BIRDS VIEW OF KASHI

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-view
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-view
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.

pigeon-bath
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.

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KING’S LIPSTICK

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.

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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.

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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.

LEAFLESS POPLARS

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

BREATHTAKING LEH

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)

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.

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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.

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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 .

GOLDEN FIELDS

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com)

BLACK VELVET

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.

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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).

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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.

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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 ?

HIMALAYAN CLOUDS

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
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The Clouds descend on the Himalayas