SUPER STAR

The Rose Garden in the foreground is part of the revival of the 16th Century Persian Garden now called Sunder Nursery undertaken by THE AGA KHAN FOUNDATION along with the celebrated HUMAYUN’S TOMB located adjacent to it.

Have written in depth about Roses in  earlier blogs titled ROSES ARE RED and RED AND WHITE. Do check them out for a plethora of information on this absolutely fabulous flower.

Numerous species of Roses  have been cultivated down the ages and the cultivar in the featured image has been aptly named SUPERSTAR.

lakharwala burj and the rose garden
The 16th Century Lakarwala Burj at Sunder Nursery ,New Delhi

These Gorgeous Superstars have an unusual hue, somewhere between a Blushing Damsel and Scarlet.( Do you recall the classic Gone with the Wind ? )

The fallen petals take a leaf out of Reality and reveal that nothing is Immortal, not even SuperStars.

field of super stars

All are Super Stars

A close look unveils the multi-petaled Superstars and their undulating  and enchanting colours.

The buds, half blooms and full blooms are all SuperStars.

Do keep your distance and do not Touch them as they are fragile and the delicate blooms will simply fall apart at the slightest touch.

super  star

Budding SuperStars

Soak in the aroma of these SuperStars and be enchanted in this fabulous and historical Rose Garden located in the heart of New Delhi.

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WHITE FIELDS

Waves of White Fields engulf all your senses as you drive to the calm  NazarBagh Palace located near Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Herds of Sheep and Goats graze in the fields as you drive through a picturesque winding path surrounded  by GOLDEN FIELDS ( do check out my blog by the same title), Gooseberry ( Amla in Hindi) Trees, Sunflowers and fields of White Flowers.

The White Flowers are none other than White Hybrids of the Calendula Daisy.The leaves are however closer to Marigolds ( do check out my blog AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS)

The photograph below showcases White Calendulas in the foreground and Yellow Mustard flowers in the background. Right at the back at tree level you can see a hazy image of the yellow blooms of the Desi Babool ( Scientific Name Acacia nilotica).

flowers all the way
Flowers all the way up to the trees

Mary’s Gold or English Marigold as the yellow flowered  Calendula (English), Calendula officinalis ( Scientific Name)  is called is native to Southern Europe.

The field one sees in the picture below are a hybrid or cultivar as the leaves are closer to the Marigold ( Tagetes erecta) naturalized to India and Mexico.

The flower however resembles a Daisy. That is however not in the least surprising as all the flowers named above  belong the Sun Flower or Daisy family Asteraceae.

calendula fields
A Calendula Field 

The Calendula Flower has numerous medical applications and is used in various cosmetics as well.

A closer look reveals a Central Golden Disc which makes me rethink about the identity of these flowers. 

caledula buds
Buds and Blooms

The white colour of the flowers , the structure of the leaves and the predominant look of a  daisy makes me wonder why I have identified them as Calendulas?

 

the flower
Flowers of Mary’s Gold

Have I made the same mistake mistake as the British did 200 years ago of thinking of Marigolds as Mary’s Gold ?

I leave the Judgement to the readers of this blog to correct me. In the meanwhile enjoy the Enchanting drive to Nazarbagh through these spectacular White Fields.

Incidentally NazarBagh means FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, the beauty is captured in ones Nazar or Eyes. Poetic is it not ?

GOLDEN FIELDS

I was fortunate to go on a fascinating drive to Nazarbagh Palace , Jaipur which took me through the amazing and aromatic Golden Fields of Marigolds or Genda Phool.

I had promised in my blog AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS ( Please check it out  for information on these flowers which I am not repeating in this post)  that I will redeem myself by posting better photographs.

However I did not even imagine in my wildest dreams that I would visit a Field of Golden Flowers within the week itself.

genda plus fields
Fields of Marigold Flowers

Nazarbagh Palace is located a mere 20 minute drive from the center of Jaipur..

The Golden Fields as I call them are in fact a commercial plantation of Marigolds which are sought after during the Wedding Season in India.

The entire drive from the Highway to the Nazarbagh is through the awesome rural countryside of Jaipur dominated by Marigolds and Mary’s Gold ( the name for Calendulas on which I will post an article in the blog to follow) .

The picture below typifies the beautiful countryside complete with a  Cottage and a Water Buffalo in the background.

fields with genda cottage
Golden Field and the Hay Cottage with a Witches Hat

A closer look at the flowers reveals various  Shades of Gold. Many of them will be converted into Garlands which will adorn deities in various temples in and around the city of Jaipur.

gold all over

A closer look at the Golden Flowers

The Indian Honey Bee tests the nectar of a bicoloured Genda Phool . ( Hindi for MariGold).

The Petals grow from an edible Off White  Central disc which is relished by children.

two coloured gendas
Burnt Gold mixed with Gold

As the Marigolds belongs to the Asteraceae Family it exhibits many of the unique features that are characteristic of the Sun Flower or Daisy family.

Am sure many of the regular readers of these blogs are by now familiar with these enchanting characteristics.

with the bee
Right on Top

We have through this blog and the preceding AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS experienced various types of Marigolds or Gendas. Am hopeful you have enjoyed these flowers which find an important place in Mexico as well during the Festival of the Dead.

The area is also rich in Birdlife and highly recommended if you wish to savour the flavours and Enchanting Spells of Rural India. ( do keep a watch out for a write up on Nazarbagh Palace in http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com)

ICE DAISY

Nazarbagh is a closely guarded secretive get away I was fortunate to visit and is located at a distance of about  20 kms from Statue Circle in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

A gorgeous drive through enchanting  fields of Marigolds ( Gendas)  and Calendulas ( do check out my blog titled AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS) leads to the secretive 12 roomed Palace , Nazarbagh.

These amazing Daisy like flowers carpet the flower beds near the curvaceous driveway leading to the main entrance of this Virgin Palace.

buds
Punk Styled Buds

These eye catching Bursts of Indian Pink, Magenta and Crimson are succulent herbs native to  South Africa.

Though they resemble daisies and are also commonly called Livingstone Daisy ( English) they are not genuine Daisies and do not belong to the Sunflower family either.

They however share their love for the Sun and bloom in bright Sunlight only.

The blooms close with the Setting Sun or a Cloudy Sky.

sugarry stems
Stems of Powdered Sugar?

If you see the pictures above and below you will observe the stems and leaves are covered with what resembles powdered sugar or Ice ( Burf in Hindi)  giving these eye candies the name Ice Plant. These are however water storing globular bladder cells which assist the Ice Plant in overcoming dry seasons.

The Livingstone Daisy, Ice Plant , Burf ( Hindi), Dorotheanthus bellidiformis ( Scientific Name) belongs to the Family Aizoaceae ( Ice Plant family) The Livingstone Daisies have a synonym Mesembryanthemum criniflorum.

featured image
Star Burst

The picture above is of an unusual combination of yellow and crimson and a cultivar.

The Livingstone Daisies are my “Nazrana”  to the charming Palace Nazarbagh.

Nazrana is an old Indian Custom from the days when Kings and Maharajas ruled over the lands of modern Rajasthan and everyone who visited the King gave a small gift or Nazrana.

AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS

These gorgeous Golden Orbs occupy  a Special place in India. They are used to decorate Temples and Homes across the country especially during  Festivals like Diwali.

The Genda is a divine flower and the Haldi colour or the colour of Turmeric is considered extremely auspicious. They are considered to be the bearers of good tidings.

The collective aroma of these Golden Blooms is refreshing and invokes positivity.

It is today difficult to imagine any Hindu festival or Wedding without these gorgeous Haldi coloured Flowers called Genda.

Garden Marigolds ( English), Genda ( Hindi, Tagetes erecta (Scientific Name) is naturalized to India and belongs to the Sunflower family, Asteraceae.

There are some sources that say the Origins of the flower exist in modern Day Mexico in the American Continent.

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Golden Marigolds and White Chrysanthemums

A unique feature of the Sunflower family is that the flowers are actually composite flowers, meaning many small flowers make up one of the Orbs we perceive as a single flower.

They thus exhibit a unique quality of collective action.

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Marigolds in Full Bloom

They get the English name  Marigold  from  another similar looking flower they resemble Callendula officinalis which was called Mary’s Gold.

As I am travelling as I write this blog I  cannot post better pictures.

In due course I promise to make amends.Till then soak in the aroma of the Divine Genda Phools. ( Phool means flowers in Hindi).

A Bollywood movie titled Delhi 6 has a very popular song called Genda Phool. Do check it out on You tube.

Can anyone but not be influenced by these Enchanting flowers ?

 

TRUMPET FLOWERS

These magnificent  Golden Yellow blossoms  at the Diggi Palace, Jaipur  are a major attraction for Indian Honey Bees ( Scientific Name Apis cerana indica) 

The Yellow Trumpet ( English) , Piliya ( Hindi) ,Tecoma Stans ( Scientific Name) is an over active tree as far as blossoms are concerned. The entire tree is literally cloaked in a robe of Yellow earning it the Hindi name Pilliya ( which translated simply means Yellow) .

These gorgeous flowers are honoured as they are the official Floral Emblem of the Bahamas .

Do observe the large inviting mouth of the flower serves as a very effective landing pad for  Indian Honey Bees.

yellow trumpet flowers and a bee
Yellow trumpets have a visitor

 

The Pilliya was Introduced into India from the Americas and they seem to flourish in  the warmth of the country.

The flowers have the undivided attention of the Indian Honey Bees and swallow them entirely as they literally go into the “Yellow Trumpets”.

All you can see is the sharp pointed  Sting of the Bee ( centre bottom)  in one of the flowers in the Yellow Star Burst below.

hidden bee
Swallowing the entire  Bee

The long tubular flowers are a storehouse of nectar which tempts their pollinators the Indian Honey Bee or Asian Honey Bee to enter the tube or neck of the flower.

The Yellow Trumpet flower, Tecoma stans belongs to the Jacaranda Family  Begoniaceae. 

The unique characteristic of the family are the tubular flowers and the “Bean like Fruits” turning Dark Brown like wood. Can you imagine it belongs to the same family as the Lavender coloured Jacaranda which is also a prolific flowering tree during the Summers in New Delhi.

top view of the bee

Top view of the Glistening Wings and the Buds

The Yellow trumpet flowers are also called Yellow Bells as the heavy inflorescence compels the branches to droop with their weight.

Successful pollination results in the fruits being formed which resemble long and slender beans. This particular tree with the fruits was relatively large at  7 m or 21 feet.

The species with the fruits looks like ( am not certain ) another sub species Tecoma stans angustata . The leaves are narrow and slender compared to the leaves in the picture above and this is the key distinguishing factor of the sub species.

The fruits are supposed to be hanging but “WordPress” likes to turn around the pictures.

the fruits

The Green Bean like fruits

 

I hope the story, poetry and romance of the bees and flowers entertains  the gallery besides keeping them informed  of the Enchanting Forests that encompass us.

LANGURS

 

Hanuman Langur, Grey Langur (English) , Langur ( Hindi), Semnopithicus dussumieri ( Scientific name) are a delight for any photographer and can be seen across the Indian Subcontinent.

There are hundreds and thousands of Indian folktales  which reveal the intellect and prowess of these extremely enchanting Monkeys.

Hanuman the Monkey God is revered through out the Indian Subcontinent and there are millions of mythological stories which speak of his ingenuity and ability to overcome obstacles.

The humane body language and antics of Langurs are extremely fascinating.

I had a fabulous day taking pictures of a group of Grey Langurs at the Mandor  Gardens near Jodhpur , Rajasthan, India( do check  two blogs MANIFICENT MANDOR and THE MANDOR LOTUSES at http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com )

three
Gandhiji’s Three Musketeers

Apparently there are seven species of Langurs in the Genus Semnopithicus and all inhabit the Indian Subcontinent.

I have seen the Himalayan  Langur, which is much larger  with a thicker fur.

This Langur wished to cross to the other side of a water channel that divides the Mandore Gardens into two parts  and was photographed assessing the terrain on two legs. See the way it grasps the metallic fence and stands in a Orwellian fashion on “two legs”.

langur shadow
Casting a perfect Shadow

For some reason, maybe because of their larger size,  The Grey Langurs scare  the Rhesus Macaque ( Red faced Monkeys). They are thus increasingly used in Indian Cities like New Delhi to drive away groups of  the Rhesus Macaque Monkeys.

WordPress has played tricks with this photograph as it shows the Langur jumping up whereas in fact it was jumping off a tree and was caught in flight by my camera.

The way the tail is absolutely straight is worth noting.

In flight
In flight

Showing scant respect to the cameraman  this Langur saunters off showing me its rear. The lovely silvery fur glistens in the sunlight.

The manner in which the tail is held clearly indicates the species and differentiates it from those that inhabit Southern India and Sri Lanka.

The photograph is interesting as it looks as though the Black faced Monkey is balancing on ONE LEG alone. An artist in the backgroundis busy sketching the ancient Cenotaphs at the Mandore Gardens.

on one leg
Time to say Good Bye

In a previous blog a fellow Blogger has requested me not to mention facts but pen a story as well. The fact is however the stories lie in the facts themselves.

The tales are in the Tail my friends.

I am simply peeling the Orange, it is for you to savour the fruits.However in due reverence to my readers am not revealing many facts in this blog.