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Lakaki LakeEvery time I passed from Jagtap Dairy in Model Colony, this beautiful lake caught my attention. Finally one evening, I decided to go there and find it out. I bought the ticket and entered in the park. I was pleased to see beautifully developed park around the lake with walking track. Another attraction was obviously birds. To name a few are Spotbills, Egrets, Waterhen, Coots, Crow Pheasant, pigeons, Indian Mynah, Cuckoo, Kites, and Robin.

“Model colony lake” or also known as “La-Kā-Ki” (named after Industrialist ‘Laxmanrao Kashirao Kirloskar’ whose residence is just near by) is supposed to be more than 100 years old and unique nature reserve. Since 1995 there were some controversies going on its development but finally it was open to public.

WaterhenI found a water hen with its three chicks. The parents were busy in building new nest for this season. Dad walked on the lotus leaves and came up to bank to get the sticks. It carried new stick and passed it on to the mom who was actually putting it in the place. Even in this bird species, interior was of home-minister’s choice. I waited and watched their activities endlessly and they were so busy and did not bother about the rest of the world. Dedication was key factor.

I clicked some snaps of birds. The park care-taker came up to me and we had talk about park, birds, etc. I told him Marathi names of birds and he seemed to be satisfied.

Lakaki lake is supposed to be ‘silent-zone Park’ and ideal place for reading, writing (i.e. for poets and writers), bird watching, meditation, being with nature and peace. May God save this place from vulgarity of couples like Sambhaji park and Saras Baug.

Gentle Request: To all people reading this post, please avoid making loud noise or talking loudly if you happen to visit this place. You can sit and speak softly along with enjoying amazing nature here.

The park timings are 6:00 to 8:00 AM and 4:00 to 6:00 PM (In summer, till 7:00PM)

Ticket for park is Rs.5/-

Note: For more snaps click – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/modelcolonylake/

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=111578650756510337605.00046bd0fe4ad9c3ad2be&ll=18.531192,73.841794&spn=0.007182,0.009656&z=17

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I accompanied my friend to ‘Sinhagad valley’ on Saturday morning. I started from home at 5:30 AM and reached my friend’s place. Two more friends joined in and we all headed for the valley.

Common Iora‘Sinhagad’ or ‘Sinhagad Fort’ valley is an amazing place for bird watching. In monsoon, there is a stream which flows by the fields and on another hand there are dense trees. Local people use this way to climb up the fort. Valley has now become famous among the birders. All you have to do is – search for a suitable place, sit quietly, set your gadgets (camera, bino, etc) and you could have darshan (glances) of all varieties of the feathered beauties.

I have my friends who have spent hours and hours in valley to get desired shot of ‘Asian Paradise flycatcher’ and believe me friends, it is no more less than doing meditation. 😛

I have been there twice and that was among some of the best bird watching activities I have done. We reached the base and had tea at local hotel. We climbed up and entered the valley. We scattered in search of different birds. We saw a Crested Serpent Eagle hovering in the sky.

Here is the list of some of the birds found in Valley:

  1. Ashy Prinia
  2. Jungle Prinia
  3. Pied Crested Cuckoo
  4. Scaly breasted Munia
  5. Red Munia
  6. Red whiskered Bulbul
  7. Red vented Bulbul
  8. Purple Sunbird
  9. Black Drongo
  10. White-breasted Kingfisher
  11. Common Kingfisher
  12. Pied Kingfisher
  13. Crested Serpent Eagle
  14. Blue napped Monarch flycatcher
  15. Asian Paradies Flycatcher
  16. Ticklle’s Blue Flycatcher
  17. Ultra-marine Flycatcher
  18. Fan-tailed Flycatcher
  19. Red-throated Flycatcher
  20. Cattle Egret
  21. Green bee eater
  22. Little Bee eater
  23. Tailor bird
  24. Black-winged Kite
  25. Marsh Harrier
  26. Eurasian Black bird
  27. Magpie Robin
  28. Grey Babbler
  29. Crested Bunting
  30. Indian Robin
  31. Golden fronted Leaf Bird
  32. Red-rumped Swallow
  33. Dove
  34. Oriental White-eye
  35. Orange Headed Thrush
  36. Common Iora
  37. Small Minivet
  38. Jungle Babbler
  39. Jungle Mynah
  40. Tree Pipit
  41. Yellow Sparrow

And the list is never ending… Along with these birds there are different types of lizards like Garden Colates, etc.

This time I used my binocular more than my camera. Bird watching being the first love, I clicked very few snaps and did more of watching. It is intense pleasure to see these birds. 😀

After spending good amount of time in the valley, we decided to take its leave. We went to same hotel and had breakfast before returning.

This was a pre-monsoon visit and I am desperately looking forward for my monsoon visit to Sinhagad valley. Undoubtedly ‘Sinhagad Valley’ is birder’s paradise!!! 🙂

For more snaps visit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/sinhagadvalley/

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Ghorwadeshwar Base entrance‘Ghorwadeshwar’ (मराठी: घोरवडेश्वर) was on my mind since quite some time. Last Sunday, I visited this place with one of my friends. We got up early in the morning and drove to Ghorwadeshwar base. We parked our vehicle there and started climbing the mountain.

To reach Ghorwadeshwar:

  1. Start from Pune and take old Pune-Mumbai highway.
  2. Cross Dehu, Shelarwadi to reach village called ‘Somatane’.
  3. On left hand, you will see entrance of ‘Ghorwadeshwar’ and stone steps on the huge mountain.
  4. Total distance is 35-40 Kms.

Note: Carry water bottle. Wear good shoes/floaters with good grip as path is steep and rocky.  Strictly – no chappals, fancy footwear, sandals.

Cave Temple - GhorwadeshwarThere are stone steps till the half way and rest of the steps construction is still in progress. It was good trek and we climbed the mountain to reach the top. Cold breeze refreshed us and we rested for a while below the tree. And then we began to explore…

Total 11 caves and many water tanks date back to 3rd or 4th century. There is a Chaitya gruha which has 3 small rooms dug on left side, 4 on right side and similar 2 on back side. The main stupa is now turned into ‘Ghorwadeshwar’ temple. The sabha mandap is big to accomodate devotees. The Gabhara is extension to it and has no door. I found the shivlinga quite unique in shape from the rest. The base of this shivlinga is squared and not circular in structure. Some of the wall has carved messages in Brahmi lipi.

The panorama of Shelarwadi, Dehu, Talegaon, Somatane was on front side and on back side there were traces of concrete jungle in Hinjewadi. We sat on the rock for some time to figure out these places with our bino.

On the left hand side there is another cave temple dedicated to Saint Tukaram. Three beautiful black stone idols of Vitthal, Rakhumai and Tukaram are installed here. Ghorwadeshwar trust was formed in 1981.

There is huge yatra here on ‘Mahashivratri’. Thousands of devotees climb up to take darshan on this auspicious day.

A new chirping beauty caught my attention. I clicked many snaps of this place as well as of this new bird which got recently added to my bird encyclopedia. I later found its name – “Crested Bunting”. 🙂

Seeing all this was indeed very amazing. We started descending down at 10. It was wonderful trek+outing. 😀

For more snaps visit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/ghorwadeshwar/

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I have been to Pataleshwar couple of times but all the times were without camera. This time I went with intention of taking some snaps. One fine morning, I decided to leave early for office and halt at this place.

Pataleshwar - Nandi MandapPataleshwar cave temple literally means “God of underground”. The word is derived from two words “Patal” (means Underground of the earth) and “Eshwar” (means God). This temple is a rock-cut cave temple, carved out from a single rock in the 8th century in the Rashtrakuta period. The entire structure is carved out of basalt or black rock.

The temple is dedicated to God Shiva. There is an exotic arrangement of circular stone at the entrance. It highlights acute sense of architecture of ancient era. There are also many seating arrangements for the devotees and visitors. Then there is huge circular umbrella shaped canopy called “Nandi Mandap” which is supported by massive stone pillars.

Serenity - PataleshwarThe actual cave temple has huge pillars sabha-mandap (hall like area) and Gabhara (sanctum sanctorum) which has shivalinga. There are small beautiful statues of  Sita, Rama, Laxman installed outside the sanctum. We can find some or the other devotee sitting in the sabha mandap enchanting the mantra jaap or reading holy book.

It is said that the temple was left incomplete, possibly because of a fault line found at the back of the sanctum sanctorum, which made the further sculpting unsafe.

Outside the cave temple, there is grass lawn surrounded by some old trees like banyan. We can find many students studying here beneath the trees’ shadow. Also beside the temple on the left side is the ‘Jangli Maharaj’ math which is also worth seeing.

Pataleshwar is one of the finest examples of rock cut architecture. The mesmerizing site needs to be maintained carefully by government as part of heritage and treated responsibly by all of us as glory of our ancient era.

The calmness in the cave is mind soothing and freshening. The atmosphere is very blissful. I love this place for its serenity. 🙂

Pataleshwar is certainly a ‘not-to-miss’ place among all the site-seeing places in Pune.

Note: See more snaps here –http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/pataleshwar/

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Trishund Ganapati TempleI remember it was night of 29th July 2007. We came home in late evening after some shopping and cooked dinner. We almost finished eating when we got call from my friend’s cousin asking whether we would be interested in visiting ‘Trishund Ganapati Mandir’. We were bit tired but info which he gave sounded very interesting and we rushed to the temple. It was Guru Poornima day and the underground (cave) of this temple is only opened to public on this day till 12 in the midnight. We reached and joined the queue for ‘darshan’. It was an amazing temple carved in black stone. I never imagined any antique temple like this in any of this peth areas. After the temple entrance, on right hand there are stone stairs to go to underground cave. There was knee-deep water due to fresh water springs below. The water was pumped out by the water pump so that devotees could walk properly. There is small Ganapati idol in the stone wall. Also there is a Samadhi of Bhimjigiri Gosavi who has built the temple. We took darshan and came up. It was such a divine atmosphere in the temple that night that I cannot forget. We thanked my friend’s cousin for calling us promptly and without him, we would have never known this temple and about the cave beneath it which is opened only once in a year. We came back late night from the temple. I kept on thinking about our visit in such haste to this place that night. Some things are bound to happen. We couldn’t click any snaps that night and that urge remained in my mind for quite long.

Trishund MayureshwarFinally two days ago I made plan to visit ‘Trishund Ganapati Mandir’. Today morning I got up early and got ready. One of my colleagues too joined me and we went to the temple. We were lucky to get morning pooja and arati.

In the crowded mess of narrow lanes and much hidden in today’s concrete jungle of Somwar peth, this elegant and beautiful black stone temple of ‘Trishund Ganapati’ comes as a pleasant surprise. This temple built in 1754 to 1770,  is a masterpiece of stone masonry carvings. There are two sculptured ‘dwarpals’ (doorkeepers) at the entrance along with other elaborated carved peacock, parrots, elephants in combat, chained rhinos with soldiers and mythological figures from ancient era.

After a spacious sabhamandap comes the sanctum where the idol of the unusual three-trunked Ganapati, sitting on a peacock (Mayur) is installed. Hence the name ‘Trishund Ganapati’ or ‘Trishund Maruyeshwar’. Riddhi-Siddhi stands on sides of the idol. The historical information says that this temple was built as Samadhi temple and a practicing school for mystics – Hathayogis and disciples of Mantrashakti!

The temple is built in two levels – the upper level is opened to public throughout the year and underground only on the day of Guru Poornima.

Exceptionally beautiful Trishund Ganapati temple is an archeological heritage which needs to be preserved as pride of ancient India. A must visit place for people who love to see some thing unique and antique along with religious facet.

NOTE: Here is the Google map image to get directions to go to ‘Trishund Ganapati Temple‘.

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Bell TowerIt is human tendency to overlook the things or the places which are close to you. We think that we can see or visit such places anytime as they are near-by and then the thought always get somewhere back of your mind and you forget and keep on postponing. I decided not to let this happen to me as far as Bell Tower was concerned. ‘Ghorpade Peth’ being my daily route, this Bell Tower always caught my attention.

It was a holiday on 1st of May last year and I went to this church. I parked my vehicle somewhere and starting clicking some snaps from outside. Some kids gathered to see what I was doing. A teenage girl too came up to me from the near by house and stood by my side while I was clicking. She told me by the hand gestures (sign language) to go inside the church to get good snaps. She was dumb but her encouragement in the form of sign language made me speechless.

I entered the gate of the church with bit of the hesitation as I was visiting a church in Pune for first time. I spoke to the old man who was security guard there. He mistook me to be a reporter as he found camera hanging around my neck. I told him I don’t belong to any newspaper and my interest to see this place brought me to this church. I sought his permission to click the snaps. He happily allowed me to do so. He also opened the garden gate which was locked so that I could get full view of tower for clicking snaps.

Windows and bricks - The Holy ChurchThe huge Bell tower is situated in the arena of ‘The Holy Church Of The Holy Name’ in very crowded area of Guruwar Peth. This Basilica Gothic style Anglo-Catholic church was erected in 1885. The brick structure has been designed in the famous basilica style. The Panch Haud Mission’s Holy Name Church is unique because all services here are conducted in Marathi. The church, which has completed 124 years, is celebrating Christmas with a lot of enthusiasm. The society of St John The Enenglist took the initiative in building this church which is equipped with eight bells brought from Laughingburg in UK.

The tower is 135 feet high and has stairs to reach to the top. The tower is opened to public on the eve of Christmas. The Bell Tower is the only tower in South Asia which has 8 Bells, with “Holy Name Of Jesus” carved on it. The eight bells ring with several holy songs and prayers including our national anthem.

The brick and stone structure of the church was designed by a person called “Bell”. Hence the name is “Bell Tower”.

The Panch Haud Mission already runs an orphanage hostel in the same premises. As the church and the tower come under a heritage grade, it is definitely worth a dekko.

I came out of the church and I searched for that girl again. She came up running to me and I said “Thank you”. I showed her the snaps on my camera LCD and she made a sign for “Good snaps!” She made a cross over her shoulders to tell me that she was a Christian and she was happy to see the snaps of her church. Speechless communication through gestures and then smile on our faces, I was so touched. Meeting this girl was quite a experience, something that was as great as seeing the beautiful church.

I feel lucky that I have met many people like this girl at different places and different stages of life, across the globe and I communicated with them in some or the other way. These people have some share in your life for some time and then you have memories to smile upon. I don’t know whether I will meet these people again in rest of the life or not but I would like to say a sincere “thank you” to all of them for making my life worthwhile.

For some more snaps you can visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/belltower/

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We headed for airport in early afternoon of 18th and I bade good-bye to Aritra with a heavy heart. I came back to Pune at 4:30 AM on 20th Apr. It was again a very loooooong and tiring journey. Flight which was supposed to reach Mumbai at 9:45pm but was delayed by 4 hrs. Journey was Dallas – Atlanta and Atlanta – Mumbai. After 2 hr of take-off from Atlanta, an old lady got heart trouble in plane and we had to do emergency landing on JFK airport, NY to hospitalize her. Weather was bad and plane was too heavy to land so they just threw excess fuel out of the plane to make it lighter. So NY was long break of 4 hrs. An old lady was hospitalized and rest time was spent in re-fueling the aircraft. Total journey back home was 27-28 hrs. 😦

The dinner which was supposed to be served at 10 pm was finally served at 2 am. They didn’t even bother to serve water to rest of the passengers. Thanks to inefficient staff of Delta airlines. Only the good part of it was – a life was saved.

We reached airport and havoc was waiting for us. The cell# of the cab driver was not accessible. It was turned off. We came out of airport and found a driver with company name and our names appeared as “Mr.” instead of “Ms.” Obviously he was looking for guys and not gals. We assured him we are the one whom he was looking for, and finally he was convinced. We started from Mumbai and reached home.

It is such a feeling on happiness and relaxation to come back home. 🙂

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home
.

John Howard Payne US actor & dramatist (1791 – 1852)

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