Nature has a charming way of casting an enchanting spell at the most unusual places.
The ultra luxurious Leela Hotel at Udaipur was a place where I was least expecting to be smitten by Nature.
The lovely view of the beautiful City Palace from the gardens of the Leela Hotel across Lake Pichola at Udaipur.
We were sitting under an old Jamun Tree ( English: Java Plum .Scientific name: Syzygium cumini) located in the Gardens of the Leela Hotel when a rustle in the tree made me gaze upwards.
I was awestruck as I saw four lovely eyes gazing at me. They were a spectacular and loving pair of Spotted Owlets.( Ullus in Hindi).
The Spotted Owlets ( scientific name: Athena Brahma) had made a hollow in this tree their home and though being nocturnal kept a careful watch for intruders during the day as well .
The scientific name is very interesting as the Genus Athene is derived from the Greek Goddess of Wisdom Athena. Legend has it that a Parliament ( yes a group of owls is called so) of Owls inhabited the Temple of the Goddess Athena in Athens, Greece.
The species Brama is in honour of Lord Brahma , the learned Hindu God of Wisdom and creator of the Vedas. The logic was that the owlets were unique to India.
The Spotted Owlet ( Athene Brama) is native to the Indian Sub continent and has a total of three subspecies as well.
It is interesting how perspectives vary across the world. An owl is considered to be wise in the Western World , however in India the Hindi word Ullu ( Owl) is a derogatory word for an Idiot.( German: Dumbkopf)
To complicate matters further, the Owl ( or Ullu in Hindi ) is revered in Hindu Mythology as the vehicle of the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi.
There is a temple shaped liked an Owl in India ( follow my blogs to know about it) and the ruling deity is none other than Goddess Lakshmi who was worshiped across India yesterday during the festival of lights, Diwali.
Be bewitched by the enchanting ways of Nature in this Land of myth, fables and surprises.