GOLDEN EARS

 

Wheat ( English), Gehu ( Hindi), Triticum aestivum ( Scientific name) refers to to Cultivated grass known to man for over 10,000 years.

The Spikes of this grass give us our Daily bread , Pasta or Rotis across the world.

Modern Iran , or Persia as it was known as in former times, is supposedly the Origin of Bread Wheat.

The pictures that follow were taken across Northern India and stretch over 4 months.

Field of Wheat
Green Fields of Wheat Near Delhi

India is the second largest producer of Wheat in the World and by and large self sufficient in this extremely Important Winter Crop.

The Green Fields gradually change colour with rising temperatures and the advent of Spring.

field mid way
Green turning to Gold

Local languages are extremely Illustrative, Wheat is called Kanak in the region of Punjab in India and has its roots in Sanskrit. It is a Pun on the word Gold.

Evolution of Golden Ears of Wheat is evident from the picture that follows.

green turning gold
The  Ears of Wheat  are more Gold now

By the end of March and the advent of April , Yellow Fields of Mustard yield giving way to Golden Wheat Fields. A sight to behold and Savour.

The following picture was taken from a Train in Rajasthan.

golden field
Golden Fields of Wheat seen from a Train

Ladybirds ( friends can you spot the dots) cling to the Spikes formed by the Kernels as the Wheat Ears turn to Gold and thus called Kanak.

wheat and ladybirds
Golden Wheat attracts Ladybirds too

This  scene of Harvesting  will be replicated across North India welcoming the Onset of Summer and celebrated during a lovely festival called Baisakhi on the 13th of April.

This picture was taken in Late March through the Window of a Train.

harvested
Harvesting begins across Northern India

Do have a closer look at your Bread, Pasta or Chapati ( Roti)  and be Enchanted.

GOATS, SHEEP and SHEPHERDS

I had blogged on Himalayan Sheep and Goats a few days ago and thought it prudent to compare them with their brethren in other parts of India.

Do they vary like the Food, People and Landscape as well ? Please check out the pictures that follow and the blog mentioned above to express your views and thoughts.

All these pictures were taken from a Jeep near Ajmer, Rajasthan and Raipur , Pali District, Rajasthan.

It is extremely Rare to see a Shepherd Couple herding their flock together . This picture is thus highly Prized.

sheep and couple
Herding their Flock of Sheep

Black Faced Sheep reminds me of an old Indian Saying,”from where have you blackened your face

The Fur is dense and had  been retained thus far. Do compare the fur to the Himalayan Sheep in my blog mentioned before.

sheep black faced
The Black Faced Sheep

Also unusual is  to photograph a Lady Shepherd. We are now Lucky, twice over.The Steel container she carries is called a Tiffin Box which has separate compartments and in all likelihood carries her Lunch.

Please observe the fur of the Sheep, they have been sheared.

lady shepherd
Beautifully attired Lady Shepherd

I found these Sheep following their shadow while the Goat in White with Tail Up stands out.

follow your shadow
Follow your Shadow

Finally a Single Male Shepherd with his Prized Ram.

Is the Knife in his hand Prophetic as this lovely Specimen could  well be the Mutton on your platter.

the goat
A proud Shepherd

Indian Countryside is charming and Enchanting. If you notice this post is a departure from the Write Ups of the past.

Do let me know what you liked or disliked?

 

EYES OF A HIMALAYAN PALACE

Be Enchanted with the pictures taken from the Shrey Palace near Leh, Ladakh which houses a larger than Life Statue of a Golden Lord Buddha.

Shall I say through the Eyes of the Lord Himself.

vista far and beyond
Poplars ,Willows and The Himalayas

 

stony peak
Stony Peak
A lonely Heron and Egret
Sky Blue  Holy Lake, A Heron and Grasslands
beauty abounds
Breathtaking View from the Shrey Palace

HIMALAYAN SHEEP OR GOATS ?

The Animal Rescue Centre near Shrey ( village of the famous 3 Idiot Rancho School), Ladakh, India run by the Hemis Monastery under the guidance of His Holiness The Gyalwang Drukpa.

himalayas
Himalayan Surroundings

A closer look at the Himalayas reveals an Eco friendly construction for Homeless Animals.

Of special mention  is the Natural Insulator “The Alfa Alfa” Grass  ( Scientific name Medicago sps.) on the rooftop. Alfa Alfa is native to the Ladakh region and used extensively throughout the region. It is used as fodder for all the domesticated herbivores and Horses as well.

himalayas and goat
The  Natural Rescue Centre for Animals

Do observe the dense Fur on the Rams. The famous Pashmina Goats are also native to the arid cold desert of Ladakh.

The Eco friendly Walls of Mud and Roofs of Grass are the perfect construction in the cold climate of Ladakh.

sheep and shadow
Shadow of Sheep

The  Fur of the Himalayan Goat Glistens in the Intense Sunshine of High Altitude Ladakh.

Handsome Am I ?

furry sheep
Himalayan Furry Goats

Charmed and Enchanted we zoom out into the Himalyan Surroundings and leave the Rescue Centre with a Heavy Heart.

the surroundings
Cold Arid  High Altitude Desert

Astounding  Natural Beauty in Ladakh. I am unable to stop blogging on the region.

FRAGRANT CUMIN

The air was heady with the Fragrance of an Aromatic Spice which is used across most cuisines in the Indian Sub Continent.

Native to India , the use of which goes back to Ancient India , Cumin ( English), Zeera ( Hindi) , Cuminum cyminum ( Scientific name) is a Herbal Plant related to Parsley.

I was fortunate to photograph a handful of Plants which had been missed by the harvesters as they were hidden within a field of  Isabgol plants ( pls see the blog titled ISABGOL) .

cumin plant
Cumin Plant

Raipur is a small village near Ajmer, Rajasthan where I was fortunate to see Zeera being harvested and processed.

The Cumin Seeds, still attached to the stems  are being Sun Dried.

seeds
Cumin Seeds being Sun dried

The shadow on this mountain of aromatic  Zeera seeds is of my finger on the Camera Button.

Zeera has a natural aroma which hovers in the air for miles around as the Seeds are threshed from the Hay.

It is usually roasted and then ground before being part of numerous delicious Indian Curries.

yours truly
Cumin Seeds being photographed

The Cumin seeds being separated from the Hay  by these Gorgeous Village women.

I followed my nose to catch them unawares as they were busy processing their Harvest of Cumin.

 

mounds of cumin
Colourful Ladies amongst Mountains of Cumin

Do have a look at a previous blog on  Fennel seeds which look very similar in shape and size.

WILD BEAUTY

The Chair set out for Anglers besides a lovely Lake was my spot to watch The Eagle Owl perched on the trees at Lakshman Sagar, Pali District, Rajasthan.

An absolutely must visit location close to Beawar and even closer to Raipur.

The picture below was taken courtesy the tiny Wagtail ( do read my blog titled WAGTAIL) taking shelter under the chair.

If you concentrate and make a huge effort you would just about discern small creepers in the crevices between the stone slabs. ( have a look between the right legs of the chair, in the direction the tail points  of this sweet birdie  )

the location
Gorgeous setting 

Let me zoom in and save you all the stress. Wow these gorgeous wild flowers could be little thrones for elves and fairies.

beautiful creepers
Inconspicuous creepers

The sunlight reveals the beauty of these wonderful wild  flowers.

It is extremely difficult to identify them as they are not listed anywhere I searched.

close up
A closer look reveals wild beauty

Looking like Morning Glories, but virtually invisible , they are no larger than small pebbles.

look at the flowers
A look inside these beautiful wild flowers

This flower resembles a Petunia, but is from being anywhere near the relatively Gigantic petunis.

I wonder what they are called and what  they are famous for?

How did they come about to reside here besides the Anglers Chairs ?

 

wild and small
Rising up from the dust and soil

Another unsolved Mystery of Enchanting Nature.

BEES ,LADYBIRDS and ANISE

OUZO is a popular Drink in Greece that  is derived  from Fennel Seeds and Anise.

Fennel ( English), Saunf ( Hindi), Foeniculum vulgare ( Scientific name) is a spice or herb that has its roots and origins in the Mediterranean region.

These lovely fields of Fennel Blooms were taken in Raipur, Rajasthan near Ajmer.

Bees ( Apis cerana indica) and Ladybirds or Ladybugs ( family Coccinellidae) ,Anisolemnia dilatata ( Scientific name)  were intoxicated by the awesome fragrance that hung over these field and thronged the inflorescence in hundreds.

Need I say  more, be Enchanted.

saunf field.JPG
SCARECROW

Ladybirds act as bio-pesticides as they are the natural predators of Aphids which attack these Herbal  plants.

bee and ladybird
LADYBIRDS and BEES
ladybird on anise
LADYBIRD

 

bees
HONEYBEE and INFLORESCENCE

HIMALAYAN SUNRISE

Sunrise is dramatically different at an Himalayan Altitude in the cold high altitude desert of Ladakh and close to Sea Level amongst the Aravalli Mountain Range in the desert state of  Rajasthan.

The Snow Clad Himalyan Peaks gradually turn from shades of Crimson to Gold matching the Ascent of the Sun in the startling Blue skies of Leh, Ladakh.

poplars and himalayas
Blushing Peaks  touched by the Rising Sun

The Rising Sun ( do see a blog titled Golden Disc) behind a cover of Acacia trees that adorn the Aravalli Mountains at Lakshman Sagar, Near Ajmer, Rajasthan.

The Skies and the Lakes turn Crimson in this Oasis in the Pali District of Rajasthan.

Sunrise in Lakshman sagar
Crimson Skies and Lake at Lakshman Sagar

Back to sub zero temperatures and an early Morning at Leh, Ladakh. Watch the peaks turn to Gold in a Domino fashion as the Sun Rises waking up the Gigantic Himalayas from Deep Slumber.

Do observe the leafless Pencil Poplars and Willows are still in the grip of Night.

glowing peaks
The Himalayas awaken to the Call of the Sun

This is the Spellbinding  Charm of Nature. Same Sun , Same Planet and yet what a difference , though it is but another Morning.

LAYERED HIMALAYAS

The Himalayas when viewed from the Leh Valley in Ladakh present a never ending Spectacle.

Am selecting a Himalayan  Range which resembles a multi-layered Sponge Cake and holds a Hidden Gem within its folds.

sedomented hills
Sedimented Himalayas

The Sedimented Layers of the Himalalyas rise from the River Indus ( or Sindhu) Valley and touch the Clouds in the Sky.

peak of sponge cake
Layered like a Marbled cake

Only the  Stupas indicate we are approaching the Largest Monastery of the Region, The Hemis Monastery. Hidden with the folds of the Himalayas which have themseleves risen from the depths of the Ocean.

The Red-Blue flag in the picture below ( and in the featured image as well) reveals the location of the  Hemis Monastery ( do read THE HIMALAYAN MONASTERY in http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com)

hidden hemis
Spot the Flag

Reach out for the Marbled Layers as we are now within the folds of THE HIMALAYAS.

stupa and peak
Stupa and the Layered Himalayan Mountain

The Majestic Snow Clad Himalayas hold the Hemis Monastery within its Folds, or should I say Layers.

the peak
Reach out and touch the Peak

Enchanting is it not? What do you feel ?

DONKEYS OR ASSES

The high altitude cold deserts of Ladakh ( Jammu & Kashmir, India) have ensured all animals mutate or adapt to their natural environment.

The Donkeys or Asses (English), Gadha (Hindi), Bung bu ( Ladhaki) , Equus asinus ( scientific name) are no exception to this rule.

I first saw the Donkey at close hand in the Animal Rescue Centre , near Shrey ( home to the Rancho School)  ,  Ladakh .

The Rescue Centre is a wonderful Home for unwanted Dogs, Donkeys, Goats, Cattle and even Chicken managed under the aegis of the Hemis Monastery ( do read my blog titled THE HIMALAYAN MONASTERY in http://.www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com).

The Hemis Monastery is headed by His Holiness G. Drukpa of the Drukpa or Dragon lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. ( do see the red and blue flag fluttering over the rescue van in the picture below)

live to rescue
The Rescue Ambulance and the Buddhist Monks

This homeless Donkey pushes his nose through the Mesh at the Rescue Centre which protects him from predators in the harsh landscape of Ladakh.

Observe the Gregarious Fur as compared to Donkeys seen in the plains.

This Sweet little Ass opened my  eyes to the World of Bung bu (Donkey) in Ladakh. Magically I saw many of his brethren thereafter.

through the mesh
Homeless he reaches out for affection

I was wondering Why  someone would abandon a Donkey when I came an unusual sight, a herd of  Horses and  Donkeys on the Highway to the Hemis Monastery.

An inquisite White Mare looks at the Camera over the shoulder of  a healthy Dark Brown Donkey.

donkeys and horses
The Beautiful All White Mare and the Glistening Donkey

Snow is the source of water for these Donkeys at a height of 4000 metres ( 13000 feet) .

The Featured image and the one below were taken while approaching the Hemis Monastery.

The Wild Tibetan Ass or Khiang  ( scientific Name Equus kiang kiang) or the King Ass is the largest of Asses and found exclusively in the high Himalayan Tibetan Plateau and Ladakh.

all alone
Equipped to handle the Sub Zero temperatures

The endearing Nose of the Donkey at the Rescue Centre had me Enchanted. It had cast a spell as I saw Donkeys repeatedly on my trip to Leh in Ladakh.

 

nose only
Cuddly Nose of the Homeless Ass in Ladakh

Strange are the Ways of Nature or was I merely Enchanted ?

Please do no not chuckle, imagine being Enchanted by an Ass.