lucky that i did not step on this beauty... was standing very close while looking around for snaps, near Tringalwadi,Igatpuri. Heard a rustle and looked down in time, to find this fellow curled up.. I yielded to a more respectful distance, and it stayed there.. cheekily displaying its tongue..
one point in time, the road became very smooth and I felt the car gliding on
it. Inside, the stereo was off and the windows were all
drawn up. I barely heard a sound. My eyes were on the road, my hands were on
the wheel and with a tranquil mind, I noticed the green expanse flanking the
road disappearing behind the corner of my eye. The sky was overcast, and the
earth was clean. And then, my windshield was splattered with large drops. The
rain lashing my car made a quite funny sound – like the crackling made by tasty
tidbits tossed into boiling oil. Time for the wiper again. Along with the rain,
came the clouds – they just descended there on the road. When I could not see even
a few meters ahead, I slowed down my car to a crawl. We should have been
already there, I could not have missed it. Just inching forward in the rain, I could
finally make out the silhouette of a green signboard. I literally parked
besides it and there it was .. “Igatpuri”.
We were there.
planned for a drive to Igatpuri on Saturday 17th Aug. Starting
early, to beat the traffic, I took the ghodbunder road from Goregaon east, and
reached the Mumbai Nagpur Expressway (NH 47) via Thane. The Western Expressway
upto Ghodbunder had stretches of bad potholes, and we kept coming across these monsoonal
speed breakers even on NH 47, till the village Murbad crossing. After that, the
road was pretty good and made for a lovely zippy drive. It was my first drive
on that route, so I was a bit careful – I could maintain a 50 kmph speed on
average. This is a good highway with a broad divider, which felt quite safe
from the opposite traffic.
we crossed Murbad, the landscape changed to spectacular fresh green splattered
all around the dark grey expressway, which itself snaked its way out into the
horizon. Ah, if always our paths are so clear! FM connectivity was great
throughout, but most of the songs did not do justice to the drive – if I am
zipping down such a smooth concrete stretch surrounded with light green
vastness, with a thick grey cloud and rain of varying thickness, then “Lungi
Dance Lungi Dance” is not quite what I wanted to hear.
There were stunning views on the road, large stretches of the highway where
you can pull your car to the left side for a brief halt. Touching the grey sky
were the Western Ghat peaks, covered with dark green foliage. Running down from
their foothills to the road were vast farmlands – all boasting of manicured
paddy fields. You will see tiny coloured flecks among the paddy fields –
farmers working covered with bright pink/yellow/red polythene sheets due to the
rain. Sprinkled along this green-ness were houses – from huts to farmhouses.
They added a sparkle to the scenery with their multi-hues. The Mumbai-Nashik
raillink follows this highway at many parts – this becomes another indelible part
to your trip.
great thing about this drive was the Ghat section of the higway (drive up to
Igatpuri after Kasara) has been completely segregated between up and down
traffics – so while on the sinewy curves of the Ghat road, you do not have to
bother for oncoming traffic. One caution though – I found few motorcyclists
coming down the wrong lane!
as a town, has one attraction – Dhammagiri Centre for Vipassana school of
meditation. The huge pointed arched gateway reminded me of the Thai temples
architecture. There is a visitor centre
with lovely paintings depicting various stages of Buddha’s life. Apart from
this, all other attractions are basically trek-points starting from Igatpuri. We
were not prepared for trek, nor for a night halt. So we decided to drive upto
the village Tringalwadi. This road is a single lane concrete path starting from
the NH 47, opposite the Shagun Hotel (landmark). This road is a usual
inter-village road – good at points, gone at the most. However, driving slowly,
I could return back without my car loosing a tyre-cap. We passed small villages on the way – some just
2-3 mud huts. Monsoon had touched everything – the roofs looked like an
overgrown lawn and the walls had glazy green cover.
a good drive. But I realize if one can plan a night stay, it is much better to
travel further to Bhandardara and stay for the night. Well, maybe that will be
my plan on the next trip.
Pigeons near Gateway Of India, Mumbai - lined up on a wire. It was interesting to notice their synced activity to balance their stance on the wire - which was constantly swaying to the strong winds. At one moment, all of them flapped their wings and i got lucky.
I caught the playful courtship of a pair of Spotted Doves, on the beach of Nusa Dua Bali. Both the birds walked around the sand, with one of them taking to the air intermittently and landing beside the other.. one of them was following the other, and i thought that was the male. But later, the pattern changed and the follower became the celebrity! Their necks were making very elegant movements, and this really caught my eye - later, i learnt that it is hard to tell the sexes in adults, as both have very similar plumage. For more details, visit here.
While on vacation to Bali, we did the night trek to reach the summit of Mt.Batur, near Penelokan. The whole climb was during the late night - in the dark. We just had torch to guide us and the clouds were thick. We had reached the top in time for the sunrise, but I was skeptical about the clouds - will they give us the opportunity to view the spectacle?
But just then, the skies cleared and the sun shone unabashed from its bed of clouds. We even caught a view of Mount Rinjani and Mount Agung.
I chanced upon this bird at Sewree mudflat, Mumbai. I first thought it was the grey heron, but then found out more after a bit more research.
One interesting fact of this bird is that when it is young, it has a white plumage, and is often noticed among the snowy egret. It gets it slate-blue plumage as it grows.
More details - here
This is the Red Breasted Flycather, commonly breeding in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It is migratory and is found in South Asia in winters. I found this bird at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai. For details on this tiny bird can be found here.