Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Wild Flower of the Season

 Blue Tiger butterfly on the yellow rattlepod.
 Tanner's Cassia flowers profusely. It is also a medicinal plant.
A morning glory.
It is a joy to find wild flowers in an urban situation!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wonderful Western Ghats

 The Western Ghats were thickly forested in the beginning of the 20th century, but now there are only pockets of the dense rain forests remaining. I visited one such spot near Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district last week. A beautiful wild flower can be seen in the photo on top.
 A gurgling brook called Shalmala flows in the dense forest. A hanging bridge is constructed to connect the sparsely populated villages.
We wereastonished to see hundreds of shiva lingas carved on the rocks in the brook. According to legend, a childless chieftain of the area in ancient times was advised by a sage to do so. After getting the lingas carved, the chieftain was blessed with many children.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Around Valparai

Valparai is a hill station in Tamilnad, where you find unending spread of tea gardens. The Nerar dam near Valparai has a beautiful, serene waterbody. After seeing miles of tea gardens the lake was a sight for sore eyes.
Lion tailed macaques can be seen in the forests far from the tea gardens.
I hope these tropical forests will not be razed to make more tea gardens.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Fushimi Inari shrine, Kyoto

 My daughter took me to Kyoto, Japan for my birthday. We visited the Fushimi Inari shrine the day we landed. The place was quite crowded as it was the time of the Gion festival in Kyoto. The shrine is dedicated to the Shinto god Inari, who is the god of rice. The torii gates are a brilliant orange colour. They make long tunnels which go a long way up the wooded mountain.
 People write their requests to the god in paper, fold it into a face of fox and keep it on a stand.Foxes are considered to be the messengers of the god Inari.
 The forest stretches all around the shrine. The same colour is used for the fences too.
My thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday.

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Hidden Valley in the Himalayas

To escape the sweltering heat of May, people escape to the hills. Unlike Shimla and Manali, Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh is still unknown to most  people. Its charm lies in the hills and thick deodar forests surrounding it , the turquois tinted Tirthan river, and the gentle people who inhabit the valley. I was in the Tirthan Valley last week, and I would like to share some pictures with you.
 A typical house in the valley with slate roof., surrounded by wheat and vegetable patches.
 The harvested land is being prepared for the next crop.
 Wild Himalayan irises carpet the mountainsides.
 A wooden bridge which leads to the Great Himalayan National Park. Tirthan valley is a part of the National Park, which is a World Heritage site.
 Thick forests on both sides of the fast flowing Tirthan river.
Thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday for giving us the joy of reading so many interesting posts.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

 The pre monsoon showers and hailstorms seems to have encouraged the Pereskia to put out its beautiful orange blooms. The long , ferocious looking thorns in the bush is a bit scary!
 The Barbados lily has also come out with a surprise. Spring time was obviously too hot for it to flower.
My thanks to the team ofOur World Tuesday for making each Tuesday a special day!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Royal Purple

 Most of the flowers are blooming in my garden in spite of the intense heat and water shortage. It is the purple ones which look cool and inviting like the Petria above. The vine has started invading the sandalwood tree next to it. I have to prune it.
 I have mulched the flower beds with fallen leaves, which seems to be appreciated by the purple ruellia.
My thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Kuppali- A Poet's Home

 The home of the beloved Kannada poet K.V.Puttappa is in the midst of a dense rainforest in the Western Ghats. The lush greenery and the smells and sounds of the forest must have inspired him to write his beautiful poetry.
 The Karnataka state government has hept the ancient homestead in good repair , and has turned it into a museum.
It  was quite common for large families to live in the middle of the dense forest in the last century. People grew their own rice and vegetables, kept cows and hens, and grew spices, coffee and betelnut which brought them money.
My thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Earlu Summer Flowers

 The firespike blooms are fullmof nectar, and we can see many sunbirds feasting on them.
 The yellow Rattlepod attracts bumblebees. These creatures are hard workers who start foraging for food at sunrise, and still are at it 12 hours later! Since the flowers of the rattlepod open lazily at noon, they are still attractive to the bumblebees at dusk.
 The scented Valencia flowers attract the creatures of the night.In the morning, they have a scent similar to freshly baked bread.
I am very sorry to hear about the death of Arija, who always posted lovely pictures and wrote nice comments. She was a mainstay of Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Western Ghats

 The Western Ghats are a series of hills on the west coast of India. They get very heavy rain during the monsoon season, hence they have thick forests. Many rivers originate in these mountains, and are the lifelines of peninsular India. The Tungabhadra is a river made up of two such rivers- Tunga and Bhadra.

 My friend is walking through the forest. She was not scared of meeting a king cobra during her walk!
Sunset at Agumbe, the spot which gets the heaviest rain in the world, after Chirrapunjee in Assam.
To read about more exciting places, go to Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Temples of the Rainforest

The southwest of India has an extensive rainforest . There are some ancient temples hidden in the midst of the forest and betelnut plantations. The picture abov shows the beauttiful 800 year old Shiva temple at  Amrutapua.
 Much of the forest has been converted to coconut and betelnut plantations. The slender , straight trees of the betelnut stand like soldiers.

 Fortunately, there are still some pockets of the thick tropical forest at some places.
I am joining Our World Tuesday and Travel Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sundarbans- A Wonderland of Mangroves

A happy New Year to you!
We spent the last days of 2016 in Sundarbans, an incredible ecological haven for mangrove trees and aquatic animals.  The river Ganga (Ganges) branches into many distributaries before it reaches the ocean, making a vast area of swamps. The tides make the water salty. There are different kinds of mangrove trees in the forests which line the river.
 We were on a boat cruising the streams for three days. It was chilly, but we enjoyed the cruise.The boat stopped at some villages, where we went ashore and visited museums. The folk drama  at one place about the saintly Bono Bibi who helps those in trouble , was poignant.
Although we could not catch a glimpse of the feared Royal Bengal Tiger, we came across large crocodiles sunning themselves, wild boar , monitor lizards and spotted deer.
The flower above is the flower of the Bruguiera mangrove. In one village I saw a number of these red flowers fallen on the ground and some were moving! On close inspection, I found that the moving ' flowers' were in fact red crabs camouflaged to look like the flowers, making it easy for them to catch their prey, and also helping them escape from the birds!