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 & INVOLUNTARY DIP IN KASHI would help you connect the dots.

Bird’s View of The Ganges at Kashi

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.

Pigeon’s Peephole

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.

Royal Bath Tub

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 Palm Family, Areceacae, encompasses a vast range of Plants including The Toddy Palm and the Coconut. ( do check out  previous blogs titled THE ENCHANTING WORLD OF NUTS & INDIAN NUT to know more ) .

Two Common Names of the Unique Palm you see in the Featured Image,  The Rajah Wax Palm or Lipstick Palm  ( English) collectively combined to give me the Title of this blog. Rajah means King in Hindi

The Lipstick Palm bears no Fruit , Flowers .or Timber and is cultivated Primarily for its Aesthetic Appeal or simply put; its Looks.

Stunning Looks

Cyrtostachys renda ( Scientific name) is a Tall Tree  introduced  from Indonesia and is widely cultivated in Gardens across Kerala, India as a decorative Plant.

The Characteristic Scarlet or Red Coloured Central Shaft or Mid Rib gives this Palm Tree several interesting names such as Red Sealing Wax Palm , Lipstick Palm and The Rajah Wax Palm.

hidden red
Lipstick Red at the centre of Feathery Leaves

If you recall Proclamations in Former Times were always made Legal with a  Royal Seal .

In India even today many Legal Packages/Letters are sealed using Lac or the Red Sealing Wax.

The Red Wax on which the Royal Seal was embedded  was the same Scarlet Colour as The CrownShaft of the Rajah /Sealing Wax Palm.

Fascinating how  common names and history combine to make these Palms Enchanting, which but for the Red Lipstick would go unnoticed.

Pictures above were taken at THE UDAY SUITES, Trivandrum and THE MAHINDRA RESORT, Ashtamudi. Both these Lovely Resorts  are in Kerala, India.


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. 

tree and bird
An Enchanting Magpie

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.

3 trees
Stretching their arms to touch the Blue Skies

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.

one willow
A solitary Willow amongst the Tall and Elegant Poplars

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.

trees and himalayas
The Himalayas form the backdrop to a forest of Poplars

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

fields cottage and Himalayas
The View from the Room

The landscape at Leh is amazingly stunning and unique.

Behold the Snow Clad and Mighty Himalayas viewed through a screen of leafless trees.

trees and himalayas
Snow Capped Himalayas 

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.

wisps of clouds
The Sun shines brightly on the Lofty Mountains

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.

hotel roof top and a barren hill
Barren Hill and Clear Blue Skies

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.

genda plus fields
Fields of Marigold Flowers

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.

fields with genda cottage
Golden Field and the Hay Cottage with a Witches Hat

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.

gold all over

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.

two coloured gendas
Burnt Gold mixed with Gold

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.

with the bee
Right on Top

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 Enchanting Spells of Rural India. ( do keep a watch out for a write up on Nazarbagh Palace in


An Immaculate trailing gown in glossy BLACK VELVET of a  Princes in the Centre is what the featured image reminds  me of. See how the folds rise and fall.

The cultivar Black Velvet or Trailing Petunia ( English) ,Petunia hybrida ( Scientific name) belongs to the deadly Nightshade family Solanaceae .

A cultivated hybrid of the naturally growing Petunias in South America the BLACK VELVET is the ultimate flower  in the search of  a PERFECT  BLACK.

It is today a much sought after precious species.

featured black
Perfect black

Held up  by a slender tube, Petunias can be seen in various colours and  a combination of colours as well.

These silken black blooms of the THE BLACK VELVET Petunias are seen at various stages in the picture below.

slender necks
Midnight beauties

A side profile of the tubular flowers of the Black Velvet Petunias show up tinges of the colour Burgundy in this magnificent  basket of glossy velvety Midnight beauties.

The Petunias belong to the same family as Egg Plants ( do see my blog titled THE BLACK BEAUTY).

basket of black
Basket of Velvet Blooms

The fantastic Black Velvet Petunia was spotted in this Enchanting Greenhouse in the Himalayas at the JW Marriott Walnut Spa & Resort, Mussoorie, India.

the greenhouse 1
A Greenhouse of Wonder

Is it not a wonder that this Princess in the overflowing Black velvet robes belongs to the same family as Potatoes and Tomatoes ?


Photographed from different locations near Mussoorie in the Himalayas in India I leave these pictures with you and your Imagination.

Be embalmed in the beauty of the Hills and the blue Skies.

at the edge

The Himalayan Fulcrum

the way to the clouds
The Way to the Clouds
clouds from trees
The Clouds descend on the Himalayas


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 Gulabi  Dahlias ( 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.

ladybird and bee

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.

women in pink
Ladies in Pink

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.

cascade of Pink
Cascade of Flowers

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 bee
Can you see the Pollen on the wings of The Indian Honeybee

The beautiful flower of the family Rosaceae have been attributed in Hindu mythology to the God of Love , “Kamadeva”.

The Rose is also favoured by the Gods and is referred to asSivapriya ” ( 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.

hidden in cotton
Perfectly Camouflaged in a Cotton Bush

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.

closer look
Sun Bathing

A top view shows up  the spectacled back and a distinctive dual colour, the head and upper limbs are clearly lighter and grey.

top view
Top View

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?

the tale
Never Ending Tail ( tale) 

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.