All posts filed under: Nature & Wildlife

Thanksgiving and what I’m thankful for!

I’ve been meaning to write more, but right now life has turned a bit topsy turvy again. Plans have gone out of the window. But life kind of tends to be that way for me, I’ve noticed. So just because it’s Thanksgiving today, I decided to look back on the last 10 years and my travels and adventures. Just for fun. It was hard to choose of course, but here are a few highlights. I definitely have a lot to be thankful for!  2008 My first experience at self supported cycling through the state of Goa A glimpse of the working life of women in rural Kerala on a photography assignment A young kid along with his grandfather in a sunflower field in Karnataka 2009 More explorations of Kerala on a bike recce trip for Muddy Boots, which has now become a major player in adventure tourism 2010 More explorations of rural Karnataka – spent many happy hours on my trusty Trek cycle with wonderful friends 2011 A time to chill and a beautiful hike …

Interesting sights and experiences in Mussorie: Queen of the hills

In this second part, Mukta Chakravorty comes back with her top 5 experiences of her trip to Mussorie with the JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove and Spa. Here are a few of her recommended things to do if you’re planning a trip to this beautiful and serene hill station. Indulge in breakfast by a stream. Imagine sitting in the middle of the water, dipping your feet in cool, crystal clear water, sipping on a cup of tea while you’re served piping hot breakfast. Pure bliss is one way to describe it. We got treated to a one-of-a-kind experience put together by Chef Sunil Kumar and team of the JW Marriott, Mussorie. The stream was just a short trek down from the famous Himalayan Adventure Institute. Tables were set amidst the gushing waters while a sumptuous treat was laid out in front of us. Now, I wouldn’t mind waking up to this kind of a breakfast everyday! Experience mountain roads… on a bike. The long winding roads make it ideal for biking and since I had …

Tales from the jungle: Shergarh Tented Camp

Walking down a narrow path, fringed by bushes and trees, I couldn’t see too far ahead. But the road did lead somewhere – to the most beautiful cosy house welcoming you after what seemed like a very long road journey. A little further ahead, the path leads you to a large courtyard with sofas and chairs strewn around; relief for a tired traveller. The house has a wide verandah running all the way through, reminiscent of a Kerala style house. On one side is a water body and to the right, a large pond, reflecting the lush greenery. It was right out of a novel. It was perfect. I felt like I’d come home. The main house with the large courtyard: A place to relax! But let’s go back in time. I met Katie and Jehan Bhujwala in Goa, one of my favorite places to head to when I want to “get away”. In this piece of paradise called Olaulim Backyards created by the delightful Savio and Pirrko Fernandes, over delicious fresh fruits and cashew …

Where cranes sing and flamingos dance: Into the Banni Grasslands Reserve

Thousands of birds call the Banni Grasslands Reserve in Kutch, Gujarat their home. An excursion into this dry but rich ecosystem, has delightful surprises unfold, as you turn every corner. “Leave nothing but footprints; and plant trees. Lots of trees.” Flamingos against a beautiful sunrise over the Banni Grasslands. Photo credit: Jugal Tiwari Only someone wise and passionate can utter these words. And they come from none other than Jugal Tiwari of the Center for Desert and Ocean (CEDO). Established in 2005, the organisation has been tireless working on ecology and conservation issues for the last 9 years. Tiwari, who is originally from Rajasthan, on a visit to Kutch, fell in love with this area. It’s not hard to imagine why. What appears at first sight to be dry scrub desert, has more surprises, twists and turns than a detective novel and you look forward with anticipation to the next sight! We enter the reserve in the early morning hours. The cranes are already up, and fly across the morning sky, just beginning to glow …

Forays into the forest: Here’s why I love it!

I look forward to opportunities to travel to the different jungles and reserves in India whenever I can. We don’t realise it but we’re really lucky – there are so many (still) to choose from. Most states boast of such rich flora, fauna and reserved forests and I am still discovering many of them. I’ve written about my experience in Kaziranga, the amazingly beautiful sanctuary in Assam and home to the endangered rhino. Last December, I travelled into the dense and magical jungles of Kanha and came back mesmerised. What variety and beauty around every corner. Every trip into the forest was filled with surprises and delightful encounters. So what if I didn’t spot the elusive cat (well, that’s another story, for another day!) but I’ve loved every adventure into the forest. This time, it was an opportunity to visit the Kali Adventure Camp, thanks to Jungle Lodges, and though the monsoons have set in, I still thought it would be a good experience. I was also lucky to be in the company of Supriya …

How to cook a perfectly delicious meal on a houseboat

As we cruised the waters of the Vembanad lake, I went to investigate my most favourite place. The kitchen. That’s where all the action is, after all. Joji, one of the 3 staff members on the boat, was busy frying something that looked fishy. And he confirmed my suspicions by identifying it as seer (or king) fish. The rest of our lunch was already done. Luckily, I took to Kerala cuisine, like a duck takes to water. On an earlier trip to Kerala (details shall be withheld to protect offending party!) we were so busy eating all kinds of delicacies, that we didn’t make it in time for our flight out (also the first time in my flying history, I’ve missed one!). On another trip with my sister and mom we had some really delicious fare, especially on our houseboat ride. Even my very hard-to-please mother was satisfied enough to give the chef some brownie points. I also realised that I am quite easy to please since since I’m very fond of coconut. Lately, the …