Showing posts from 2017

Herons of India

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. Grey Heron - Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Mandya Grey Heron in flight - Karanji Lake, Mysuru 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. Purple Heron - Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Mandya 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 p

Birding trip to Mysore

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. Eurasian spoonbill and Black headed Ibis at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Black-crowned Night Heron, Ranganathittu Great Cormorant drying up its wings after a dip in the water Snake Bird or Darter Eurasian spoonbill Grey Heron Red-wattled lapwing Snake Bird

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

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. To tell the tales of the past, Shore temple remains as the last living Pagodas of Pallavas  It was built in the early 8 th  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. Shore temple has three shrines, two of which have pyramid shaped gopuras (temple tower) 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 th

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

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. "Descent of the Ganges" - largest open-air bas-relief in the world 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 7 th  century Mahabalipuram served as a major port for the Pallavas. Olakkannesvara Temple on top of the Mahishasura mardhini cave Mahishasuramardini Mandapa  is a rock-cut cave temple with large exquisitely carved reliefs on its interiors, the prominent ones are the goddess Dur

The Legacy of Pallavas, Mahabalipuram-Part I: Rathas

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. Pancha Pandava Ratha's/Chariots of Mahabalipuram 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