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General > My recent visit to Morni Forest Area
Posted by salil sharma on February 27, 2013
Visited Morni Hills, DistrictPanchkula, Haryana this sunday. Already famous for its varied flora and fauna,Morni is infact a tiny village located on the foothill-zone of the shivaliks. Ametalled road connects morni with panchkula for a distance of about 20kms., onmajor district road 118 and is 3000 ft. above the mean sea level. morni hillshave two water bodies, small agricultural tracts and presence of river ghaggar.The reserved forest limit starts just as we take a turn towards morni from nadasahib, a gurudwara. a check post has been put up by the forest department, butfound it not operating on sunday. vehicular traffic, leading to a lot of noisekeeps the wild life at bay. i was amused to notice atlest 10 vehicles passingevery 10 minutes, with no limit to the speed and constant honking. as weentered the forest area we could find few monkeys and langoors on the road sideprobably just because of the feeding by passers by.


Moving a little ahead we heardthe chirping of some birds and stopped to notice what it was? with muchdifficulty, because of the vehicles moving constantly, we noticed a tree fullof berries on which some birds were sitting. to our surprise it was the white -eared bulbul. Also known as Himalayan Bulbul and white cheeked bulbul,a scarce resident in Haryana. The bird is found in wooded areas like mornihills and kalesar forests. Its local name is kushandra or bhooroo as told by a farmer locally


 so many of them fluttering from one tree toanother managing what little they could eat, scared of the noise. we stoodlifeless for around 10 to 15 min.

So that they come to the berry treeon the road side where we were waiting for them to be clicked. after they werepretty sure we were not a threat to them they started coming one after theother giving us a chance to click them.


We moved ahead searching for somemore birds. There was a group of some off road bikers enjoying driving on theturns of the hills. We found a red startsitting quietly on the branch of a tree at village mandana, the largest villagein morni hills. We managed to click.



 Little ahead we found the red whiskered bulbul also known as red vented bulbul, the singerbird of India. It probably looks like a musician with a turban on the top ofthe head-the crest. It has  a long tailand feeds on fruits, nectar and insects.


Morni has varied flora likebabul, kikar, bamboo, khair, amaltas, jamun trees are commonly seen on loweraltitude. As we move higher the type of vegetation changes to pines and chirtrees and temperature also falls suddenly. From mandana, the view of the plains is breathtaking.  The ghaggar river separates the tipra rangefrom morni hills. From the T-point we can turn back to chandimandir and alsotowards pinjore through thapli which also boasts of a famous nature camp.
Travel > Hemis festivals 2013
Posted by Discovery Journeys on February 25, 2013

Hemis festivals remember the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, who was the creator of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. Huge contest drops on the 10 day of the Tibetan lunar 1 month. The vibrant two days of production is famous with excellent gaiety and passion. Individuals in joyful passion keep behind all their problems and stress and interact with themselves in festivities.

A grand party of Hemis event occurs after every 12 decades according to the Tibetan season of the Goof. In the Festivals, a two-storey excellent "Thanka", illustrating Padmasambhava is on show. It is highly stitched and very eye-catching and amazing, ornamented with pearl jewelry and semi-precious rocks. The oldest or the go lama presides over the wedding festivities. Another fascination of the Hemis Festivals is the vibrant reasonable, which shows some beautiful handcraft. Shopaholics can look for conventional handcraft for their visitors.

The Hemis Festival is an event here we are at the natives have fun with the vibrant procession. They decorate themselves in a shiny shaded conventional garb on this event. Cure your sight with an interesting hidden dancing conducted by the Lamas, on the beat of percussion, lengthy horns and cymbals. The wonderful dancing performance entertains the brain of every guest and persuade them to join in it.

The grand Hemis event is famous in the Hemis Monastery. It is one of the greatest Festival of Ladakh built in 1630, during the program of Sengge Namgyal. The Monastery homes the greatest Thangkha in Ladakh area, which is shown once in 12 years. There are two sections in the monastery - the set up area on the right and the Tshogkhang forehead on the remaining. The fantastic structure of varandah is outstanding. The surfaces are ornamented with surfeit of frescoes, the Buddhist 'Wheel of life' and the lords of four areas.

Hemis Festival 2013 - 18th-19th June 2013

Travel > Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2013 by Helicopter
Posted by Mount Kailash Yatra 2013 on February 18, 2013

Kailash is ruminated the blessed mountain on earth by a number of believes, faiths and religions and Mt. Kailash is also Known as Gang Tise or Gang Rinproche in Tibet.It is reputed asdifficult yatrasin the process, found that some places radiate and elemental energy not felt elsewhere. Mt. Kailash is the mother of all Teertha Sthala. KailashYatra is considered to be one of the most ambitious expeditions in Asia.Mt. Kailash stands south-west corner of Tibet in the Himalayan Mountains and raising at an ridge of 6638 m (21778 ft) it is one of the highest parts of the Himalayas and serves as a source of some of the longest rivers in Asia.The narrative in the Puranas, Mount Kailash's four faces are made of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli.

It is the conclusive destination of inspiration and the holy center of the world. It is a pretentious and outstanding commensurate peak which is made up of black rock. Mt Kailash is aawesome and amazing diamond like shaped mountain that is surrounded by beautiful landscape which is bumpy or rugged and dry.With great divine pleasure we invite and welcome all the Shiv Bhakts to one of the most sacred pilgrimage of Mount Kailash Tour. The time for yatra is from June to September as during the winter months all mountains and river lakes are frozen.

According to Hindu legends, Shiva, the god of desolation and rebirth, resides at the pinnacle of this famous mountain named Kailasa. Mount Kailasa is considered in many sects of Hinduism as heaven. Kailash Yatra by Helicopter has its own exotic experience.Lake Mansarovar situated about 2000 kms from Lhasa is world’s highest freshwater lake. This huge lake with the mirror like image of snow capped mountains in its crystal clear waters is just fabulous. The lake is located at the southern foot of Mount Kailash, stretching up to 55miles (88kms) in perimeter it goes 330 feet deep and about 120 sq mi of total area.

The best to visit the lake is during springs as it is during this time the lake melts and allows people to bathe in its holy water this holy lake is one of the considerable pilgrimages for Hindus and Buddhists which attracts thousands of tourists towards itself every year from not only India but also various parts of the world. Mount Kailash Mansarovar is the perfect destination of all the pilgrimage. Kailashparikrama is a dream of everyone who has faith in Hindu culture. Kailashparvat is a place where the soul merges in the purist Mansarovar Lake and gives peace and holy experience for whole life. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is not easy path to travel.

Some special attraction at Mount Kailash Yatra

  • KailashParikrama
  • Lake Mansarovar
  • GauriKund
  • Rakshas Tal
  • OM Parvat

The world-famous and Kailash Mansarovar Tours have been, the source of inspiration for many religions and beliefs. Despite many difficulties and long distances, people are keen to go there at least once in their lives.

Travel > WILDLIFE JOURNEYS – Kanha National Park – CENTRAL INDIA
Posted by Discovery Journeys on February 18, 2013

Monsoon season has thundered to aclose, meaning India’s national parks are once again open for business. KanhaNational Park, one of the country’s finest safari spots, is a world pluckedstraight from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” Giant Indian elephantsrumble through bamboo thickets “in a military. The mainly two types of forestsof this national park: Sal and mixed deciduous.   

 

Style”, peacocks fluff their brightlyadorned feathers, and while visitor swon’t catch Mowgli swinging about, theymayspot India’s fierce Royal Bengal tiger prowling in the brush. The 1,945 sqkm wildlife preserve also shelters many other exotic and endangered nativeanimals. Rescued from near extinction, herds of swamp deer feast upon the tall,dry grassland, now threatened more by tigers than poachers. Kanha’s alsopopular and lightning fast black bucks sometimes zip by at an incredible 100kph, enthralling spectators and exhausting predators. Of course, the area’smain draw is its elephant-back tiger safaris, which put open-air jeeps in theirparking place. In fact, with its vast stretches of open meadows and closelyguarded borders, the preservation is the perfect site for tiger tracking. Manycan see tigers behind bars at a zoo, but few can come within meters of thebeasts’ uncaged brilliance while sitting atop one of the globe’s largestmammals. Mowgli would be proud.

 

ShergarhTenting

 

 Threekilometers from Kanha’s quiet, less touristy Mukki Gate, eco-conscious Jehanand Katie Bhujwala have taken “luxury” outdoors with six top-end tents. Thesespacious canvas quarters offer a relaxing retreat from the day’sgame drive andconnect to private, permanent bathrooms delivering hot water, heated by astoked fire. After a superbly guided safari, guests can pedal through the locallandscape on one of Shergarh’s exciting new cycling treks. Personal toucheslike tasty, packed safari lunches or preheated beds on chilly nights ensureeach stay feels special.

 

Flameof the forest

 

Cloaked in the forest and fauna ofKanha National Park lies the sought-after Flame of the Forest Safari Lodge.Owners and caregivers Isa and Karan warmly welcome adventurous visitors, makingtheir jungle abode feel like home. This luxurious lodge offers foureco-friendly cottages, thoughtfully designed with nature and relaxation inmind. Each cottage exudes an aura of authenticity and has a patio that peeksdown at the banks of the bubbling Banjar River. Venture out early for a trekthrough the nearby tribal villages or accompany seasoned naturalist Karan on aheart-pumping tiger safari. Twilight dinner on the Banjar sands will have youseriously considering

Making the switch from the “concretejungle”.

 

Floraand Fauna of Kanha National Park with Wildlife Tours

 

Kanha National Park is mixture of greatfloras and faunas. The main fauna in the park are tiger, gaur, wild dogs,chousingha, nilgai, sloth bear, sambhar, chital, hard ground Barasinga-(12-horneddeer), barking deer, hyena, jungle cat and leopard. It is also the ecstasy ofbirds like Racket-tailed drongo, Magpie Robin, two species of hornbill seen inlarge numbers.

 

Other attractions around this nationalpark are: Kanha Museum, Elephant Safari, Bamni Dadar, TigerSafari India National Parks, (bird’s eye view of the National Park), Bird WatchingTours India and many more.               

Photography > Giving back through photography
Posted by Susan Sharma on February 03, 2013
"While pictures of nature and wildlife are valuable when contributed to conservation causes, images that depict the destruction of nature are vital for creating change. Unfortunately, most nature photographers in India do not even consider taking “conservation photographs” such as road kills, mined slopes, deforested hillsides, ugly constructions within forests, or other manmade disasters inflicted on nature. Yet, pictures like these, with a record of the location, date and time, can help conservation immensely.

If you’ve only been photographing nature so far, taking “conservation pictures” will definitely require venturing outside your comfort zone. However, in the interests of India’s wildlife, it’s time for all nature photographers to add this genre of photography to their repertoire. The good news is, nature and conservation photography are not mutually exclusive and can be practiced side-by-side.

The advantage with conservation photography is that, unlike nature photography, it is not dependent on sophisticated and expensive equipment, or great technical skill......."

Read More at
http://www.conservationindia.org/resources/beyond-the-pretty-picture

Man Animal Conflict > An Elephant in my Garden
Posted by Susan Sharma on February 03, 2013
"Most of the conservation focus in India is on protected areas, based on the idea that people and wildlife cannot coexist. But while peddling this theory to try and push for more human-free areas, conservationists are writing off the majority of wildlife that live out of protected areas and alongside people. This is also closely linked to the history of the conservation movement in India and other parts of the world, and the urban elite now dominating it.
It’s time for NGOs and state forest departments to stop imitating western conservation ideas, and look at what our own culture has to offer. A good starting point is to perhaps start incentivising tolerance, whereby communities are possibly subsidised for not planting conflict-prone crops, or better protecting their immediate surroundings from animals.
..................
Our research attempted to understand the differences between communities, all living in the same region (within 500 m of the boundary of the Mudumalai tiger reserve) and interacting with the same wildlife. We interviewed 250 people from three tribal communities"— ..................

Read More at
http://www.thesholatrust.org/an-elephant-in-my-garden/
Any other > HOG DEER LISTED AMONG ENDANGERED SPECIES BY INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE
Posted by Shashi Kant Sharma on January 31, 2013
That beautiful animal is near extinct - its numbers reduced to 20-40 in Corbett National Park( a park many think of as the first to start a Tiger Conservation effort......exhibiting some good management practices over the years though as of now they seem to be focussed more on denying people accommodation inside Dhikala/FRHs inside the Park.....story one has heard is it is invariably 100% booked for Government officials............of course there is also the story about tourist resorts outside the Park doing good business though they do not necessarily focus on the health of the Park and its animals)
The Hog Deer found only in Ganjetic plains and Kaziranga has fallen prey to essentially the pernicious practice of grasslands being burnt every year. It is reported that 500 of them perished in the Kaziranga floods last year.....could the Park there have provided them passage to higher ground (that is all they would need to survive and not really expect you to take Noah's Ark there....after all floods in the Kaziranga are'nt a surprise/unexpected event
The story written  by Ananda Banerjee in the Mint of 01 February, 2013 brings out detail and touches you to the quick. Can we start a petition to Corbett National Park to take up a campaign for saving the Hog?
You will see a beautiful Photograph of the beautiful animal..........Looks so VULNERABLE...Read the story by visiting
http://www.livemint.com/Politics/D4wEw5qfD7l8vQWhe2HmTN/Hog-deer-trapped-and-nowhere-to-run.html#comments_box
Nature Trails > Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Gurgaon
Posted by Shashi Kant Sharma on January 27, 2013
Have been visiting the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary since the late 70's. Today, the 27 January, 2013 we visited it again to spend some time birding in the company of some old colleagues and friends - all retired/semi-retired.
A much anticipated outing since this is the time for many migratories being seen at the sanctuary. Experienced mixed emotions - driving on roads much improved from the old times and getting to the Sanctuary in much less time than in the old times. We noticed how a new Manesar-Dwarka Expressway has resulted in miles and miles of lands being taken over by Colonizers, big and small. Drive to Sultanpur was almost entirely through an already congested/inhabited area. Gone was the romance of driving to the place on muddy roads, raising clouds of dust in the wake of my car as used to be the case in the 70's. Today it felt as if we were in Sultanpur, having hardly got out of the urbanised/much colonized area (an extension of old/new Gurgaon thanks to the Manesar-Dwarka Expressway). 
We were among large groups inside the Sanctuary itself as well and the parking place provided was choc-a-block with the latest models of cars. families inside the sanctuary wielded the latest DSLR cameras (one with each member of the family) .................In the 70's I recollected having gone to Sultanpur from Delhi and stayed in the tourist huts for a weekend...the experience was that of visiting a Sanctuary far from the madding crowd and stay in the hut was in sync with that feeling....................Today things have changed, smoother roads, flyovers providing access, lots of festive tents both sides of the roads (sales/marketing offices put up by Colonizers for prospective buyers).......... So did I expreience the quietitude and peace of old times while driving to the sanctuary or walking  around the lake inside. We did see many more birds and also a Cobra and took many photographs.......our mood fluctuated from happy, relaxed,  worrisome, 'happy-sad' not 'happy-happy' ...............the large groups were too noisy, the walking trail inside had too many plastic wrappers, visitors were all over the place. We remained in touch with the fear that as colonizers construct all the way to the gates of the sanctuary, will it survive? Number of birds coming will surely go down since the fields/trees and vegetation on both sides of the road has nearly disappeared already (with agricultural lands usage having been converted to urbanised area already).....so fewer trees/bushes for them to pearch on and more people engaged in the business of life----more vehicles, lots of electric lights, Mobile Towers.....Radiation...........
Given the pressure of numbers, will it renew and regenerate itself..Have my doubts.  Do we wish to eliminate the probability of our children/grand children having some place to experience Nature and Unspoilt Surroundings at their healthiest and least spoilt state of being......Of course there was plenty of water in the Lake, lots of birds were there but there was also an old/very ill-looking blue-bull. Did it pick up an infection something from the domestic cattle that were roaming around the Sanctuary in plenty. .................I continue to believe that we have to save some islands of peace and quietitude away from constructed areas ----merely designating an area a Sanctuary will not ensure that. We as a society will have to persuade ourselves to not monetise every inch of land that we see around us
Nature Heals > Saving Greens for our very Survival
Posted by Shashi Kant Sharma on January 24, 2013
It is'nt just about sustainable living.
Saving Greens is necessary for our very survival - be it the essential for species survival bio-diversity, the 'basic' water of life, life-regenerating climate (weather cycles) or the beautyof nature which heals minds and brings smiles to the most harried amongst us. Every little bit that any one does will help
Good News is that some Institutions are working to make a difference
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) have added their weight to save the Aravalis in and around Gurgaon-Faribadabad belt.
As reported in the Times of India of January 25, 2013, NGT have passed an order prohibiting non-Forest Activity in three villages in the Gurgaon-Faridabad belt. These are Kot, Mangar, Roz-ka-Gujjar and Sikandarpur (of Marble Market and Wine shops fame)
Some of us have been agitated about the Aravalis being sold off to developers by fobbing off the transaction as a step for developing tourism...........This was a move for destroying the Mangar Forests - a 500 acre grove of the Dhau Tree held sacred by the locals. The effort of the people there is comparable with the Chipko movement of yore in Uttrakhand. A group of 5-6 residents of Mangar Bani literally moved mountains to create awareness about their forest and what that sylvan surrounding was doing to sustain the Gurgaon-Faridabad belt By the way the sale of Forest land was happening in the garb of 'consolidation of land' (misuse of that policy was reported when the Haryana IAS Officedr Khemka was in the news)
For details on the struggle for saving Mangar Bani and Photographs of this Forest visit http://www.indianwildlifeclub.blogspot.in/2012/07/mangarbani-sacred-grove.html
General > The legend of a British planter and a rogue bull
Posted by Gavaz Kanjiramnilkunnathil on January 22, 2013
I had been to Parambikkulam Tiger Reserve of South India a couple of times particularly in a bid to observe as well as take some pictures of the shy giants of the Western Ghats, the gaur. These gentle animals were for long considered as buffaloes (bison) by even a good number of forest department hands, while factually they belong to the family that also boasts of our good old domestic cows.Although I had been able to watch some of these in close quarters, every time they ensured that I was not given the luxury of ample time in their company, which I desperately needed to carry out my work.

The herds I came across in both Parambikulam and Periyar Tiger Reserve were mostly comprised of cows, and rarely I got the sight of a full grown bull. So most of my ventures ended up with mere dung examinations and a number of photographs (most of which were distorted) when I, along with my talented snapper Arun Prakash, was headed for Nelliyampathy, I hadn't the slightest of ideas what was in store for us on the green hills that we thought were simply part of a tourist destination flaunting its enthralling plantation sceneries.

It was a local tea-vendor at the cool hilltop that gave us first of the hints that we had from the mystic place that had from the moment we had started driving uphill, began shrouding us with an air of extra-ordinariness. On our disclosing before the old man serving us an earthy tea, our curiosity in tracking and closely observing a herd of gaur, we noticed a vivid expansion of his brownish pupils as if having had an opportunity to express himself a bit deeply. Dear friends, he said, you definitely can't be at a better place, providing you have the guts to take them. His words were certainly sounding more than what it conveyed first time; and more, the chilly night breeze howling through the silhouettes formed by the gigantic trees against the late evening sky's dark blue evanescence, was adding some special effects to them, although a bit eerie.

The first impression did the work. The tea-vendor was drinking with us pretty late into the night. The phantom breeze had started surging as he started unveiling one of the most horrendous folklore of the area. "If you are here to watch the gaur, you definitely will; rather let me assure you that you will be accosted by one..a dreadful one." "See no man will be as sober as me when I say these words". "But why on the earth should a bovine solicit us, at least considering the fact we are entirely strangers in a strange land?", Arun just couldn't hold back his curiosity. "A bovine? Is that all respect you have for it gentlemen? Then let me make it clear, I fear you might not be facing cattle class, rather howbout meeting a ghost the next night?...The ghost of planter Hall...a bereft soul deprived of the care of his dream woman a long time back" "And let me inform you that it was only a while back a local witchdoctor was mauled by it to his doom".

The handsome blue-eyed British planter, Arthur Hall had travelled to the Nellies (Nelliyampathy Hills) after getting the crucial nod from the then ruler of Kochi  Rama Varma XIV. At that time, the Kalri Kovilakam  had almost acquired the custodianship of entire Nelliyampathy. Naturally, the planter had to meet the then chief of Kollangode as part of procedures. It should have been there he came across the elite royal lady of Vengunad, Dhathri Thampuratty. It will be fair to guess that if the beauty of the queen hadn't impressed the solid Briton, her feistiness absolutely would had. For she was the person that brought the family that was reeling under an imperious Ittapu Thampuran's (uncle to Dhaathri) tantrums back into prominence, through a court battle. Furthermore, the lady had defied a standing ban on Kalari martial arts in 1800's to reconstruct the Kalari palace in 1890, but this time for playing host to leading artists, dancers, philosophers and musicians of the day.

Through out our trek, the next morning the main subject of our conversation was 'how Hall must have acquainted with Dhathri and what might have transpired thereafter to turn a noble man into a vengeful soul in the body of an elegant beast' at least in the heart of a few people including our friendly tea-vendor, who . Then at the top of a plateau where from the slits on the rocky surface and in between sporadic massive boulders, grew green and juicy grass, we heard the first sounds that resembled the hoof-beat of an ungulate. The sounds were vivid but somewhere appeared a bit feeble that hardly could be linked to a one tonner beast. But still we had to be careful. Particularly since the tea-vendor had warned us of a rogue loner bull that had all the traits of any of those infamous loner tuskers of the Ghats. Although, we were secretly thrilled that we would be in just a mater of time hitting upon a decently built gaur, the one that might be carrying with it the legend of Hall, I would be lying if I say that there we were emphatically intrepid.

For a moment I was thinking about a plan B in case the animal behind the boulder, comes out, sees us and launches a decisive charge, and I did not waste any time in tipping Arun about it gesturing towards another huge boulder towards our left with rough sides, which would help in a smooth climb. Nevertheless, I don't think he should have had the least of concerns there, because for him even the mightiest of gaurs were timid as we had back in Periyar Tiger Reserve. But this can be a fallacy, for attitude of animals such as elephants, gaur, leopards, tigers and bears towards human beings can vary in different geographical locations. The leopards of Valparai and elephants of Peppara are good examples for this assessment. But here a small head graced with a pair of small twisted horns that came from behind the boulder insisted that I had no more speculations. The speculations will be laid aside at least for the time being as a Nigiri Tahr (wild goat) is undoubtedly the jewel of the rocky plateaus of the Ghats.

As the sun began extravagantly deluging the hills with its blessings  we decided to retire to our shelter, since the wild friends too would be doing more or less the same. Then in the afternoon hours we shall have enough time to roam around the fringes of coffee plantations and the adjacent bushes with a view to get closer to a foraging gaur herd. We launched our second outing on a colourful not when a giant squirrel (Malabar giant squirrel) rushed in from nowhere and playfully stringed above us munching on some forest fruit. The squirrel too was a loner much like the tahr we had come across in the morning. Felt strange since I have always maintained that tahr never foraged without company. On the other hand, gaur bulls are pretty inclined to straying out of the herds often only to return during the time when cows in the herd get into heat. The herds that congregate and focus on small pockets during dry season, they often disperse into the hills during the monsoons.

As the rains have been largely unpredictable in the recent times, one couldn't just  guarantee how the herds in Nelliyampathy would behave. Nonetheless, the matured solitary bull in the stories of the tea-vendor will be afraid of none as its formidable size and power can only be rivalled by the redoubtable tiger. Here too there are many cases of tigers being wasted by gaur. We had reached the fringes of the coffee plantation where starts the forest vegetation, when we heard a soft whistle from one of the dense grass thickets distributed ahead of us. Then we could see a couple of sturdy whitish horns with dark tips amidst the tall grass. Yes it is gaur... a bull, and it is alone much suiting the descriptions given by the tea-vendor. We kneeled down behind a bush to make sure that it does not have a glimpse of us, which might urge him to make that decisive charge. Although bulls are known to charge even without provocation, such behaviour can be more expected during dry seasons when they are made more short tempered than usual by the scorching heat and badgering parasitic insects.

Here the bull does not appear to be wandering in search of a receptive cow, instead looks content with what he has at his disposal in that moment - fresh, juicy and green grass. We waited for more than ten minutes behind the bush anticipating his moves. This was a massively built animal that could be weighing anything between 700 and 900 kg, the protruding ridge on its forehead was quite high. The pale yellowish white shade dominating its horns and the thin hair growth on its back indicate that the animal is ageing. It was just about 30 metres between the animal and the spot we were occupying. Arun was so engrossed in snapping the grandeur of the animal that he simply lost the itchy sensation of a battalion of leeches clinging on to his body tasting his vital body fluid. Damn parasites!!! It was a pent up swear, even which was more than enough to attract the bull's attention. And lo! there he stands fully out of the thicket seriously staring at us. "Shall we bolt?", whispered to me a seriously intimidated Arun. "Wait", said I. "Let us watch it for some more time if he shows signs of charging we shall take to one of those silver oak trees marking the boundary of the coffee plantation."

Exchange of stares went on for a few more minutes. Minutes that appeared to be hours since everything ran through our minds during the time from the brownish eyes of the tea-vendor to the prominence of Dhathri to the elegance of planter Hall. Then someone had to make the first move and much to our delight it was the gaur that digressed and started focusing back on his rich food, Now we have the liberty to step out of the bushes infested by leeches to the nearby rock boulders from where we can have a clear view of the ghost of Hall, which had almost began drifting away from us, heading for the denser greens of the Nelliyampathy forests; leaving us a different story to tell the tea-ventor of Nellies. Then what if he says the one seen by us was not the rogue of his tale? Arun hardly waited to muse on that, "In that case, we will have to comb these forests once more, as simple as that"

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