SUNSET

Watching this group of four  Black winged  Stilts ( Scientific Name  Himantopus himantopus  ) at the Pushkar Lake as the Sun set was both symbolic and beautiful.

Do notice the featured image as they fold up up one leg and tuck in their heads under their wings in perfect synchronization with the Setting Sun.

The Setting Sun gently extends a Golden Wand over the Lake at Pushkar , Rajasthan, India

full disc
The Golden Disc

The Golden Wand starts turning the quivering waters of the Lake into a Golden Hue .

The Stilts or Avocets call it a day and start  lining up on the lakeshore to sleep.

sunset from badri ghat pushkar
Hanging above the Horizon

An Egret ( Scientific name Bubulcus ibis)  joins the Stilts as the Sun takes a final bow before setting over the Horizon.

Watch the lights being turned on in the City of Pushkar as Night extends its shadow over the Golden Lake.

the golden lake
The Golden Lake

 

Unlike many two legged in Urban cities across the world, these birds choose to sleep as natural light recedes and the  Sun Sets.

MONUMENTAL TREES

The featured Image captures the mood of this article perfectly. Observe how The Peepul  tree and the golden grass bridge the present to the past.

Flora infuses life to monuments , they  breathe life into the Past.

The Peepul(Hindi)  tree ( Scientific Name Ficus Religiosa) resides in the midst of this lovely 300-400 hundred year old  Monument at the  Sarovar Hotel In Pushkar, Rajasthan, India.

The picture below has the Indian Mast tree ( Scientific Name  Polyalthia longifolia)  dwarf the lovely dome of another building from medieval India located at Sunset point along the Pushkar Lake.

ashoka tree

Trees surround this gorgeous monument

The large Banyan (Scientific name Ficus Benghalensis)  trees also belong to the Ficus family and like the Peepul tree are revered by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.

The Banyan tree  symbolically towers over the ruins of the Jehangir Mahal ( 17th Century)  at Pushkar and abuts a cremation ground as well.

 

The Banyan Tree
The Jehangir Mahal and the Banyan Tree

The Ancient Shiva Temple at Pushkar along the Jodhpur Ghats was built by the Royal family of Marwar around a Bael tree ( do check my post THE DIVINE TREE) .

bael tree
In the midst of an ancient Shiva Temple

The lake at Pushkar is steeped in Legend and the origins go back to the Creator , Lord Brahma and the Lotus flower.

As we reflect on our deeds or misdeeds of the past, trees have provided cover since time immemorial along the Ghats of Faith at this Holy Lake at Pushkar.

in the shadow of trees
Trees reflect on themselves along the Ghats of Pushkar

Through this blog have taken you down the road of History and introduced three Sacred Trees of India which you will see repeatedly as you traverse this land of wonder.

( A fellow blogger, Guru Genie,  had mentioned that he had heard of the beautiful architecture of Rajasthan, this comment has inspired this blog)

I have thus christened them as MONUMENTAL TREES .

THE SNAKE CHARMERS

The King Cobra  ( Scientific name Ophipohagus Hannah) is highly revered in India .Celebrated in myths and legends they are worshipped on the day of Nag Panchmi.

Native to the Indian Sub Continent and  South East Asia it is the largest venomous snake on Planet Earth.

These colourful snake charmers were spotted at the Camel Fair in Pushkar. Keep an eye on the gentleman without the turban. Watch the bag across his shoulder. Do observe the King has his eye on him as well.

watch the man in the background
The Snake Charmers

The Kind Cobra has wonderful eyesight and smelling capabilities. It is also equipped with a deadly venom, a neurotoxin which attacks the Central Nervous System.

Watch the man without a turban now adorns a bandanna and has set his bag on the sandy soil. The King has honed onto him and is all attention.

the basket is out of the bag
The King carefully watches the man in the foreground

The King Cobra is unique as it is the only snake that makes a nest for its eggs.

Myth and legend surround the King and it is said they have a remarkable memory as well.

The basket is  now opened and the King Cobra has a companion.

The King Cobra rears upto a third of its length and can grow to a length of 18 feet or  5.5 metres.

The camels do not seem to be concerned with the presence of these snakes in their midst.

two cobras in a camel fair
The basket opens

As the habitat of the King Cobra shrinks their numbers in the wild are declining. They are known to have a lifespan of about 20 years.

As per The Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972  the actions of the Snake charmers in holding the King Cobra  captive are illegal.

It is also cruel as they defang them and keep them for hours in a basket in hot and dry conditions.

then there were two
Two to tango

Trust you were spellbound by the enchanting King Cobras in Pushkar.

King Cobra
The King Cobra and the shadow of the Wind Pipe

SUPERFOOD

These lovely golf ball sized fruits are called AMLA ( Hindi) or Indian Gooseberry ( English) .

These lemon-green coloured balls are the richest natural source of Vitamin C. They contain 4 times the Vitamin C as is found in  Citrus fruits like an Orange.

the amla tree.JPG
The tree bearing the fruit AMLA

Phyllanthus emblica or Emblica Officinalis are the scientific names of the tree of the Amla or Amlaki ( Sanskrit).

Used by the  traditional Indian school of medicine, Ayurveda for thousands of years, the Amla has numerous curative properties.

One of the tools of classification of Ayurveda, is Taste. All fruits/herbs are clubbed under 6 different tastes.

The Amla  amazingly falls under 5 of the 6 tastes  (Sour, Astringent, Sweet, Bitter and Pungent). The only taste left is Salty.

I will classify Amla under the heading SUPERFOOD.

branches laden with fruit

branches laden with fruits

The tree is extremely hardy and requires little water and care making it an ideal fruit bearing tree for the near desert like climate of Pushkar in Rajasthan.

The Amla is a miraculous fruit and has numerous curative properties as it revives and conserves the forces of Life.

The website

(  http://ayurveda-foryou.com/ayurveda_herb/amalaki.html) enlists all the  medicinal properties extensively.

bunches of fruit
abundance of Amla

 

You will find the Amla being sold on the streets in Pushkar , do have one daily for breakfast with a pinch of Rock salt or Kala Namak. Far better than popping pills.

amla in the market
Fascinating colours of the Amla  Street Vendors

Do try to find the Amla trees laden with this miraculous herb or better still stay at Resorts like the Pushkar Risala located in the the midst of an Amla Orchard.

THE DIVINE TREE

The Holy city of Pushkar in Rajasthan, India  hosts the amazing Camel ( plus cattle and Horse) Fair annually in the month of November( Kartik in Hindi) .

It culminates with the first Full Moon ( Kartik Poornima) after Diwali ( festival of Lights) .

Built around a lake  which is revered , Pushkar is inseparable from mythology and folklore. See the featured image with the Bael tree in the foreground and the auspicious lake surrounded by temples and ghats.

The bael tree with its football sized fruits ( the bael) is similarly entwined with Mythology and Legends.

This gorgeous Bael  tree was photographed in the courtyard of a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Pushkar.

The Bael ( Hindi) Tree,  Golden Apple ( English) , Wood apple  ( English),  Aegle marmelos ( Scientific) is Native to the  Indian Sub Continent.

 

The gorgeous tree in the courtyard of a temple
Bael Tree in the courtyard of the Shiva Temple

The trifoliate leaves or Bael Patra are symbolic of the Hindu Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. There are hundreds of legends and you can discover them as you travel across India.

The three lobed leaves are offered to Lord Shiva and placed face downwards .

There are numerous legends about the origins of the Beal

( Bilva) Tree one of which traces the tree to the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi.

the trinity in the leaf
The symbolic Trinity in the leaf of the Bael tree

The fruit is large and almost the size of a football. It has a soft  pulpy centre from which a delicious juice is extracted.

The Juice or Sherbet ( Hindi)  has numerous health benefits and mention of the same is found in ancient scriptures dating back to 2000 BC.

the fruit

Wood Apple or Bael.

The Bilva, Bael, Wood Apple  Tree is a natural Pharmacy and has numerous curative properies for ailments from cholera , asthama and diabetes. (http://www.speakingtree.in/allslides/10-amazing-health-benefits-of-bilva-leaves)

Be spellbound and enchanted by this magical tree.Look out for it on your travels .

A bit of Cuba in India

These gorgeous flowers were spotted in the Holy City of Pushkar in Rajasthan, India.

Originally from Cuba, these flowers belong to the Castor family.

Peregrina ( English). The leaves are bronze and change to green.

the leaves
The Bronze leaves

I think these  bright red chili  coloured flowers give it the name Spicy Jatropha.

the leaves and flowers
The flowers and the leaves

The fruit of the Spicy  Jatropha ( Scientific name : Jatropha integerimma) is deadly as it contains many alkaloids.

flowers and fruit

The vermilion flowers and the fruit

Do spot the  tiny bee in the featured image and the pollen it has brushed outside the flower.

THE ULTIMATE SUNFLOWER

Nature never ceases to surprise me as a  gorgeous flower blooms in the arid and rocky desert of Rajasthan.

Watch the Lotus bloom in the Chokhelao Bagh in the Mehrangarh Fort in the Rocky Desert of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.

 

cholebao bagh

Fish  view from the Lotus Pond at Chokhelao Bagh,

The Blue Lotus ( English) ,  Neelkamal  ( Hindi)  ,  Nymphaea Nouchali ( Scientific)

the pond

The pond

The Spellbinding Blue Lotus rises from the water with the morning Sun  and  then with the setting Sun the petals fold and the flowers sink back into the pond.

Revered by the Ancient Egyptians, the Lotus finds a special place in all Ancient Religions of India as well.

Do observe the tadpole looking bud it still immersed in water as the gorgeous flower in bloom casts a reflection.

reflections
Reflections

The architecture of many Jain and Hindu temples has been inspired from the Lotus as well.

This beautiful inverted lotus  roof of a Hindu temple  can be seen even today in the Qutb Minar Complex at New Delhi.

Compare the centre to the feature image  of the Lotus.

lotus roof
Lotus Roof

 

The Blue Lotus however is a water lily belonging to the family Nymphaeaceae.

GOLDEN GRASS

 

The Jaswant Thada  at Jodhpur forms a gorgeous backdrop to this clump of desert grass. (  stipagrostis maybe, am not sure) .

The lady in pink is wearing the colourful attire of women in Rajasthan.

the golden grasslands
The Golden Grass of Rao Jodha Desert Park

 

This picture was taken the Rao Jodha Desert Park now home to hundreds off species of grass.

A close view showed  up three types in this cluster including a butterfly.

The featured image is a close up of one of the golden spears.

Golden Grass
Morning Sun playing Midas

The Golden Grass is probably at the end of a short life which begins with the onset of the scanty rainy season.

It hold together the soil on the hills and provides a home to numerous insects and small birds.

the grass of the rocky desert
Grass and Rock hand in hand

I have not had the patience to identify the scientific  name.

Maybe some knowledgeable botanist  could help .?

SMOKE ON THE MOON

Watching the moon rise , the cherry on the cake being a FULL MOON is indeed a spectacular sight .

Dusk at  the ecofriendly Ananta Spa & Resort at Udaipur.

dusk at ananta
                                                                         Dusk at Ananta

The lights start coming on as the sun sets over the Aravali hills at Udaipur.

the valley
                                                                                 The Valley

A full moon lights up the countryside. A whisper of a cloud gives the moon a  Saturn like Ring.

moonlit mountain
                                                                           Moonlit mountain

The full moon and a slice of a cloud.

full moon
                                                                                   full moon

All you hear are owls hooting as the FULL MOON rises to its zenith.

THE MAGICAL STAG

The Indian Sambar Deer ( English), Rusa Unicolor unicolor  or Cervus Unicolor ( Scientific Name) is among the largest of the deer family found on the Indian subcontinent.

A species that is widespread from China in the north and up to Taiwan in the Far East it is unfortunately declining in number and now restricted to protected sanctuaries and national parks.

Divided into six subspecies the Sambar Deer  in the picture below is native to India and can weigh from 250- 300 kgs.

The majestic Male stag is identified by its antlers which have three points ( tines) and form a perfect bow.

Glowing in the rays of the Morning Sun, the Stag appears  magically from the dense Sal forest  of this lesser known Forest of Central India.

Sambar glows in the morning light
                                         Sambar glows in the morning light

The Sambar deer is mostly active during dawn and dusk . This handsome specimen with a thick mane around the neck  and beautiful dark brown fur was spotted alone at dawn In the Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, India.

The Sambar Deer is the favoured food of the Tiger ( Panthera tigris) and thus can be spotted at all Tiger Sanctuaries in the country.

Do see the lovely patterns the morning light conjures up on the rump of this Stag.

saunters off
                                                                     Saunters across the forest path

The Indian Sambar Deer sheds these majestic antlers annually and then regrows them again.

Like most ungulates they too are herbivores and survive on a wide spectrum of flora.

After a brief sun bath and a majestic show, the Stag turns around and saunters off into the depths of the forest.

disappears never to meet again
                                                     disappears into the bosom of the enchanting forest

Once upon a time these Majestic Stags walked freely across this vast land. Now they are restricted to reserves, parks and sanctuaries.