Lush green surroundings on way to Ananda retreat

Ananda Retreat Pune and its beautiful surroundings

Lush green fields on way to Ananda Retreat Pune after rains

We had actually set out on a drive to Lavasa on a Sunday morning after several weeks of plentiful rains. It so happened that while having my coffee before we set out, I came across this petition in change.org against Lavasa and its wrongdoings. We had decided to drive to Lavasa as I had never visited the place. After quite some time in the drive, I realised that Ananda meditation and yoga retreat is somewhere before Lavasa. When we spotted the signpost for the retreat, there was hardly any debate. We just turned into the road to the retreat. What an experience it turned out to be. The road upto the retreat with lush green fields around, a small river that we crossed and beautiful weather.

Lush green fields and a small river

All around it was beautiful hues of green and it was so comforting to the eyes. We crossed few small villages and settlements.

Lush green fields and beautiful surrounding

We crossed a small river which had a lively current.

Small river on way to Ananda Retreat Pune

This lady was keeping a keen watch on her buffalos who were obviously enjoying their bath in the river on a beautiful morning.

Lady with her buffalos in the small river
Buffalos in the water enjoying themselves

At Ananda retreat

First impression of the yoga and meditation retreat was that its serene campus blended well with the beautiful surroundings. It exuded a calm which any retreat should. Best thing was that it was not ostentatious at all. Dr. Aditya of Ananda Sangha was helpful in letting us in despite a last minute request and made arrangements for us to be shown around.

A path at Ananda Retreat

 

Papaya at Ananda retreat

Here is the spot I loved the most during our brief visit to the campus. I could easily spend an entire day here reading, writing, sketching, thinking (all that) with intervals of doing nothing. Doing nothing in such surroundings can be so fulfilling and rewarding.

Sit down here till eternity at Ananda meditation and yoga retreat

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Sunrise in Kumaon mountains overlooking Ramganga river

Photo features by Milind Vishwas Sathe

 

Kanha Tiger Reserve has this air of mysterious tranquility

Kanha Tiger Reserve

Kanha is the largest national park in Central India with rich biodiversity of trees, flora and fauna. It was created in 1955 and made a tiger reserve in 1973. The park has a significant population of the Royal Bengal tigerIndian leopards, the sloth bearbarasingha and Indian wild dog.  Rudyard Kipling‘s novel The Jungle Book is based on jungles including this reserve.

Light through the trees at Kanha

The feeling of mysterious tranquility can only be experienced in a forest. Few days at this national park allowed us to soak ourselves in that feeling. The light through thick cover of trees is an eternally enchanting sight. Looking at the trees make you realise that they have been around for a long long time before you appeared on this planet and will continue to be around for a long time after you are gone. Just like the mountains, these trees have the quality of giving you that reality check which many of us need so often.

Light through the trees at Kanha Tiger Reserve

Flora at Kanha

Flora at Kanha is rich over 1000 species of flowering plants, which contributes to its biodiversity. The lowland forest is a mixture of sal (Shorea robusta) and other mixed-forest trees, interspersed with meadows. The highland forests are tropical moist and dry deciduous type.

This national park has plenty of meadows or maidans which are basically open grasslands that have sprung up in fields of abandoned villages, evacuated to make way for the animals. Kanha meadow is one such example. Many species of grass are recorded at Kanha, some of which are important for the survival of barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi) and the gaur (Bos gaurus). Densely forested zones with good crown cover have abundant species of climbers, shrubs, and herbs flourishing in the understory. Aquatic plants in numerous tal (lakes) are life-lines for migratory and wetland species of birds.

Fauna at Kanha

Animals

Fauna at this tiger reserve includes species of tigers, leopards, wild dogs, wild cats, foxes and jackals. Among the deer species, swamp deer or hard-ground barasingha is the pride of the place. The tiger reserve has been instrumental in rescuing the swamp deer from extinction. Indian gaur, belonging to the ox genus, are found in Kanha, but seen mostly as winter ends. In summer, gaur inhabit meadows and waterholes in the park. Other commonly seen animals in the park include the spotted deersambarbarking deer, and the four-horned antelope.

Birds

The reserve brings around 300 species of birds and the most commonly seen birds are the black ibis, bee-eaters, cattle egretblossom-headed parakeets, pond heron, drongos, common tealcrested serpent eagle, grey hornbill, Indian rollerlesser adjutantlittle grebeslesser whistling teal, minivets, pied hornbill, woodpecker, pigeon, paradise flycatchers, mynas, Indian peafowlred junglefowlred-wattled lapwingsteppe eagleTickell’s blue flycatcherwhite-eyed buzzardwhite-breasted kingfisherwhite-browed fantail, wood shrikes, and warblers, among many more.

Reptiles

Reptiles such as Indian pythonsIndian cobras, krait, rat snakes, vipers, keelbacks, and grass snakes are nocturnal animals, so rarely are seen. Many species of turtles and amphibians are found in or near the water bodies in this national park.

The sheer diversity of flora and fauna at Kanha makes it a rich biodiversity zone.

Source : actual visit and Wikipedia

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Forest walk in Sangla valley

Fractals in the Sky

Fractals

Fractals in the Sky

Fractals in the Sky is the new name for this picture. I shot this picture one evening in Bangalore. We were at a clothing boutique where I had nothing much to do after a quick round, as I rarely do any shopping in expensive boutiques. From the main entrance to the store, I noticed this magnificent tree with its branches spread wide and making their mark under the evening sky. Twilight was setting in. The sun was fading away. I walked across to be under this tree. I looked up and this is what I saw. The expanse of the branches of this tree was large. They looked beautiful, mystical and somewhat scary. Scary because they appeared almost like tentacles of an octopus.

The present title for this print was not the original title. The original title was “Tentacles in the Sky”.After several people saw this picture, there was a response especially from the community of scientists and science educators that this picture reminds them of fractals. It was then that I decided to rename this picture to Fractals in the Sky.

Buy Limited Edition Print 

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Twilight in the hills at Shoja

 

Forest walk in Sangla valley

Forest walk in the mountains

Forest walk in the mountains near Rakcham in this region of Sangla valley was a beautiful trail. Pine trees dotted the entire stretch.

Forest walk in Sangla valley, Himachal

Most noteworthy aspect of this jungle walk was that the only sound was that of the breeze and the fast flowing Baspa river below in the valley. During the entire stretch, we did not come across a single soul. Finally, when we started going down towards the plain after the forest walk got over, we noticed an odd shepherd looking after his large flock.

Sangla valley

Sangla valley is surrounded by forested slopes. It offers views of the high mountains.  Furthermore, this valley is rich in apple orchards, apricot, Wall-nut, Cedar trees, and glacial streams with trout. Besides Chitkul and Kamru, main villages in the valley include Rakcham, Batseri, Themgarang, Chansu, Brua, Shong ,Kilba and Sapni. 

Sangla Valley is a part of Kinnaur and inhibited by Kinnauris. The main livelihood is agriculture. Apples are a major cash crop here. This region grows some of the finest apples worldwide. The soil here as well as the weather contribute to the superior quality of the apples grown here.  The valley is shut during winter due to heavy snowfall during the months from December to May. At Karcham, the old Indo-Tibet road connects Sangla to  National Highway 05.

( Sangla valley, 2014 )

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School going children in the hills

Lady in Kumaon hills