Competitive grazing

In Valparai we saw four different kinds of wild plant-eating animals: the huge Gaur (aka Indian bison), the shy barking deer (Indian Muntjac), the rare Nilgiri tahr, and the Nilgiri langur. There were also domesticated cows and buffalos, and a very small number of domestic goats. If all the grazers eat the same food, then… Continue reading Competitive grazing

A dead white man

Dead white men, dead white males, or dead white European males (DWEM) are the famous deceased European males that are often the focus of academic studies of history and Western culture. (Wikipedia) Nilgiri teas are the least aromatic of the Indian teas. On our trip to Valparai I kept coming across the various ways in… Continue reading A dead white man

A shy johnny

A Nilgiri langur sleeps on a branch of a tree as far from a road as it can get.

The Nilgiri langurs we came across were very private. There was a large tribe of them foraging on trees by the road near Valparai. As soon as our car stopped, the nearest ones fled further into the forest. I got off and tried to photograph the ones in the next tree, and they fled as… Continue reading A shy johnny

Super Sunday

Valparai is a good base for birding and wildlife sighting. Although the ecology in the immediate neighbourhood is massively disturbed by the monoculture of tea, it is a buffer zone for the nearby Annamalai tiger reserve forest. With the boom in nature tourism in India, tea estates in this region have begun to create boutique… Continue reading Super Sunday

Engineering macaque safety

Lion-tailed macaques are not larger than two feet (60 cms). Apparently they live up to 20 years.

Lion-tailed macaques are found only in the western ghats of India. They were in the list of most endangered monkeys and apes till 2012. In that year the IUCN found that various state governments had taken conservation steps and the population had turned around. Now it is classified merely as endangered. Our guide, Murugan, is… Continue reading Engineering macaque safety

Fabulous Friday

The lush green valley of Valparai is a good place for wildlife and birding. The morning’s outing gave us a small bird list, but with a couple of “lifers” (birders’ shorthand for seeing a bird for the first time in one’s life). I put together four great sightings in the photos above. Going left to… Continue reading Fabulous Friday

A good-enough Friday

Years ago I was introduced to the delightful world of Tamil pickles. Our weekend’s hotel added one to the tally: a sweet beetroot pickle. Other than this the food was well-made but unremarkable. The Family disagrees, but she has to agree when I say “my post, my choice”. In any case, late on the morning… Continue reading A good-enough Friday

Breakfast at Kosi Bazar

A caption

Just after the Almora-Gopeshwar road crosses the Kosi, a little road-side bazar has sprung up, invisible on maps and satellite photos available to you and me. For a couple of hundred meters, the road is lined on both sides by shops. The owners walk here from nearby villages early in the morning and leave late… Continue reading Breakfast at Kosi Bazar