Project 365: Day 80, Young Princess


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The young princesses..

A young princess lazes around in the sun at the Gir Sanctuary the only place to see the Asiatic Lion in the wild. This young princess was walking by the dusty road when our jeep came across it. As I clicked it, for a moment, she glanced at me continuing to walk coolly along the road.

This was once considered the last adobe of this magnificent beast. however, due to efforts of several environmentalists and wild life experts some lions would be shifted to ensure survival of the species.

Project 365: Day 47, Golden Grasslands of Velavadar


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Like a painting…

The golden grass swaying in the breeze as if in a trance.I imagine myself lying in the grass as the sun warms me and Harriers circle above. At a distance something stirs in the grass, two eyes appear and disappear. The Jungle cat is on the prowl. A family of Blue Bulls suddenly becomes alert. It is not the cat but the wolf they fear, seen on the horizon looking for his next kill. Twisted antlers of the male Black buck break the monotony of the grass, as they graze, occasionally glancing above the grass .  Not far away tucked away safe in a den, underground, a family of hyena waits for night fall. Harriers, the incredible winter visitors, master predators fly low on the grassy plains and swooping in on grasshoppers and insects. For us it would be like picking a needle from a hay stack. I am at Velavadar, land of the golden grasslands!

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A Black buck stands alert..

This artificial park located about 60 km from Bhavnagar is a heaven for avian enthusiasts and has come to be a special place for me. This was my second visit to the place, and just another one-day tour with Bike N Hike. Sometimes a day is not just enough. A start with amazingly delicious sandwiches for breakfast, courtesy Catherene, I say, well begun is half done! Followed by several amazing spottings including 3 monitor lizards, photography tips and sharing of quirky field experiences you can’t really ask more in a day.

Once again Vipul Ramanuj, Catherene Christian and their Bike N Hike team served an experience to cherish.

Project 365: Day 44, Keeping traditions alive


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Keeping traditions alive..

Walking along the silent streets of the old city of Ahmedabad, cross the Lal Darwaja that’s bathed in orange street lights now. Crossing the closed doors of the Jama Masjid you turn right into Manek chowk which is now buzzing with street food lovers. A vendor plays old  film music near the entrance of the chowk. But it is not this that stops you dead in your tracks. If you can make it there precisely between 6:30-7:00PM in the evening or 11:00-11:30PM in the night then you can hear a Shehnai(traditional Indian wind instrument) and the Naubat (traditional drums). Follow the rhythm, turning right towards the Badshah no Hajiro also known as Ahmed Shah‘s Roja, a mausoleum for the male members of the Royal family.  At the gate of the Hajiro, now the music is directly above you, If you ask around, you will know that a narrow staircase  accessed through a small doorway leads you to a balcony above the gate. Stay there listening to these traditional musicians for a while cause you might be the only one there. Their families have kept this tradition alive for over 600 years…

Once Upon a Time in Polo: The Scorpion King!


Once upon a time in a land far far away lived a King. The King was feared by all. Feared for his swift justice. Known for striking those who crossed his path. Though misunderstood and feared, he himself was fearful of the sun! He hid himself under rock and boulders, tucked into crevices in the day, hiding from the harsh sun that sucked him dry! In the dead of the night the Scorpion King crawled out to hunt. He also had another secret which very few knew. Flashing a U.V light would make him glow!

The Scorpion King was built for the kill. He shed his armour several times, as he grew out of it. To hunt its prey he used his pincers or claws with which he caught and often crushed its prey. The sting it saved for large creatures and difficult prey. The sting was venomous and injected a neurotoxin,  immobilizing its prey. Unable to eat, the Scorpion releases its digestive juices into its prey and sucks the digested in liquid form.

The Polo Forest once part of the kingdom of Vijay wada lies in ruins now, but one creature still survives and rules the night. The Scorpion King lives…..

A special thanks to Bike N Hike and Vipul Ramanuj for the wonderful trip to Polo. These images were made during a Macro & Heritage Photography Workshop in Polo Forest. Thanks to Catherene for spotting and Abhishek Chaterjee for his handy tips on photography during the tour. Keep watching this space for more images from the workshop!