Monday, May 28, 2012

Wild Encounters in Gir

Ever since I returned from a short and unexpected trip to Gir, I have been asked the same question - "Did you see a lion?" Our main interest in visiting sanctuaries seems to be the sightings of the big cats... and no wonder. They are so rare these days! Our Gir trip was eventful and full of adventure. But did we see a lion? Read my post on the Club Mahindra Blog to find out!!!


Click here to read the post. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Miniature Railway Museum

My fascination with model railways goes back a long way. From the time I read in books about people setting up their own model railways in their lofts to when I grew older and heard of actual miniature villages with working models of trains running through them. Unfortunately, the nearest I could get to a miniature train was one going round and round in a track. Later, thanks to an aunt and uncle living in the US, I got a small train, which chugged around on a track, with a little fellow sliding into the train midway and then being dropped off at a tiny station. It kept me engaged for hours on end, and was my prized possession for many years until I finally had to part with it when I went to college. With the arrival of the internet, I discovered the joys of you tube, and enjoyed seeing miniature trains running over well laid out railway lines, amidst beautifully constructed houses and realistic looking scenery. Going abroad to see one of these didn’t seem very feasible, so I turned my energies to making my own small version, for our navaratri golus. It did help that by then, Samhith had also become interested, and had his own Thomas the Tank Engine sets to play with! Our set today can fill up the entire house, and with our Lego blocks, we can happily make our own version of cities and villages, and with the number of cars and animals we have, we even manage to bring a semblance of life to it. 

Our attempt at making a miniature city with a railway line running through it


Yet, I still dreamt of one day going abroad to see one of the miniature cities!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Serving Water to the Thirsty

It is said that the best charity is giving food to the hungry and water to the thirsty. The latter is especially true in the hot summer months, when a parched throat can make life feel miserable, and nothing is more welcome than a glass of cool water. All over India, there are people who take this literally, and serve water on the roads in summer, free of cost. There are some who place earthen pots of water by the side of the road, under a shady tree and make sure it is re-filled, while others set up water coolers at public spaces. 

While in Jaipur, at a temple we visited, a girl sat at a small window with a pot of water, patiently serving every thirsty soul.....



Friday, May 25, 2012

Hoopoe

The Hoopoe is said to be quite a common bird, usually found in fields. However, to those of us who get to see it rarely, it is as good as any of the exotic birds!! We first saw hoopoes on our trip to Binsar, but this time, at Jaipur, we got to see them in large numbers. I saw plenty of them, but photographing them turned out to be a challenge!! They moved so quickly, that most of my images came out blurred. Here is the one decent image I managed to click.....



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Garden Lizards

We see garden lizards all the time in our backyard. But when you have a new camera to try out, it looks interesting enough to photograph!!! This one was so perfectly camouflaged that Samhith had to point it out to me several times before I managed to spot it....


Monday, May 21, 2012

Laughing Dove or Little Brown Dove

My in-laws were in Jaipur for a brief period, and that was where we began our summer vacation. While the house was in an area far from any places of interest, we found plenty of things to interest us.... especially birds, which offered lots of scope for trial and error with my brand new camera!! Here are some of my first attempts....

This is quite a common type of dove, known as the Laughing Dove all over the world, but apparently known as the Little Brown Dove in India. (at least according to Wikipedia!!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Alibag article on Spice Flair

It is a small coastal town, dwarfed by its neighbor – the concrete jungle of Mumbai. Yet, Alibag manages to hold its own, with beaches, forts and temples, a wealth of history within a small area. Alibag has, for long, been the favorite destination for Mumbai-ites looking for a short break from their hectic lifestyles. It is, after all, easily accessible from the city – it is barely 30 Km by the sea, and plenty of ferries are available from the Gateway of India. It’s not too far by road either, for the 100 Km journey takes barely 2 hours to cover. I have always preferred the sea route however, enjoying the feel of the sea breeze in my hair, watching the view of the Mumbai skyline fading away, seeing ships from all over the world at the Mumbai harbor, and of course, the chance of spotting sea gulls or even dolphins!



I have been to Alibag twice. My first visit led to an entire series on the beaches, temples and forts which attract us to the coastal town. My second visit was an unplanned one, which happened suddenly, thanks to a cousin's visit. This visit was short, but just as much fun as the first visit. Looks like we can never have enough of Alibag!!! 


Read my complete article on Spiceflair.com to know more about Alibag and its attractions....



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Somnath - A Story of Constant Change... My post on the Club Mahindra Blog

The stepped seating arrangement made the place look like an amphitheatre – a small one though. In front of us was a huge temple, behind us the sea. The cool breeze was a welcome respite from the scorching heat of the day. Over us, the moon shone, brighter than usual, for it was a full moon night, and all around, the stars twinkled, perhaps smiling at us humans who had gathered to hear a story, almost as old as time. And why not? For the story we had gathered to hear, involved them – the moon and the stars….




Click here to Read my full story of Somnath on the Club Mahindra Blog......

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Trip of Many Firsts!!!

I am back at last!!!! And what a trip it has been!!

This was a trip of many firsts.......

The first time my carefully laid plans were laid waste, all the tickets I had booked well in advance had to be booked all over again, and yet my trip went on as planned, with little or no changes at all!!!!

 This was the first time I was bitten by a scorpion,

The first time we were royally duped by our cab driver,

This was NOT the first time some completely unknown stranger came to our help in a way we never imagined, but certainly the first time we got to know them well, and could actually thank them for their timely help!


This was also the first time we spent an entire day and a half in a train without getting any sort of food except tea and cutlets.... and as Samhith is repeating behind my back.... Omelettes!

And oh yes, this was also my first visit to almost all the places I visited!!!!

After all this, need I say that my trip was memorable?

For those of you who are still in the dark about my destination, there were many....

We began our trip with a quick visit to Jaipur... my first visit to the Pink City..


We then went to Jammu and from there to Vaishnodevi, a trip I had been planning for years without any success, but a trip that turned out to be worth the long wait!!! We climbed the mountain, taking a leisurely seven hours to do so, and then stayed at Bhawan.. near the temple itself.. That was an experience we shall never forget... just imagine a place so cold in May that we had to use 5 blankets to keep ourselves warm!!!! And that was just the beginning!!! 

We headed over to Srinagar, where we spent a couple of days enjoying the view of snow clad mountains and getting to frolic in the snow at Gulmarg too!!!

It was then time to get back to Jammu, and then on to Amritsar, a place I had last visited about 30 years back!!!

After all this, we were too tired to proceed any further, and finally headed back home, our pockets empty, and mounds of unwashed clothes reminding us that we were back to our normal lives!!!

I have taken too many photographs to upload at one go, so it will take some time... Meanwhile,thanks to all of you who have left comments on my blog during my absence. I shall try to reply to each one of you as soon as I manage to sit on the comp for a few hours!

And before I forget, I had promised to send postcards to those who guessed my destination right... Unfortunately, few of you were adventurous enough to make wild guesses :D But I am in such a happy mood and have bought so many postcards that I would love to send all of you postcards anyway!! So, those of you who would like postcards from Jaipur, Srinagar or Amritsar, please drop me a mail at anushankarn(at)gmail(dot)com with your address and a postcard will be on its way!!

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