Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sacred Groves of the Western Ghats

 Wanting to visit a sacred grove in the thick forests of the Western Ghats, we started trekking from the nearby tribal village. The trail lead us through deeper and darker jungle.
 Beautiful wild flowers dotted the forest floor.
It is taboo to take anything away from a sacred grove except photographs. Even a dead tree is not cleared- it will turn into humus in due course and replenish the soil.
Leeches started affixing themselves to our feet! Our guide had carried a packet of salt, which he sprinkled on the leech. Soon it fell to the ground. In these jungles it is advised to apply neem oil to your foot before venturing. The leeches obviously hate the taste of the oil. You are also advised to wear sandals because leeches can get into your shoes and create havoc.
The sacred groves have been protected and looked after by the local villagers since hundreds of years. They contain most of the native trees some of which are really old. New species of flora and fauna are constantly being discovered by scientists in these groves. In February this year, a mysterious frog which is seen only for 4 days in a year was discovered by scientists.
The forest department also conserves the sacred groves.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Salt of the Earth

The river Aghanashini flows unimpeded through the thick rain forests of the Western Ghats before she joins the ocean. The tides make her water saline at the estuary, where salt has been harvested for hundreds of years. This salt known as Sanekatte Salt, is prized by naturalists and Ayurveda practitioners because this salt is believed to contain special medicinal properties as the river flows through the herbs of the forest.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Rare Beauties of the Western Ghats

 The Kaemferia shown above has a spicy scent. It is hidden in the underground all through winter and comes to life in the beeginning of monsoon season. No wonder it is called the 'Resurrection Lily'. Its local name is Nela Sampige. The tubers are used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Aerides orchid shwn above is another harbinger of the monsoon season. It is known as the garland made by the mythical queen Draupadi when she had to spend 12 years in the forest. Unlike Sita, who made long garlands, Draupadi did not have enough time to make lengthy ones.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Garden denizens

 It has been unusually rainy this year. The monsoon rains have not yet stopped, although they usually are over by mid September. Butterflies make the most of the sunny days.
 I was so glad to see a frog in the garden. Hope he will not become a juicy meal to the snakes which roam in the afternoon!
My thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Exploring Caves

 Now that all the 12 boys and their coach have been rescued from the cave in Thailand, my thoughts turned to the various caves I have visited.  The Belum Caves in Andhra Pradesh is one of the most beautiful ones I have visited. Although it is dark in some places, it is lighted by sunlight streaming through the crevices in some.
 Thereis a constant rickle of water in a particular spot, beyond which visitors are not allowed.
My thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Himalayan Skies

You can never be sure when it is going to rain while trekking in the Valley of Flowers in the Himalayas. Fortunately for us, it was fine most of the time. The rugged path becomes too slippery when it rains, making walking a challenge.
My thanks to Fiona at Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Monsoon Magic

Monsoon is the time when India gets rainfall. It is a time of joy for everyone, in spite of the muggy weather. It is also the flowering time of some plants and the mating season of some creatures.
 The painted ginger which flowers during the monsoon season is a valuable medicinal plant. Its leaves are used in the treatment of diabetes. Most people know it as "Diabetes Plant".
The frogs keep up a serenade to their mates through the night.
 The Butterfly Ginger has a heady scent. It opens in the night to attract night flying moths.
This beautiful butterfly is called an "Eggfly". The male has these egg like parkings, while the female is not so attractive.
After years of drought, the monsoon has stated with a bang, and most rivers are full. The waterfalls of the Western Ghats are attracting thousands of visitors.
My thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday.