Showing posts with label Winged Jewel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winged Jewel. Show all posts

In Search of Adichunchungiri Peacock Sanctuary

                                                                                                                                              05 July 2009

As every Sunday gets more excited for us, this Sunday too, ended up being very special. Our pick for this weekend adventure was a Peacock Sanctuary very close to Bangalore. Though not much information was available either from the websites or blogs about the sanctuary itself, we went. ahead to explore this place. Both, I and my husband being nature lovers, were equally excited about sighting a beautiful peacock amidst lush green landscape during our visit. We decided to leave as early as possible since we knew early mornings and late  evenings were the best times to sight the pride of India! We packed our stuff and left around 6:30 am. We drove non-stop taking the NH48 and took a right towards the Adichunchungiri mutt arched entrance. Since we failed to get any kind of information from the web, we totally banked upon the locals for the route to the sanctuary. To our dismay, many of them, on inquiry replied to us in kannada, 'Navila' (a peacock?) 'Illi modhlu ithhu saar, ivaga enu illa, dhaama noo illa, naviloo illa'! (peacocks were seen here long time ago.Now there is nothing here, neither the sanctuary nor the peacocks). Another old man, who heard less, filled us with hope for a moment by saying 'idhe' (meaning it is there), until we realized he had actually misheard the ‘Navilu Dhaama’(peacock sanctuary) as ‘Ravi Dhaba ’!!!! It was kind of funny but it filled us with furt at that moment. A couple of auto drivers too replied  negatively.

Both of us felt disappointed and consoled each other saying it was okay. We still took chances and drove around in search oft it, inquiring people. One man pointed us towards a place that turned out to be a ‘Sasya Kashi’. The guard there made it clear to us about the non existence of any peacock sanctuary around. More disappointment encroached on us. And to be frank, I was really down on hearing such a thing. We went back to the Mutt, drove all around a few kms just to check if there were any sign boards leading to the sanctuary. But no luck. My husband suggested that since we’ve come this far, we should go visit the hill at least. With a heavy heart, I went along. The pain of not sighting a peacock still lingered. To our surprise, the mutt offered us more than we expected! After the dharshana of Lord Bhairaveswara, we followed the track to Gavi Siddeswara and Kathle Someshwara atop the hill. Since it was a religious place, we had to trek the hill bare foot. Initially there were huge granite steps to walk up the hill and then later on, it kind of got slippery as he steps were carved out of karikallu (black stone). We spotted a beautiful yellow crested Bulbul and three different lizards at the hill top. The only thing we were missing was our camera! Anyway, we decided to trek further towards ‘Kathle Someshwara’, supposedly a cave temple where Nandi god is worshipped. The little priest pointed us towards an exit which led to the 'sthamba' (pillar), our second destination. This was the most exciting of all. We experienced a bit of rock climbing and some hard trekking.
 On viewing the ground from hilltop, my husband spotted a route, that we thought could’ve been the one taken by jeeps for rounds in the sanctuary. We decided we would walk around that place and explore. Also, on asking  the little boy (who guided us), if he had spotted any peacocks around recently, he replied to us…‘irithve, bandegal kelagade malgirthave’(peacocks will be there, resting under rocks!). And he vaguely pointed out to the place from top. Our hopes became strong as this was the first positive response we heard. During our climb, we had asked another boy priest about he same and he answered, ‘now there are very few or no peacocks as there is quarrying work going around and the sound of the blasts keep the peacocks away from this place’. It was justified. But we kept our hopes alive. After we finished our trek, we drove towards the Kalyani and a pond filled with lotuses.
Water Tank
Pink Lotuses
     Now, we were hungry to death .We found a place just in front of the mutt and had Thatte Idli, some amazing Saagu (which my husband thought was not tasty!), chutney and bondas for lunch. A cup of hot coffee was perfect to end our afternoon meal.
With hope filled in us, we started the walk into a place just behind the mutt, which we thought could’ve been the non existent sanctuary! It was lush green everywhere, a perfect place for butterflies and birds! As soon as we started to walk, we met an old shepherd who told ‘navilgalu mosthaagive’(there are many peacocks here). We were happy now, since it filled in a lot of confidence of finding one! We explored the place, found lizards, insects and some colorful butterflies.

Lemon Pansy

Spiny Lizard

Crimson Rose
     We kept walking, until we heard the sound of an amazingly beautiful bird, the Peacock! Now, it was a sure thing that there was at least one peacock around! And all our efforts were put in, to sight one. We kept praying secretly that we get a glimpse of the peacock. We walked continuously until we were stopped by a granite slabbed compound, and thought it was best not to walk any further since it looked like the boundary wall of that place. We had read that the peacock sanctuary was less then 1 of area. We rested for some time to look for any peacocks around, but in vain. Some people were shouting from the hill top which probably was a disturbance that kept the bird from coming out. We spotted more lizards and some beautiful green bee-eaters.
We walked a little further along the boundary, to a place full of rocks. A group of four birds of unknown identity just fluttered past my husband. For a moment, we thought it was a peacock but no! Keeping our hopes alive and telling each other we needed the luck factor too to sight a peacock, we started walking back towards the car. We heard the cries of a peacock, loud and clear, and tried tracing the peacock. Every now and then, we rested and kept silent. My husband walked keeping the handy cam on,  while I spotted an amazing swallow tailed butterfly that was waiting to be photographed! I was pretty happy to have photographed a butterfly so closely.

Peacock on Rock

It started to drizzle and looked like it would get heavier. My husband advised we reach back to the car as quickly as possible. We walked together talking about the peacock and gosh! What an amazing moment it was, for the both of us….we witnessed the presence of the most beautiful bird in the world, the Peacock! It was a mighty one. At that moment, we couldn’t believe what we’d seen. It looked like as if the peacock came out and showed off just for our sake!!! It was so colorful that one can hardly miss it amidst the background of rocks. We actually got to see a peacock. And a mere glimpse of it had filled our hearts with joy. It made our day and we secretly felt we were lucky. At least lucky enough! I would’ve waited there all evening to watch that beautiful bird. Since we had little time left, we had to hurry back. We climbed up to the place where we had sighted the bird, but found nothing, since the bird had escaped to another place. I could see something big fly away from us. We at least had the mercy of god and the peacock, that we could sight one. It was enough for the day. Just while we were getting down a small hill, we saw a peahen fly over us. We had almost reached the end of where we had started the walk and looking back, we witnessed another amazing moment.
Yes, it was another beautiful peacock. This time, far away and high above, it stood atop the hill as if to say good-bye to us and, revealed its beautiful feathers, showing off its colors and left a message of being happy to have seen us around and to come back again!!! We waited for sometime appreciating its beauty, while it flew to a tree close by. My husband could spot the peacock very distinctly though its bluish green color made it difficult for me to spot it amidst the greenery of the tree. It sat there waiting for us to leave.
  This is our first travel story written long before the inception of this blog . Entire credit of this post goes to my wife.

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Juvenile Purple Sunbird 

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"Roadissi" Dancing on the Roads of Orissa

      "Roadissi" is the chronicle of our road trip to the beautiful state of Orissa/Odisha.  After reading a newspaper article about the famous temple of India "The Sun Temple of Konarak" being in danger, we decided to visit this marvelous  temple. Though our initial plan was only a 2 to 3 days trip covering Puri - Konark- Lake Chilika - Bhubaneshwar, on researching for places in Orissa, we realised 2 to 3 days were insufficient!!! A good 10 to 15 days would give us a good chance of covering most of the places and since we were driving so far, it made sense to make the best use of our time! Rule number one was to complete all our official works so we could take leave without any hindrances. Finally, we managed to get a good  two weeks leave and here on started our adventurous and unforgettable road trip to Orissa.
       Orissa is blessed  with immense natural, cultural and religious heritage. James Fergusson (author of the book " History of Indian and Eastern Architecture") declares in his book that " there are more temples now in Orissa than in all the rest of Hindustan put together". W W Hunter stated that "From end to end, it is one region of pilgrimage". Orissa, rightly called as the land of temples, is home to the most beautiful masterpieces of architecture. 
Our Itinerary
1) Pilgrimage - Puri Jaganath, Puri  and the Lingaraja  Temple, Bhubaneshwar
2) Architectural, Hindu - Konark, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Banks of  the River Mahanadi
3) Architectural, Buddhism/Jainism - Dhaulagiri, Udayagiri (2), Ratnagiri, Lalitagiri and Khandagiri
4) Natural wonders - Atri and Taptapani Hot Water Springs
5) Wildlife - Simlipal Tiger Reserve, Bhitarkanika and Gahirmatha, Chilika and Satkosia
6) Beaches - Gahirmatha, Chilika, Puri, and Chandrabagh
7) Forts - Sisupalgarh and Cuttack
8) Art - Pipli, the Art Village
9) Asokan Edicts - Dhaulagiri and Behrampur
 Unfortunately, the Simlipal Tiger Reserve remained closed due to Naxal activities in the region, thus ruining our opportunity of visiting the reserve as well as India's second highest waterfall - the Barehipani waterfall (1300 ft), which falls inside the reserve limits. Also, visits to Satkosia, Taptapani, Cuttack and Behrampur  failed to materialize due to various reasons. Apart from these, as it was road trip, we got to explore a lot of hidden treasures of both states, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Road trips always are an added advantage as we have no time limits and free to explore any place we feel like!

Places to visit in Orissa
Roadissi - Dancing on the roads of Orissa
  Our companions of the trip
1) Information Center -  "Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent " by Takeo Kamiya, India - Eyewitness Travel of DK, Incredible India of IMS, Wildlife Holidays in India of Outlook Traveller, Konark - By Thomas Donaldson, Temple Cities of Orissa - By Balaram Mishra and few details collected from various websites
2) Clicking partners - Canon Power shot G3 (5 GB) and Canon EOS 450 D (16 GB)
3) GPS -  Eicher Road Atlas (wonderful road atlas) and IMS India Road Atlas
4) Music partner - Our good old pen drive with 4 GB capacity, full of songs (old and new Kannada and Hindi songs, dropped the latest ones as some of them have no meaning at all!!)
5) Telecom partners - BSNL, Airtel and Vodafone - had three for safety as we were unsure of the connectivity (though it turned out to be far better than we expected). Very important to keep in touch with our loved ones
6) A travel diary for writing  down  details of places visited, etc., including expenditure

Our Travel Oath
1) Not to exceed a speed limit of 100 kmph (Result:Never exceeded 100 kmph)
2) No night driving beyond 10 pm . (Result:Oath broken on last day while returning back, by celebrating New Year's during the drive)
3) Calling home everyday (Result:Did not dare to break this one!) 
The only package trip we opted for, during our trip : 2 days at the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. Halted at the Sand Pebbles Resort, very close by to the sanctuary limits

Total Cost : Under Rs 60,000/- per couple, including the Bhitarkanika package (16k) and diesel expense (14k), which are the major contributors

Road Conditions : 95 % of the roads were excellent, rest were manageable except  for a kilometer stretch that leads to the Bhitarkanika Sanctuary
Total km : 4438
Number of Days : 14, 19 December 2010 5:15 am to 01 Jan 2011 2:30 pm
Total No of photos taken : 14 GB, 7352 clicks
The Beginning
Morning Hues
First Sunrise of our Trip
Smooth Road Connecting Chintamani and Madanpalle
A P State Highway  61
Traffic Pile Up on the River Godavari Bridge
Traffic Jam at Vizag Steel Junction
Awesome Road Connecting Puri and Konark
Wow ! What a Sight - The Sun Temple, Konarak
Muddy  Road Leading to the Wild Bhitarkanika
Last Sunset of our  trip  (Visakhapatnam)
 The End and Beginning of a New Journey

The dance shall continue ......