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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Orange is the Colour

 The rains have started early this year and the plants and trees are bursting into flower now. The predominant colour everywhere seemss to be orange this season.
 I don't know the names of the two flowers above, though they are blooming in my garden.
 The early rains seem to have hastened the mating season of butterflies.
My thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Garden in the Dry Season

 March and April are very dry and hot in this part of India. Water lilies seem to like this weather.

 The light blue floers look cool in the heat.
A moth is resting on a ruella.
Many thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Valley of Flowers in the Himalayas

I have always been fascinated by the Himalayas, which I visit every year. These are some of the photos of the abundabnt wildflowers in the Valley of Flowers where I trekked in August 2015.
 Innula with a bee.

 The valley- when you trek farther, you come to the grave of the British botanist Joan Margaret Legge, who lost her balance while trekking and died.
 The blue poppy in its natural habitat.
Many people are daunted by the rather difficult trek into the valley and come away without seeing any flowers. Some others expect a flower show like the tulips of Amsterdam !The Valley of Flowers is a naturalist's delight.
My thanks to the team of Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lonar- the Secret Lake Made by an Extra-terrestrial Object

Although it is the only lake in the world made by the collision of a meteorite hitting the lava basaltic rock , nobody seems to be interested in it but scientists and naturalists. We drove to this wonderful place  when I was in Aurangabad last month, as I had always wanted to see it. The crater was made 50,000 years ago in the Pleistocene Epoch when a blazing meteor weighing  over one million tons , travelling at an incredible speed of 90,000km/hour crashed into the basaltic rock .It gouged the earth and made a depression 1.8 kilometres wide and 150 metres deep.It erupted and spewed molten rock all over its rim, which has turned into a beautiful crest. Over the years, the jungle has taken over the crest.
 The Lonar lake supports a unique bio- diversity, not found in the flat land surrounding it. We had to walk through this jungle to reach the shores of the lake.
 The water in the lake is both saline and alkaline. One of our friends dipped his gold wedding ring in the water of the lake and wiped it. The ring shone like it had just been polished! During drought years, the water of the lake recedes, and the jungle makes a valiant effort to claim the land. When there is a good monsoon, the waters get back their lost territory, killing the jungle trees.The micro-organisms found in the lake are quite rare.
 As we walked in the jungle to reach the shore of the lake, we came across many ancient broken down temples to Shiva.
 The white circle in the water is an ancient man made well. Our guide told us that the water  taken from the eastern rim of the well is sweet, but the water from the western rim is salty. The well is named "Saas-Bahoo Well", (Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law well).
I am joining Our World Tuesday where you can read many interesting stories.

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Breath of Fresh Air : The Native Biodiversity Garden

 I met Katy Rustom through this blog, and took the first opportunity to visit the wonderful biodiversity garden her organization CERE has started at Tanveera near Alibaug in Maharashtra together with the Shapoorji Pallonji Group and the Raigad Zilla Parishad .Named Shapoorji Palonji Native Biodiversity Garden, this piece of greenery in a semi-urban situation is literally a breath of fresh air and a serene place full of beauty and information. The entrance gates have sculptures of local butterflies ,and when you enter, you are greeted by the tall Deepmala- a traditional welcome by lamps.

 The one acre garden has more than 700 varieties of plants collected from all over India. They are arranged in sections like sensory, medicinal, wetland, butterfly etc. There is a pond ecosystem comprising a beautiful lily pond.  Although it was not the season, many plants were in flower like the Holmskoldia below .

 I was surprised to see a ground cover of Melastoma , whose cuttings Katy graciously gave me.This is a flower of the Western Ghats.
 Katy showing a rare tree in the garden. The garden nurtures and propagates many endangered native plants.
 Large white flowers of the Vajradanti, which is used in Ayurveda for treatment of dental problems.
One of the most unusual trees I saw was Ficus benghalensis var. Krishnae, with the leaves forming pockets!
 School children thronged the touch screen to find out about the plants and animals in the garden.I was happy to see so many school children visiting the garden and evincing keen interest in biodiversity.
 Boys were more inerested in running through the mini maze hung with bells. Boys will be boys!
 After a wonderful walk through the garden, we sat in the shade of a Bauhinia tree and wondered at the amount of hard work which must have gone into making this beautiful place.I hope there will be many more gardens of this kind.
I am joining Our World Tuesday where you can read about many interesting things of our world.