Travel with Mukul

The Beautifully landscaped Highway from Noida ( an industrial suburb of New Delhi, India)  to Greater Noida is a Classic Example of an Urban Forest amongst Skyscrapers and Industrial Factories.

beauty along urban life The Jewels Line the Highway to Greater Noida near New Delhi

Announcing the arrival of Basant Panchmi( Spring) are these Clusters of Jewels which adorn the leafless Trees of the Indian Coral Tree ( English), Erythrina indica ( Scientific Name).

the tree  Indian Coral Trees

Adorning the ends of each twig are these brightly Coral coloured blossoms which contrast beautifully against their leafless branches.

As the seasons change , new leaves will sprout on the deciduous branches of The Indian Coral Tree.

the scarlet tree Splendour of Coral Blossoms

The Inflorescence is a cluster of Brightly Coral coloured Blossoms each of which flexes its spine and Curves upwards towards the Blue Skies and the Sun.

Do the Jewels resemble a Tiger’s Claw??

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Enchanted Forests

Haridwar is an ancient town located on the banks of the Ganges and the foothills of the Himalayas , 200 kms North  of New Delhi.

Located close to the Rajaji National Park which is home to numerous herds of wild Indian Elephants , Haridwar is a treasure trove of Natural Beauty.

The featured image is a picture of the Setting Sun over Ancient Homes along the Western Ghats of the River Ganges at this Holy town in Northern India.

The spellbinding picture of the Holy Ganges below showcases the Eastern Ghats with the Himalayas in the background.

Ganges at Haridwar The Pristine Pure Green-Blue Waters of the Holy Ganges at Haridwar

The Awesome Hills  had turned into hues of Scarlet in a superb display of  Charming Nature in February at Haridwar.

The picture was taken from the Ropeway leading to the Chandi Devi Temple.

Red and brown leaves The Lovely Hues of…

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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.

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.


The Spider Flowers are so called because of their extraordinarily long stamens which one can see clearly in the featured image.

Resembling the legs of the Anthropoid they are named after, the Spider flowers however bear only 6 stamens.

This gorgeous  bunch of flowers are called Cleome hassleriana ( scientific name) and come all the way from South America.( South Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and North Argentina) 

If you see carefully there is only one flower which bears a distinctively different hue to the rest.

spider flowers
A bunch of Spider Flowers

The morning dew settles on the petals and the buds jostle to get their share of the Morning Sun.

A strict   discipline  or pattern is followed  by the buds. Those at the base of the bunch bloom first , gradually blooming sequentially till the top.

Can you guess why?

buds of the spider flower
An inbuilt order decides which BUD will bloom FIRST.

The stalk  carrying the inflorescence doubles over  under the weight of the large number of Spider flowers.

The exceptionally long pistils have an incredible outreach  so they succeed in the game of Survival planned by Nature.

Seven Leaflets form the structure of the compound leaf. Four Petals and Six Stamens make up the flower.

Game of 4,6 & 7

Humming Birds are attracted, in their native habitat of South America , to the Spider Flowers in droves.

In the Himalayas probably butterflies and Sunbirds take up the task of Pollinators accomplished by the Humming Birds in South America.

The flowers above were photographed near the house of Mr Prateek Swarup of the JW Marriot Hotel at the Brentwood Sanctuary, Mussoorie , Uttrakhand ,India. Coincidentally  spiders in hundreds had made the area their home as well.

Incredibly the Spider Flowers and Ker  Shrub/Tree ( do see my blog CHRISTMAS IN THE DESERT) belong to the same Family Capparaceae.

( the Caper Family).








Amazing Peacocks

Enchanted Forests

The  stunning  Peacock (  Scientific Name Pavo cristatus)  is the National  Bird of India.

India is also the Native habitat of this gorgeous bird.

I leave you with images captured across the country .

All images are of birds in the wild and none were in captivity.

close up                                                                 close up

The peahen is unfortunately not as spectacular as the Peacock, but the sea green neck is still gorgeous.

pea hen                                                                    pea hen

Interestingly over a dozen peacocks near an ancient well.( the four pillars are…

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I had posted an article about 2 weeks ago titled UNSEEN. UNHEARD. UNKNOWN. ( do check it out please)

The picture that follows in this article  had the Caption What is this? 

Am happy to have the answer today . Sheila, who hails from Assam  has cracked the mystery today.

It is the favoured  fruit of Elephants. they simply love them.

what is this ?
                                                           what is this ?

The Chalta  owtenga (  Bengali/Assamese), Elephant Apple ( English) ,Dillenia indica

( scientific name) . is eaten primarily  in the eastern part of India.

It is used in many preparations exclusively  in Bengal, Assam and Orissa .

Ayurveda ( Ancient Indian system of medicine based on the use of Plants)  prescribes it as an  antioxidant to battle many ailments including leukemia.

Chalta teunga
Chalta teunga

Since we are talking about food for the gentle giants, I introduce another unusual vegetable/fruit  loved by Elephants. 

Food for the Giants
                                                                 Food for the Giants

The Flowers of the Banana Tree are consumed as vegetables in most cuisines of South Asia .

The  purple flowers of the banana resemble artichokes. I christen them as THE ROYAL ARTICHOKES.

Green bananas ( also eaten as vegetables and often cooked with the skin)  are visible at the top of the picture.

banana Flowers
                                                             Banana Flowers

Is it not incredible that the flowers  of the Banana ( Musa  balbisiana is native to South Asia)  are unknown to other cuisines of the world.

Central and South America have vast commercial farms of the fruit  Banana , but the flower is absent from the cuisine of the Americas.

The flowers
                                                                       Royal Artichokes ?

I leave the Pachyderms to enjoy their fruits, both their apples and the bananas .


Larger Pictures

Enchanted Forests

At last into the home of the White Tiger: Bandavgarh At last into the home of the White Tiger: Bandavgarh

The Amazing Forests of Bandavgarh tells fascinating stories of Kings, White Tigers and a fort gifted to a brother. This is the last ( for now) and chapter 5 in the series on Bandavagarh .

Legend has it that Lord Ram gifted the fort to his brother Laxman ( do see my  write up on Artifacts of the Samode Safari Lodge)

The Bandavgarh National Park and Tiger Reserve was once home to the White Tiger ( not spotted for the last 50 years now) and was  the domain of the  Baghela Rulers of Rewa. It was  preserved by these wise rulers as a Wildlife sanctuary from the 17th century ( 400 years ago) when they shifted their capital from Bandavgarh to Rewa.

Jeeps canters and elephants are three modes of transport within the BTR Jeeps canters and elephants are three modes of transport within the BTR

It is home to numerous…

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Enchanted Forests

As mentioned in several earlier posts, India is a treasure trove. All you need to do is LOOK.

While hunting for THE ROOTS OF INDIA  ( do see my earlier post titled EXOTIC ANCIENT ROOTS) in the local vegetable market , I discovered a fruit which used to grow in my grandfathers estate called “CHAMPA” . I was overwhelmed as I  was transported  back in time  to the 1960s.

The “Karonda”  is a  sour fruit  when raw and  grows on bushes with sharp-pointed thorns ( hence the name CHRIST’S THORN) . It turns into a beautiful plum coloured fruit when ripe..

It is loaded with Iron and  Vitamin C and has many medicinal applications. Please check out on Google.

Unfortunately the Karonda  or as i call them SOUR CHERRIES are now an exotic fruit and  rarely seen or heard of. They are…

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