Sunday, February 17, 2019

Traditional dances by Masai villagers at Masai Mara, Kenya

Coming of age, traditional jumping dance at Masai village

Masai Village
During our Masai Mara trip, we visited a Masai village. which was not far from the park.The entry fee was around $30/head.The proceeds from the fee goes towards the village school.The fee allowed us to to take pictures and videos as well.

We spent around 40 mins in the village...we were welcomed by Masai men and women with their traditional dances which we enjoyed a lot...and joined in as well. I have included the videos at the end of this post.The jumping dance is a part of the the coming of age ceremony.

We also got a tour inside one of the huts in the village.The visit ended with us buying some handcrafted items that the village women had put up for sale. We probably spent around 40 min at the village. We had to rush back because we wanted to get back to the park and complete our safari while there was time...our last day at Masai and we wanted to make the most of it.

What I really missed is spending more time learning about the Masai way of life from them.I wish they had given us more time to learn about Masai and their way of life....a bit of Masai history and the modern day Masai... would have been interesting. I felt the focus was more on selling items.And although I understand the importance of that too, tourists should be given an overview of what the tour involves and given the opportunity to decide.

If you can find time, the village may be worth a visit depending upon what you wish to take back from the visit. 

Masai women
Hand crafted items for sale at the village

You may want be interested in my following posts on Masai Mara National Reserve.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Masai Mara: Day two at Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Lioness with cubs at Masai Mara
Day two and our last day at Masai Mara was even more exciting!

After a wonderful Day one at Masai Mara, we were all set to have an even better day two...we set off after a hearty breakfast.Our plan was to spend as much time as we could at the park.

And day two did not disappoint, it was another day in Paradise Masai Mara! Started out with a Leopard sighting and ended with a pride of Lions!!! In between….wild Buffalo, Wildebeests, Zebras, Giraffes, Ostriches, Deer, birds, a visit to Masai villageHippopotamus, and Banded Mongoose kept us at our highest high!

The lodge we stayed in “Keekorok Lodge,Sun Africa Hotels” was beautiful. We did not get much time at the lodge but whatever little time we did manage to spend in the lodge, it was blissful…birds, scenic beauty, and the water body next to the lodge was is home to quite a few Hippos who seem to be having an awesome time!

We watched from a safe distance of course!

Coming up in my next post ...Masai village .... 

Sunrise at Keekorok Lodge
Keekorok Lodge Masai Mara

Wild Buffalo


Black-maned Lion, Masai Mara

Lioness at Masai Mara
Lioness at Masai Mara

Banded Mongoose at the lodge

Lilac-breasted Roller
Marabou Stork

Speke's Weaver-female-Masai Mara
Vitelli's Masked Weaver

White-bellied Serin

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Masai Mara at long last: Day one at Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Masai Mara has been one of my dream destinations for as long as I remember....

My Masai Mara travel plan took a while to materialise because I wanted my father to accompany us. He has been instrumental in getting all of us interested in wild life! I still remember one of the first books on wildlife that my dad gave me from his bookshelf was a book of snakes (although I can’t say that I developed a liking from snakes!)

Going to Masai Mara without my dad was unthinkable! 
Since his health has not been that good in the past few years, I wanted him to get better before recommending this trip to him! He was hesitant, but finally gave in to my persuasion:) and our team of five (my parents, my sister, niece, and I were ready for Mara!)

Because our parents were travelling with us we did not want our trip to be too long or too hectic…we managed to keep it short, but it did end up being hectic considering the distances we had to travel. However, it was all worth it, every bit of it. Even though the long journeys were a bit rough on my Dad, he commented at the end of the trip that he would not have minded a longer trip!
That's the Mara effect!

We went through a Kenyan travel agency and they were very good. They took care of the entire arrangement starting from pick up from the Airport to dropping us back to the airport. The park entrance tickets, accommodations everything was included in the package:

Two days at Masai Mara National Reserve
One day at Lake Naivasha and Hell's Gate National Park
One day at Amboseli National Park

Masai was everything we had hoped for and more…there is certainly something about the rolling grasslands...can’t really describe; it charms you, steals your heart and leaves you wanting more. The experience of sighting not only the big fives but Hyenas, Ostriches, Giraffes, Zebras….in their natural habitat was an experience of a lifetime!

Our first day sighting at Mara was of a Cheetah, a pride of Lions (a slight distance away...yet awesome!), and a leopard. We were ecstatic!

Interestingly this Leopard was quite close to the pride of lions, watching them from a safe distance!

Wild Boar, Masai Mara
Hyena at Masai Mara

This cheetah video is not the best but will give you an idea!

Will post the day two at Masai Mara soon.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Beautiful Baul song from the Baul Fakir Utsav 2019, Jadavpur

Happy New Year!

May this year bring more of the things that you love…happiness, good health, peace, passion, prosperity, and most of all love for the environment!

I am starting off my first post with this beautiful baul  song video from the Baul Fakir Utsav 2019 at Shaktigarh, Jadavpur. Baul songs are folk songs from Bengal that have an influence of Vaishnav Hindu and Sufi songs.

Spiritual, and sung with so much passion and simplicity that every time I listen to Baul songs, I feel overwhelmed.

You may be interested in the following as well:

Monday, October 29, 2018

Beautiful & Unique Durga puja pandals from North Kolkata 2018

Ahiritola Durga idol
I am sharing some more unique Durga puja pandals from north Kolkata. The first one is from Ahiritola. I try to see this one every year, and this time when i went there..I saw an old palatial house, and I was wondering how did I miss it last time...and well...guess what...this  old house was the "Ahiritola durga puja pandal"I. I was spellbound!!! It was so well done...starting from the plasters on the walls, the pillars, the old furniture, ceiling lamps, the chipped so very well done...It had the exact same looks of durga puja that is celebrated in various beautiful old houses in Kolkata.

 I have included a video of this pandal at the end of this post, it is a brief video, and I don't know why I hurried through it...sorry about that...but it will give you an idea.

Ahiritola Durga puja pandal 2018
Entrance to the pandal

The chipped floor effect

So well looks so authentic!
This following pictures are from the Kumartuli Sarbojonin durga puja where the theme was Matti (soil). Very beautifully done with reusable material; I especially liked the idols because of the unique treatment.
Durga idol, Kumartuli Sarbojonin 

Kumartuli Sarbojonin durga puja
Pandal decorations, innovative and unique!



Ceilng is beautifully decorated

I like the different portrayal of he idols