Monday, 31 December 2012

Bhandardara Rocks

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves" so said Edmund Hillary.

I was near Mt Kalasubai in Sahyadris which is less than a fifth as tall as Mt Everest. But to be moving around this part of Sahyadri ranges was no less exciting. Like snow-white Himalayas, Sahyadris too have their beauty in their black volcanic rock. Below in the center is Mt Kalasubai, the highest peak of Sahydris in Maharashtra, about 1600 Meters.

Major part of our days were spent driving around among these hills. Roads were not too good but that allowed the driver to enjoy the ride as well as the surroundings.

And following sight which we passed often during those 3 days reminded me of the Mount Rushmore in the USA which I am yet to visit :

The mornings normally began watching sunrises behind some hills ...

And the evenings, sunsets ...

Even these rocks in Pravara river were very picturesque and photogenic:

and here is oft seen village scene :

The tourists visiting on a leisure from Mumbai, Pune usually prefer staying in the resorts which are closer to the lake and are about 10 km away from Bhandardara and Shendi towns. These towns cozily nestled in the valleys with their tiled roofed houses gives them a very text-book looks.

And I did not expect this photo opportunity that fell in my lap while driving through the hills on one of the days. We were still a day or two away from the full-moon-day.

An event we were least expecting on one of the evenings was the sight of thousands of bats flying above Sahyadris in a distance just after the sun set. For a small story on this event, please read my other blog :

And lastly the Shiva temple in the village of Amruteshwar about 22 Kms away which is said to have been built during Pandava's exile in this part of India.

Amruteshwar temple
Randha Waterfall

Friday, 21 December 2012

A Day with the Saint of Ramnathpura

This blog was conceived soon after my visit to Ramnathpura along with Ranga on 15th August 2011. But my sincere gratitude to Mujumdar for arrival on the scene to ease the delivery.

The purpose of using the words 'Saint of Ramnathpura' in the title was not to imply any spiritual angle to this write up. It was more from what I feel when I look at C Krishna - A Karmayogi. 

Picturesque surroundings of Ramnathpura that Krishna has selected as his Karmabhumi :

Early mornings of Ramnathpura. This was on 15th August 2011.
And here is one evening - Shall I call it Go-raja muhurtam in Ramnathpura !
I came to know in late nineties that Krishna actually did what he had once hinted. That time he was working with Philips in Mumbai and we used to meet some times.  I remember his saying once that he would own a plantation in a Coorg town and would eventually settle there, not too far in the future. My all attempts to trace him had failed until our gathering in December 2010 and Ranga had the same urge, if not more, to make a Pilgrimage to this place.

One memory of Krishna etched in my mind from KREC days was the way he slept. Flat on his back in perfect Shavasana posture with a cloth of some sort folded in a strip covering his eyes.

His habit continues even in 2011 and in that habit I actually see the contentment that he has deep within. On this visit, out of curiosity, I had a look at his wardrobe. Do you all remember his blue-black checks shirt and a greyish blue pants and black leather footwear during KREC days? Things had only changed a little in that he had now colourful T-shirts and number surely was larger than fingers on my one hand !


My self and Ranga had planned to travel by Ranga's car on early morning of 14th August. Even on this occasion as Mujumdar experienced, Krishna was our GPS. One memory of mine was that he wanted us to buy fruits in one particular town from a particular vendor on our way and was also sure that the vendor would be there once we turn right in the main circle of the town. .

I was keen that we spend at least a night at Krishna's place to know his routine and give us more time with him and then I could also choose the title : 'A day with the Saint of Ramanathpura'. 

If not for anything, one should visit Krishna just for the food he cooks with his own techniques and to allow  him the pleasure of serving you.  I dont exactly recall today what he cooked but I surely remember licking my fingers at the end of meals that we had at his place. Modest that he is, he was not satisfied at all with his hospitality and culinary qualities so the next day breakfast was planned at his sister's place living close by because he believed that she was a better roti maker. So the next day we had rice rotis by his sister and chutney prepared by Krishna. Some pictures from Krishna's kitchen.

Our Day-1 in Ramnathpura began with walk in Krishna's kitchen-garden surrounding his abode and Mujumdar has already given you a short description of what happens there. Later after a simple lunch and the regulation siesta of about 30 minutes as mentioned by Mujumdar we walked to his plantation about 2 Kms away. As we walked, Krishna was talking on various topics with Ranga while I was busy looking around. He was passionately talking on Science and Technology, Politics, US economy and also his ideas on what should happen in India for her good. Before returning home for dinner, we also visited two of the temples in the town. The following pictures were of the temple which I clicked next day morning.

I was up quite early on the next day and went out in search of birds. It was a bit foggy though not chilly and the first picture on the top could give some idea how picturesque the town is. Here are more memories from that morning etched in my mind :

No birds but when I was back I caught Krishna peparing for our hot bath. After breakfast at Krishna's sister's place we walked around the town and enjoyed the slow pace of village life. It was our Independence day and we came across a parade by students through the town to the tune of the school band.

I was very curious about many things I observed about Krishna in that short duration of our visit. It seemed he managed his household and also the plantation with much need for additional hand or labour. He was a strong proponent of organic manure which he had been using in his plantation which he claimed gave him a better yield. He did not have a television or a computer at home, leave alone internet but generally was informed on the happenings around. I was surprised that he had invested in stocks and though not very active, kept track of it once in a while. The most shocking was the expenses he needed  to meet his personal needs and to run the plantation. Curious ? Go and spend a day with him to understand the economics of Krishna's life from the horses mouth.  This has already given me ideas what I should do once I decide to retire and once the money tap starts leaking only in drops. If my wife agrees, that is. 

I am not too emotional in matters regrding parting etc but when the time came for us to say Good Bye to Krishna, it was different for me. I remembered the sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach when I was saying bye bye to my parents on that cloudy day in July 1973 after they settled me in Surathkal. So just to buoy my mood, here are the shots of birds and other creatures I clicked during our stay at Ramnathpura.

This was shot from the terrace of Krishna's place. A Indian Koel family had made home in the tree there.

This was shot on way to Krishn'a planation.

These 2 buttlerflies were in Krishna's vegetable garden

So make up your mind and find out for yourself a way that could bring a more parmenant happiness.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Pre-Monsoon Lonavla

Greenery in Nature is always an evergreen subject for photographers and others alike. Even when colour photography was not popular because of its costs, it never came in the way of photographers' persunace of the hobby. 

These are some pictures clicked on my return from Pune. Unfortunately, Expressways, though a boon to travellers, it is not very photographer-friendly. Nevertheless ....

The situation was not quite favourable from a photographer's point of view both because of the time of the day and the dark clouds but this 'fluorescent' hill by the side of the Expressway could not be missed.

 And then some B/W photographs which suited the time of the day and the pre-monsoon mood in the air :
Like sunsets and sunrises, this is another sight I am never tired of clicking on every opportunity. And  the first thing that comes to my mind always is "Bagalyanchi Maal Phule ajuni ambaraat........." by Pt Vasantrao Deshpande :
In Pune, apart from work, there was also some opportunity for bird watching and photography. But this can not be in B&W. Birds must get their due.
Redwattled lapwing:
 Yellow-eyed Babbler:
 Brahminy Myna:
and lastly a Plain Prinia: