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Herons of India

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Herons of India:

We have so far able to photograph six types of Herons in India, The Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Pond Heron, Western reef Heron and Striated Heron.

Grey Herons are the largest among the Herons found in India and are usually a winter visitors. They grow up-to a metre tall and its wings can spread up-to 195 cm wide. They weigh around 1 kg to 2 kg.
Purple Herons are also large birds but are slightly smaller in size compared to Grey Herons and larger than the Night herons & pond herons. They can grow about 70 to 94 cm tall and has a wingspan of 120 to 152 cm. They weigh only about 0.5 to 1.35 kg.
While Grey and Purple herons are mostly found in the winter months, the night heron and pond herons are found through the year.

The Black-crowned Night Herons or simply night herons prefer to catch their prey at night, hence the name. During the day they are usually found in the bushes or resting over a tree.
The juveniles have a yellow and black bill wh…

Birding trip to Mysore

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Mysuru (Previously Mysore) has lot more to offer apart from it's palaces and heritage sites, this time of the year we visited Mysuru dedicated for bird watching. Starting from November migratory birds arrive in and around river banks of cauvery and many lakes of Mysuru. We started with Ranganathittu. Every time I visit this bird sanctuary I have always spotted different species of birds, this time we spotted Grey herons and red wattled lapwing which was my first sighting in Ranganathittu. Apart from these we spotted Black Headed Ibis, Cormorants, spoonbills and spot billed pelicans in large numbers. We also spotted Snake bird, White Spotted Fantail Flycatcher, Night Heron and White-browed Wagtail.
Next day morning we headed to Karanji kere (Lake). To my surprise this was a very decent and beautiful place. The path around the lake is about 2km walk, so we hired battery operated bicycles. There are birds like sarus crane which is the tallest flying bird in the world kept in captive…

The Legacy of Pallavas, Mahabalipuram-Part III: Shore Temple

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The Legacy of Pallavas, Mahabalipuram-Part III: Shore Temple
The third and last complex we visited at Mahabalipuram was the much acclaimed shore temple. The shore temple near the seashore of Mahabalipuram is the most visited amongst the group of monuments in Mahabalipuram.
 It was built in the early 8th century (700-728 AD) by the Pallava king Rajasimha. It is located on the shores of the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The temple resembles the Dharmaraja Ratha in design, but unlike the Rathas this is a structural temple and not a rock-cut monolithic structure. The temple is partially eroded due to the salty winds and closeness to the sea.
The main shrine of the Shore Temple is a five-storied pyramidal structure 18 m high and sits on a 15 m square platform which faces east, so that the sun rays shine on the main deity of Shiva Lingam in the shrine. Visitors are allowed only to witness the beauty from outside and are not allowed to enter the temple due to its derelict condition.

The Legacy of Pallavas, Mahabalipuram-Part II: Caves and Sculptures

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The Legacy of Pallavas, Mahabalipuram-Part II: Caves and Sculptures
The second and the largest complex at the Mahabalipuram hosts many cave temples and bas-reliefs.  The monuments in this complex are scattered across on the hillock and one have to walk for more than a kilometer to cover all the monuments. On a shorter visit, do visit the Mahishasuramardini and Varaha cave temples, Descent of the Ganges and the Krishna Mantapa. We started with Olakkannesvara Temple which is built on top of the Mahishasura mardhini cave, it also served as a light house overlooking the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. During the 7th century Mahabalipuram served as a major port for the Pallavas.

Mahishasuramardini Mandapa is a rock-cut cave temple with large exquisitely carved reliefs on its interiors, the prominent ones are the goddess Durga slaying the buffalo headed Mahishasura and on the other side is the panel of Adisesha - Vishnu reclining on the seven hooded serpent. Further on the way are the…

The Legacy of Pallavas, Mahabalipuram-Part I: Rathas

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The Legacy of Pallavas, Mahabalipuram-Part I: Rathas

The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram is an UNESCO world heritage site with its monuments spread across three complex within less than 3 km, with an exception of tiger cave about 5 km north of shore temple. Shore temple is located at the seashore while the caves are distributed on the nearby hillock and the Pancha Ratha's about 1 km away. The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram are built by the Pallava kings between 630 and 728 AD using local granite rocks.

Apart from the shore Temple, the Pallava period group of monuments at Mahabalipuram are mostly rock-cut structures in the form of Ratha's or Chariots, Caves/Mantapa's, and bas-relief. All of these can be visited in a single day with an entire day to spare.
We started with Pancha Rathas or the Five Ratha's.  These Ratha's are monolithic rock-cut monuments carved out of single piece of rock in the shape of Ratha's or Chariots, and are one of the earliest e…