Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Lone Sailor and the Lighthouse

The Lone Sailor- Silent Sentinel of Sea in Eternal Vigil
Ross Island, one of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is just fifteen minutes boat ride from Port Blair and a sure shot half-day trip destination for tourists visiting Andaman. This is the very island which took the massive blow of tsunami on Dec 2004 and saved the city of Port Blair from all damage! In its golden days, when it used to be the erstwhile capital of the Andaman Islands it was designed with all modern amenities, beautiful architectural elements and even electricity supply, which made it appear like a colossal ship at night from its neighboring islands. In those days Ross was ornamented enough to be called the "Paris of East". Presently you'll find nothing but ruins of those historical structures apart from its unremarkable flora and fauna. But, if you take the trouble of walking up to the extreme other end of the island (opposite to the jetty), crossing the ruins of church, you'll witness its serene and exquisite most landscape comprising the pristine Ferrar Beach, a lighthouse (perhaps long abandoned), The Lone Sailor- Silent Sentinel of Sea in Eternal Vigil (a statue) and the long red bridge connecting them.
The Lone Sailor- Silent Sentinel of Sea in Eternal Vigil
The Lone Sailor- Silent Sentinel of Sea in Eternal Vigil was established on 11th Aug 2010, in tribute to those who perished to provide peace and security for our nation, in honor of those who served to forge the heritage of the service, in gratitude to those now serving and lastly, in salute to those who will follow the honorable tradition of joining the noble profession of arms in defense of our country. I thought to feature this statue of The Lone Sailor in the 100th post of ClickingPhotos and dedicate this photo post to the abiding memory of valiant sons of our motherland who laid down their lives in defense of the country and have no other graves than the sea. On the way back a board caught my sight and melted my heart, that read, "When you go home tell them of us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today". Jai Hind, I guess I could be obedient this time. Anyway, it has been a rough year for me and I hope 2015 turns out slightly better. As I'll be traveling for coming few days chances are less that there'll be another post after this in 2014. Wish you and your family a happy and prosperous new year! Folks, see you next year...
The Lone Sailor- Silent Sentinel of Sea in Eternal Vigil

Monday, December 22, 2014

Old but not Outdated - Today's Photo Theme

Old but not Outdated
The vintage car and the analog fuel pump, somewhere in Nepal.
While clicking photos on the go, we come across a lot of subjects which are still alive with their bygone essence, in the same good old form. They are definitely old, but certainly not outdated. Even though we sometimes find analog petrol pumps at rural areas, spotting a classic Contessa car at the same fuel station is no routine finding... what do you say? I always had a crush for Contessa and till date I find it damn elegant! The second photograph with the motorized vessel is quite a common scene in Bengal, especially in regions nurtured by River Ganga. Somehow, I resisted my intense urge of including a couple of tram photos in today's photo theme "Old but not Outdated" ... after all, I'll be continuously needing more photos to keep ClickingPhotos alive. One thing I can't stop admitting- photo blogging on a random photo theme is turning out to be quite addictive!
Old but not Outdated
The wooden motorized vessel over River Ganga.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Into the Wild - Today's Photo Theme

Into the Wild
A group of travelers exploring the Tropical Rain Forests of Andaman.
Sometimes it is fun picking out photographs from your collection matching with a particular theme. Randomly I selected "Into the Wild" as today's theme and I must confess that it's never easy for a hobbyist clicker to choose a couple of photos from his hard-drive which would fit a random theme. Reason is quite simple- we amateurs and point & shooters do not usually plan photographic sessions and added to that we hardly bother to categorize our hunts.
Into the Wild
An Indian one-horned Rhinoceros of Jaldapara National Park.
Anyway, today I crossed the bridge somehow. Someday when I run out of life I would walk into the wild in search of my lost soul and eloped heart... Oops is it getting melodramatic? Don't worry, I'll come up with a philosophical theme for my next photo post (I wish there was a provision to wink!).
Into the Wild
A departing Elephant of Bardia National Park.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Old Goa Monuments - Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Old Goa Monuments - Church of St. Francis of Assisi
In this final photo post of the Old Goa Monuments series I'm presenting before you the Church of St. Francis of Assisi which lies to the west of Se Cathedral and shares more or less similar external architectural pattern. This church was built in 1661. At present date, the convent of this church has been modified to an Archaeological Museum. The three tier facade of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi has octagonal tower on each side and in the central niche there is a statue of St. Michael. The main entrance of this church is beautifully decorated with circular pilasters and rosette bands. The internal buttress walls separating the chapels and supporting the gallery on top have frescoes exhibiting floral designs. Above the tabernacle in the main altar you'll come across a large statue of St. Francis of Assisi and also another statue of Jesus on the cross. On both sides you can find old painted wooden panels depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Can't really say whether it was due to the lack of much tourists inside or its high artistic quotient, few minutes of stillness inside this church could really rejuvenate my sun-sucked traveling soul! Go to Goa... other than beaches and innocent naughtiness keep some time for these splendid monuments too.
Old Goa Monuments - Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Old Goa Monuments - Se Cathedral

Old Goa Monuments - Se Cathedral
Interior view of Se Cathedral, towards the main altar.
It has been a while since I posted photos of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, as a part of the Old Goa Monuments series and my sincere apologies for delaying that photo series. Today's monument is Se Cathedral, a grand church of old Goa that was built in the first quarter of the seventeenth century. It is located opposite to the Basilica of Bom Jesus, adjacent to the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Chapel of St. Catherine and the Archaeological Museum. Although this is the fourth photo post of this series, it was the second destination in my old Goa monuments itinerary. Se Cathedral is not only one of the most revered monuments of Goa but also one of the largest churches in Asia!
Old Goa Monuments - Se Cathedral
Bougainvillea shrub could be a perfect foreground for Se Cathedral if the sun wasn't overhead!
The main altar of Se Cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine and interesting, besides the main altar this church has eight more chapels and six altars. The richly gilded panel shows the martyrdom of the saint. On either side of the nave there are wooden statues of St. Paul and St. Peter. Several gilded and painted episodes over the walls are sure to earn your liking.
Old Goa Monuments - Se Cathedral
Main altar of Se Cathedral with its richly gilded panel, showing martyrdom of St. Catherine.
The interior of Se Cathedral has Corinthian style of architecture whereas its exterior has Tuscan pattern. A bell-tower on southern side of its facade used to possess a golden bell which was heard all over the Goa! I don't think I have to specially recommend you to visit Se Cathedral because every tourist/traveler whoever visits Old Goa doesn't give it a miss. Here I end my blah-blah so that I can start choosing photos for the next post of this series.
Old Goa Monuments - Se Cathedral
On your right lies the Se Cathedral. To me this whole frame resembles an European university.

Sleeping Peacefully

Puppy Sleeping Peacefully
We're glad that more enthusiastic point and shooters are collaborating with us and this time our guest photographer is Ajeet Sharma. This is a picture of a stray pup sleeping under a massive door of one of the entrances of Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi. The thing that made Ajeet click it was how peacefully this little thing slept under that massive door, on a hot summer afternoon, under a relatively dark and cooler insides of the gate, amidst all the chaos created by visitors! As of now, Ajeet is a mobile phone shooter, enjoying and exploiting his Huawei U9200. He blogs at Metro Greens to document his journey as a plant lover. In next photo post, Old Goa Monuments series would start rolling in again... please do visit back.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Old Goa Monuments - Church of Our Lady of the Rosary

Old Goa Monuments - Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
Take the the road passing south of the Basilica of Bom Jesus and it will take you to a bifurcation. The prominent one at your left would lead you to the ruins of St. Augustine complex and the relatively narrower, mildly ascending path at right shall take you atop Monte Santo where you'll discover the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, one of the oldest churches of Goa built more than 450 years ago. This white, Gothic, archaic church with a brass bell at its top, surrounded by grassy lawns from all side, overlooks River Mandovi and undoubtedly your best bet if you're searching for peace and tranquility. Its strategic location on the top of the Holy Hill and lack of a second intruder may give you the pleasant illusion that you're vacationing in your own medieval castle!
Old Goa Monuments - Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
The inside of this church looks more like a military barrack!
Wide rounded towers and multiple windows near the roof make this two storied church look like a fort. The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary has two chapels and three altars, among which the main altar is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary ("Our Lady of the Rosary" is a title of the blessed Virgin Mary). My photo series on Old Goa Monuments will continue, so do watch out for the next church, day after tomorrow. If you haven't checked out my earlier posts of this series, click here for a glimpse of the ruins of St. Augustine complex, or, the Basilica of Bom Jesus.
Old Goa Monuments - Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
The brass metal bell at the top adds an element of fantasy to the beauty of this archaic church.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus

Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus
Tourists posing in front of the Basilica of Bom Jesus
Although I started my "Old Goa Monuments" photo series with the ruins of St. Augustine complex, the Basilica of Bom Jesus was the first monument I had visited in Old Goa, and in my humble opinion it was the finest as well as grandest of all! The history of this massive church dates back to 1594 (aged more than 400 years!) and till date it is considered as one of the most outstanding specimens of baroque architecture in India. Thankfully the Basilica of Bom Jesus (in Portuguese, 'Bom Jesus' means Good Jesus) is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus
Interior view of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, towards the main altar.
The church has a cruciform plan with three-storied facade having a main entrance flanked by two smaller entrances. As you enter the church, the exquisite ornamentation of its inside walls will surely impress you. The entire back wall of the main altar is designed, alike the facade in numerous carvings in wood, of pillars, friezes, and arabesques all gilt in pure gold. Above the altar and tabernacle stands a giant statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the priestly vestments almost three meters high. St. Ignatius is the founder of the Society of Jesus whose members are worldwide known as Jesuits. His gaze is fixed immediately on the medallion containing the Greek letters IHS (the first three letters of the Holy name of Jesus).
Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus
An exquisitely carved wooden door!
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is more popular among tourists and sacred among Christians as it houses the coffin of St. Francis Xavier. This sacred coffin made up of pine wood was built during the 1744 exposition. The coffin of St. Francis Xavier is covered on the outer side by  the silver cloth and fine gold lace. Interestingly, this coffin has three brass locks with three keys- one key was kept with the archbishop, another with the Governor and the third with the administrator. During peak season you have to struggle for quite a good time to get a clear shot of the coffin. There is an Art Gallery if you take the stairs up but photography was prohibited in that floor. If you want to know more about the life of St. Francis Xavier, go for the light and sound show which the church organizes in different languages. Don't expect much visual grandeur in that light and sound show as it's more of an education endeavor. I'm done for the day and you keep guessing which will be the next monument on board. Do not forget to check three more photographs posted below...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Old Goa Monuments - Ruins of St. Augustine Complex

Old Goa Monuments - Ruins of St. Augustine Complex
A half day scooter ride to hop from one majestic architecture to the other in the UNESCO listed World Heritage Site of Old Goa is never enough to absorb its Indo-Portugal essence and byzantine aura. When you're left with poverty of time the careful traveler in you auto-transforms into a casual traveler and I did the same to keep up with Darwin's theory. Among half a dozen (more than that actually) of splendid monuments I visited in old Goa, which comprised- the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se' Cathedral, Church and Convent of St Francis of Assisi, Archaeological Museum (Archiepiscopal Palace), Chapel of St Catherine, the Tower of the Church of St Augustine and the Church of our Lady of the Rosary, except the ruins of St. Augustine complex all other archaic structures boasted explicitly of their historical glory and unparalleled combat against sadist time! The Tower of the Church of St. Augustine, a dilapidated bell tower about 46 meters high and more than 400 years old is the prime attraction for travelers visiting the ruins of St. Augustine complex. Although it was my last travel-hunt at old Goa, owing to its pitiable present state, yet spectacular visual appeal I couldn't help inaugurating my Old Goa Monument series with this particular site.
Old Goa Monuments - Ruins of St. Augustine Complex
Inspecting the base area and mossed ruins of the complex even a naive can say that it was a massive structure once upon a time. The colossal five-storied bell tower I just spoke of was built with laterite and forms part of the facade of the Church of St. Augustine facing the east. In the St. Augustine complex you can see ruins of eight chapels, four altars and extensive convent with numerous cells. It may interest someone- why it is only the St. Augustine Church that crumbled down while most other churches of old Goa stand tall till date? Well, St. Augustine complex was abandoned due to the expulsion of the religious orders from Goa in 1835 followed by its ruthless demolition order by Portuguese government in 1846. The collapse of the main vault of the St. Augustine Church marked the prologue of this soulful tale. Unlike most other monuments, the gate of St. Augustine complex is not locked even beyond official visiting hours. So, it'll be rewarding for a photo enthusiast to infiltrate the unguarded campus in the early morning hours. There will be another old Goa monument in my next photo post... Any lucky guess?
Old Goa Monuments - Ruins of St. Augustine Complex

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The final destination of Roopkund Trek

The final destination of Roopkund Trek
Zigzag way to Junargali Pass, just another 500 meters from Roopkund.
There's no suspense that the high altitude glacial lake, Roopkund, lying at odd 5,029 meters on the lap of Garhwal Himalayas is the final destination for trekkers fancying for the Roopkund trek. Other than its picturesque yet rough surrounding landscape preserved by snow covered rocks and secluded glaciers, what brought Roopkund into limelight was the discovery of human skeletons at the base of the lake which become visible as the snow melts. There are many stories humming in the air of Roopkund relating to the origin of those skeletal remains... Interestingly the latest seemingly authentic study revealed that those skeletons are more than 1200 years old! Sadly or funnily (the way you take it), skeletons of the Skeleton Lake (another name for Roopkund) are getting vanished on regular basis and thieves are none other than trekkers and travelers. I don't know when travelers would start realizing that they are supposed to leave nothing but footprints and at the same time they are supposed to carry nothing but memories with them once they leave a destination. Anyway, if you need solid reasons to choose Roopkund as your next trekking destination, simply click on the respective links to check my previous photo blogs on Roopkund trek and conduct the convincing session all by yourself:
* Majestic Snowy Peaks as seen in Roopkund Trek
* Bedini Bugyal - the Dreamscape Alpine Meadow
* Bedini Kund - the unsung mini Himalayan Lake
The final destination of Roopkund Trek
On left lies the frozen Roopkund Lake in October, with her 1200 years old skeletal treasures!
Photographer: Manas Banerjee
Camera used: Canon Powershot S3 IS

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Wanderer Loves his Shoes

A Wanderer Loves his Shoes
Boots guarding a wanderer's feet from the merciless jungle terrain.
Being a traveler, you make sure that you're good with people you come across and most probably you try to be environment friendly too. A traveler makes it a point to appreciate any help he receives. At the end of his trip when he pens down the travel story sometimes he mentions names of people to express gratitude. Although deep in his mind he knows that, it is not the camera, but the photographer, who takes a great photograph, yet his possessiveness cum respect for his camera makes him share those photo compliments he gathers with his photo gadget. There's no denying of the fact that thankfulness is an essential trait of a happy wanderer. There is  something which deserves to be, but seldom acknowledged. It's wanderer's loyal pair of shoes which unfortunately gets skipped in the thanksgiving episode! A wanderer loves his shoes. Despite this perhaps he takes his shoes for granted. I'm no exception here but today I would like to correct my mistake. From the deepest layer of my heart I'm thanking my present as well as all those pairs of past shoes who have silently tolerated the whimsical wandering of a 80 plus kg mass, saving his flat soles from all adversities on the ground. I'm also seeking apology for not remembering you guys ever in any of my travelogues... I'm so ashamed! Hope you (addressing to my shoes) like my clicks and give me many more opportunities to blog about you in coming days.
A Wanderer Loves his Shoes
Sneakers to save his soles from the warm sand or sharp broken shells scattered on the beach.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Samanera Bhikkhus at Work in Lumbini

Samaneras at Work in Lumbini
Samanera (or, Sramanera) is Buddhist monk with "learner's license", i.e.- someone below 20 years of age who has taken lower ordination, but yet to become a full fledged monk (Bhikkhu) by taking higher ordination. After attaining twenty, a smanera can decide whether he wants to ordain as a monk. I met these bunch of adorable boys, of course Samaneras, in the campus of the SriLankan Monastery at Lumbini. Some construction work was on progress and these little monks were happily volunteering for the same. A quick wiki-study made me aware of the Ten Precepts which Samaneras are expected to follow in conjunction with the Buddhist religious life:

* Refrain from killing living creatures.
* Refrain from stealing.
* Refrain from unchastity.
* Refrain from incorrect speech.
* Refrain from taking intoxicants.
* Refrain from taking food after noon.
* Refrain from singing, dancing, playing music and attending entertainment programs.
* Refrain from wearing decorative accessories.
* Refrain from sitting on high chairs and sleeping on luxurious soft beds.
* Refrain from accepting money.

Yes, too many restrictions to follow! Even if moralities are of utmost concern, it is hard to imagine how a adolescent boy/girl would deaf ear his/her biological demand. I see no harm or find no sin if any of these boys dares to taste meat secretly in some restaurant or sip a drink. Anyway, sometimes it's their choice, sometimes compulsion (out of socioeconomic pressure) and I'm certainly in no position to comment on others' religious ways. From an enthusiastic clicker's perspective I must mention, Samaneras are really photogenic and Lumbini is an excellent travel destination!
Samaneras at Work in Lumbini

Friday, November 21, 2014

Nilgai of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary

Nilgai of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
Nilgai have distinct sexual dimorphism. This is a male as you can see horns and tuft of hair down the throat.
Nilgai is the largest Asian antelope found abundantly in India. This particular Nilgai was one of my patient subjects at Bethuadahari Wldlife Sanctuary. In my previous two photo stories on Peacocks and Gharials, I've narrated all necessary details on Bethuadahari which will help you in planning your trip (Click here for a quick Read). Part of my blues accumulated after failing to spot a single deer in the forest walk was efficiently effaced by this tolerant (result of longstanding captivity I guess) nilgai. Although, literally 'Nilgai' means 'Blue Cow', I found it more like a horse. My driver who was accompanying me inside the sanctuary took it for a donkey! The government forest guide when queried was absolutely clueless whether it belonged to cow, ass or deer category (aren't Forest Dept. guides with basic salary over 12,000 bucks supposed to know such basic informations, especially when there are hardly a dozen of enclosed mentionable wildlife in his sanctuary? Shame on the recruiting authority!).
Nilgai of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
Nilgai love to dwell in scrub jungle, feeding on grasses, leaves, buds and fruits.
It might interest a zoologist that Nilgai is the only living member of genus Boselaphus (like we belong to the genus Homo). Although nilgai are commonly found in shrubs and farmlands of northern and central India, they are also seen in parts of Nepal, Pakistan and United States where they were translocated to be preserved as zoo animals from India. Males are gray to bluish-gray having two conical, black horns, whereas, female and young nilgai are tawny brown in color. Here comes a an intriguing fact on nilgai- Both males and females mark their territories by pooping in fixed locations on open ground, with piles building up to reach at least 3 meters in diameter! They also possess scent glands on the legs and close to the feet, which they probably use to scent mark their daily resting places. An adult nilgai can weigh up to 300 kilograms and feeds on grass, straw, bran, rock salt etc in captivity. I think this much is enough for the day, and here ends my photo series on Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary.
Nilgai of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
Although the nilgai population would please a conservationist, farmers may not like these crop raiders!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Peacocks of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary

Peacocks of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
Despite their ability to fly up to tall branches peacocks are too reluctant when it comes to flying. 
In my previous photo story on gharials, I have spoken all necessary details on Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary which will help you to plan your trip (Click here for a quick read). Commonly found wildlife in Bethuadahari forest are spotted deer, mongoose, porcupine, palm civet, jackal, jungle cat, python, cobra, common krait etc. Although this sanctuary is a potential source of deer for translocation, I wasn't lucky enough to spot even a single deer. I had to pacify myself by clicking photos of gharials, nilgai, peacocks and few other birds which were all in enclosures, certainly not something desirable for a photo enthusiast in a wildlife sanctuary. My only fortune cookie in actual wildlife spotting was a mongoose.
Peacocks of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
Peacocks are omnivorous and feed on seeds, crops, insects, fruits, small reptiles and even human excreta!
There were quite a few peacocks in Bethuadahari wildlife sanctuary to console the shutterbug in me. Good thing with peacocks is they are so damn colorful, you can capture them decently under the intense midday sun. Another plus point with peacock is its larger size in comparison to other birds that helps one to photograph it even with a lens of relatively shorter focal length. Most budget point and shoot cameras come with optical zoom up to 4-5X and that is enough to fill your frame with a gorgeous peacock. Although fanning display of feathers (train) is the essence of peacock photography, you won't be able to witness the show in dry seasons. Did you know that there is no color pigment contained in peacock's tail feathers, except brown? Those magical green, blue, turquoise or iridescent colors you find in our national bird's plumage are due to structural coloration, a physical/optical phenomenon! That's all for today... I'll be back soon with photos of a captive Nilgai.
Peacocks of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
Peacock tail feathers are pigmented brown, but due to structural coloration they appear so colorful!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gharials of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary

Gharials of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
Gharial is one of the three crocodilians native to India, other two being mugger and saltwater crocodile.
Shockingly, Gharial, also known as the fish-eating crocodile is listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with a global population of less than 235 individuals! I was lucky to meet five out of total eight gharials at Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary. Bethuadahari, located by NH-34, lying in Nadia-Murshidabad forest division, got its recognition as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1980. This forest area was erstwhile a Zamindari forest, until it got vested in 1919. After it was handed over to the Forest Department in 1949, Teak stands were raised to enrich the area and turmeric used to be cultivated as minor forest product. Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary represents the lower Gangetic plains of West Bengal corresponding to the bio-geographical zone 7B. Although I could spot only gharial, peacock, mongoose, nilgai and few birds in enclosure, Bethuadahari is a potential source of spotted deer for translocation to various Indian forests like Gorumara National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve etc.
Gharials of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
The elongated, narrow snout of an adult gharial is lined by 110 pointed teeth!
In Bethuadahari, you're not allowed to wander around by yourself. Definitely for the interest of wildlife inside the sanctuary and your safety, a guide from the forest department escorts you inside the forest in small groups, for a 20-30 minutes of walk. As of now, guided forest walk is the only facility available to tourists visiting Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary. Official timings are morning 9-12 and afternoon 2-4, all seven days a week. There's a nominal entry fee for visitors but good news for photographers is you won't be charged anything extra for still photography! Our guide expressed his dissatisfaction with his job which was also evident from his lack of knowledge/interest on inhabitants of the very forest. So, I still doubt if there are actually eight gharials at Bethuadahari. If the data is correct I'm happy to console myself with the statistic that 3.5% of worldwide gharial population is safe for sometime. Anyway, reading some wildlife fact sheets after a brief web-search, I can only see gharials in imminent danger of being swept away forever... Hard to digest for a wildlife lover but then truths are seldom sweet things. My next photo story shall show you colorful peacocks of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary, so, please check back.
Gharials of Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
Although these are baby gharials, an adult male gharial can be even longer than 20 feet!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bedini Kund - the unsung mini Himalayan Lake

Bedini Kund - the unsung mini Himalayan Lake
Reflection of Mount Nanda Ghunti over the crystal clear water of Bedini Kund!
In previous photo stories I had brought before you some of the breathtaking snow clad mountain peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas as seen in Roopkund trek, and introduced you with Bedini Bugyal, the dreamscape alpine meadow of Uttarakhand. Today, it is "Bedini Kund", a small high altitude pristine Himalayan lake, undoubtedly the lesser sung jewel on the Roopkund trekking trail! Bedini Kund, also referred to as 'Vaitarani' lies somewhere at the middle of this largest grassland of Asia and lures all Roopkund trekkers with vivid reflections of white topped Mount Trisul and Nanda ghunti on its crystal clear shallow water.
Bedini Kund - the unsung mini Himalayan Lake
Fleecy white clouds add extra magic to the already magical vista comprising the Bedini Kund!
In the photograph below this para you can see two tiny stone structures inside the enclosure of Bedini Kund. These are sacred Hindu temples worshiped by local people who believe that four Vedas were scripted right at that holy spot where this mini lake stands today. A traveler or a photographer would have no much business with legends and their authenticity, but the magical shades of blue and green in the entire landscape of Bedini Kund are visually delicious enough to consider Roopkund as your next trekking destination.
Bedini Kund - the unsung mini Himalayan Lake
Stone temples by the lake boost its religious as well as the archaic quotient. What a lovely landscape!

Photographer: Manas Banerjee
Camera used: Canon Powershot S3 IS

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bedini Bugyal - the Dreamscape Alpine Meadow

Bedini Bugyal - the Dreamscape Alpine Meadow
The whole meadow is yours, set up your tent anywhere in the lap of Himalayas!
If you are a movie buff and always been fascinated by lush green meadows shown in the dance or chase sequence, why haven't you been to a real meadow, may be to spend a day in the lap of nature? Like you I too had the notion that those dreamy meadows are only found in western countrysides, till I came to know of Bedini Bugyal. 'Bugyal' means nature's own garden, and Bedini Bugyal is a dreamscape, precisely an alpine meadow in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, situated at an elevation of 3354 meters, falls on the trekking trail to Roopkund.
Bedini Bugyal - the Dreamscape Alpine Meadow
"Bedini bugyal provides an excellent grazing ground and pastures for tribal herdsmen"
You can revisit your childhood and run barefoot on the undulating grass carpet of Bedini Bugyal. You can set up your tent anywhere at Bedini Bugyal, except near the Nanda Devi Temple. Pre-built camps and green huts at very affordable rent are also available for solo backpackers. The famous Roopkund Lake is about 10 odd kilometers from this grassland and determined trekkers make it in a single day. But why to hurry when you can call it a day at the camping ground, sit back in Bugyal and get mesmerized by the grandeur of Mount Trisul or Mount Nanda Ghunti. Visit my previous photo post to see how clearly you can capture the beauty of Trisul from this dreamscape Bugyal! In my subsequent photo post I'll show you the little lake in the middle of Bedini Bugyal called Bedini Kund. Keep dreaming about this mountain meadow-scape till then...
Bedini Bugyal - the Dreamscape Alpine Meadow
Spending a day at Bedini bugyal is a lifetime opportunity for any nature lover or hardcore traveler!

Photographer: Manas Banerjee
Camera used: Canon Powershot S3 IS

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Majestic Snowy Peaks as seen in Roopkund Trek

Majestic Snowy Peaks as seen in Roopkund Trek
Who can resist the appeal of pristine woods, cinematic meadows and gurgling streams of Roopkund trail!
Call it Mystery Lake, Skeleton Lake or whatever that pampers your fantasy, but if you are an avid trekker you're bound to incline for Roopkund trek at least once in your trekking-lifetime! Roopkund, the serene, shallow, glacial Himalayan lake, located about five thousand meters above sea level is not the only charm of Uttarakhand that pulls thousands of trekkers every year, but, it's the combined appeal of pristine woods, cinematic meadows and gurgling streams that implants the seed of longing in a trekker's heart for this Roopkund trail. In this photo post I'm sharing beautiful photographs of few majestic snowy mountain peaks as seen in Roopkund trek. Today's photographer is Manas Banerjee, a passionate wanderer since 1996. Manas is smart enough to carry a point and shoot camera along with his DSLR whenever he's traveling. He had captured all these lively photos with his favorite Canon Powershot S3 IS, on his recent Roopkund trek.
Majestic Snowy Peaks as seen in Roopkund Trek
Mount Neelkanth
With its elevation of 6596 meters Neelkanth is a famous peak in the Garhwal division of the Himalayas. The Satopanth Glacier lies on the northwest of Mt. Neelkanth and the Panpatia Glacier lies on its southwest. According to a Hindu legend, Mount Neelkanth is none other than displeased Lord Shiva standing in the form of a lofty mass of rocks to block an old route between Kedarnath and Badrinath... interesting!
Majestic Snowy Peaks as seen in Roopkund Trek
Mount Chaukhamba celebrating a Himalayan sunrise!
Mount Chaukhamba, another member of the Garhwal Himalayas, has four summits among which Chaukhamba I with an elevation of 7138 meters, lying at the head of the Gangotri Glacier is the most prominent one.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Deer don't eat Chicken

Deer don't eat Chicken
I am quite sure you already knew that deer are not good chicken eaters, still you paid this visit to check if few perverted deer enclosed in my space are trying with boneless chicken 69... see the power of a catchy caption! Doesn't matter whether you are a meat lover or wildlife conservationist, you love deer anyway. Who won't fall for those insanely oblique eyes and slender gait? Let these deer chew their grasses while you attentively digest my deer trivia. Did you know most of the deer are born with white spots which they gradually lose within a year? Antlers are perhaps the most attractive as well as artistic feature in deer. It's interesting to know male deer (called 'buck') grow new antlers each year, i.e. a deer becomes more photogenic with age! While casual web-searching I landed on a website where they conduct deer hunting tours/sessions, with satisfied clients showing off their bloody achievements... Well, neither I can fix the world nor shall I spike up my blood pressure thinking of all unjustified things happening around me. So, before saying a 'bye' I would only like to remind you of the amended Wildlife Protection Act (2002). According to this act, deer hunting would cost you just 10,000 Indian bucks and minimum 3 years of imprisonment.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Passionate Young Lady

The Passionate Young Lady
Doesn't my subject look like a National Geographic photographer?
Beach photography is generally very rewarding unless the sun is overhead. Folks over the beach usually create a world of their own where roaring waves, moist sea breeze and elusive mast of faraway vessels synergize unconditionally; yes, pretty dramatic! Thus, if you are a photographer or a photography enthusiast you can capture countless candid shots while loitering on the beach. The lady holding a camera in these photographs was a co-traveler whom I had met in Goa. Pardon me for being careless with my words, she was not just holding that DSLR to give me a pose. The passionate young lady was keen on capturing a puppy ignoring the scorching sun above her while I was resting under the cool shade of a fishing boat some fifty meters away. Obviously she had no clue of my covert shooting. The telephoto end of my camera lens could capture her but not her cute little subject which was hiding behind a tent. Recently we caught up via twitter and I was relieved to send her these photographs. Good thing is, she was happy! So, bottom line message is don't simply take those patches of sunburn in the name of sunbathing, rather travel around with your camera and oblige yourself with few cool clicks which will enrich your creative self, if you know what I mean. Happy clicking guys!

The Passionate Young Lady
No man, she wasn't waiting for that bikini clad group. She was targeting a puppy playing hide & seek!

(Model: Paroma Chakravarty from Kolkata)