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Watching Winter Waterfowl in Karnataka: 'Welcoming winged wonders'

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The annual mid-winter Asian Waterfowl Census has groomed hundreds of nature lovers into serious bird watchers and has helped wetland conservation in Karnataka. Ameen Ahmed reports. 

(This story was published in the Science and Technology section of the Deccan Herald on 22 Jan 2008 http://archive.deccanherald.com/Content/Jan222008/snt2008012147835.asp)


It was early January in mid-1990s and the road overlooking Kunigal chikka kere marshland, 75 km west of Bangalore city, was desolate, except for a few bird watchers. With the monsoons gone and the dust settled down, we were taking part in the annual mid-winter Asian Waterfowl Census. Our eyes caught a greyheaded fishing eagle that had perched itself on one of the trees lining the lake. The eagle looked ahead, as the orange sun ball rose up the horizon. The mist veil steadily disappeared, offering beautiful vista of the granite hills of Konkekallu that continue to the magnificent Savanadurga. Underneath the eagle's watchful eyes a coot…

Himalayan delicacies in nature's lap

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There are many reasons for one to visit Sikkim. And if you are foodie like me, I am pretty sure it will be 'love at first visit' as well. Having chosen to visit Club Mahindra's resort at Baiguney, as some one on the look out for exotic food, the wide array of authentic Sikkim and Nepalese menu on the table floored me.

For starters, you can try 'Sekhua' a traditional Nepalese smoke cooked chicken. To me this chicken was the Nepali equivalent of north India's tandoor chicken. This chicken is marinated with ginger garlic paste with curd added as a binder. Traditionally it is smoke cooked using wood unlike charcoal grill. At Baiguney, for reasons of convenience the chicken was cooked using gas and not charcoal. 
I also had a taste of authentic Darjeeling momos, a dish that is now available at many fast food restaurants across India, particularly Delhi. I was informed by Chef Gagan that momos mass manufactured usually use dalda (vegetable oil) or ghee to soften the…

Club Mahindra Baiguney - Sikkim's hidden treasure trove of serenity

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Think of Sikkim and one conjures images of snow-clad peaks and India's cold frontiers. But a recent visit to Club Mahindra's Resort at Baiguney let me discover a less explored world, one of serenity and peace.
It’s true that Sikkim has many snow capped peaks, particularly along the border with China and Nepal. But away from the maddening crowds whose only aim is to catch a solitary glimpse of obscure, far away snowy mountains, lies Club Mahindra Baiguney, a treasure trove of lush greenery and blissful serenity.

View Club Mahindra, Baiguney, Sikkim in a larger map
The resort is located about 3 km north of the twin towns of Naya Bazaar & Jorethang not far from the famed hill station of Darjeeling. But the weather here is like much of south Sikkim, pleasant in Winter and Monsoons but humid in the Summers.

During my brief stay last week, my body was pampered and the nerves soothed at the traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath - among only a handful of places offering this unique…

Destination Nagarahole – Shining jewel of India's jungles

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Driving away from the remote Kutta village in south Kodagu district, our SUV occupied by members of my family crawled silently through the dense early morning fog on this winding Western Ghats' road. The powerful headlights lit up the signboard on which a tigress and cub were painted neatly, with "Welcome" etched in English and Kannada, the languages that a majority of the people of Karnataka state speak. Across the signboard was a check post of Rajiv Gandhi or Nagarahole National Park, among India's richest and deservedly the best known. The check post was manned by personal from the wildlife wing of the Karnataka Forest Department. Rubbing my hands to warm myself against the cool breeze that hit me as I stepped out of the vehicle, I approached one of the forest guards manning the check-post. Dressed in khaki field uniform, complete with a pair of anti-leech boots, "Saar" he said, "10 more minutes before I can let you into the park". A thermal ma…

Super drive: Delhi by car from Bangalore

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Summary: I drove to Delhi from Bangalore from 15 to 18 April 2009 in our family's compact car. There were many interesting experiences that I had during the course of the four day drive. My feeling was reinforced that India is big and truly amazing; a nation for which we all should join hands to make it a much better place to dwell. The big picture of this drive was that Indian roads are still not meant for driving pan-nation, they seem to primarily cater to local traffic - vehicles moving between two adjoining cities. The roads along the borders of the states are orphaned with hardly any one caring for them. As for infrastructure that is in place, the best stretch of road was the one leading into the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secundarabad and the road leading out of it for a couple of hundred kilometres. As a nature lover I think the best part was driving through the length of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. I could see different landscapes ranging from the gentle …

Himalayas from air: Mother Earth is worth every attempt to save her

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I just can't stop admiring the tallest mountains standing above the oceans, each time I get a chance to fly near them. At the moment of making some of these images, I could see the rivers flowing through the fertile plains almost at sea level and at the other spectrum some peaks as high as our aeroplane's flying altitude - over 8km above mean sea level! And I have read about mountains nearly twice the height of the Everest rising from the Oceans' surface but still buried in them. Surely mother earth is worth every attempt to save it from her childrens' greed.

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As some one following Islam I need to believe that the earth was created in 7 days. I have a strong feeling Allah created the rest of the world in 6 days but took one full day to create the Kashmir Valley. The three pics below are of the flight from Jammu to Srinagar.



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Among the best domestic flights in India to enjoy the Himalayas is the Delhi to Guwahati via Bagdogra. The flight path …