Bright and Beautiful in the City of Joy

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A quiet afternoon in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in Kolkata didn’t seem like a good idea at first , but there I was in front of the garden.With no plan for the day, I decided to take a quick walk. The auto driver did mention ‘the great banyan tree’ , supposedly one of the largest in the world , with a circumference of about 350 metres! What was intended to be a hurried visit, turned out to be a leisurely amble and an afternoon of all things bright and beautiful ! Not on the regular tourism circuit , but definitely worth a visit for nature lovers.

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Take off

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Perched
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One of the many lakes

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The Great Banyan Tree from a distance
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Roots and Trunks – A closer look
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Paddle and pose !

 

 

Lamahatta : One with nature

Lamahatta , about 23 km away from Darjeeling , is a bewitching place. Tall trees competing for faint golden rays , glittering blades of grass , a forest shrouded in fog and lots of prayer flags , this place lives up to its name ‘monk’s hermitage’.  Let’s walk…

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I was reminded of the poem ‘Babes in the woods’
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Blur Blade

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View from the Lamahatta roadside garden
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A beauty spotted in the garden

 

 

Mystique and Mist : Deolo Hills

Deolo hills, in Kalimpong, were enveloped in mist that day . With dampened clothes and enthusiasm , I entered the Deolo hills garden . It was a patient wait ,  three hours I think , before sun and spray ended their game of hide and seek and the gloomy darkness finally fled to reveal the multitude of colourful flowers that dotted the place!

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The gloomy garden as I entered
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The wait !

 

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Sunshine wins

 

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Out of a crevice
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Hydrangea
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Blue Bunches
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Some more bright blue
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Fireball !

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Worth the wait
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Happy Heart !

 

 

Magical hands at work : Gangtok

A visit to the Directorate of Handloom and Handicraft in Gangtok , is a wonderful way of getting a glimpse of the traditional arts and crafts of the state. Watching the carpet weavers , wood carvers and thangka painters in action and realizing that it takes weeks and sometimes months of incessant toiling and great attention to detail for the completion of a piece of art , makes one more appreciative of these gifts of labour.

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Lepcha weavers
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A closer look at the pattern
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Wood Carver at work

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Thangka artist
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Thangka painting
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Mask Making
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Some of these masks are used in tradiitonal temple dances
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Finally , the carpet weavers
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This carpet would take two months to complete !
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Pattern in progress

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A lake and a lapwing: Fatehsagar

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Fateh Sagar Lake
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View from the Nehru Garden
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Lake view from Chetak Smarak

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A red -wattled lapwing
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Solo by the lake

Fatehsagar lake is called the pride of Udaipur and is a perfect place to spend a quiet evening . As I was drifting into a world of my own , lulled by the lake-side breeze , a strange loud call drew my attention. There were two at first , by the time I got closer , one decided to take flight , while the other just stood there and obliged . Finally , a picture of a red-wattled lapwing !

 

Kacchi Ghodi and Katputli : Of horses and puppets

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Dummy horse prop used in the Kachhi Ghodi Dance

The Kachhi Ghodi dance is performed by men using a dummy horse . Whirling to the beats of a dholak , while the singer sings tales of valour , the dancers are a treat to watch.

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Pirouetting

 

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Making stories come alive with vibrant puppets , the Katputli dance is traditionally performed by puppeteers behind a screen , who make string puppets (katputli) dance and move to the musical narratives of legendary stories.DSC_0646.JPG

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In the performance that I saw , the puppeteer stood in front of the audience ,  giving us an opportunity to observe the skill of the otherwise unnoticed man behind the scenes.

With this post , the series on performances from Udaipur comes to an end . I hope you enjoyed them .

Mewasi Tribal Dance : Acrobatics and Awe

Next in the series of performances is one from Shilpagram ,  Udaipur.

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The troupe gets ready
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Not missing a beat
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One of many formations
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Perfect balance

The group of performers from the Mewasi tribe of Gujarat , dressed in vibrant costumes , enthralled with their energetic dance and stunning acrobatic formations.

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At the edge of my seat ..this was stunning
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A rath formation
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Finale