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 spectacularMulberry ( English) or Shatoot (Hindi) trees.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few kilometeres from the Enchanting Riverine Sanctuary of the Cursed River Chambal flows the River Yamuna. In sharp contrast this River is revered and thus the temple village of over 108 temples, Bateshwar ( 60 kms from the city of the Taj , Agra) ,Uttar Pradesh lies on the banks of the Yamuna.
Mountains of White Sugar Balls can be seen decorating all the shops that lead to the Temples which dot the region in large numbers.
These act as Magnets for many a Winged Species, have a look .
The Indian Honey Bee ( English), MadhuMakhi( Hindi), Apis cerana indica (Scientific name) finds nectar in these White Sugar Balls or Ram Ladoos which double up as offerings in Hindu temples.
Another species with a striped Abdomen but as engrossed as it’s cousin above donned in Brown.Both belong to the Genus Apis.
The Wasp ( English), Tattaya ( Hindi) , Ropalidia marginata(Scientific name)is no close cousin to the Indian Honey Bee but finds common cause in these Balls of Sugar.
We were are all engrossed, Winged Insects, Bees & Wasps in the Balls of Sugar and the cameraman with them.
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.
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)
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.
I had only heard of this remarkable tree and was overwhelmed when I saw these amazing Cannon Balls hanging from a tree in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
Spotted at the entrance of the Sathya Sai Hospital in Whitefield, Bangalore.
“As promised am Updating with missing details on the Fascinating CANNON BALL Tree which hails from the Amazonian rain forests of South America.”
I simply cannot digest this Enchantment alone and thus sharing the picture without the usual details and some interesting snippets. For that kindly wait for a week when I am back on my desk at Home.
“The Cannon Ball tree ( English), Couroupita gueanensis ( Scientific name) bears large brown Cannon Ball like fruits which create a thunderous sound like a cannon being fired when they crash to the ground.
These Large trees ironically line the Footpath along the frontage of a Hospital in Bangalore, India. The Fruits are edible , fleshy and white from the insides but have a distinctive stench or odour.”
Look like Chikus ( do see a previous post on these fruits) from the outside but are huge compared to the Sapota.
” I have read that the trees ought not to be planted along walkways as the falling fruits can be hazardous to say the least. Yet the entire frontage of The Sathya Sai Hospital was lined by the Cannon Ball trees and none had any Warnings or Signage.
The Fruits do have Medicinal uses in native medicine and are a storehouse of numerous acids like tartaric and citric acids , thus imparting them with many curative properties.”
Do read the following blog in which I will share with you some delightful pictures of the Blossoms of this Natural Wonder of a Tree which bears innumerable Cannon Balls on it’s trunk.
“If anyone has tasted these Fruits please do share your experiences.”
Am in a swoon as the Monsoons Clouds carry a Heavenly Fragrance over the hills of Bhuleshwar Village near Pune, Maharashtra, India .
The Hills in the background form the basis of an earlier blog titled DIVINE SHADOWS.
“Rajnigandha” ( literally translated as Fragrance of the Night) is a flower which belongs to the Agave family , Agavaceaeand you must head to the nearest florist (for Pune citizens head to Bhuleshwar instead ) to experience the magical aroma exuded by them.
Alas, I wish I could share the Magical fragrance of the Pinkish – White Buds ( close up in the Featured Image) with a mystical overpowering aroma.
The Fragarance of Rajnigandha ( Hindi), Mexican Tuberose ( English) and Polianthes tuberosa( Scientific name) is etched in Indian Mythology and the Amazing Fragrance that emanates from the flowers is steeped in the Imaginative World of Magic.
Held aloft on Slender Stalks I was able to spot only Two Flowers in a vast field of White Rajnigandha Buds.
Is it a surprise that the Fragrant Rajnigandha is the basis of many a Perfume across the Globe ?
Am drowsy with the Awesome and Enchanting Aroma that emanates from the Fragrant Fields near the Bhuleshwar Temple.
Rain Lilies is what they are commonly referred to, as a few drizzles and these Geometrically Perfect Blossoms spring out from Green blade like leaves.
I do recall seeing a Pink variation covering the Rain fed Hills of Sikkim and was thus pleasantly surprised to see Rain Lilies decked in White in the Corinthian Resort & Club, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Many trees and plants are neatly labelled in this resort and that is really helpful in honing down the time required to identify Flora and their Botanical names.
Though in this case the Botanists of the Resort have erred slightly ( Zypranthus Lily ?) in the botanical ( scientific) name and if they wish they could update it.
These Perfectly proportioned Six Petaled White Lilies with Green Centres and Saffron stamens remind me of the colours of the Indian Tricolour.
The Fairy Lily or Rain Lily ( Common names),Zephyrtanthes candida ( Scientific name) is a Flower native to Central and South America and belongs to the Nargis family Amaryllidaceae. ( knowing the family is very important as mentioned in earlier blogs too )
The Contrasting Black Seeds seem to be Wind Blown and the Perfect Flowers spring forth with the arrival of The Monsoons, announcing the end of the Hot Summer months.
You will see these lovely Nature Perfect Lilies in White, Pink and Yellow across India as they are are Naturalized here but hide many toxic alkaloids in their Bulbs under the ground.
The botanical name of the Fairy Lily arises from the name of the Greek Wind God, Zephyrand the life giving Monsoons ( rainy season) bearing Rain clouds arrive in India buffeted by Winds from The Indian Ocean and beyond.
It is so often that tiny rural roads, bereft of traffic and burly trucks , unfurl Pellets of Joy.
The narrow road from Yawat, off the Pune-Solapur Highway , Maharashtra,India, leading to the Spectacular and Ancient Bhuleshwar Temple was one such Bundle of Joy. It winds through the most interesting agricultural fields of Food and Flowers.
Bajra ( Hindi) is a mineral rich, gluten free Millet which has a History of over 5000 Years in India and predates the advent of Wheat by hundreds ,nay thousands , of years.
Also known as Pearl Millet ( English), Pennisetum glaucum( Scientific name), it forms the staple food of many a rural households in Maharashtra in the form of a Bread ( Roti) called “BajraBhakri”.
I often confuse Bajra with Jowar , another millet known as Sorghum in English. Both are mineral rich millets and a wonderful alternative for those that are Gluten Intolerant and cannot consume Cereals like Wheat.
I remember a delicious milk pudding ( usually served Hot) called ” Bajre ki Kheer” which I had when I was younger. Little did I realize that one day I would be fortunate to see the Little Black Pearls in the Pudding growing in fields near Pune.
Millions celebrated the arrival of Lord Ganesha ( The Elephant headed God) in India, in particular Maharashtra, with much fanfare and Joy.
However I was looking Skywards at the trees with leaves which were changing their hues into Enchanting shades of Vermillion.
Important Festivals in India mark a change in Season and so does The 10 day Ganapatifestival. The Monsoons are at their end, hot and sultry summer months are coming to an end and the warm touch of the Sun’s Rays are now pleasing.
The first FallenLeaf in red , indicates Autumn is but a breath away.
As the single leaf will change to a heap Winter will knock at the doors and mark the arrival of the most pleasant months in the Sub Continent of India.
The Red Vermillion Leaves and the arrival of Lord Ganesha are auspicious indeed.
AS I heard Drums beat in the distance I ran to have a glimpse of the Processions which accompany Lord Ganesha in the Shaniwar Wada region in Pune , Maharashtra, India.
It was then I saw the Solitary Red Leaf on the Street and I gazed up towards the Sky to take the Photograph that appears as the featured image.
Nature had discretely and beautifully conveyed a message to me. ” Autumn is coming.”