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 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.

BALLS OF SUGAR

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 .

three-kinds
The White Sugar Mountain attracts all

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.

bee-on-suger-ball
All in Brown

Another species with a striped Abdomen but as engrossed as it’s cousin above donned in Brown.Both belong to the Genus Apis.

yellow-abdomen
Yellow Stripes is fully Immersed in Sugar balls

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.

wasp
Yellow Jacket

We were are all engrossed, Winged Insects, Bees & Wasps in the Balls of Sugar and the cameraman with them.

Enchanting I would say, do you agree ?

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.

crow-eyes-food
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.

 

CANNON BALLS

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.”

balls-on-tree
Innumerable Balls

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.” 

multiple-balls
Each is the size of a Football

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.”

cannon-ball
Clusters of Cannon Balls

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.”

 

AN ALIEN NEST ?

Lovely temperate weather makes  Bengaluru ( formely known as Bangalore)  a haven for Flora.

Have a look at this amazing  alien looking  “Nest”.

palm
Unusual Palms
snake-like
Snake Like?
the-palm-without-fruits
A Young Palm

It is not exactly easy to post a Blog while on the move, let alone study Scientific details.

I will thus fill in the Gaps next week on my return to my home in New Delhi.

Till then be Enchanted by  this Unusual “Nest” of “Red Eggs .”

FRAGRANT FIELDS

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.

fragrant-fields
Oh! The Heavenly Fragrance 

“Rajnigandha”  ( literally translated as Fragrance of the Night)  is a flower which belongs to the Agave family , Agavaceae and 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.

stalks-of-white-blooms
Stalks of White Fragrance

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.

blooms
Fragrant Blooms

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.

 

SIX POINTED STAR

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.

blooming-away
Rain Lilies

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.

flower-and-seeds
Wind and Rain

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.

the-seeds
Flower and Seeds

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, Zephyr and the life giving  Monsoons ( rainy season) bearing Rain clouds arrive in India buffeted by Winds from The Indian Ocean and beyond.