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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

Kabini Part 3 - After the Rains

Visiting Kabini in peak summer, we hadn’t bargained for the rains, which dominated our three days at the Lodge. While animal sightings were understandably lesser than usual, seeing the forest in the rain was an interesting experience in its own way. However, as we headed back into the forest for our second and third safaris, we hoped the rains would let up, and allow us to see more animals!

Winding jungle paths

As we entered the reserve, the sun rose, bringing a promise of a bright day ahead. 

Sunrise in the forest

A peacock basked in the fresh rays, perched on a branch, its feathers hanging down, perfectly posed for a photograph!


It looked like it would be a day for birds. We spotted Crested Serpent Eagles and Indian Rollers, are we made our way deeper into the forest.

Crested Serpent Eagle

Indian Roller

A single Racket-Tailed Drongo sat on a branch, one of its tails broken…

Racket-tailed Drongo

A pair of Great Black Woodpeckers cavorted on a tree….

Black Woodpecker

And two young Langurs fought for their mother's attention! 

Langur family

No big animals showed themselves, and as our time drew to a close, we headed back, only to pause, and admire, a spotted deer suckling its fawn!

A little further, we stopped again, once more noticing a pair of deer. This time, they were too busy to be bothered by us, their antlers locked, either in play or combat, we weren’t too sure, which!

Scanty as the sightings were, it was a strangely satisfied bunch which emerged from the forest, the day after the rains!

The next morning, the forest was all abuzz….. with buzzing insects! Rainflies were everywhere, and trying to catch and eat them, were monkeys, and a mongoose


Mongoose rearing up on its hind legs to catch rain flies! 

Can you spot the rain flies here? 

We stopped and watched, amused, as the mongoose ran round and round, gobbling up the flies! It must have been quite a treat!

Tearing ourselves away, we headed deeper inside, hoping for a tiger to cross our path. However, what appeared was a Brown Fish Owl, busy with its breakfast! 

Brown Fish Owl with its breakfast

We watched, unabashedly, as the owl gobbled up the frog it had caught for breakfast, and continued clicking as it stared back balefully at us…

Brown Fish Owl

We were so engrossed in watching the owl, that we didn’t even notice the elephant which suddenly emerged from the bushes!

The young elephant scratched away happily on a conveniently placed branch, and was soon followed by an older member of the herd.

It was such fun to watch them eat, carefully brushing the grass against their legs, swatting away the flies!

We drove on, in search of the tiger, which remained as elusive as ever, for us at least. A flock of Yellow Footed Green Pigeons were all we saw, until… our naturalist stopped the car, and pointed towards the trees. “There! Can you see the dark trunk of a tree? Can you see a horizontal branch? Look beyond it. There’s a leopard there!”

At the magic word, we craned our necks once more, and peered through the dense foliage. Once again, it was Samhith who spotted it first in our group…

The leopard was far nearer this time, than on our first day. We could actually spot it, even without the camera, but of course, the zoom helped!

All other animals forgotten, we stood by, and watched, once more, as the leopard made itself comfortable, and settled in for a nap!

It was only when it was almost time, and one by one the jeeps that had joined us left, that we too, reluctantly turned back towards the lodge. Our tryst with the wildlife at Kabini was almost over…. almost.

A Malabar Giant squirrel hurried down a tree, making us wonder how it ran down vertically!

Malabar Giant Squirrel

And a Changeable Hawk-Eagle poked into a hole in a rock, trying to catch its supper. This was yet another fascinating sight, and we had to draw ourselves away with the greatest of regret.

Changeable Hawk Eagle

Returning to the lodge, the one thing on everyone’s lips was the leopard – both, the animal itself, as well as the quick way our naturalist had spotted it, just like our driver had done, the previous day. But the other thing everyone spoke about were the rain flies! How fascinating, isn’t it, that two such different creatures were the highlight of a single safari?

Our three days of bliss at Kabini passed too quickly…. And we were left wanting more. It had taken us years to make this trip happen, and we hoped our next trip would happen sooner! 

Disclaimer: I visited Kabini River Resort in May 2016, to celebrate my son's 13th birthday. As I have already mentioned, we admire and appreciate Jungle Lodges and Resorts' commitment to natural heritage and the environment, and sustainable wildlife tourism, and it is  pleasure to visit them, and write about our experience too. I am adding this disclaimer in response to a number of people asking me if this was a sponsored trip. Let me reiterate - It was a personal trip, and NOT a sponsored one. We booked online, and paid the full tariff. 

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  1. Fascinating pics of all the wildlife you encountered! I enjoyed the video clips too. It looks like the forest elephants are much more angular in their bodies and heads than their other cousins, and it is very interesting to watch them move about as they fed on the grasses.

    1. Thank you Natalie! I dont think the forest elephants are different physically. after all, all our tame elephants have been captured from the forest. the difference might be in the way they are fed, and their condition. But they are always fascinating to watch in the wild.

  2. That peacock is simply awesome,looks like you had a great time there

    1. Thank you Ani! We always have a great time at JLR. which is why we keep going back :)

  3. Thank you sharing..... Pics are fabulous

  4. I know everyone has already said it, but the wildlife photos really are fantastic! Enjoyed the read as well.

    1. Thank you so much! And its always good to see an appreciative comment :)

  5. Hi Anuradha
    Your photos in this content are fabulous. I really like it.

  6. awesome photos and amazing wildlife,i would definitely love to travel this place

    1. Thank you. You should. Its simply too beautiful!

  7. Hi.. anuradha.. I was searching for top travel bloggers in India and found your blog. I visited your blog for the first time and I must say it is very very amazing. Can't top scrolling your posts. I am a techie, whole day sitting in front of laptop. I wish I would roam like you on these mesmerizing destinations once in my life!

    I have bookmarked your blog and will take time to look around other posts as well.
    These pictures are amazing, I specially loved the woodpecker and Indian roller photo. What a beauty god has gifted to every living being.

    1. Thank you! There indeed is beauty everywhere around us. We only have to look for it.

  8. Wow, there are some incredibly skilled artists
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with us. Loved your blog!

  9. Great Article. Thank you so much for typing these awesome words for us. I read your blogs which you posted recently, Blogs are too interesting and I will also connect with your blogs in future. Thanks 
    Not this your All blogs are Awesome  . thanks again. Feel free to see Online Garden Store


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