FLORAL WORLD

Am Enchanted to be back to the world of blogging after over 9 months.

It is always a trigger which sets off a series of events in your life and a visit to the  KAAS “Plateau of Flowers” in the Western Ghats  did just that.  I simply cannot keep the treasure to myself, so here I go opening the World of  Amazing Flowers.

Am back to the world of blogging. Hello , am alive and kicking once again.

The Kaas Plateau is located in the Sahaydri Hills, 25 kms off a sweet town called Satara, Maharasthra which is accessible from  Pune ( 120 kms away ) and Mumbai in Western India.

A hidden natural treasure and home to over 850 species of Unique Flowers  the Kaas Pathar ( meaning Stone) is tagged as a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site.

The entire Plateau is swamped by flowers and the colour of the Hills changes with every passing season . When I happened to visit the site at the tail end of Monsoons in September , Kaas was cloaked in a  Purple, have a look .

kaas flowers swampy panorama
The Hills are Blessed with the Music of Flowers

To really appreciate the splendour and magnificence of the region you need to keep a sharp eye for tiny microscopic carnivorous plants to large trees bearing medicinal fruits.

The purple strokes  of this natural painting are on account of one particular flower which seems to be dominating the landscape at this point of time.

They bloom at the tail end end of  the Monsoons ( rainy season) from September till October.

Bunch of purple
Cause of the  colour “Purple” in the Hills of Kaas

A zoom in reveals “alien looking purple flowers” which remind me of  the more familiar Sweet Peas we have in our gardens.

The zoom in also reveals the leaves which are armed to the teeth with deadly  looking thorns.

the flower in kaas
Impatiens lawii

These Enchanting  flowers are endemic ( native)  to this region and belong to the  Balsam family  Balsaminaceae .

An Enchanting area full of Natural Wonders , I will be back to unveil some wonderful pictures of flowers I have never ever seen before. Each would put to shame the creators of the movie Avatar and the imaginary world of Pandora.

So keep a watch out for Flowers which Bloom only once in 7 years.

 

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 ( 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 spectacular Mulberry ( English) or Shatoot (Hindi) trees.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

FLOWERS OF GOD

All of us are touched by the Divine but are often unaware of the same.

March in Delhi  is the season for Flowers and the entire vista is magically  draped in blooms. Recovering from a series of surgeries the flowers drew me to  the magic of the Divine Artist providing the much required healing touch.

I return to the world of Blogging and the Enchanted Forests beckon again after a very long gap thanks to the “FLOWERS OF GOD”. They are the first flowers which brushed my senses as they draped over a brick wall as I stepped out of the house after weeks.

This Gorgeous and Voluminous Bouquet of hues of Purple is called the Queens’s Wreath, Purple Vine or Flower of God ( English).

queens wreath
SANDPAPER VINE

Also called The Purple Vine, Sandpaper Vine or The Blue Bird Vine (English),  Petrea volubilis (Scientific name)  is simply a stunner and will take your breath away.

These picture were taken by an I phone and thus not equivalent to those taken from a DSLR but am sharing them though fuzzy as it brings across the hues of Purple and the 5 Star Shape of the Flowers of God.

blurry close up
5 STAR BLOOMS

This creeper has it’s Origins in far away  South America and blooms in late Feb- mid April in Delhi as Spring transforms to Summer in this region of Planet Earth.

I have a lovely Video of Indian Honey bees buzzing around these Royal Flowers but unfortunately am unable to upload them in my current plan. ( maybe sometime in the future).

Am grateful to the Flowers of God which have enabled my return to my beloved Enchanted Forests.

INDIAN COUNTRYSIDE

I have had the most Unusual , Fascinating and absolutely Enchanting time in the Indian Countryside as I campaigned for three weeks for a Political Party during the ongoing Assembly Elections in the most populous and diverse state of India, Uttar Pradesh. ( literally means Northern Region) .

The setting is an area  near the Ganges ,which is over 99% Rural consisting of close to 350 Villages.

Be Enchanted as I was with some pictures which capture the Flora & Fauna in this Agriculturally Rich Region in Northern India.

Parakeets, Mangoes and flowers  like the Lotus adorn the facade of this Beautiful Home. The Inspiration is entirely from Nature and the surroundings.

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Rural Illustrations on a Country Home

Take a deep breath, soak in the fresh air, it is the Countryside and air pollutants reside in Urban cities.

For me it was a joyous time as I soaked in the Natural Beauty as I campaigned from door to door and village to village.

baya-nests
Aerial Homes of the Baya Bird

The Peepal  or Sacred Fig Tree ( English), Bodhi or Peepal ( Hindi) , Ficus religiosa ( Scientific name) in the foreground is a much revered tree across the Indian sub continent.

The tree in the backdrop is another endemic and fascinating Tree the Indian Lilac ( English), Neem  (  Hindi) Tree, Azhadirachta indica. This tree is a natural Germicide.

The little Brown Hill on the rooftop adjacent to the Temple consists of Flat cakes made from Cow Dung.

temple-in-rural-setting
An Ancient temple set in the midstof  Endemic Trees

The Featured Image is a typical rural scene in a Sugarcane  Field with Cattle Egret encompassing an Indian Buffalo.

Am delighted to finally reveal where I spent three weeks of my life participating in the Dance of Indian  Democracy .

Now off to Hospital and the realm of doctors , where I will dream of the Enchanting three weeks I spent in Naugawan Sadat assembly constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

WATCHFUL KITE

This blog  is in continuation of the previous blog titled TREE VIEW.

A fellow blogger and friend ‘Josh” had loved the Kite and so here are more Images of this Bird of Prey.

the-muddy-terrain
The Chambal Ravines 
the-skies-and-the-tree
Watchful Kite & the Open Skies
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Perched on a “Babool” Tree

Now I tire easily , the burden of an oncoming surgery are heavy on my mind and am sorry but details of The Black Kite, Babool Tree and the Infamous Chambal Dacoits will be filled in at a later date ( hopefully).

Till then readers remain Enchanted.

TREE VIEW

Am leaving you with some Images of Endemic ( Native ) trees I happened to capture during the Bird Festival held in the Chambal Sanctuary, Bah, Uttar Pradesh.

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The Path through the Ravines of the Chambal

Ficus is a large Genus of Trees and Aerial roots are a feature unique to the Genus.

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Red Berries and Aerial roots

The Peepul or Bodhi tree under which Lord Buddha gained Enlightenment.

Here the Indian Honey Bees have found a wonderful home up in the midst of Tree Tops.

bee-hive
A Bee Hive

A Buzzard gazes at all that passes by in his domain as he is perched on the Top of a “Desi Babool”  tree.

Be Enchanted with the images and I will return with more interesting facts on the Flora.

SHADES OF GREY

Two earlier posts SPELLBOUND and BALLS OF SUGAR reveal the location and will thus not dwell on the same.

The Grey Pelican ( English),   Pelecanus philippensis ( Scientific name)  is a major competitor to Fisherman and I can imagine they would not be entirely pleased to find it anyone close to their domain.

This Island in the midst of the Yamuna was entirely inhabited by Cormorants and four  Pelicans.

a-bird-island
Bird Island

Swimming in solitary splendour soaking in the breathtaking Landscape in the background as a thick Fog descends on the banks of the River Yamuna in December.

The Enchanting Grey Pelican is unique to the Indian Subcontinent and parts of South East Asia.

mustard-fields
The Motorcylcle and Mustard Field as backdrop

The Grey Pelican is unfortunately  a Near Threatened Species and is usually seen in Solitude or small groups.

swimming-ashore
Swimming Ashore

I have learnt the Grey PELICAN is also called the Spot Billed Pelican, however I have no picture in which I can clearly discern the spots. I thus wonder if if I have identified the species correctly.

Yet I am happy to share the splendour of nature with all the readers across the world.

SPELLBOUND

The location is the temple village of Bateshwar,  Bah, District Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India  as mentioned in the previous blog titled Balls of Sugar.

The River is the Yamuna which flows within a mere 5 kms of the River Chambal at this point which in turn is now home to the Endangered Gharials.

I was spellbound by the beauty of the Landscape and had the pleasure of  watching an Indian Cormorant skim over the River as it competed for Fish with the Fishermen.

fisherman
Cormorant in Flight 

Mustard Fields in bloom, Silhouettes of Large trees , a foggy Winter morning and a Cormorant in Flight kept me Spellbound.

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Spellbinding Landscape and the Cormorant

The Sun filters through the Fog and the Flying  Cormorant has a Pelican for company and a new competitor for Fish as well.

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In the Company of a Pelican

The pictures say it all, need I say am Enchanted ?

 

EARTH HOME

The mere mention of the  Ravines of Chambal would send a shiver down the spine of those acquainted with the terrain and the infamous reputation that goes along with it.

Have mentioned the CURSED  CHAMBAL RIVER, in previous posts and would request the readers to check them to familiarize themselves with the region.

During the BIRD FESTIVAL ( do read previous posts, the titles of which are a bit fuzzy) held in the CHAMBAL Riverine Sanctuary in December 2016 we did spot many abodes or burrows of Dacoits who once Ruled this Area.

Have a look at the Chambal Terrain in the picture below.It was very foggy and misty and the picture reflects that to some extent.

the-chambal-ravines
The Mud Ravines of Chambal

While we were being shown the abode of an Infamous Dacoit in the Muddy Ravines, we saw the abode of a feathered friend as well, a Solitary Spotted Owlet ( English), Ullu ( Hindi), Athene brahma ( Scientific name).

Can you spot the Owlet at the doorway of his Home of Earth ?

home-of-dacoits
Doorway to the “Cave  Home” of an Infamous Dacoit

It has been over a month since I penned my last Post or Blog and am delighted to be Home and at the Desk once again. feel rusted though and the words do not flow so easily, forgive me please.

The Dacoits have long gone, and now buried in the pages of history, but my alert  feathered friend carefully checks out all visitors to his EARTH HOME.

home-in-the-muddy-ravines-of-chambal
A Lucky View

Naturally I was riveted by the Owlet and forgot all about the Dacoits .

I was as I say “Enchanted”.

 

 

 

 

FOUR RED HEADS

The Wetlands near Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, India are probably the last Bastion where these extremely Large and Outstanding Red Headed Cranes  are found in large numbers.

A flock or family  of  Sarus Crane ( Scientific Name Grus antigone) seen in flight over the Wetlands in an area irrigated by the Rivers Yamuna and Chambal.

sarus-and-goats
Goats and Cranes

The Sarus Cranes are the Tallest Flying Birds on Planet Earth and native to the Indian subcontinent.

The Wetlands are gradually being eroded and precious Habitat is being lost to Agricultural lands bearing Sugarcane.( can be seen in the backdrop in the picture below).

Soon this family of Four may not have a Home to return to ??

sarus-and-one-bird
Four Sarus Cranes over the Wetlands

As flocks of different species hover in the skies above , I wonder how one would react if you see your home shrinking with every Setting Sun.

dusk
Returning to a shrinking Home

Do read earlier blogs like URBAN FORESTS ( for close ups of this bird) , WETLANDS & STORKS IN FLIGHT as well to be truly Enchanted.