The Brijrama Palace is one of the finest buildings along the banks of the Holy River Ganges at Kashi ( Benaras or Varanasi).
The picture above and those that follow were taken at daybreak from the Terrace of this Ancient Palace which as you can see gives a wonderful overview of the City and the River Ganges.
Previous blogs titled BLISS IN KASHI, DAYBREAK IN KASHI & INVOLUNTARYDIP IN KASHI would help you connect the dots.
A wonderful capture as the Rock Pigeon tilts his head while perched on his bath tub as if viewing the hustle bustle of people on the River banks below through the Ancient ramparts of the Brijrama Palace.
The All Marble Bath Tub is filled with the Holy waters of The River Ganges and covered with auspicious Marigold petals.
The Royal Rock Pigeon (English), Kabootar ( Hindi) ,Columba livia ( scientific name) seems to be in a State of Bliss, what say you?
Iron chains keep Curious Visitors Off the Edge and provide the Pigeons some privacy as well.
What an Enchanting Morning to sip a Cup of Hot Tea after a cold dip in the River and watch the Pigeons bathing in absolute luxury along with the Rising Sun.
The White Solitary Posts are Poplars , a high altitude tree you will see covering the the entire Landscape of Leh, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India.
There is a huge and exciting controversy brewing on the scientific name and I have honed onto the scientific name Populus parmirica.
As I have only seen and photographed them during the Winters when not a single leaf adorned them, let alone bear a flower or fruit, it is hard to key on the species with precision for an amateur like me.
I understand these Ghostly white posts have separate male and female trees and are an intricate part of Ladhakhi life.
Willows and Poplars dominate the winter landscape of Ladhakh.
The Ladhaki Frass or Ladakh Poplars or Populus pamirica can be seen only at altitudes above 2000 m.
Leh is at 3800 m and thus home to vast Poplar plantations.
I hope you will help me identify the species in case I have blundered . Am certain the Genus Populus is however correct.
From an Altitude of 215 metres at New Delhi ( 24 degrees C) to a dizzy 3800 metres at Leh, Ladakh ( -10 degrees C) within an hour meant the first day was reserved for the entire group to acclimatize to the drastic change.
The breathtaking views and rarefied air at an high altitude left me gasping for air.
All the photographs were taken from the Mahey Retreat Hotel , Leh ,Ladakh on the first day of an Enchanting trip.( please check out my blog titled LEH TEASER at http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com)
The landscape at Leh is amazingly stunning and unique.
Behold the Snow Clad and Mighty Himalayas viewed through a screen of leafless trees.
It was so Enchanting to see the Himalayas close at hand. I felt I could reach out and touch the mysterious Himalayas, home to the mysterious Snow Leopards.
The intensity of the Sun is multiplied manifold as the Rarified Air does not filter sunlight. The result is that Snow dissolves leaving barren Mountains like the one in the picture below.
The picture was taken from the window of the Hotel, the rooftop of which can be seen in the foreground.
Leh during the winters is Spellbinding and leaves you Breathless literally and figuratively .
I was fortunate to go on a fascinating drive to Nazarbagh Palace , Jaipur which took me through the amazing and aromatic Golden Fields of Marigolds or Genda Phool.
I had promised in my blog AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS( Please check it out for information on these flowers which I am not repeating in this post) that I will redeem myself by posting better photographs.
However I did not even imagine in my wildest dreams that I would visit a Field of Golden Flowers within the week itself.
Nazarbagh Palace is located a mere 20 minute drive from the center of Jaipur..
The Golden Fields as I call them are in fact a commercial plantation of Marigolds which are sought after during the Wedding Season in India.
The entire drive from the Highway to the Nazarbagh is through the awesome rural countryside of Jaipur dominated by Marigolds and Mary’s Gold ( the name for Calendulas on which I will post an article in the blog to follow) .
The picture below typifies the beautiful countryside complete with a Cottage and a Water Buffalo in the background.
A closer look at the flowers reveals various Shades of Gold. Many of them will be converted into Garlands which will adorn deities in various temples in and around the city of Jaipur.
A closer look at the Golden Flowers
The Indian Honey Bee tests the nectar of a bicoloured Genda Phool . ( Hindi for MariGold).
The Petals grow from an edible Off White Central disc which is relished by children.
As the Marigolds belongs to the Asteraceae Family it exhibits many of the unique features that are characteristic of the Sun Flower or Daisy family.
Am sure many of the regular readers of these blogs are by now familiar with these enchanting characteristics.
We have through this blog and the preceding AUSPICIOUS MARIGOLDS experienced various types of Marigolds or Gendas. Am hopeful you have enjoyed these flowers which find an important place in Mexico as well during the Festival of the Dead.
The area is also rich in Birdlife and highly recommended if you wish to savour the flavours and EnchantingSpells of Rural India. ( do keep a watch out for a write up on NazarbaghPalace in http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com)
Sweet comments can spark ideas. A blogger from USA asked me yesterday if I knew that there are shades of vibrant Pink called Indian Pink.
I confirmed yes and promised a blog to honour this flamboyant colour. ( do read my blog PINK ALL THE WAY as well)
In Hindi the colour is called “Gulabi”.
In honour of my friend the first Gulabi ( Indian Pink) flower is native to North America and called Verbena (English) Verbena hybrida ( Scientific name) They belong to the family Verbenaceae and grow in clusters.
The small Verbena plant is described as a Herb and the picture below was taken in Sunder Nursery, New Delhi.
This dashing assembly of GulabiDahlias ( do read my blog SAY IT WITH FLOWERS) hosts both Honeybees and Ladybirds ( see the bud near the flower hosting the Honeybee) .
The lovely Dahlia of the Sunflower family is native to Mexico in Central America and the National flower of the country as well.
If you wish to see a riot of bright colours visit Rajasthan. These Ladies in Pushkar, Rajasthan in a Shocking Pink traditional attire challenge the bursts of colour exhibited by flowers.
The featured image showcases the glorious Wisdom flower of the Hong Kong Orchid Tree ( English), Bauhinia blakeana ( Scientific Name) .
The hoof like, twin lobed leaves are kept by students in their books to bring them luck in their academic pursuits.
The flag and coins of Hong Kong feature the Orchid like flower.
For those in New Delhi the tree is in bloom in January and can be seen at the Sunder Nursery ( opposite the Humayun’s Tomb) in New Delhi.
The deep Indian Pink markings in the central petal of the flower ( see the featured image) distinguish it from one of its parents the Kachnar ( Bauhinia variegata) tree.
All the flowers selected have Indian Pink blooms but are not native to the Indian Subcontinent.
Roses need no introduction and have been known to man since the onset of civilization itself.
The pictures that follow are of hybrid roses from the Rose garden in the recreated Persian garden at Sunder Nursery , New Delhi.
Ancient Indian Scriptures dating to 2500 BC refer to the flower Rose, ( English), Gulab ( Hindi) , Rosa ( Scientific Genus) centifolia ( there are many species in this Genus) .
The mixture of Yellow and Pink Roses gives rise to this cultivated hybrid called SEVENTEAR.
Ancient Indian scriptures have an apt and wonderful name for the Rose “Satapari” or an angel with a hundred wings.
Roses are cultivated worldwide for their fragrance and ornamental flowers.
The Ancient Persians are supposed to have mastered the art of creating Attar or Perfume from Rose petals.
An Ancient Indian Scripture recognizes this fragrant nature of Roses and names it “Saumyagandha” .( meaning that with a pleasing aroma).
Even Honeybees are attracted to the fragrant and sweet smelling Roses called Pristine.
The beautiful flower of the family Rosaceaehave been attributed in Hindu mythology to the God of Love , “Kamadeva”.
The Rose is also favoured by the Gods and is referred to as“Sivapriya ” ( translated it means that which is dear to Lord Siva).
As per Hindu mythology the abode of Lord Siva is the Himalayan Peak of Mount Kailash..
Is it a coincidence then that over 15 species of Wild Roses are native to the Himalayas.( they grow wild in the region) .
The gorgeous cultivated hybrid species below is called BROADWAY.
The colour red seems seems to have seeped into the veins and stems of the plant as well.
Not only do Roses smell good and look Enchanting, they also have numerous medicinal properties which have been described at length in the CHARAKA SAMHITA . ( a medical treatise by Charaka, follower of the Ancient Indian School of Medicine, AYURVEDA) .
I hope you enjoyed going back in time and discovering names and properties of this Magical flower which has captivated man since time Immemorial.
On this note I share with you the information that the name Rosa finds its origins in OLD PERSIAN.
Do think of the wonderful History of Roses when you gift your flowers next month on VALENTINES DAY.
Photographed in a Vegetable Farm ( do read my blog A GREEN DESERT) in the village of Ranesar near the home of Demoiselle Cranes, Kichan ( do read my blogs A FEAST and the WINTER GUESTS) in the deserts of Rajasthan.
The picture below is a heap of harvested cotton bushes in which lurks the mysterious Dinosaur of the desert.
A closer look within the dried bushes shows up a Reptile resembling the Dinosaurs of the Jurassic Age.
Do observe the Gland below the eyes and the extremely long and curved claws used for climbing and gripping.
A top view shows up the spectacled back and a distinctive dual colour, the head and upper limbs are clearly lighter and grey.
The lovely colouration and outstanding camouflage make me struggle to discern the never ending tail of this modern day Dinosaur.
Can you spot where the tail ends?
I am sure it is not the Spiny Tailed Lizard ( Sanda in Hindi) of the Deserts , the oil of which is sold as an aphrodisiac by road side quacks.
It does not resemble the Chameleon or the Oriental Garden Lizard either.
The blog is dynamic till we figure out the Scientific name and therein lies the story of THE NEVER ENDING TALE.