Gujarat Trip: Somnath & Diu


Somnath

Temple of Somnath

SIGHTS / RELIGIOUS

Location: Somnath , India

Opening hours: 6am-9pm

It’s said that Somraj (the moon god) first built a temple here, made of gold; this was rebuilt by Ravana in silver, by Krishna in wood and by Bhimdev in stone. The current serene, symmetrical structure was built to traditional designs on the original coastal site: it’s painted a creamy colour and boasts a little fine sculpture. The large, black Shiva lingam at its heart is one of the 12 most sacred Shiva shrines, known as jyoti linga.

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Somnath Temple

A description of the temple by Al-Biruni, an Arab traveller, was so glowing that it prompted a visit in 1024 by a most unwelcome tourist – the legendary looter Mahmud of Ghazni from Afghanistan. At that time, the temple was so wealthy that it had 300 musicians, 500 dancing girls and even 300 barbers. Mahmud of Ghazni took the town and temple after a two-day battle in which it’s said 70,000 Hindu defenders died. Having stripped the temple of its fabulous wealth, Mahmud destroyed it. So began a pattern of Muslim destruction and Hindu rebuilding that continued for centuries. The temple was again razed in 1297, 1394 and finally in 1706 by Aurangzeb, the notorious Mughal ruler. After that, the temple wasn’t rebuilt until 1950.

Cameras, mobile phones and bags must be left at the cloakroom before entering. Colourful dioramas of the Shiva story line the north side of the temple garden, though it’s hard to see them through the hazy glass. A one-hour sound-and-light show highlights the temple nightly at 7.45pm.

Prabhas Patan Museum

SIGHTS / MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Location: Somnath , India

Prices: Indian/foreigner 5/50

Opening hours: 10.30am-5.30pm Thu-Tue, closed 2nd & 4th Sat of the month

This museum, 300m north of the Somnath temple, is laid out in courtyard-centred rooms and contains remains of the previous temples, some intricately carved, though many are very weathered.

Diu

Diu is different. This tiny island linked by a bridge to Gujarat’s southern coast is infused with Portuguese history; its major architectural landmarks include three churches and a seafront fort; the streets of the main town are remarkably clean and quiet once you get off the tourist-packed waterfront strip; and alcohol is legal here. If you’ve been spending time immersed in the intensity of Gujarati cities, or just really need a beer, Diu offers a refreshing break.

Despite its draw as a seaside destination, Diu is not a great choice for a beach-centric vacation. Most of its sandy strips are littered with trash, and the throngs of families make them better for people-watching than sun-worshipping. Add in the random drunk-guy factor and any fantasies you have of a tropical paradise will surely be dashed. Diu, however, is one of the safest places in India to ride a scooter, with minimum traffic and excellent roads, and zipping along the coast with the wind in your hair is a joy.

Like Daman and Goa, Diu was a Portuguese colony until taken over by India in 1961. With Daman, it is still governed from Delhi as part of the Union Territory of Daman & Diu and is not part of Gujarat. It includes Diu Island, about 11km by 3km, separated from the mainland by a narrow channel, and two tiny mainland enclaves. One of these, housing the village of Ghoghla, is the entry point to Diu from Una.

Diu town sits at the east end of the island. The northern side of the island, facing Gujarat, is tidal marsh and salt pans, while the southern coast alternates between limestone cliffs, rocky coves and sandy beaches.

The island’s main industries are fishing, tourism, alcohol and salt. Kalpana Distillery at Malala produces rum from sugar cane.

One custom of the Portuguese still very much respected by local businesses is that of the siesta, meaning you shouldn’t count on much being open in mid-afternoon.

Diu Fort

SIGHTS / MILITARY

Location: Diu , India

Opening hours: 8am-6pm

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Diu Fort

Built in 1535, with additions made in 1541, this massive, well-preserved Portuguese fort with its double moat (one tidal) must once have been impregnable, but sea erosion and neglect are leading to a slow collapse. Cannonballs litter the place, and the ramparts have a superb array of cannons. The lighthouse, which you can climb, is Diu’s highest point, with a beam that reaches 32km. There are several small chapels, one holding engraved tombstone fragments.Part of the fort also serves as the island’s jail.

St Paul’s Church

A wedding cake of a church, founded by Jesuits in 1600 and then rebuilt in 1807. Its neoclassical facade is the most elaborate of any…

Diu Museum

A spooky, evocative collection of old Catholic saint statues inside St, Thomas’ Church.

St Thomas’ Church

A simple church that now houses a museum.

O’Coqueiro

Here, the dedicated Kailash Pandey has developed a soul-infused garden restaurant celebrating freshness and quality. The menu offers…

Vanakbara

SIGHTS / NEIGHBOURHOODS & VILLAGES

Vanakbara information

Location: Diu , India

At the extreme west of the island, Vanakbara is a fascinating little fishing village and the highlight of the island. It’s great to wander around the port, packed with colourful fishing boats and bustling activity – best around 7am to 8am when the fishing fleet returns and sells off its catch.

Beaches

SIGHTS / BEACHES, ISLANDS & WATERFRONTS

Location: Diu , India

Nagoa Beach , on the south coast of the island 7km west of Diu town, is long, palm-fringed and safe for swimming – but trash-strewn and very busy, and often with drunk men: foreign women receive a lot of unwanted attention. Two kilometres further west begins the sandy, 2.5km sweep of Gomptimata Beach . This is often empty, except on busy weekends, but it gets big waves – you need to be a strong swimmer here. Within walking distance of Diu town are the rocky Jallandhar Beach , on the town’s southern shore; the longer, sandier Chakratirth Beach , west of Jallandhar; and pretty Sunset Point Beach , a small, gentle curve beyond Chakratirth that’s popular for swimming and relatively hassle-free. Sunset Point itself is a small headland at the south end of the beach, topped by the INS Khukhri Memorial , commemorating an Indian Navy frigate sunk off Diu during the 1971 India–Pakistan War. Unfortunately the region around Sunset Point is also a dumping ground, and any early-morning excursion will reveal that the tidal zone here is a popular toilet venue.

The best beach is Ghoghla Beach , north of Diu. A long stretch of sand, it’s got less trash and fewer people than the others, along with gentle waves and some decent restaurants behind it.

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Khajuraho – Madhya Pradesh


The temples of Khajuraho are India’s unique gift to the world. They are an ode to love in stone and are a testimony to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose the temples were conceived and constructed. The Khajuraho temples were built in a 100 years, from 950-1050 AD. of the 85 original temples, 22 have survived till today to constitute one of the world’s great artistic wonders. Architecturally the temples are a highly imaginative recreation of the rising peaks of the Himalayas, abode of the gods and are divided into three geographical divisions that group the temples as western eastern and southern.

khajuraho

Must Watch

The Western Group: This is the main group and is the must see if you have less time. The temples are built on large platforms and have tall shikharas under which is situated the garbha graham for the main deity. The largest and the most typical of the Khajuraho temples, is the Kandariya Mahadeva temple which soars 21 m high. Dedicated to Shiva, the deity is a marble shiva lingam. The temple is exquisitely carved and almost 900 sculptures on the platform.

The other important temples are the Chaunsath Yogini is the only granite temple and the earliest surviving shrine of the group ( 900 AD ), it is dedicated to Kali. The Chitragupta temple is dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. The image of the deity is five feet high, and driving a hourse drawn chariot. The Vishwanath temple is a Brahma Shrinewith a three headed image and a Nandi bull facing the Shrine.

The best preserved temple is the Lakshman temple which houses the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with Lakshmi, Vishnu’s Consort.

The finely carved sanctum has a three-headed idol of Vishnu’s incarnations, Narasimha and Varaha. 

Easter Group –

The Parsvanath Temple is the largest Jain Temple and exquisite in detail. The sculptures on the northern outer wall are particularly noteworthy. This Ghantai Jain Temple has a frieze which depicts the 16 dreams of Mahavira’s mother, and a Jain goddess on a winged Garuda. The Adinath temple dedicated to the Jain saint has detailed carvings of Yakshis. The three hindu temples of the group are the Brahma, containing a four faced lingam, the Vamana, which is adorned on its outer walls with carving of apsaras in a variety of sensuous attitudes; and the Javari, which a richly carved gateway and exterior sculptures.

Southern group –

Duladeo Temple: Dedicated to Shiva the apsara and ornamented figures are the temple’s most striking features..

Chaturbhuj Temple –

This temple has a massive, intricately carved image of Vishnu in the sanctum.

How to reach –

~ Regular sevies link Khajuraho with Delhi and Varanasi

~ Khajuraho is connected by regular buses with Satna, Harpalpur, Jhansi and Mahoba.

~ Khajuraho has its own railway station linking it to Delhi, Jhansi ( 172 kms ), Harpalpur ( 94 km ) and Mahoba ( 64 km ), Satna ( 117 km ) which is on the Mumbai – Allahabad line of the central Railway is a convenient rail link for those coming from Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi.

Rare Masked Booby spotted near Mahuva ( Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Gujarat, India )


The bird is usually found in tropical zones

Manoj Sanghediya, a 23-year old amateur bird watcher from Datardi Village in Mahuva taluka of Bhavnagar District ( Rajkot, Gujarat, India ), could not identify the large seabird that had fallen in his farm on Saturday.

But he was quick to rescue the sick bird that was unable to fly and take it to Mahuva Town. An environment activist, he often rescues snakes in his village.

masked booby in Mahuva

The bird that he rescued was Masked Booby, a large bird found in tropical zones of theoceans.

“When the Masked Booby was brought on Saturday, it was sick and exhausted. We contacted, Dr. Nayan Patel, a veterinary doctor, who earlier worked with forest department in Mahuva advised us to give glucose to it. We tried to save the rare visitor but it died on Tuesday evening”, said a wildlife activist from Mahuva Chirag Koradiya.

Bird conservationists say that the Masked Booby may have been exhausted and landed in the coastal area in a sick condition. It nests on small tropical islands especially without forests. It breeds in central and western pacific as well as off Mexico.

According to experts, Masked Booby are spectacular divers that can plunge diagonally into the ocean at high speeds. They mainly eat small fish.

“This could be the third time that a Masked Booby was reported to be seen on the Saurashtra coast,” Koradiya said.

Courtesy – Times Of India 

Family Holidays – Kids Please


Five destinations guaranteed to put a smile on children’s faces…

1)      Orlando, Florida

orlandoThere are many reasons Orlando remains a top destination for families: the sun usually shines, there are hotels to suit all tastes, but above all, it’s home to two of the best theme parks in the world. Walt Disney World, Florida, is where you will find the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and the Hollywood Studios, plus the brilliant water parks at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Trust us, even if you don’t consider yourself a Disney fan, resistance to the charms of the House of Mouse is futile – one ride on the superb Soarin’, Splash Mountain or The Tower of Terror and we guarantee you will be hooked and singing it’s a Small World for ever more.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure (www.universalorlando.com), meanwhile, is home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – a mind-blowing recreation of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, complete with rides, talking portraits and shops selling wands. Universal also has roller coasters such as The Incredible Hulk and a whole section dedicated to Dr. Seuss, which will appear to younger children and those who remember The Cat in the Hat books first time around. Just over an hour’s drive away is Daytona, with its glorious sandy beach, ideal for surfing, and the Nascar racetrack, where you can take a spin inside a real stock car. A holiday in Orlando is exhilarating, but exhausting and requires lots of advance planning.

2)      Rome, Italy

romeKids fans of Horrible Histories? Then take them to Rome, where at the Colosseum, one of the best preserved Roman Amphitheatres in the world, they can run around and imagine what life must have been like for the gladiators and animals that fought here nearly 2000 years ago. You can even enrol them at Gladiator school for the afternoon while you go off to explore the designer shops along the Via Condotti. They will marvel at the apparent traffic chaos by the impressive Vittorio Emanuele II monument where you can see foolhardy tourists riding Segways (our advice is not to try this); at the Trevi Fountain they can throw a short walk to the magnificent Pantheon, built in AD126. Rome is, of course, also a fantiastic place to introduce your children to the wonders of authentic Italian gastronomy where you opt for a pizza in Piazza Navona, pasta in Trastevere or gelati (ice cream) on the banks of the Tiber River, Rome offers a feast for all the senses.

 

 

 

 

3)      Sydney, Australia

australiaAs the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge discovered on their recent trip to Sydney, this Australian city has heaps to offer – and while Prince George is perhaps a little too young to enjoy it right now, for children aged two and up, it is an absolute paradise of wildlife, history and, of course, all those fantastic beaches, including Bondi, which has a children’s pool and playground. At the excellent Featherdale Wildlife Park (www.featherdale.com.au) they (and you) can cuddle up to Koalas, hand-feed kangaroos, see dingoes or check out the crocs and snakes. No child will be able to resist the Tyrannosayrs exhibition at the Australian Museum (www.australianmuseum.net.au), a homage to the most feared of all the dinosaurs. Much-loved Luna Park has lots of rides and a giant Ferris Wheel, while children aged 10 and up (and their brave parents) will jump at the chance to climb the Harbour Bridge (www.bridgeclim.com). Sydney is a very easy city to get around and children will also enjoy a ferry ride over to Manly Bay, particularly if it is a bit choppy. If you have a few days to spare, combine a trip to Sydney with a visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock) or Queensland for the Great Barrier Reef and you will have a holiday to remember.

4)      Kerala, India

keralaIf you want to introduce your children to the fabulousness of India, vibrant, colourful Kerala, with its breathtaking landscapes, glorious beaches, distinct cuisine and amazing wildlife, is the perfect place to do it. Once firmly on the hippie tourist trail, it has evolved to become the hottest destination in India and it is easy to explore. Your children will see wild elephants and jungles, and magnificent natural wonders including the beautiful Athirapally Falls and the Chalakudy River; banana, rubber and tapioca crops; and at Periyar National Park they can look for real-life animals straight out of The Jungle Book, including, if they are very lucky, tigers. (Our advice is not to make any promises, just in case the big cats are feeling a little shy when you visit.)

5)      Stockholm, Sweden

stockholmStockholm is known for being cool city for adults. But it’s also officially one of the most child-friendly cities in the world, with a whole island, Djurgarden, dedicated to families. At Skansen open-air museum you will find traditional Swedish homes, experience life in the 19th century, and at its open-air zoo you can see native wildlife including adorable Swedish brown bears. For fans of Vikings and Disney’s Frozen there is the Vasa, a museum housing the only preserved 17th-century ship in world. There is lots of creative play to be held at Junibacken, dedicated to children’s character Pipi Longstocking and Emil. You may even persuade your kids to visit the brilliant Abba Museum (www.abbathemuseum.com), which has lots of interactive exhibits. Visit Stockholm in the summer, when it’s the midnight sun and there is a non-stop calendar of festivals to experience. Your children will enjoy the novelty of nights that never get dark as well as medieval performances, hot-air balloon races and fireworks against the bright sky. And you will also love exploring Nordiska Kompaniet, or NK, quite simply one of the most stylish luxury department stores in the world.

Courtesy by G.N.

BEYOND PUNE AND 24HRS IN PUNE


BEYOND PUNE

beyond pune-1LOHAGARH

WHERE:- Lohagarh is approximately 60 km from Pune, about an hour and 30 minutes by road.

Why:- The history of Lohagarh (iron Fort) dates back to, quite literally, antiquity. According to many, it was built during the reign of the Satavahanas and over the centuries, it has been fought over by many a famous rulers including Aurungzeb and Shivaji. A visit to Lohagarh will usually entail a scenic, trek, if you’re able bodied and posses a chipper frame of mind, you might want to attempt the longer, tougher trek to Visapur – a neighbouring fort which is part of the same fortification.

DHANDARDARA

beyond pune-2Where:- Bhandardara is approximately 160 km from Pune, about three and half hours by road.

Why:- While the scenic drive to Bhandardara – burrowed in the hills of the Sahyadri range is impressive enough, experiencing the refreshing gust of hill station is nothing short of splendid. As though its abundant natural beauty weren’t enough, Bhandardara is also replete with some interesting sights, including one of India’s largest lakes (Arthur lake), a 100 year old dam (Wilson Dam) and what is believed to be Shivaji’s Favourite fort (Ratangad)

HARIHARESHWAR

beyond pune-3Where:- Harihareshwar is approximately 180 Km from Pune, about four hours by road.

Why:- Harihareshwar’s biggest draw has been the beautiful 16th century Shiva temple that stands by the ocean on a craggy but pristine coast. Besides soaking up the sun and exploring the rocky shoreline, don’t forget to take a motorboad ride into the sea where, if you’re luck, you just might spot a playful school of dolphins. Also worth exploring is Shriwardhan, a neighbouring coastal city that was home to the Peshwas, chief ministers of the indomitable Maratha warriors.

 

24HRS IN PUNE

Cultural capital of Maharashtra, Oxford of the East, Pensioner’s Paradise, It Hub, Pune is all this and more. And its attractions are reflective of its many layered being.

agakhan palaceAGA KHAN PALACE: Built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III, purportedly to provide employment during a famine in the late 1890s, and to house famine victims, the charming Aga Khan Palace is notable for its architecture and its part in the Indian freedom movement. This is where Mahatma Gandhi lived under house arrest in the early 1940s. Generously gifted by Aga Khan III’s grandson, Prince Shah Karim AL Hussaini Aga Khan IV, to the Government of India on the occasion of Gandhiji’s birth centenary in 1969, tha palace houses exhibits dedicated to the father of the nation as well as the samadhis of Mahadevbhai and Kasturba Gandhi, both of whom breather their last here. Ensconced in the midst of sprawling gardens, the palace is an oasis in an ever growing city.

BAAN TAO: In the past decade, Pune has undergone a veritable food revolution. No longer home to just Khanavals (Maharashtrian meal restaurants) and fast-food Udupis, today, one can take a pick from anything –wine-paired four-course dinners, hand-crafted beer at microbreweries or authentic global cuisine. Reflective of this is Baan Tao – whose design and cuisine is a feast for the senses. It offers a variety of spaces – from a water unusually high-backed chairs, a tea bar, an indoor area and an open-air space with pagoda-style Thai salas. The food is artfully presented and infused with delectable flavours and the service is always courteous, elevating a meal to a fine-dining experience.

 EMPRESS GARDENS: Empress gardens, dreamily sprawling across 39 acres, is one of the state’s most historic and important botanical gardens. It owes its origins to Sir John Malcolm, the then Governor of Bombay, who initiated the creation of a Soldier’s Garden’ for the relaxation of soldiers from the British Army. With its diversity and wealth of old trees, canopies covered with creepers, thick gnarled climbers, tree trunks clad with monstera leaves, a stream, children’s park, plant nursery and fern house, this precious green lung is a wonderful spot to soak in nature’s peace whilst in the city.

KELKAR FOODS AND FRAGRANCES: In the heart of Sadashiv Peth is a small, quite treasure of a store selling a range of natural, essential and carrier oils sourced from Kannauj, the ancient perfume capital of India on the banks of the Ganges. The oils are derived from botanical sources using centuries-old distillation techniques that capture their delicate nuances. Sniff aroma oils from opaque bottles and come away with your favourites in small coloured-glass bottles. Then walk down the street to Sujata Mastani – the famous cold drink house – to enjoy their delicious flavoured ice-cream milkshake. An afternoon spent sniffing scents and savouring Pune’s favourite beverage will not be one easily forgotten!

sinhagad fortSINHAGAD FORT: Set off early morning to Sinhagad, the Lion Fort, at an altitude of over 4300 ft about 25 km from Pune, to soak in a very special chapter of the state’s history and place in the heart of Puneites. Walk up rugged steps that wind past two gateways and marvel at the fort’s architecture, history and commanding view. In 1670, Shivaji’s commander Tanaji Malusare led a daring attack on Sinhagad to recapture it from its Bijapur commanders. Although successful in this mission, Malusare was slain in the attack and a saddened shivaji is said to have remarked, “we gained the fort, but lost the lion”.

RAJA DINKAR KELKAR MUSEUM: Minutes away from the thrift-shopper’s haven that is Tulsi baug is Kelkar Museum. Step in through solid wooden doors to see hundreds of treasures housed within an old-world wada (a traditional Maharashtrian home with a central courtyard). It was here that Padmashree Dr D G Kelkar (1896-1990) lived and passionately created a museum over a period of 60 years. Rooms exhibiting 21000 priceless artefacts, exquisitely crafted objects in stone, wood, metal, ivory, fabric and clay are arranged thematically and take one back to another era. Of particular interest is ‘Mastani Mahal’ – the well-preserved quarters of Mastani, the famous second wife of Peshwa Bajirao 1.

PARVATI HILL: A complex of five heritage temples, including the main Devdeveshwar Temple built in the mid-18th century by the Peshwa rulers, Parvati Hill is one of the most revered spots in the city. The hilltop s frequented by devotees, history buffs (who take pride in springing up the gentle 103 steps to the top) and those looking for a quiet moment as they take in a panoramic view of Pune.

SHANIWAR WADA: One of the most important remnants of the Maratha Empire is the palace-fort Shaniwar Wada. Although the fort’s glory and opulence was ravaged in an inferno in 1828, it still holds vestiges of the might and power of the Marathas. The fort’s giant, spiked entrance doors, the drum-house, fountains, lawns and other structures hint at its original grandeur. Also in the vicinity is the reconstructed Lal Mahal – originally built in 1630 – that Shivaji spent his early years and later had the famous encounter with Mughal general Shaista Khan.

M G ROAD: Pune’s Main Street is a long straight street lined with buildings which have shops below and residences above. Towards the end of the 19th century, the area was allotted by the British for shops that would cater to their needs. As the precinct evolved, it embraced a mix of architectural styles, shopping and eating places. Stroll by taking in its buzz and atmosphere; enjoy a bite at Marz-o-rin’s balcony; buy chips and chivada at Budhani and of course, try Shrewsbury biscuits at Kayani Bakery on Eat Street.

TRIBAL CULTURAL MUSEUM: Besides upscale restaurants, boutiques, parks and expensive real estate, Koregaon Park also boasts of the only tribal museum in Maharashtra. The museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of over forty tribal communities that live in the state. On display are photos that convey first-hand the rhythm of the lives of tribal communities and artifacts, including fascinating Warli paintings, masks, wooden objects, musical instruments, ornaments, utensils and more, that tell of their ancient customs, beliefs and oral traditions. Craft demonstrations, held time and again at the complex, add to the museum experience.

Getting there: Jet Airways offers flights to Pune from several Indian cities.

Accommodation: Pune city offers a variety of accommodation options, from chain hotels to guest houses and service apartments.

For more information contact us at adler-tours@hotmail.com

4th Global Bird Watchers’ Conference from January 31, 2014


The 4th Global Bird Watchers’ Conference, the annual event of Gujarat tourism department in coordination with forest department will be held for three days, from January 31.

To put water bodies in the state on the international map and attract tourists, Gujarat Tourism Department in association with various organization began this event in 2009-10 and it has become a regular event.

Officials said Gujarat is emerging as an eco-tourism destination; being host to wide range of pristine and hitherto unexplored destinations for nature lovers. The conference will not only showcase the destinations of Gujarat; but discussions will also be held on how to preserve these winged visitors who are facing many threats.

Officials said the objectives of the fourth conference were to promote Gujarat as a birding destination and project it as a eco-tourism destination. The conference aims to provide a platform for discussion by international experts on birds, birding and bird watching to promote tourism and conversation.

Also, the conference will discuss on the migratory route of birds from Europe and West Asia to the coasts, wetlands and islands in Gujarat. Officials said, that this time, the focus is likely to be Nal-Sarovar and nearby areas as the water body was recently declared a Ramsar site.

For Details contact, 00-91-281-2465237 || 00-91-281-2483878

New International Terminal Chennai


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+91 281 2465237 

For special fares

No Drought of winged beauties


Despite the erratic rainfall and drying water bodies around the city, there is a silver lining. Ishwaria Lake on the outskirts of Rajkot (Gujarat, India) has literary turned into an oasis for thousands of wetlands birds. Spread over 40 hectares of wasteland at Madharpar village, Ishwaria (Rajkot, Gujarat, India) plays host to thousands of migratory birds from far away places like Siberia and Mongolia in winter and resident birds through out the year. the lake is a major attraction for bird lovers from far and near.

nalsarovar3

nalsarovar33

 

Courtesy:- Times of India

Gir lioness baby – sits, feeds siblings


In display of Unusual Behavior, introduces cubs to meat early

There’s nothing like a sister’s love. A young lioness, baby sitting her three six – week – old step siblings when the mother is away hunting, has caught the eye of foresters in the Gir Sanctuary(Sasan Gir, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India) .

IMG_3670

Experts say this is a rare sight in the wild – the three year old lioness not only watches over the cubs, but hunts for them as well.  Deputy Conservator of forests, Sandeep Kumar, who is documenting this unique behavior, says generally one and a half month old cubs are not exposed to flesh and blood. “They only survive on mother’s milk”, he says. “But in this case, we noticed that when the mother is not around, the sister not only takes care of the cubs but also gets them fresh meat and they seem to be doing well so far”.

Kumar adds that cubs first taste the meat when they are slightly older. “On a couple of occasions, the sister dragged the kill to the cubs and watched them eat,” he adds. To ensure that this premature weaning does not have any adverse effect, the foresters are regularly monitoring the health of the cubs.

IMG_3700Even the mother has started hunting closer to home and bringing the kill to the cubs. She makes the kill before the cubs, but ensures that they are at a safe distance, which officials say may be a way of teaching them the first lesions of hunting.

Gujarat additional principal chief conservator of forests, H.S. Singh says, “Usually, the mother would not expose the cubs to blood before 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, they are given their first taste of blood and only after a while are they allowed to eat meat”.

“Lion cubs are nursed till about six months,” says Meena Venkatraman, who has a PhD in lion behavior from Wildlife Institute of India. “They may start to feed on tidbits of meat when the prides are feeding on a kill. This is usually around three months. However, tasting meat is not same as eating meat”.

Courtesy: – Times of India

Great Indian Bustard (GIB) census starts in Rajasthan, India


The state level winter census of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) started from February 10th in the state. The GIB is a bird which is on the verge of extinction.

Chief forest conservator, wildlife, Jodhpur, (Rajasthan, India) Govind Sagar Bhardwaj, has been appointed the nodal officer for the census. Only 100 Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is alive in the country and nearly 50 of them are in Jaisalmer(Rajasthan, India).

GIB_campaign_final

A workshop for the census was organized at a Hotel in Jaisalmer (Rajasthan, India) on Friday, in which six forest divisions, voluntary organizations and army jawans participated.

Deputy conservator of forests, ML Sonal informed the participants about the wildlife census. State wildlife board, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India member Rajpal Singh was the guest of honor.

Information about the preparations for the census, deputy forest conservator Karan Singh said that this time the transit lines have been increased and five new tracks have been laid outside the Desert National Park. A control room has been set up at the wildlife office. The team constituted for census work will be provided with a wireless set, head set, GPS, binoculars, etc. the census will be carried out on the scheduled track on camels and on foot.

Deputy forest conservator, Desert national Park, GK Verma, regional forest officer Pankaj Gupta, assistant forest conservator Rewat Singh Godara and regional forest officers also took part in the workshop. Assistant forest conservator (wildlife) VK Bissa, who conducted the workshop, gave a vote of thanks.

Great Indian Bustard

During December last year, a Great Indian Bustard (GIB) was poached; bit till date there is no clue of the poachers. Human interference is responsible for the diminishing numbers of these birds as it prevents the shy bird from breeding.

The state government and the centre appear indifferent towards saving the bird. Although, a plan for GIB conservation has been sent to the centre, but no action has been taken so far.

Courtesy:- Times Of India (Monday, 11th, February, 2013)

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