FLORAL WORLD

Am Enchanted to be back to the world of blogging after over 9 months.

It is always a trigger which sets off a series of events in your life and a visit to the  KAAS “Plateau of Flowers” in the Western Ghats  did just that.  I simply cannot keep the treasure to myself, so here I go opening the World of  Amazing Flowers.

Am back to the world of blogging. Hello , am alive and kicking once again.

The Kaas Plateau is located in the Sahaydri Hills, 25 kms off a sweet town called Satara, Maharasthra which is accessible from  Pune ( 120 kms away ) and Mumbai in Western India.

A hidden natural treasure and home to over 850 species of Unique Flowers  the Kaas Pathar ( meaning Stone) is tagged as a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site.

The entire Plateau is swamped by flowers and the colour of the Hills changes with every passing season . When I happened to visit the site at the tail end of Monsoons in September , Kaas was cloaked in a  Purple, have a look .

kaas flowers swampy panorama
The Hills are Blessed with the Music of Flowers

To really appreciate the splendour and magnificence of the region you need to keep a sharp eye for tiny microscopic carnivorous plants to large trees bearing medicinal fruits.

The purple strokes  of this natural painting are on account of one particular flower which seems to be dominating the landscape at this point of time.

They bloom at the tail end end of  the Monsoons ( rainy season) from September till October.

Bunch of purple
Cause of the  colour “Purple” in the Hills of Kaas

A zoom in reveals “alien looking purple flowers” which remind me of  the more familiar Sweet Peas we have in our gardens.

The zoom in also reveals the leaves which are armed to the teeth with deadly  looking thorns.

the flower in kaas
Impatiens lawii

These Enchanting  flowers are endemic ( native)  to this region and belong to the  Balsam family  Balsaminaceae .

An Enchanting area full of Natural Wonders , I will be back to unveil some wonderful pictures of flowers I have never ever seen before. Each would put to shame the creators of the movie Avatar and the imaginary world of Pandora.

So keep a watch out for Flowers which Bloom only once in 7 years.

 

SHAHTOOT

The Year 2017 has been thus far  been simply amazing with surprising twists and turns to make anyone dizzy.

My sudden plunge into Political campaigning in the heart of Rural India ( please read an earlier post titled INDIAN COUNTRYSIDE) combined with to and fro visits to Operating theaters in Hospitals  and am literary gasping for breath.

The twister of a Political Ride took to me the Capital of Uttar Pradesh , Lucknow, where I spotted these spectacular Mulberry ( English) or Shatoot (Hindi) trees.

laden tree
Gorgeous Fruit Laden Tree

The juicy “Shahtoot” fruits brought upon a surge of nostalgia as I recall my Grandfather’s Garden which had so many kinds of  fruit which are now near impossible to find in any Fruit Market in the metropolis of New Delhi.

Black Mulberry ( English), Shahtoot ( Hindi) or Morus nigra ( Scientific name) is the name of this quaint and exotic looking fruit which many would not recognize in large cities today.

in all colours
Shades of Red to Black

I do recall collecting them in little cups made by folding the beautifully shaped green leaves of the Mulberry Tree. The dark black fruits ooze a Deep Wine Red Juice which would colour anything they touched.

fruit at joints
Bunch of Abbundance

The Shahtoot shares its origins and name from ancient Persia but is today found across the Indian Sub continent. Though for some inexplicable reason it is extremely difficult to find in any Fruit stall in India which are now laden with Kiwis and such fruits from far away lands.

bunch
Juicy  Fruits

Things are changing for sure and many aromas and tastes remain now merely as memories.

Enchanting fruits for my lovely readers who welcomed me back with warmth and affection.

UP ABOVE IN THE SKY

The Himalayas are home to numerous Birds which can rarely be seen in other parts of India.

I spotted this Barn Swallow swinging amongst the clouds in Mussoorie, Uttrakhand ,India, which is located at an altitude of 6000 feet ( 2000 metres approx.)

string beween clouds
A String between the Clouds above

The Western Himalayas at Mussoorie turn into a glorious shade of Green in June.

The Green Trees are themselves covered with numerous blossoms which attracts numerous pollinators ( i.e. insects).

The Pollinators in turn  are a feast for these Swallows.

green hills
Green Himalayas till as far as the eyes can see

Barn Swallows ( English), Hirundo rustica ( Scientific Name) are experts in picking their prey from the skies.

The plumage of males and female are very similar of this species and thus I will not even attempt to guess the Gender of this one.

showing the way
Showing the Way

I had to stretch my neck backwards to catch a shot of  this lovely Swallow, perched high above on a Wire Stretched across the Blue Skies.

Is my Feathered Friend Showing me the Path to what lies Ahead ?

 

THE KING AND I

India is the Kingdom where Mangoes rule the World of Fruits, undoubtedly the King of Fruits.

Mangoes are the compensation to this land for bearing the Hot Summer Months. The Scorching heat fills these scrumptious Fruits with the Sweetest of Juices. The Hotter the Summer the sweeter  are the Mangoes.

Mangoes ( English), Aam ( Hindi), Mangifera indica ( Scientific name)  are native to the Indian Subcontinent and entrenched in the the History of this Ancient Land. It is from this ancient Land that they spread to the rest of the World.

The Mango Tree is revered in India and forms part of all auspicious functions like Inaugrating a New Home or A Wedding.

Garlands are made from Mango leaves and hung on the Main Entrances of Homes symbolizing Fertility and Good Luck.

mango tree
The Tree of the King of Fruits

Spring covers the trees with blossoms , the fragrance of which drives the pollinators like Bees wild.

The famous design called Paisley ( Kairi in Hindi)  owes it shape to the King of Fruits , Mangoes. Have a look at the Mango on the Left  below and turn it 180 degrees clockwise. Behold the Paisley.

the blooms
The Blossoms and Raw Mangoes

Raw Mangoes form the base of numerous mouth watering Pickles and Chutney. Each region of this Land has a different species of Mangoes and thus  naturally hundreds of Recipes abound.

It would take a lifetime  to discover and taste all the recipes.

plenty of mangoes
Curvaceous Mangoes

For me personally Mangoes are my favourite Fruit and of the hundreds of species of mangoes, Chausa rules my Taste Buds.

Are you still reading the blog, go and grab a Mango. The King of Fruits will disappear within a month.

SMITTEN BY NATURE

The Hills, Blue Skies , Fragrant Flowers and Butterflies.

The Splendour of Nature has me bowled over.

himalayan butterfly
Himalayan Splendour

Trees at Mussoories, Uttrakhand , India are ablaze with Flowers during the Summers.

Besides Bees they attract are a vast spectrum of Butterflies.

white one
The Little White Butterfly

Butterflies hang onto the flowers in Celebrating the arrival of  Spring.

solitary butterfly
Precarious Post

Am speechless.

CHERRIES nay BERRIES

These Dark Green Shrubs were hiding a Cheerful Wonder revealed only by their Cherry Red Tubular Blossoms.

bushes
DENSE FOLIAGE HIDES THE “CHERRIES”

A Bunch of Joy glistens in the Himalayan Hillside at Gangtok, Sikkim.

The Red Cestrum ( English), Cestrum “newellii” ( Scientific Name) belongs to the Night Shade Family, Solanaceae.

tubular flowers
SCARLET CLUSTER

These Cherry Like Fruits turn into a Lovely Wine Red Hue on Maturity.( do compare the picture below to the featured image).

However as is characteristic of the Night Shade Family , every part of the plant is poisonous. Thus stay away from the these “Cherries” if you know what is best for your well being.

mature
MATURE BERRIES

The Marvels of Nature never cease to Enchant.

FRAGRANT OPULENCE

The Fragrance of these Grand Blossoms casts a TO DIE FOR Spell over the Magnolia Gardens in Kasmanda Palace, Mussoorie, Uttrakhand, India.

The picture below gives a glimpse into the Life of these Gorgeous Opulent Beauties from Bud to Fruit.

buds all over
Grand Blooms

The Grand Goblet shaped Snow White Blossoms of  Magnolia (English), Him Champa ( Hindi), Magnolia grandiflora (Scientific Name) entrenched among shiny leathery thrones of leaves is a Sight to Behold.

cup of fragrance
CUP OF FRAGRANCE

When open they reveal an Enchanting Fragrance which is overpowering.

The names attributed in the Local Language Hindi ( Him Champa) is interesting as Him means Snow and Fragrant flowers are usually called Champa.

The Scientific name of this Species of Magnolias which is Native to South East USA is a tribute the Opulent Flowers, namely  “grandiflora

fallen pollen
POLLEN ABUNDANCE

As the  Grand Flowers age they turn Brown ( unlike us who turn Grey) and reveal the first look of an Ovoid Fruit in the Centre which will ultimately bear Stunning Red Seeds.

Do you spot the Himalayan Cedar or Deodar  in the backdrop? ( Do read  a previous blog titled EXPOSED ON A LIMB for more on DEODARS)

sunset
SUNSET YEARS

Some of the trees in this location are over 100 years Old. How I crave for a  whiff of these Enchanting Fragrant Magnolias  as I pen this blog.

Am addicted to the FRAGRANT OPULENCE of the Him Champa.

HIMALAYAN OAKS & LANGURS

Carrying the baton from the previous blog EXPOSED ON A LIMB, am sharing these lovely pictures of a group of Himalayan Langurs spotted on a Mighty Oak.

Be charmed or should I say Enchanted.

safe mode
Safe Abode

The Himalayan Langur ( Scientific name Semnopithecus ajax ) is significantly Larger when compared to the Langur we see in the Plains of India.

It is also called the Dark-Eyed Himalayan Langur.

yummy fruits
Yummy Fruits

The Endless Tail is a key characteristic of these very intriguing Monkeys.

tail shot
Mighty Tail

The Mighty Oaks  ( Scientific name Quercus leucotrichophora) provide a safe Haven to these Gorgeous Langurs as well numerous other species.

Observe the Upper and Lower Sides of the leaves don a different hue of Green.

oaks and langurs

Hanging onto the Mighty Himalayan Oak

All the pictures above were taken on a lovely walk on The peaceful Camel’s Back Road in Mussoorie, Uttrakhand, India.

BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER INDUS

The Himalayas, The River Indus and Ladakh. Need I say more.

A Splendid combination to be Spellbound.

An Avenue of “Leafless Poplars” ( do check out a previous blog by this title)  leads to the “Buddhist Bridge” over the River Indus.

road to the bridge
Road to the Bridge

The Mighty Himalayas  look upon this quaint Bridge over the River Indus.

the bridge over the indus
The “Buddhist” Bridge

A Bounty of Prayer Flags compelled me to name this Quaint Bridge, “The Buddhist Bridge”

the buddhist bridge
Blessed by Buddhist Prayer Flags

An earlier post titled “ORIGIN OF INDIA” reveals some secrets around this mighty River which Originates from the Glaciers of Tibet.

the indus from the bridge
Behold the Majestic  Indus

 

A HOLY LAKE

 

Pictures were taken from the ramparts of the 16th Century Shrey Royal Palace which is also home to a Glorious Temple Dedicated to Lord Buddha.

The Lake is a sanctuary for all Living Beings and considered Holy by all Buddhists as the Shrine which overlooks this beautiful Lake enshrines the DU-KHANG with a towering Copper Guilded statue of Lord Buddha. ( watch for the post at http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com) .

Located on a Hillock ,15 km from Leh along the River Indus ( do read an earlier blog titled ORIGIN of INDIA) is this awesome Lake at the footsteps of the DU-KHANG.

another view
Poplars and Willows mark the boundaries of the Sky Blue Waters of the Lake

The Winters do not spare even the Holy Lake and large tracts are Frozen and covered with Snow.

Do spot the Solitary Heron and Crane in the midst of the Icy Waters in the picture below.

frozan stiff
Spellbinding View in the Lap of the Himalayas

The Holy Lake is a High Altitude Wetland and home to a vast species of Birds, many of which are native to the Tibetan Plateau and Central Asia as well.

The  beautiful Mallard ( English) or Wild Ducks , Anas platyrynchos ( Scientific Name) were photographed swimming in the Blue Waters of the Holy Lake from the  Royal Shrey Palace.

Green Headed
The Green Heads of the Male Mallards shimmer in the Sun.

The Wild Ducks spread their Wings without fear as they are protected from Hunters in the Holy Lake.

ducks 2
Sun Bathing 

The view from Monasteries and Temples is Spellbinding and you can remain rooted at one place as you soak in the Enchanting 360 degree Landscape in the Valley of Leh, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India.