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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

Encounters with the Common Kingfisher

The Common Kingfisher is, in my opinion, anything but common! I see its cousin, the White Throated Kingfisher, almost all the time, at home, as well as on my travels, but it took me a trip to the Satpura National Park to see the Common Kingfisher for the very first time! And then again, we didnt see it in the sanctuary, but spotted it while waiting for a boat to take us there! 




The Common Kingfisher is also called the Eurasian Kingfisher, or a River Kingfisher. I only understood the significance of the name on my visit to the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal when, once again, I saw the bird while waiting by the river for a boat!!! I wasn't able to click a decent photo  though, thanks to my loud fellow tourists, but seeing the bird once seemed to have turned the luck, for I saw it once again at the Baranawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, during my trip to Sirpur in Chhattisgarh. The first spotting was when Mridula and I were driving to the Tourist Resort in the sanctuary...



Later, at the resort, we spent a pleasant couple of hours sitting by the side of the river which flows past the property, watching the bird sit patiently on the fence, diving at just the right time to pluck out a fish from the water. Sitting idly by, we even wondered just how many fish it would need to eat, to fill its tiny belly! 



All these years, when people told me about all the times they had spotted the Common Kingfisher, I wondered why the bird eluded me. Now that I have had all these encounters with the bird, I can tell them my own stories too!!! 

Comments

  1. She looks beautiful. Sharing it with some avid birdwatchers in my family.

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  2. he looks great .. beautiful clicks
    and you said one of the hardest birds to photograph, very elusive

    Bikram's

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  3. Well, this is the bird that got me interested in bird-watching. I saw it fly by and went looking for Salim Alis' book; quite literally in that order!

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    Replies
    1. I didnt know that, Usha! i guess this was at home?

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