HEAVENLY RAYS

The much revered waters ( and now in the thick of controversy)  of Kaveri ( or Cauvery) irrigate the fertile lands near Somasundhar temple, Mysore,Karnataka, India.

The beautiful lush green landscape dotted with Coconut Trees &  Paddy fields  is crowned by Sun Rays which shower Light on the lands on the much celebrated day of Dusshera. ( you may have to tilt your laptop or move sideways to the right  to appreciate the beautiful Rays in the picture below)

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FRESH GREEN & SUN RAYS

Diwali, the Festival of Lights  ( do read a blog posted yesterday titled LIGHT IT WITH FLOWERS) is celebrated exactly three weeks after Dusshera on a Pitch Dark Moonless Night.

The festival  symbolizes many things,  one of which is that Light dispels Darkness and brings forth Joy & Happiness dispelling the darkness of  Sorrow ,Poverty & Illness.

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HEAVENLY RAYS IN THE HORIZON

I am sharing these very appropriate and  symbolic pictures on Diwali as the dark  clouds are pierced by Rays from Heaven.

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RAYS BURST THROUGH THE CLOUDS

Be Enchanted and Blessed under the Heavenly Rays. Happy Diwali to All.

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LIGHT IT WITH FLOWERS

Diwali or The Festival of Lights is a festival of Love, Joy & Sharing.  Darkness is dispelled as Light enters every corner of our being, dispelling all negativity.

For many readers who are not aware of this Indian Festival, it is similar to Christmas or the Chinese New Year and accompanied with a lot of Lights, Gifts and Delicious Food.

As a departure from the years gone by we celebrated it with  “Flowers” and Lit up our home with potted flowers.( all the Marigolds or Gaindas were potted and we avoided using cut flowers)

The terrace garden attached to the living room at home has two new floral members in Red this Diwali.

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Celebrating with New Plants in Red

Poinsettia ( Scientific name is Euphorbia pulcherrima ) in the picture above is associated with Christmas Decorations and adds colour to our Home in New Delhi, India  this Diwali alongwith the traditional Marigolds.(do read up previous blogs “AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS & “GOLDEN FIELDS to see as to  how they were so called)

What I did not know is that their milky sap contains deadly toxic esters , so if you have pets ensure they keep away from the Stunning but deadly Poinsettias.( an earlier blog titled Euphor(b)iashowcases a very dissimilar family member )

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Red is considered Auspicious

It is Diwali Morning and I was might pleased to see these  lovely Crimson flowers with Ivy like leaves being checked out by Sunbirds ( you can see them in a  post written almost a year ago titled ECLIPSED)  under the gaze of the Morning Sun.

I rushed to get my camera but by then the Sunbird had gone yet the Lens captured the Morning  Dew on the flowers ( see the featured image) along with the Buds which were bursting to transform into Crimson beauties.( picture below) .

“The Cardinal creeper or Lady Doorlys Morning Glory (English) , Ipomea horsfalliae ( Scientific name) is a spectacular creeper  covered with Splendid Tubular  Crimson Flowers and traces it’s origins to Brazil.”

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A Bud bursting to turn into a Flower

The Crimson flowers are yet to be identified by me but am sure my enlightened readers will help me as more Flowers Bloom and Light up the Festival of Diwali.

“After sweating it out have now finally identified the plant . This most beautiful and relatively rare creeper  belongs to the family Convolvulaceae.( many previous blogs have covered other members of this family)  The leaves resemble those of the Chinar or Maple tree and are a lovely Olive Green which offsets the splendid Crimson colour of the Cardinal creeper.”

I hope, by the time Diwali re-arrives next year,  the Crimson creeper would have covered a major part of the terrace wall.

Happy Diwali and May the times to come  bring Joy & Happiness to one and all.

JUMBO RIDES

Diwali or the Festival of Lights will be celebrated across India on October the 30th this year. Three weeks before Diwali, another Festival called Dusshera is celebrated which earmarks the Victory of Good over Evil.

The pictures that follow are from the magnificent Mysore Palace,Mysore, Karanataka, India  where Dusshera is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur.

Jumbos or Elephants (English), Haathi ( Hindi), Elephas maximus ( Scientific name) are at the centre of the Dusshera celebrations. ( do read previous blogs titled GENTLE GIANTS ,BABY ELEPHANTS and MAMMOTH TASK  )

They  are the guests of the Royal family for several months as a consequence of the celebrations.

You can see the historical and Grand Mysore Palace in the backdrop and a heavily decorated Male Elephant in the foreground which awaits it’s turn to go home.

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Mysore Palace and a Tusker

The Magnificent archways of the Mysore Palace bid adieu to the Jumbos who board large Trucks for their ride home.

The Female and Male Elephants can be sized up in the picture below as they are cajoled to board the trucks .

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Boarding a Truck

As they were guests of the Royalty of Mysore, they were fed hearty and rich meals. Consequently most of them gained close to 500 kilograms in weight.

For now the festival is over and they get ready for their Ride Home in Open Trucks.

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Leaving the Palace

It was by sheer chance that I photographed the entire process of transporting the Jumbos. I was looking for the oldest temple in the palace and stumbled upon an amazing sequence of a Jumbo Ride.

I think it was an unnerving experience for these Large Mammals as many of them had to be prodded and coerced to board the trucks.

I wonder was it a celebration for these Enchanting and Lovely Mammals ?

WONDER-STRUCK

All that took place was by chance in the quaint Gokulum area of Mysore,Karnataka, India.

Most eating places listed by our now perennial friend “Mr.Google” and whatever local knowledge the driver had came to nought as they were closed on account of the Dusshera festival.

The Gokulum area is famous for Yoga centers and people from across the globe throng here for months at a stretch.

It was during this stretch that we chanced upon a almost magical place which has No Name board and looks like any other home in the locality. You cannot ever guess by the exterior that there is a flourishing Restaurant in it’s midst.

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WHITE WITH A TOUCH OF PINK

The little eatery run by an interesting couple with an extremely friendly atmosphere is called “Santosh” and known only by  word of mouth.

“Santosh” when translated literally means Satisfied, which you will be when you taste something from  their interesting menu.

I met an interesting elderly gentleman from faraway Serbia who sat cross-legged and has been practicing Yoga for 40 years.

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FLOWER & FRUIT

It is sometimes a matter of Wonder how you miss very beautiful things when you arrive at a venue. I plead guilty I missed this lovely plant bearing very tiny white flowers and Red Berries.

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HAIRY ALL OVER

The Red Berries stand out against the Stark and bright  Orange wall of the House that encloses “Santosh”.

The Interesting Pink-White flowers, hairy heart shaped leaves and Red Berry like berries have me Wonderstruck” as I am clueless on the species /genus or even family name.

I bid adieu Dazed and Enchanted by Red berries, I hope someone will give a clue.

HIMALAYAS IN PINK

The Lower Himalayas from Sikkim till Uttrakhand are covered in a cloak of Pink  immediately after the lofty mountains are  touched by the first drizzle brought forth by the Monsoons.

The   Pink Rain Lily , Storm Lily , Rose Fairy Lily (English) , Zephyranthes rosea ( scientific name) bloom into vast stretches of Pink as the first rain drops touch the topsoil of The Himalayas.

The following picture  of a hillside covered with Pink flowers was taken in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India.

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Pink Himalayas

A close cousin the Zephyranthes candida  ( also called Rain Lily in English ) was seen by me in Pune and extensively covered in a previous blog titled “SIX POINTED STAR”. The dexterous labeling by the Gardners of The Corinithian Resort & Club, Pune   helped me discover the botanical name of these Pink Lilies.

However besides the difference in colour the Pink Rain Lilies on the Himalayas you see in the pictures here were growing in the wild in free abandon and in vast numbers carpeting the Hills in Pink.

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Pink Rain Lilies in SunLight

The Pink Rain Lily like their close cousin The Six Pointed Star belongs to the Amarylis Lily family Amaryllidaceae.

These Beautiful Pink Flowers however hide a deep and dark secret in their bulbs which are hidden in the soil from which they spring forth as they contain deadly toxic alkaloids.

The alkaloids  lycorine and  haemanthamine  present in the bulbs can cause severe vomiting and convulsions and even lead to death .

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Speckled Leaves, Fallen Flowers and Lilies in Pink

If you read earlier blogs you will realize that many deadly toxins exist in their natural Form in Plants, yet these very toxins when used by professionals are converted into medicines and cure many ailments which affect us Humans.

After over a year of blogging and learning I am increasingly Enchanted by the numerous forms and ways of Wonderful Nature.

 

INDIA RUBBER VINE

I must admit it was these Large Seed Pods which resembled Alien Space Ships that attracted me to this Solitary Vine near Bhuleshwar Village ( near Pune), Maharashtra , India.( there are several blogs on this region including the last one titled TEMPLE “TWEETS” and ULRAMARINE BLUE )

On drawing closer they jostled a memory cell and I recalled seeing these Purple Violet Flowers first near Rao Jodha Park, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur , Rajasthan, India almost a year ago. ( Do read a previous  blog titled GOLDEN GRASS which introduces the Rocky Deserts of Rajasthan)

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Indian Rubber Vine in Bhuleshwar

The Indian Rubber Vine  ( English) , Cryptostegia grandiflora ( Scientific Name) though often seen in India has it’s origins in the African Island of Madagascar .

The English name of Rubber Vine or Rubber Bel in Hindi is derived from the fact that it secretes a Milky sap which is the basis of a Rubbery Latex.

The flowers resemble the Purple Allamanda ( Origin in North America) which also belongs to the Oleander Family, Apocynaceae much like the Indian Rubber Vine.

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Purple Allamanda

The Rubber Vine like most family members of the Oleander Family bear highly poisonous toxins.

The Leaves contain cardiac glucosides  which can cause severe poisoning leading to death if ingested in large quantities. The Milky Sap exuded by the Leaves, Stem and the Seed Pod can cause dermatitis and trigger off various allergies. ( do read a blog titled ” BLEEDING TREES “ which showcases how Natural Rubber is tapped in  Kerala, Southern India)

Despite the rather frightening details mentioned above  the Indian Rubber Vine has been used by Traditional Medicine in various countries across the world.

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Side View of the Purple Trumpet

Another interesting feature of these hardy Shrubs or Vines is that they have extremely Deep Roots which can extend to over 13 metres ( 39 feet ) below the ground making them very sturdy survivors.

I have mentioned previous blogs so can relish the intertwining of various subjects and be Enchanted by the Marvels of Nature.

TEMPLE “TWEETS”

The Bhuleshwar Temple near Pune,Maharashtra, India  is Embalmed by the Magic of Nature besides being a visual delight and an Architectural Marvel.

Nature and Mythology go hand in hand and this Wonderful Temple covered in various previous posts ATOP A HILL, DIVINE SHADOWS, FRAGRANT FIELDS,MAGICAL & MYSTERIOUS and PROOF in BLACK stands testimony to underline this aspect which I have attempted to Highlight repeatedly.

The Splendorous Floral  Dome of the Bhuleshwar Temple which stands ATOP a HILL.

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The Elaborate Central Dome

Sparrows  and Parakeets flitted in and out of the this temple which Opens into a courtyard after engaging a serious of Pitch Dark Alleys and discrete doorways.

The following picture was taken from this courtyard within the temple  as I doubled backwards during which my lens captured a Pair of Sparrows ( Scientific name :Passer domesticus ) perched on the Head of the Vehicle of the Goddess.

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Looking UP

Here is a better look at the Romantic Couple under the gaze of the Goddess on her vehicle , A Swan.

You can see the elaborate Floral details on every inch of this beautiful temple.

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Perched on A Bird Head

Mrs Sparrow decided to give me and the lens a look and perched herself directly above my head and this picture is shared in the featured image on Top.

I was delighted and Enchanted of course by the details I saw courtesy the Sparrows which I may have missed without their guidance.