Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pangot in Nainital, India, is a must visit for bird watchers

Pangot, Nainital, India
Pangot is a small town in Nainital, Uttarakhand, India. Located at a height of 6,000 feet, it is around 15 km from Nainital which is another popular tourist destination.

Pangot is a very popular destination for bird watchers, one can see a variety of Himalayan species such as, Lammergeier, Himalayan griffon, blue-winged Minla, spotted & slaty-backed Forktail, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Khalij pheasant, cheer pheasant and a variety of thrushes etc. Pangot is very-well connected and is easily accessible by road, rail, and air.

  • The nearest railhead is Kathgodam; Pangot is around 40 km from Kathgodam.It should take you close to 2 hours to reach Pangot.
  • There are buses that ply from Delhi to Kathgodam
  • The nearest airport is Pantnagar. Pangot is around 75 km and will likely take around 3 hours to reach.
  • You can drive from Delhi to Nainital, the distance is around 300 km and will take you around 7-8 hours.

Here are some bird pictures taken by Soma Jha. I will post some more in my next post.

Altai accentor
black-headed jays

Black-lored tit

Fmeale plum-headed parakeet cutely enjoying a fruit

Himalayan Griffon


Sunday, February 21, 2016

A UNESCO world heritage site Temple: Brihadeeswarar

Brihadeeswarar Temple view
Easily one of the most imposing temples in India, Brihadeeswarar temple was completed in 1010 AD, and built in the regime of emperor Raja Raja Chola I.

Located in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India, this UNESCO world heritage site temple's Dravidian architecture is out of the world!

There are two very elaborate and beautiful gates that you will come across after entering through the first gate. Before reaching the main temple, you can’t miss the beautiful Nandi statue. Carved out of a single granite rock, the statue of Nandi (the sacred bull) which is around 4.9 m long and 4 m high! The Nandi statue is perhaps the largest in India!

 A long assembly hall leads to the central shrine which houses the Shiva lingam (around 4 m high). The temple tower is very-very tall, it is as high as 216 ft, and the structure on the top of the temple is made out of a single rock (weighing approx 80 tons!). A long ramp was constructed up to the top of the temple so that this huge rock could be dragged up and placed there! This temple tower happens to be one of the tallest in the world.

There are beautiful murals around the southern walls cloister, and an interesting water spout in the temple compound. There is a shrine dedicated to Raja Raja Chola's guru. The temple has a lot of beautiful images of deities and dancers. The outer wall around the temple was put much later in the 16th century.

If one had to choose to see one temple in South India, I would point to Brihadeshwara.

Here are some pictures of the Brihadeeswarar Temple. These pictures are courtesy Soma Jha.

2 nd and 3rd gates and main temple vimana visible
Brihadeeswarar temple
3rd gate sculpture Brihadeeswarar temple

Shiva statue, Brihadeeswarar
Murals in Nandi pavilion

Murals on the southern walled cloister
Karuvur Devur shrine-Raja Raja Chola's Guru

Water spout, Brihadeeswarar