Odyssey to Bedni Bugyal – A Day at Didana

To derive joy from the simple act of birdwatching, all you need to do is wait, watch and listen. Jennifer Nandi reveals the Birding 101 in the third episode of her travelogue on Bedni Bugyal A Blue Whistling Thrush, ever the skulker, trails us as we walk its wooded paths Lots of little surprises greet us the next morning. The Pied Thrush and his companion are in full view; so are the rock thrushes, the blackbirds and the Mistle Thrushes. A new visitor to the campsite is the Variegated Laughing Thrush. A very secretive bird; keeping close to the shrubbery, … Continue reading Odyssey to Bedni Bugyal – A Day at Didana

Odyssey to Bedni Bugyal – Loharjung to Didana

Walking in the Himalaya offers the pleasure of a constant flirtation with epiphany, learns Jennifer Nandi A stream en route to Didana from Loharjung A morning of magic greets us. Arrogant blue skies goad us onwards. The rugged hill road from the village leads us past an anarchy of rampant secondary growth that stretches into the valley below. This riot of plant and animal life owes its fecundity to hillsides that once supported lush forests of oak and rhododendron. Sandstone country with its covering of alluvium and glacial clays evidently suited oaks and rhododendron allowing them to grow to glorious … Continue reading Odyssey to Bedni Bugyal – Loharjung to Didana

Odyssey to Bedni Bugyal – Part 1

Traipsing in Lord Curzon’s footsteps, we embarked for Bedni Bugyal knowing little of what to expect, and least expecting what was in store for us… Editor’s Note: In April-May 2007, six of us made a trek to the Garhwal Himalaya. Sahastrarashmi, Sunita, Jennifer, Satish, Rajeev and Bijoy walked from Loharjung to Bedni Bugyal, then descended to Wan from where we walked to Kunol and then journeyed onward to Nandprayag. For many of us it was the most intimate encounter with the beauty and power, the fury and the sagacity of the elements in the Himalayan microclimate. Jennifer Nandi wrote a … Continue reading Odyssey to Bedni Bugyal – Part 1

Chhattisgarh Diary: The Palace at Kawardha

Italian, British and Mughal architectural styles are all represented in this regal palace of some 56 rooms with a splendid domed and filigreed Durbar Hall. Much of the ground floor of this palace at Kawardha has been converted into a heritage hotel run by the erstwhile royal family. Secularism throbs in Kawardha’s historic heart and its pulsing beat invites us to be one with it. Continue reading Chhattisgarh Diary: The Palace at Kawardha

Odisha Diary – Meeting our Kondha and Paraja countrymen

The younger women are lithe and beautiful with tattoo markings and jewellery and a piece of cloth wound around the waist and then carelessly thrown over the shoulders. I am amazed at such natural beauty worn so easily. They sit in the warm sunlight, looking at us take pictures, talking to their babies, bathing their little ones, pounding rice, just carrying on despite our nosiness, our inelegant clothes and ungainliness with our shiny cameras. The group embodies an intelligence that seems to be fundamentally social. Continue reading Odisha Diary – Meeting our Kondha and Paraja countrymen

Sundarbans Diary – Oh Calcutta!

Jennifer Nandi bids goodbye to the Sundarbans and acclimates to civilisation as she traipses the streets of crowded Kolkata The famous bridge over the Hooghly River in Kolkata January 12 – Leaving for Kolkata During the three-hour-cruise to the jetty, from where we will be transferred by car to Kolkata, we are surprised by thousands of ducks – hundreds of Wigeon and Tufted Ducks on open water, and Lesser Whistling Teal huddled against the comparative safety of the reeds. Our eyes devour these sights of the Sundarbans – a landscape full of colour and incident for the vigilant visitor. Ferrying … Continue reading Sundarbans Diary – Oh Calcutta!