Demoiselle Cranes in the Sunset.

Cranes in the sunset SOM_8966 headerIt was late in the evening. The sky was ablaze with a spectacularly colourful sunset. We we standing in the salt plain of the Tal Chhapar wildlife sanctuary, enjoying the brilliant colours of the sunset, before calling it a day. There was a slight but chilly breeze, but otherwise it was very quiet.

We heard the faint call of Demoiselle cranes, or Kurja as they are locally called. The Demoiselle cranes, indeed all cranes, have a very far reaching call. The call of the Demoiselle Crane is unmistakable. It is a sad call, mournful, full of longing, and yet it also reminds one of new beginnings and of far away lands.

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With Alpine Accentors in the Polish Tatra mountains

SOM_0629 headerI was nearing Kondracka Kopa, a small peak in the Tatra mountains. This was my fourth day of treking in the Polish Tatra mountains. The last few days had been wet and cloudy, but the weather forecast had promised that it would get better from today. The birding had been quite slow till now, probably due to the weather conditions. But now it had stopped drizzling and the sky was brightening up. 

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The Western Tragopan – A Painting : Acrylic on Canvas 15″ x 19″

SOM_6937-headerAlmost a decade ago, in 2006, I, along with a Danish friend,  made a series of exploratory treks into the remote Himalayan jungles of the Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh. We were conducting a preliminary survey for the presence of the elusive and rare Western Tragopan. The locals call the Western Tragopan the Jujurana or the king of birds (Juju = bird and rana = king), in my opinion a much more appropriate name for such a regal bird.

In all we must have spent about a month in the mountains. It was tough but it was also one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. You can read a more detailed write-up about those treks here http://somendras.com/?p=283 .

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Exploring Jaipur :

The Sheesh Mahal at Samode Haveli

Acco-IMG_9053header The busy lanes of the old walled city of Jaipur conceal many treasures. The walled city moves to its own beat and is very different from the more modern parts of Jaipur. Going into the walled city is a bit like stepping back in time. The architecture, the traffic, the shops, the houses, even the people and their mindset is different. The best way to experience this difference is to spend time in the walled city, preferable walking and meeting people.

In this series of posts I will explore the world hidden inside the fortification walls of the pink city of Jaipur. The restaurants, the eateries, the havelis, the shops, the craftsmen, the artists, the temples and much more. The walled city is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered by the adventurous traveller willing to step off the beaten path.

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The Common Kingfisher – A Painting (Acrylic on Canvas) 15″ x 18″


Common kingfisher 2809 header
We were birding around Kaza, in the Spiti valley, on a clear and sunny afternoon late in September. Despite the sun, there was a chill in the air. It was late in the “season”, and the bird activity had slowed down substantially. Most migrants had already left for their winter abode. There were patches of ice on the stream, the night temperatures were already dipping below the freezing point.

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