see what I am up to. Besides, I am off on another trip soon, so stay tuned for a lot more photos!!!