These pictures of Dawn were taken at the Jaswant Thada in Jodhpur on the first day of the amazing Rajasthan International  Folk Festival ( RIFF) .

Watch these unedited pictures ( no filters, SOTC)  and see the same cloud formations change colour with the rising Sun.

The reddish hue is similar to the colour of the rocky volcanic stones ( Ryolith)  of Jodhpur.

Do observe the dragon cloud on top spitting fire.

The clouds turn red
                                                 The grey  clouds turn into hues of  red

As the rays of the sun touch the clouds they switch to a hue of  orange and the shades of grey seem to dissolve into thin air. The dragon’s power seems to be receding ( watch the cloud on top and compare to the picture above)

?Red turns to a hue of orange
                                         Clouds turn from red  to a hue of orange

The Midas like touch of the Sun turns all to Gold with Sunrise. Do see the trees appearing in the distant horizon on the left bottom of the picture below.

The dragon is now bellowing only  puffs of smoke .

golden clouds
                                                                       Golden clouds

Nature binds the mind in an enchanting spell and the clouds form a different picture for each being watching them.

What pictures are created for you in the pictures above ? Do share the images.


Am leaving you only with images and Silence  through an Enchanting Forest In Mussoorie.

starting point
starting point
thick forest
thick enchanting  forest
steep climb
steep climb
camera trap
camera trap
green mountains
green mountains of deodars, oaks and rhododendrons
pine cones
pine cones and the doon valley
bear hill
bear hill
the flags at the peak of flaghill
Blessings  at the peak of flaghill

If you scream for inputs, will be happy to add details tomorrow.


An entire wall at the Polo Heritage Hotel, Jodhpur was covered with these glorious skyblue-violet flowers. There was a wonderful cover , almost as far as the eye could see  with these marvelous sun gazing blooms.

Commonly called the Skyblue clustervine, they are native to Florida, USA.( only the four southernmost counties of Miami etc)

little blue pennies
                                                  Little blue pennies

I was amazed to see a creeper native to tropical America flourishing in the near desert climate of Jodhpur, Marwar.

The skyblue clustervine has beautiful  heart shaped leaves ( see the picture below) adding to the majesty of this perennial climber.

The scientific name Jacquemontia pentanthos is in honour of a French naturalist Victor Jacquemont.

skyblue flowers
                                                            Sky blue flowers and heart shaped leaves

The flowers belong to the same family as the Morning Glory and thus open their petals with the rising sun.

Do check out my blog THE CHAMELEON FLOWERS to know about The Morning Glory as well.

Though the ultramarine coloured  flowers are relatively small  ( less than an inch or 2cms in diameter)  they grow in large clusters.

Being vigorous climbers they can be  glorious covers for a   garden wall , fence or a trellis.

cluster of flowers
                                                                 cluster of flowers

The violet-blue coloured flowers  in vast numbers are a huge attraction for bees in particular.

See the picture below, the camera had spotted a bee stealing the nectar.( top right) .

Do observe how the vine curls and stretches with the unidirectional leaves.

leaves with outstretched palms
                                              leaves with outstretched palms

The pentagon shape of the flowers  or the five petals give it the latter part of it’s name “pentanthos” .

The flowers also have five white coloured  stamens besides a white core.

close up
                                                      Close up of the Pentagon shaped flower 

I wonder why the THE SKYBLUE CLUSTER VINE is enlisted as Endagered in the state of Florida.

It contrast it is  extremely happy in its adopted home of Jodhpur which was also hosting the wonderful musical festival titled THE RIFF.


The Butterfly Bush ( Scientific name :Buddleja davidii) is a beautiful flowering shrub with its origins in the mountains of China.

Bushels of flowers adorn the bush and it forms a splendid natural boundary to the gardens of the JW Marriott Hotel in Mussoorie, located in the lap of the Himalayas.

the hedge or the border of the garden
                                       the hedge or the border of the garden

The sweet fragrance of the abundant flowers attract bees and butterflies in droves and hence the name BUTTERFLY BUSH.

The lavender coloured flowers also give it an alias, THE LILAC BUSH.

A basque missionary of the 19th century Father Arthur David lends his name to this profusely flowering bush. ( scientific name Buddleja davidii)  

butterfly bush
                                                                  Butterfly bush

Found naturally in the mountainous zones of China the butterfly bush has  flowers in several colours , however I was witness to two colours, lilac and white.

On close observation you will see the flowers have an orange centre and  hence the shrub  is also called ORANGE EYE.

orange eye
                                                                  Orange eye

With drop dead looks and the sweetest of fragrances, the deceptive Butterfly Bush is now classified as a NOXIOUS WEED in many countries where it was introduced in the 19th century.

The rapidly growing bush spreads quickly and the profuse number of flowers ensures the plant a steady supply of seeds for self propagation.

The shrub grows back quickly even if cut from the stump and the seeds can lie dormant in the ground for several years. The shrub further ensures it’s survival as the male and female flowers occur on the same plant.

It has become an Invasive weed in countries like New Zealand and United Kingdom where they have been compelled to introduce a leaf-chewing beetle Cleopus japonicus as a biological control agent.

sweet fragrance
                                                       Sweet fragrance of the Lilac Bush

Recalling an old saying ” LOOKS ARE DECEPTIVE”, we should be careful what plants we introduce in our gardens as unknowngly we can upset a delicate ecosystem.

If we plant trees and plants ENDEMIC to the region it will ensure the survival of native species as well.


 Rajasthan International Folk Festival  ( RIFF) is a musical extravaganza  held annually in Jodhpur at the time of Sharad Poornima.

The festival is a celebration of the rich tradition of Folk Music in the remarkable and  colourful state of Rajasthan, India. RIFF is  set in and around the grand and imposing  Meharangarh Fort which dominates the landscape of the city of Jodhpur.

The festivities or musical performances are held almost round the clock from Dawn till the wee hours of the next day in the Rocky Desert surrounding the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort.

This year the RIFF brought into limelight.a fascinating community of musicians , the MANGANIARS. A community of artists from the The Thar desert of Jaisalmer and Barmer.

The Sun rises to the soulful music of  musicians at Dawn during the festival at Jaswant Thada.

Dawn with an invocation to the Gods

The Manganiars follow the traditional Oral format of education and their children learn Music  from the moment they are born ,  similar to a fish learning to swim.

Learning by rote from Guru to student , there are no written verses or musical notes to follow. They just follow the rhythm.

Hearing the Manganiar children perform  in a Baithak ( interactive sit down) were the most memorable moments during the 5 days of  this remarkable festival.

Striking perfect notes and singing in praise of Lord Krishna , the children brought tears to my eyes as each note strung the chords of my heart.

The spellbinding gestures and facial expressions  of these child artists completed the musical masterpieces to perfection. Watch for yourself in the following photograph.

The young Desert Musicians

The curtains were brought down by an awesome galaxy of Manganiar artists spanning three generations.

The majestic ramparts of the Meharangarh Fort reverberated  to the magic of music resonating through its walls.

The powerful voices of the  magical Manganiar artists rises in musical harmony in praise of the Maharajas of Marwar. The children were at ease  though it was their first performance on stage.

The splendour of their music was well matched by their traditional Colourful turbans or Saafas .

3 generations
3 Generations of Manganiars

Sharad Poornima is a full moon night when the moon is the brightest and largest in Northern India.

It also announces the arrival of winters ( sharad is winter in Hindi) and also  the time when this lovely festival is held in Jodhpur.

Festivals in India generally follow the Lunar calendar and the weather religiously follows as well.

The RIFF provides a wonderful platform to the  extraordinarily gifted Manganiars.

Music is the soul of these travelling desert musicians and their only means of  livelihood as well.

The  enchanting musicians of the desert, The Manganiars sing at Dusk as the moon rises from the horizons of Jodhpur

Dusk  , Sharad Poornima and THE MANGANIARS

What can be more enchanting than listening to the soulful music of the Manganiars in the lap of nature under the gaze of a Full  Moon.

RIFF you had me enchanted.


Am leaving you with enchanting  images of THE HIMALAYAS as seen from the Jaburkhet Nature Reserve, FLAGHILL, Mussoorie, Uttrakhand, India.

Be Spellbound.

Wonderful Landour, Mussorie
Wonderful Landour, Mussoorie
Through the limbs of Himalayan Oak trees
Through the limbs of Himalayan Oak trees

Breathtaking Himalayan ranges unveiled from the peak of Flaghill.

Glorious snow capped Gangotri Range
Glorious snow capped Gangotri Range

The beautiful trek to the Jaburkhet Nature Reserve  was organized by JW Marriott , Mussoorie as part of the Walnut Trail.Thank you.