Tag Archives: Birds

Down in Lansdowne

Originally known as, Kaludanda, after Kalun (Black) and Danda (Hill) in the local language, Lansdowne was founded and named after the then Viceroy of India, Lord Henry Lansdowne in 1887.

IMG_1164Today, Lansdowne is a cantonment town in Pauri Garhwal district of  Uttarakhand and houses the command office of the famous Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army.

At an elevation of 4600 ft, Lansdowne presents a unique choice of a hill station still in its pristine glory. However this may deter those who would want all the amenities of a comfortable holiday.

It was a three day getaway to this place with family and the sights of this place that relaxed my mind.

This is one of the signs you cannot afford to miss if you are driving on your own (or like us you might end up a little lost).

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The first thing that meets the eye are unending blue pine forests and thick oak trees.

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After a refreshing time in the resort we headed out for the touristy places. First there was the War Memorial, at the Parade Ground of the Garhwal Rifles Center. The Regimental Museum (also called the Darwan Singh Sanghralaya), houses artefacts from the beginning of the Regiment. No photos were allowed of course 😦 only this one of the entrance.

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We then headed to the two churches that Lansdowne is known for:

St. Mary’s Church was was built by Colonel AHB Hume in 1896 and has been restored now by Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre.

st marys church hdr pano2-2 Pre-independence photographs and an audio-visual display of the Regiment’s history can be viewed at this place.

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St. John’s Church is a Roman Catholic Church situated on the mall road. St. John’s Church is the only Church of worship in Lansdowne.

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Experimented with a bit of HDR to get the feel of the church interiors

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The guest book there appeared like a divine list in the light of the window … 🙂

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The only place that offers a bit of the usual refreshment is the Garhwal Mandal Rest house.

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For me this place, was a set straight out of a horror flick!

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Fortunately, the GMVN is constructing new wooden cottages which I plan to visit if I make this trip again.

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Tip n Top (aka Tiffin Top) is a vantage point that promises both views of the sunrise and sunset, but which also has too many people vying for space.

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Because of a technical malfunction in my car I could not wait till sunset and had to head to the local market to get a puncture removed from the tyre.

The evening was spent at Bhulla Taal (Little Brother Lake) which is maintained by the Garhwal Rifles.

IMG_1075The serene waters and the colourful paddle boats were invitation enough for me to exercise my legs and spend the time with the ducks.

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Bhulla Taal has its fair share of wildlife, and these guinea pigs kept my little son in splits.

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But the best part of the holiday for me was spending time in the balcony of the resort letting in the panoramic view around.

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The tea they made there was unmatched to any I tasted before!

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Got a few stills of the birds too…

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The evening walk too were fantastic photo ops…

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…. and there was enough time to fool around with the camera settings to get a bit artsy

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And these are a few miscellaneous shots that bear a mention… 


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Three days and a lung full of fresh air later, it was time to get back to the grind!

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Look the other way

An important rule in photography is to break the rules!

And when a photographer is lost into composing a scene before him, there might  be something more interesting happening in the other direction…

This was my experience when Sunday evening saw my wife and me out on a leisurely drive. We landed at the quietest and most scenic place closest to home, the church on the mount. And while I was composing this picture, there was a sudden exclamation from her.

“Look the other way,” she said.  And behind me on a tiny branch, framed within the most breathtaking view of the river Mandovi was a very magnificent bird. I felt like kicking myself, because this was one day I had deliberately not taken the Sony H50 and was stuck with my cell phone camera… however I quite liked the output.

If you zoom in closer into the picture, you will just see the yellow bird right in the centre… 😉

The Last Beach – Polem

The place is ‘Polem’. The last beach on the southernmost tip of Goa and the drive promised to be an adventure.

Yes, it is

Took off from Mapusa at 7:00 am and with just one halt at a very scenic place for black tea and bhaji – pav, reached Polem precisely at 10:15 am.

Chai Time on the way

Polem beach is just off the main highway NH17 which proceeds to Karwar.

Beach Panorama

The first sight of the short expanse of sand, almost a tiny alcove felt so welcoming!
For the entire morning there was no one at the beach… save a few dogs and water birds.

Scouting bird

This one was a treat to follow around and watch it scouting for tiny crabs.

Where is my food?

The 'food' scuttles for safety

It was time for some sea-food!

Sea food shack

It was from a shack like this that food arrived! An extremely spicy plate of squids!

It's alive!

What followed was a long walk on the beach, collecting some really shiny shells and generally taking in the sights

Timing is everything

Did I mention, that Polem is just 15 kms from Karwar (Karnataka), and we decided to make a quick foray into the neighbouring state…

Besides the surprisingly cheap vegetables and fish we got out there, there were two stops:

Rabindranath Tagore Beach

It always surprises me that beaches in places other than Goa need to have so many other distractions for visitors. This one boasted of a children’s park, a walkway and a warship museum… is the beach not enough…?

This is the Museum 😉

Evening tea at Karmal Ghat, and we were back in Goa.

I got just what i was looking for – a long drive and an enriching experience… the journey was important, not the destination!

Bye Bye Karwar

Bondla Sunday

One day for classes to begin, and I wanted to make the most of the weekend. Sunday saw me at Bondla with a small
group of friends.
Bondla http://www.goa-tourism.com/abt_goa.asp?id=4&title=forests is one of the smaller wildlife sanctuaries in
Goa in Ponda. After an hour’s drive from Panjim, we were at the gates paying our toll.
Took a walk around a small lake which houses a couple of crocodiles. Try and spot one (Clue: if you find bubbles
rising to the surface of the water, there is a high probabality that there is a croc down under ;))
It’s always good to keep your eyes on the ground in these places. There is always an occassional mushroom or a
unique frog …
There was this interesting caterpillar who stuck on to the windshield of my car for quite some time
Interesting tree formation. Stems that are coiled like high tension wires, roots that exude water…
We found our way to the “Watch-tower” from where there were a number of birds we spotted, though most were
too quick for me to capture on camera. A mention also of the numerous spiders you can spot out here
Rains and forests… and you will chance upon numerous fresh water springs like this one.
It was then an afternoon swim in a fast flowing stream, with the falling rain all over… not exactly a time for
photography…
But that place had a host of butterflies all over and none too shy to be photographed!
Deer are a common site in the trees. And this was one of the gutsy deer that didn’t mind striking a pose.

One day for classes to begin, and I wanted to make the most of the weekend. Sunday saw me at Bondla with a small group of friends.

Bondla is one of the smaller wildlife sanctuaries in Goa (Ponda). After an hour’s drive from Panjim, we were at the gates paying our toll.

Toll Gate Bondla

Toll Gate Bondla

Took a walk around a small lake which houses a couple of crocodiles. Try and spot one (Clue: if you find bubbles rising to the surface of the water, there is a high probabality that there is a croc down under ;))

Spot the crocodile

Spot the crocodile

Crocodile lake

Crocodile lake

It’s always good to keep your eyes on the ground in these places. There is always an occassional mushroom or a unique frog …

Three is company

Three is company

Dont try this at home

Dont try this at home

There was this interesting caterpillar who stuck on to the windshield of my car for quite some time

Underbelly caterpillar

Underbelly caterpillar

Interesting tree formation. Stems that are coiled like high tension wires, roots that exude water…

High tension tree trunks

High tension tree trunks

Exudates

Exudates

We found our way to the “Watch-tower” from where there were a number of birds we spotted, though most were too quick for me to capture on camera.

Watch tower

Watch tower

Blue bee-eater

Blue bee-eater

A mention also of the many spiders you can spot out here

How many legs should a spider have?

How many legs should a spider have?

Spidey

Spidey

Rains and forests… and you will chance upon numerous fresh water springs like this one.

Spring up!

Spring up!

Giant ant

Giant ant

It was then an afternoon swim in a fast flowing stream, with the falling rain all over… not exactly a time for photography…

But that place had a host of butterflies all over and none too shy to be photographed!

Butterfly and the fly

Butterfly and the fly

Black or white

Black or white

This leaf is where I want to be

This leaf is where I want to be

Is it me you're looking for?

Is it me you're looking for?

Beauty!

Beauty!

Competition

Competition

Deer are a common site in the trees. And this was one of the gutsy deer that didn’t mind striking a pose.

Spot-a-deer

Spot-a-deer

I’m like a bird…

You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now – and nothing can stand in your way!

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull – Richard Bach

The Eagle

The Eagle

Watch a bird soaring high and you will find your own soul moving up with it…

The Loner

The Loner

The symbols abound… Birds have been the symbols of war and peace, heartiness (the American turkey) and national pride (the peacock in India); wisdom (owl) and freedom (sea gull); spiritual awareness (hawk) and power (eagle), death (raven) and immortality (phoenix)  (Birds: Symbols and Meanings)

Vulture atop the Taj Mahal

Vulture atop the Taj Mahal

The alchemists used the bird as a symbol similarly. The essential thing about birds is that they, having as their domain the air element, mediate between the earthly realm and the heaven world. The alchemist in observing the flight of birds, recognised in them a picture of the human soul undergoing spiritual development.

Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

My alma mater, St. Xavier’s, Mumbai, used the eagle as a symbol to soar high, and reach for the skies with its motto: Provocans ad Volandum (provoke to fly)

I still remember a part of the lyrics from the college song:

Reach for the sky,

Let you light shine

Like an eagle, let your spirit fly

Xavier’s Song [the complete lyrics]

Pictures of birds are quite a challenge to capture… Here are some of my personal favorites.

Feel free to share some of your thoughts when you think of birds…

 

Mr. Fidgety

Mr. Fidgety

Stalker in the field

Stalker in the field

 

 

Bush bird

Bush bird

Sea bird

Sea bird

Down by the river side

Down by the river side

Another stalker

Another stalker