THE TURTLE SMILES

The Banks of the Cursed River Chambal is home to many inhabitants one of which you can see smiling in the Featured Image above. ( reading earlier blogs like the BIRD FESTIVAL , CROCODILES IN THE CHAMBAL and THE RIVER CURSED will give you a better insight on the region and fables of the river )

These Critically Endangered Red-crowned  Roofed Turtles ( Scientific name Batagur kachuga ) come out of the Cool River to bask in the Winter Sun.

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Sun Bathing

Unique to South Asia and now protected in this section of the Chambal River ,this freshwater turtle is a rare sight and I realize only now how fortunate I was to spot it.

The Sound of the Boat probably sends this one scurrying up the muddy River Banks .

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Uphill Climb

Finding a peaceful Spot in a Private Garden this Turtle reflects upon the year nearly gone and the Onset of The New Year.

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Comfortable Spot brings on the Smile

The Earth Rests on the  Kachua (Hindi name of  Turtle)  as per Hindu Mythology and it is ironical that the very foundation of our planet ( the turtle) is now Critically Endangered, not a sign of good tidings.( do see an earlier blog PROOF IN BLACK wherein I have posted a picture of a Turtle in Black Stone in a Lord Shiva temple near Pune)

Wishing a Year Full of Happiness and Never Ending Smiles to all who have read , are reading and will read “Enchanted Forests”.

Happy New Year 2017.

ROLLING PILLARS

I had given a mere glimpse of this incredible and relatively unknown beauty set in Rural Karnataka near Mysore in India in an earlier blog titled WATER IS LIFE.

This is the region irrigated by the Mythical and Revered River of Southern India, River Kaveri.

Behold and see Nature set in Stone in The Keshava Temple , Somnathapura, Karnataka, India.

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Ancient Majesty

The Signature Architecture of the Hoysala Dynasty who ruled over 1200 years ago, are the Rolling Pillars you see in the picture below.

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Rolling Pillars 

Nature set in Stone surrounds each deity of the temple both inside and outside.

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Nature in Stone

Do observe the rich greenery including the Sky reaching Coconut Trees that encompass this overpowering and magical temple set  in Stone.

CROCODILES IN THE CHAMBAL

BIRDS & THE NUMBER THREE is an earlier blog which unravels the frequent movement between three locations , all of which are located on the banks of Rivers.

The Chambal River Sanctuary was the site selected for a Bird Festival ( do check out a blog so titled) and the pictures that follow were a result of a Boat Safari during the days of the Festival .

Deadly Dacoits once infested this region which spans a vast region between three states of Northern India.

The Chambal Region near Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India is well known for its Mud Ravines which can be seen in the picture below as they descend on the banks of the River Chambal. ( do read the series on THE RIVER CURSED to know about the river).

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Deceptive Tranquil waters of The Chambal River

On a closer look at the muddy embankments you can discern numerous caves or holes , some of which have an untidy assembly of dried twigs and branches.

The soft muddy ravines are relatively easy to burrow into and were once homes to Dacoits as well.

It was the watchful eye of the Boatman who pointed out the deadly tail of a baby Crocodile as it was entering one such Cave.Am sure you can spot the Baby Croc in the picture below ?

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Crocodile Nest

The Mother Crocodile lurks close by in the Lush green and keeps a careful eye so no harm crosses the Path of it’s Brood.

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The Watchful Eye of Mama Croc

The featured image is a Zoom in to show the deadly Teeth of this Stealthy and Versatile Predator which rules the Chambal River.

WATER IS LIFE ( the previous blog) was on the revered River Kaveri , but the title holds true for the diverse and Enchanting Life seen in the Chambal River as well.

Keep reading for more…..

WATER IS LIFE

 

The beautiful Kaveri ( or Cauvery) river originates from the Hills of Karnataka near Mysore  and culminates into the Bay of Bengal after traversing through the state of  Tamil Nadu.

All the lands it touches transform into  a wonderful hue of Green and natural beauty and it is no wonder it is also referred to as the Ganges of the South.

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Kaveri or Cauvery River

The aqueduct you see in this picture close to the city of Mysore carries the precious waters of the Kaveri River and was originally built in the 17th century by the Wodeyar rulers of Mysore.

You can the Splendid natural  greenery  even though the Life Giving Waters flow over Treetops.

 

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The Aquaduct

The waters of the Kaveri river are currently the centre of a huge controversy between the two states it traverses.

The surroundings of the Ancient  12th century Keshava Temple at Somnathpur  are kept green by the life giving waters of The River Kaveri.

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Water Sprinklers at the Keshava Temple

The landscape in this region is absolutely Divine and previous blogs have given you glimpses of the natural beauty.

Future blogs will take you inside this breathtaking temple sculpted entirely from stone and showcase the Dusshera Festival celebrations inside the Mysore Palace, Karnataka, India.

LET THERE BE LIGHT IN KASHI

I had left the Mystery hanging in the air in the previous blog titled HANGING BASKETS IN KASHI , this post is an attempt to shed light on an Enchanting Festival held ONLY in Kashi ( alias Varanasi) .

These lovely hanging baskets are raised and lowered by the means of a rope you see in the picture below. The baskets contain Oil lamps which are lit up , placed in the Basket and then raised up by the Ropes on the occasion of DEV DIWALI.

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THE MYSTERY UNVEILED

DEV DIWALI or the “Festival of Lights of the Gods” is a celebration by the Gods who descend to the banks of The Ganges at Varanasi on a FULL MOON night exactly two weeks after DIWALI  (much like CHRISTMAS) is celebrated by mere Mortals like us across India.

The Supermoon seen alongwith Prayer bells on the banks of The Ganges on Dev Diwali.

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THE SUPERMOON

Thousands of Baskets containing Oil Lamps are suspended in Air whereas  the entire length of the steps or ghats that line the Ganges at Varanasi are lit up with millions of tiny terracotta lamps.

The hands of the lady clad in traditional clothes are soaked in Ghee ( oil) which fuels the Cotton Wicks.

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TERRACOTTA OIL LAMPS

It is a fascinating sight to see many miles of these Ghats or Steps, Lit up by traditional Oil lamps ( no electricity is used), have a look at a tiny section of the Ghats in the following picture.

Picture was taken from a Boat on the Ganges.

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Shimmering Ghats on Dev Diwali

Enchanting and Beautiful Ancient traditions followed for thousands of Years in Kashi as the people emulate the Gods in Lighting up the Skies.

 

HANGING BASKETS IN KASHI

What is the Mystery of the Hanging Baskets during the festival of Deep Diwali at Kashi ?

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Hanging on the Ghats of the Ganges

The Ghats or the Banks are lined with these Gorgeous Wicker Baskets ? What do they contain and whom do they beckon?

The Ganges patiently flows by in the background as  a mute witness.

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Prayers in Baskets

The Ancient City of Kashi ( now known as Varanasi) is a sight to behold.

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Baskets gazing at Kashi below and beyond

Keep reading as I Peel the Onion and unveil mysterious and unusual traditions.

The featured image showcases the preparations for the Morning Ganga “Aarti” ( Prayers to the Holiest River The  Ganges)  held at the Assi Ghat in Kashi.

BIRDS & NUMBER THREE

This is a blog where you can glimpse three memorable locations through the eyes of our Feathered Friends.

This post is the merger of Three Rivers, three locations, three Birds , Three festivals & the Hunt for Food.

The picture below of a House Crow is from the Banks of The River Kaveri at the Sree Nimishimbha Temple near Srirangapatnam, Karnataka. ( an earlier blog titled Naturally Magnificent reveals more on the location).

I was here during the Navratra festivities  and it was with similar rice the Crow eyes in the picture below that I broke my  Nine day fast.

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Eyeing the Food

The Bird Festival ( an earlier post is also titled Bird Festival, please do look it up)  was held in the Chambal River Sanctuary at a time when a thick fog had encapsulated the region.( see the picture below)

Brave Cormorants hunt for fish competing with the  Gharials which inhabit this part of the Chambal River. ( do read previous blogs on the river)

fishing-in-the-chambal
Fishing in The Chambal

The featured image was taken from the vicinity of the Assi ghat at Kashi on the banks of the river Ganges during the Deep Diwali festival.( do read a post on THE SUPERMOON and this lovely festival)

The Heron is sitting on a thick Rope to which the Boat is tethered in the quest for breakfast . I spotted this lovely sight as the Rising Sun turned the Ganges Crimson on the morning of THE INVOLUNTARY DIP at KASHI.( do read an earlier post so titled)

Is it not fascinating and Enchanting how these wonderful locations are tied up with Birds taking centre stage.