Thursday, December 26, 2013

Season's Greetings!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Doon town and passionate people

The best thing happened to me in the past few months is my visit to Dehradun. Everything about the trip was so positive and absolutely great. Thanks to my official work, I got to do a bit of personal work as well. There was nothing on my agenda till I mentioned to my friends saying I'm going to Dehradun for a couple of days. Instantly they came back with suggestions to visit a few bookstores/publishers in Dehradun. And I got a list of books to be bought from Dehradun in no time. I got very excited about the activity and tried to plan my visit in such a way that I do this small piece of work without disturbing my official schedule. Of course there were some more activities that got added to my to-do list in Dehradun including my mom's request for Ganga-water-in-a-metallic-tumbler-from-Haridwar.

We landed in Dehradun and my colleagues who traveled with me agreed to accompany me for a short visit to Dehradun town before checking into our hotel at Haridwar. So, four of us reached the lovely town of Dehradun in the Doon valley on the foothills of Himalayas. It did not take too long for us to search for the book store I was desperately looking for; I saw the old (perhaps 50 year old) sign board of Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Sing Publishers (BSMPS) through the car window and asked the driver to drop us off. I requested my colleagues to go around the place and do anything they want to for a few hours; but they all chose to come with me to the bookstore. 

I was very frightened by looking at the building with a doubtful mind that the bookstore is either closed or got shifted to some other place. To my surprise I was wrong. I entered through the old wooden door and saw a functioning printing press; the people at the press assured me that I was at the right place. It was a huge old building which was getting ready for renovation and we started searching for the bookstore across all the 3 floors.. We took almost 15 minutes before we spoke to a person who came out of a small room full of books. And he assured me that whatever I was seeing is a 'bookstore'. And that's how I met the owner/Managing Director of BSMPS, Mr Abhimanyu Gahlot and his father Mr. Gajendra Gahlot; the two passionate people who publish only botany related books. It was quite interesting and inspiring to know that they publish botany related books because they are very passionate about botany. Some of the well known botanists have published a lot of books through them. It was a great feeling for me to be there and hear stories from them and witness their passion. After going through their catalog of books, our tiny books list grew bigger and pockets much steeper of course! 

Mr. Gajendra and his son Mr. Abhimanyu at BSMPS bookstore, Dehradun
After that brief visit with a promise to return back in a couple of days to collect all the books, we left from Dehradun and reached Haridwar for dinner. It was a fun time to be at IIT Roorkee for our annual campus recruitment event and perform the interviews throughout the night. Well, how many occasions do you think you will get to interact some bright students until you announce the results at 4 am in the chilly weather of 3 or 4 degrees C? During our free time, we did visit Haridwar and witnessed the beautiful Ganga in her pure form and walked around the holy town with a tourist tag on our forehead.

As promised I had to go back to my new friends to close our books order before I took my flight back to Bangalore. So, instead of staying back at the hotel in Haridwar, I decided to stay at Dehradun. I got a few hours to visit the Forest Research Institute and its amazing tree museums. It was worth every minute of sleep I saved to rush back from Haridwar to Dehradun post our recruitment event.

I was so moved by Abhimanyu and his father Gajendra's passion and on top of that,  it was a bit too much for me to receive their kind hospitality as well. Every minute I spent with them, I was absolutely overwhelmed by their kind gesture. They are truly amazing people I've met. And the whole experience of me visiting Dehradun grew richer because of them. And because they thought we are also passionate about botany, orchids and such stuff, they were  kind enough to give us some discounts and ship the books to Bangalore free of cost.

Uploading here are some photographs I could click during my short visit to these places. (click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Forest Research Institute Museum , Dehradun

Forest Research Institute established in 1905

FRI Campus

                 (Orchids on the trees at FRI)

Ropeway overlooking the magnificient gangetic plains ferrying passengers to the Mansi Devi temple at Haridwar

The valley on the way to the Chandi Devi temple

Haridwar town seen from the Mansi Devi temple

 (Some flora around the valleys of Chandi Devi temple)

Ganga in its purest form enters the civilization at Haridwar

The ghats all along the Ganga. Fortunately its not as filthy as Varanasi

Sunday, December 15, 2013

first happy blooms

Well, it has been a fascinating journey so far since the time I developed my interest in Orchids. It all started because I loved photographing them in the wild. They are the most beautiful flowers I've seen. I wondered and was very curious to know more about them and since then, it has been a very interesting journey for sure. These days I don't just photograph them, I also try to know more details on every species I come across and read a bit as well. I am also lucky enough to run into good people who are passionate about orchids and I am glad to have my association with them. I also became a member of The Orchid Society of Karnataka and it has been a very good learning experience for me to interact with many orchid lovers. Somehow, I never had the courage to grow orchids at home, perhaps I was worried I would kill them. But then I thought growing orchids at home will be the only way to learn more about them technically, so I decided to grow them and got a few hybrid plants home and potted them a year ago. Initially I did a lot of mistakes (not that I am not doing mistakes now) and saw many leaves drying/burning up; and never had any hopes of good blooms from them at all. Monsoon arrived sooner than I expected and I just left the plants to get treated by nature in its own way. Slowly I saw many new spikes/leaves coming out and one fine day I was ecstatic to see a bud as well. Perhaps, I learnt how to water them better after that and I was happy to see more buds in all the plants. Even now, I do not think I have understood them better, but I am trying my best to save them at least. Being a novice in growing orchids, I was absolutely delighted when I saw these blooms at home. Hopefully, one day I will be confident enough to tell myself ~ 'go ahead and buy those lovely plants' and take care of them as well. These blooms are the first happy blooms at home.

Phalaenopsis hybrid

Loved the velvety texture and the color

Equitant Oncidium ~ Lava burst (Dancing lady)

Equitant Oncidium (Dancing lady)
Dendrobium hybrid

Dendrobium hybrid about to open up in full


Friday, December 13, 2013

Govindanahalli-Kikkeri-Hosaholalu Day Trip

In our usual way of celebrating our Canadia Trust's foundation day on 2013 December 08, we visited the following heritage sites with some great food, education and much laughter. As always it was a great one day trip and only few of our team members could made it. We took the less traveled roads that went through rolling hills, valleys, villages, small towns and indeed it was a very relaxing drive. Presenting here are some of the panoramic photographs of these heritage sites that are currently under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) maintenance.

(Click on the photographs to enlarge them)

Panchalingeshwara Temple at Govindanahalli

The unique Panchakuta design at Panchalingeshwara Temple, Govindanahalli (Rear view)

Panchalingeshwara Temple with 5 gopuras (one being restored currently) 

Brahmeshwara Temple at Kikkeri (looking east)

Brahmeshwara Temple at Kikkeri (looking north-east)

Lakshminarayana Temple at Hosaholalu (looking east)

Wall carvings at the Lakshminarayana Temple, Hosaholalu

Lakshminarayana Temple, Hosaholalu (Rear view looking South)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gangadwara and the Doon Valley

This winter has been a great experience for me when it comes to travels. That I was missing my visit to himalayas this year, I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to visit the Doon valley on the foothills of himalayas. And compared to the filthy ganga I witnessed during my trip to Varanasi, the same ganga that enters the Indo-Gangetic plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar is fantastically beautiful and much cleaner for sure. I was also lucky enough to get some time to visit the amazing Forest Research Institute (FRI) at Dehradun. It is one of the oldest institutions of its kind. Presenting here some of the panoramic shots from my short visit to these places.

(Click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Haridwar town on the banks of river Ganga seen from Mansi Devi Temple - looking East

Valleys on the way to the Chandi Devi Temple at Haridwar

Haridwar Town seen from Chandi Devi Temple- looking West

Haridwar town and River Ganges looking South

River Ganges at Har-Ki-Podi in Haridwar

South-East corner of Forest Research Institute at Dehradun

Southern face of the Forest Research Institute of Dehradun

Forest Research Institute established in 1938