Saturday, January 24, 2009

River Beas

This blog is impressionistic, as I feel torn between a great love for rivers, the need to keep them as pure as we can and the need for many of us to use the river as a 'consumable'. The subject is the Beas River at Kaleswar, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh.
Double click on the pictures to get a closer view.

The picture shows the steps leading to Beas and the bathing houses(?) built on its banks supposedly from the time of the Pandavas. Kaleswar is closely associated with stories of the exile of Pandavas into the forests.

These are Samadhis for Sadhus built on the banks of Beas. Again, dating to the epic period.

A cremation in progress on the river banks. Kaleswar is considered second only to Haridwar in conducting funeral rites.

At the bottom of the picture you can see a truck filling sand from the bottom of the river.

'Panchtirthi' is considered a holy place to take a dip. The water in this 'Kund' is from the pure mountain stream, before it joins Beas below. A red start is waiting to take a dip too!

We walk through this 'Khad' to reach the flowing river. Water from this river is probably going to meet the needs of the residents around.

Beas is still not as polluted as Ganges. May be this is the time to do something proactive so that Beas does not meet the fate of the Ganges.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Walk the Wilderness: Birding in India - National Bird of India

Walk the Wilderness: Birding in India - National Bird of India

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Blossom headed parakeets

I noticed a group of parakeets with plum heads and sweet chirpings ( not screeching) sitting on an old leafless tree outside our house in the village, in Kangra (H.P),in October 2008. When I visited again in Dec 2008, a new house was getting built next to the tree and birds seem to have generally abandoned their perch on this tree.

For a moment I was disappointed. But the village is still surrounded by tall trees as most people who own arable land have grown trees there rather than cultivating wheat or corn. The resultant wooded areas house a large variety of birds, including parakeets.

Most villagers feed grains to birds and the parakeets prefer to come early morning before other birds like the tree pies and jungle crows arrive for their share.

Seeing them fly in with a chorus and peck the grains is a remarkable way to start a cold morning. I noticed that when the blossom headed parakeets feed, other birds keep away, including ordinary parakeets. The flock seemed to move in large numbers with alert calls being sounded at the slightest disturbance. Seeing them take off all at once reminded me of the Jataka tale of the parakeets lifting the net which the bird catcher had laid for them.

"There was once a flock of birds peacefully pecking seeds under a tree. A hunter came along and threw a heavy net over them. He said, "Aha! Now I have my dinner!"

All at once the birds began to flap their wings. Up, up they rose into the air, taking the net with them. They came down on the tree and, as the net snagged in the tree's branches, the birds flew out from under it to freedom. The hunter looked on in amazement, scratched his head and muttered, "As long as those birds cooperate with one another like that, I'll never be able to capture them! Each one of those birds is so frail and yet, together they can lift the net."