Thursday, 1 November 2007

Into the wild


I thought it would be nice for Lasse to see some Indian nature and animals, so we stopped in Bharatpur enroute to Rajasthan. Above you see a very typical lush Keoladeo landscape with lakes stream, egrets, herons and also a monkey scouting for interesting things. It is hard to explain to someone who hasn't been in India, what a relief it can be to leave the Indian cities behind and go to a place where you can just be yourself. It's easy to find spots where you are only surrounded by trees and animals and absolutely no people or honking cars. The only noisy traffic is that of twirping birds and flocks of antelope.

This is Lasse posing with a monkey which is being fed near a local temple. It is Lasse to the left...

And here he is same place with an antelope adopted by a local sadhu (holy man) when it was abandoned by its mother. It is tame and likes the company of humans.

A nearby pond was covered by some algae like plants, but this didn't stop hundreds of turtles from living in it. They occasionally put up their heads to breathe and have a look around, and one of them stayed still just long enough to give me a fairly clear shot. I love its pig-like snout.

Another turtle found in a whole other part of the park as it was crossing the road to get from one waterhole to another. When we stopped to photograph it pulled all limbs into its shield. The sun was baking hot at this time, so we didn't want to keep it lying like this for long. So we poured a bit of water on it and moved on quickly.

Another awesome reptile, this one a huge monitor lizard, trying to hide from us under an old car wreck. Biggest lizard I have ever seen - fantastic!

Colourful spider.

Jackals.

A tree full of of nests of the baya weaver bird. Apparently the males build these nests to impress the female, who will pick the males with the best crib. Pretty similar to humans, when you think about it...

A yellow-black male weaver bird working on his mansion. Not sure if he is adding the leaf or removing it.

Immature Indian grey hornbill.

Some kind of cuckoo. Probably a female Asian koel.

A male black-necked stork in flight. Really amazing bird.

Lasse and our excellent guide on the move in the park. Bicycle is the way to get around. Thankfully motor vehicles are not allowed so you don't get disturbed by roaring engines and honking, as you would most other places in India.

An old abandoned canter in the Keoladeo forest. I have a fascination with old human buildings or vehicles left to their own slow decay in which they are gradually taken over by nature. There is something strangely graceful about it.

Beautiful butterflies on a less than pretty patch of mud.

A little red and black beetle with its head down a flower.

And finally a beautiful sunset over Keoladeo.

All in all this was a really good visit and a trip to Keoladeo is recommendable to anyone who is traveling in the area and wish to get out of the cities. It is not the place to see the dramatic big mammals of India, such as wild tigers, elephants or rhinos, but the absence of these also means that you safely move around on your own. And there is so much else to look at, anyway. I have been there once before, and even made a short post about it (in Danish, but with pictures) when my weblog was in its infancy and my photographic skills were more basic than now.

So if you do the Golden Triangle (Delhi - Agra - Jaipur) it would be crazy not to stop here on the way. It is worth hiring a guide as he can point out tons of things you would have otherwise missed.

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