Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Karnataka, India

The Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery-
Golden temple
In my recent visit to Coorg in Karnataka, I discovered that Coorg has a little Tibet in it. In fact it is one of the largest settlements of Tibetans in India .Very colourful and serene, the Tibetan settlement is near a place called "Kushalnagar" in Coorg. Kushalnagar will take you around 4-5 hours to reach by road if you are driving from Bengaluru.

I found out from Wikipedia that "The Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery" happens to be the largest teaching centre of Nyingmapa in the World.

Here is a video which will give you a glimpse into the beautiful Golden temple in the monastery complex. More on Coorg in my next post.






Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nature: Random images

I am sharing some pictures from my garden; the pictures are not good, but it is nice to see flowers blooming and birds chirping.

Wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy new 2014!




Tailorbird
Tailorbird


Magpie Robin
Bulbul


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Khichan in Rajasthan, India: A must visit for nature enthusiasts

Demoiselle cranes, Khichan
Tucked away in a rather remote area of Rajasthan is a village called Khichan. Khichan is not a place that usually features in a tourist's list. It is one of those off-the beaten destinations that is well-worth visiting though.

You will likely hear of this place from birding enthusiasts, in fact  that is how I came to know of  Khichan. My  cousin Soma, who is an active birder told me about the existence of this place. She went there last winter and clicked some awesome pictures. Khichan is a must visit if you wish to witness quite an unusual sight.

Would you like to see hundreds of Demoiselle cranes in one place?
Khichan is where you can witness this amazingly beautiful and unusual sight.

Flocks Demoiselle cranes
Khichan
Demoiselle cranes
Rajasthan, India

This migration has been happening since a very long time.The locals have helped in conserving and protecting this area. The cranes are fed grains every day and that is a lot of food! This has been possible because of monitory support from locals and donations from visitors and other organisations who are helping in preserving and conserving this natural phenomenon.

How to reach Khichan : From Jodhpur- You can take a train to Jodhpur in Rajasthan and hire a car from Jodhpur. Keechan is around 145 kms from Jodhpur. You can plan a day trip. Keechan will be on your way to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur. Jodhppur to Jaisalmer is around 285 kms and will take around 4 hours. There will be slight detour to Khichan but that is the best way to go if you plan to go from Jodhpur. The journey from Jodhpur to Keechan will take you around 2.5 hours. Keechan is not far from Pokhran which is around 66 kms away (around 1 hour).

Best time to Visit: Winter (October to March): November to February is the best season

Sharing some pictures from my cousin's trip to Khichan.

Demoiselle cranes, Khichan, Rajasthan,India
Khichan, Rajasthan, Demoiselle cranes 



Demoiselle crane Khichan

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bhitarkanika National Park, Odisha, India

Bhitarkanika National Park
Odisha, India
If you are fond of Wildlife sanctuaries and have not visited Bhitarkanika yet, it should feature in your list of places to visit. Bhitarkanika National Park is a national park located in Odisha in India.Located in Kendrapara District of Odisha, Bhitarkanika is best known for the Olive Ridley turtles and endangered salt water crocodiles.

The best time to visit Bhitarkanika is during Summers and winters.Though winters are much more pleasant and preferable. The best way to reach Bhitarkanika is from Bhubaneswar. Bhubaneswar has an airport and rail station as well. Bhitarkanika is around 160 kms from Bhubaneswar.

The mangrove forest reminds me of Sunderbans in West Bengal. If you are lucky you might get to sight king cobras, black ibis, and many other reptiles and birds.

The link below will provide you more information on Bhitarkanika:

http://www.odishafdc.com/bhitarkanika.php

I am posting some pictures from Bhitarkanika; Credit for the pictures go to Soma Jha.


Mangrove forest of
Bhitarkanika
Crocodile at
Bhitarkanika


Black-capped Kingfisher
Bhitarkanika
Brown winged Kingfisher
Bhitarkanika


Collared Kingfisher
Bhitarkanika
White bellied Sea Eagle,
Bhitarkanika


Water Moniter Bhitarkanika
Odisha

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Jazz Fest 2013 Kolkata

Jazz fest Kolkata, 2013













Every year Dalhousie Institute in Ballygunge, Kolkata, plays host to the much awaited Jazz fest (Congo Square Jazz Fest). It is usually a three day festival and happens around Nov-Dec.

I did manage to catch it today. I have been missing this event for the last two years. A good number of musicians from all over the world especially, USA, Germany, Mexico, Australia, and India perform in this fest. The ambiance is electric. It is essentially Jazz fusion music and I love it.

Kolkata seems to have a lot of Jazz lovers, I could barely find a place to sit...there were youngsters and elderly people and all of them were enjoying the music. The weather this time of the year is pleasant and it is a perfect time indeed to relax and enjoy Jazz.

Here's a small clipping of one of the performances, could not get a good coverage from where I was sitting:(




Sunday, November 24, 2013

Butterflies from the North East of India

Wavy Maplet butterfly

These beautiful butterflies and insects are from North-Eastern India. The pictures were taken by my cousin, Soma, in a forest by the name of Joypur which is around 50 kms South of Tinsukia in Assam.






Dark Archduke
Elbowed Pierrot-butterfly


Plant hopper
White Dragontail


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Terracotta Durga puja pandal 2013

Durga Idol
In retrospect, I am posting pictures of another Durga puja pandal from Kolkata. I will post some more pandals that were a bit different and unique this year. 

This pandal in South Kolkata was based on a terracotta temple. It looked so genuine, it was unbelievable that this so authentic looking terracotta temple complex was actually a pandal and would be there for just 5 days! The artists had taken pains to make this temple look old and authentic. And the result was beautiful! This Bengali festival certainly brings out the most creative stuff.




The pandal complex
Entrance


Lateral View 
The pandal complex  with
a sculpture


Side walls of the temple
Work on the walls
of the terracotta complex


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Diwali Fireworks at Jadavpur Kolkata

Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most popular festivals in India. On this day in Bengal, Goddess Kali is worshiped.

Fireworks are an essential part of this festival and are very popular. So much so that fireworks competitions are organized in quite a few areas in Kolkata. In Jadavpur, every year, a fireworks competition is organized on Diwali. Usually, there are Fountain fireworks (Anars) on display. If any of the fireworks were to burst then the participants would get disqualified. The participants give interesting names to their fireworks. This brief clipping will give you an idea.





Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

Happy Diwali!

Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated all over India. I love this time of the year because not only does the weather start getting cooler, there is positive energy everywhere. 

Interestingly, even though this festival is celebrated all over India, there is a subtle difference in how and why Diwali is celebrated in different parts of India.

In north India, it is believed that on this day, Rama's returned to Ayodhya after 14 years in exile and diyas were lit in order to welcome Rama. For Jains, diwali is a celebration in honour of Mahavira who attained nirvana on this day. On this auspicious day Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped. Since diwali marks the end of harvert season, people seek the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi for a prosperous year ahead.

In Bengal, Diwali is better known as Kali puja. Goddess Kali is worshiped on this new moon day.  In Bengal, on the day before Diwali there is a tradition of lighting up 14 candles. This is in honor of their ancestors and to dispel negative energies.

In Northern Bihar’s Mithila region, diwali is celebrated by lighting up diyas in the memory of the departed souls.

And if we move out of India towards the West, I find quite a bit of similarity between Halloween and Diwali. Not only do these two festivals get celebrated around the same time but the reason behind the events is also somewhat similar. Halloween is dedicated to remembering the departed souls, saints, believers... similarly in many parts of India, diwali signifies exactly this. 

Interesting!

To me, Diwali is about removing ignorance (darkness) by bringing in knowledge (light).

I wish all of you a prosperous, happy, healthy, successful, and peaceful year ahead.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Durga puja pandal based on a library!

Durga idol 

A completely different concept for Durga puja pandal. The theme of this pandal in South Kolkata is a library and the idea is to promote reading. Quite an interesting concept indeed!

I wonder what will they come up with next?

My next post has some more interesting concepts from Durga puja 2013.

Entrance to the pandal
A small little hut in keeping
with the theme


Entrance to the pandal
Durga puja pandal with
books and guitar


Nicely done
A book rack
in the pandal


Durga puja
mantra
A popular Bengali poem


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Durga puja at one of the oldest residences in Bhawanipur, Kolkata

Durga Idol at
the Girish Mukherjee
residence
Durga puja at the Girish Mukherjee house in Bahawnipur, Kolkata is over 100 years old.

This beautiful old house and the people have upheld the tradition of celebrating Durga puja in the same traditional way over the years. All members of the family get together for Durga puja, the sense of togetherness and the spirit of festivity in this household is infectious! And not to miss the dhakis who complete the whole picture by drumming in the beats of happiness.




Durga painting
Beautiful old house-
Girish Mukherjee bari
Bhawanipur, Kolkata


Entrance of the house
The family gets together
for the evening Durga arati
on Nabami


Durga Arati on Nabami
Dhakis with their
colourful drums