Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Kidoor Bird Fest: Birding on the Border, 10,111118

November 29, 2018

Birds know no borders; the ones that we go to see in Karnataka fly off and can be seen once we cross over into Kerala!

So when the birders of Kasargod announced the second Kidoor Bird Fest, to celebrate both the first sighting of the

Orange-breasted Green Pigeon
obgp by by Sarala Jeevanthi Gamage
Photo credit: Sarala Jeevanthi Gamage

and the birthday of

Dr Salim Ali, the noted ornithologist,

it was clear that this would be a productive birding weekend.

The participants and the organizers.

The festival was a bigger event than it was in 2017, because this time, birders from all over Karnataka and Kerala attended. 65+ birders made a strong show at the fest, which was held in the hamlet of Kuntangeradka, in Kidoor.

Kidoor Post Office sign.

The festival began with everyone gathering and registering.

Beautiful palm-frond birds adorning the hall.

Raju Kidoor

and the entire team, including Maxim and Lavina

worked very hard to make the event a success.

The birders of Kasargod, and some from Mangalore, brought the following local luminaries on the dais: Sri Pundarikaksha K L, President, and Smt Aruna Manjunatha Alva, Ward Member, both from the Grama Panchayath, Kumbla; Sri Biju P, ACF, and Sri Sunil Kumar, SFO, Social Forestry Division, Kasargod; Sri Chikkayya Rai,a practitioner of traditional herbal medicine; and Sri Radhakrishna, an eco-friendly businessman of Kidoor who eschewed plastic.

Dignitaries on podium:

Sri Pundarikaksha inaugurated the event, and the dignitaries from the Social Forestry Division spoke about the valuable sighting of the Orange-breasted Green Pigeon in Kidoor, on 10th Nov 2016, and the decision to celebrate the birthday of Dr Salim Ali, noted ornithologist, on 11th November as well. Kidoor has proved a birding hotspot, with sightings of several birds endemic to the Western Ghats.

Sri Chikkaya Rai, Sri Radhakrishna, and Chi. Praveen (a young student who has spearheaded several ecological initiatives in his school) were felicitated.

The local birders took the visitors for an evening walk in the nearby laterite/grassland area.

Sunlight on the grasses.

and a pond that they are protecting for the birds.

Participants on the evening walk.

Children at the evening walk.

They organized a cultural program, with many people, including these ladies who sang folk songs, taking part.

Untiringly, they also conducted a night walk along the village roads.

Lavina, a doctoral student, explains about pond life on the night walk.

Next morning,in the dawn light, they took the visitors on a morning walk, along a scenic trail.

Apart from many endemic birds , several trees also endemic to the Western Ghats, butterflies, wildflowers, insects and other creatures were sighted (see photos below). The ladies were put up in the homes of the local residents, who were very hospitable.

The family who put up visitors at Kasargod, when they alighted from the overnight bus, on their way to Kidoor

The family who put up the ladies at Kidoor
Photo credit: Padma Ramaswamy

One of the impressive features of the fest was that not only was it conducted on a tight budget, but there was no sense of heirarchy amongst the organizers. Every one pitched in to do whatever tasks were required, whether it was setting up a screen, serving the food, or arranging the chairs in the hall. It made for a very homely, pleasant atmosphere, and the visitors also were able to do their bit. Another great feature was that no plastic was used in the course of the meals; each person washed the stainless steel plate, glass or cup that s/he used.

The meals were traditional and were delicious.

Breakfast of iddlis, sambhar and chai.

Lunch in traditional vessels.

After breakfast, the gathering settled down to watch some presentations on Odonates (Dragonflies and Damselflies), and Butterflies.
Murali’s presentation on butterflies:

After this the participants were treated to lunch at the Gram Panchayat President’s home.

Plantain leaf lunch.

Full of the wonderful sightings they had enjoyed, and the new friendships they had formed, the birders dispersed.

The District Collector, Dr Sajith Babu, participated enthusiastically in the Fest.


He promised to spare the laterite/grassland from human-centric “development”. This makes it possible that from next year, the Kidoor Bird Fest will become a larger, well-sponsored event, attracting birders from further afield.

Participants at the end of the fest:

Birds and other living beings observed during the event:

Yellow-wattled Lapwing.

Yellow-footed Green Pigeon.

Malabar Lark.

Flame-throated Bulbul.

Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker.

Nilgiri Flowerpecker:

Yellow-browed Bulbul.

Grey-necked Bunting.

Chestnut-headed and Blyth’s Starlings:

Scaly-breasted and White-rumped Munias.

Curved flower or Woody Chassilia.

Porcupine quill found on the ground.

Blue Tiger Moth.

Memecylon flowers.

Nag Kuda Tree (Tabernaemontana alternifolia).

Beautiful grass.

Beauty of the laterite rock.

Common Sailer.

Weaver Ants.

Red Pierrot.

All photographs by me, unless otherwise credited.

Art in commerce

March 23, 2018

I think it’s a human trait to introduce an aesthetic appeal into the most mundane tasks imaginable. Surely, one would not think twice about the peanuts one purchases from the pushcart vendors, whose paper cones are getting so slender that they may accommodate only a few groundnuts.


But the very selection of those recycled papers for the cones, and their arrangement, is so attractive visually…a fine example of art in commerce!

The Panchalinga temple, Begur, 161114

November 17, 2014

Sometimes a lot of the hard work is done for me!

Arvind took Gayatri and me to the 1200-year-old temple of nagarEshwara in Begur. I thought I’d write about it, but

this blogpost by Anita Bora

has done a great job of it!

The only difference after 6.5 years is that two rAja gOpurAs have been constructed, and will be consecrated today (17 Nov 2014). There are some rather unimaginative, but well-meaning, repairs in the temple, but the age old nagarEshwara shrine is still rather tottery!

Lovely video with the commentary in Kannada:

So, here are a few pictures I took.

A temple I saw before the Panchalinga temple:


A view of the Panchalinga temple:


The simple temple rathA (chariot) in a “garage” opposite the temple.


A rAjagOpurA under construction (it’s supposed to be consecrated today, and seems nowhere near done!)


The other one, more finished:


How can I have a post without birding in it? A migratory Spot-billed Pelican soars over the temple (the Begur Lake is close by).


The old shrine:


The small gopura:


The old part of the temple:


The tottering old nagarEshwara shrine:


the Nandi in front:



Small bas relief of Ganesha:


Getting ready for the deepOtsavA (lamp festival):


A yagnya being performed:


The low ceilings and granite pillars:


rAvaNA, the king of Sri Lanka, a great devotee of Shiva, and the “villain” of the epic, rAmAyaNA, as a vehicle for the god in procession:


Another such pallakki both are at the shrine of kAlikAmbA:


Shrine to sUrya nArAyaNA:


The view of the Nagareshwara shrine:


Hero stones and inscriptions in the courtyard:






A Ganesha carved out of a bullock horn:


View of the “staircase” to the gopura under construction:


It’s made of bamboo and bricks, earth-friendly materials instead of metal; looks rickety, but that’s what the builders are working with!


Another view of the temple:


A “vilva”(crab apple) tree in full fruition:


One of the trees in the courtyard:


Another one next to it:


The flower seller outside with her umbrella flying in the breeze:


I’ve put up some more photos on my FB album,

click here

(especially those who like to see what everyday religious life is like Over Here!)

Navaratri (Nine Nights) Festival over the years…

October 9, 2013

I used to have small “golu” every year, until my daughter left home. By that time, it was difficult to set it all up by myself, without anyone to appreciate it, and even worse to put it away…so I gave up the yearly practice. (My golu dolls still lie in a trunk in the attic of my flat.)

I just received email invitations to several friends’ homes here, and I fell to musing on the festival…and I thought of this song from the movie,”Navaratti”, where Sivaji Ganesan plays nine roles.

Though I am not parituclarly fond of this rather contrived song, it shows the traditons of a few decades ago.

Golu, or Kolu

Apparently, the word means, “divine presence”.



is a post of mine, with a photo I took of my friends’ golus.


is a post I made about Navami (Saraswati Puja, in Bengali, Sorosshoti Pujo).

And, finally,


is a post from my blog on Citizen Matters, with a lot of photos associated with the 10-day festival.

Happy Navaratri to all my friends who celebrate it! I will be visiting some friends here in St.Louis over the weekend, and will share the photos, too.

Pat on the….back

May 20, 2013

When it’s bottoms up…

1 pat behind 170513 stl photo DSC07161.jpg

and there is a willingness to pat….

2  pat behind 170513 stl photo DSC07162.jpg

Happiness results!

3  pat behind 170513 stl photo DSC07164.jpg

But when I said I was going to put it up on the blog…

what! 170513 stl photo DSC07159.jpg

2012 in review

December 31, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Click here to see the complete report.

Thoughts about marriage

September 6, 2012

I had made

this post

with a photograph of an astrolger’s board. When I posted a link to it recently, I got this reply from :

“Who started the institution called ‘Marriage’ I want to know? Can the Jothishi baba enlighten us?
“Baba & bloggers I have my own discourse on life’s troubles, hear me out, as its free of cost (like everything else which is useless.) Marriage is the root of all the troubles, eliminate it and live happily. No Marriage. No need of a steady job. Take up any employment to feed yourself you don;t need job security if you;re single. Formal education is the trump card played mostly during match making, you can always be a guitarist or a painter and be single for all the world that cares about Degree->Dowry match making. No marriage No Husband No wife, No court, no enemies! Can’t guarantee on sickness though, it might hit you anytime single, double or divorced & no mantra tantra can help you in that! & what’s that abroad?!! If you’re single you can live happily in India or Africa! Abroad is again linked to this whole NRI-marriage sham. Sorry baba but if people (Particularly middle-class Indians am refering to) had ‘gyan’ they would not have all these ‘issues’ and they would not need you in the first place.”

My response was:

“Seriously, I think marriage, as an institution, developed in the days when children were born not by choice….and their safety and care was paramount, along with that of the woman who cared for them and reared them. And since it is still the most stable relationship between two people (of any sex), it endures, so much so that many people in same-sex relationships want the bond of marriage. However, today, when some(but alas, nowhere near all) women have the choice of having children or not, and when many women have economic independence, perhaps marriage is less a desirable than it used to be…but women do seek a stable relationship for many reasons, so I don’t see marriage fading away any time soon. We also need the rites of passage that a wedding ceremony entails….”

INTACH Basavanagudi Heritage Walk, 020912

September 3, 2012

oclick here

to see the photos.

I will write an account of the lovely walk later…still not feeling entirely OK, so procrastination is the order of the day…well, not today, tomorrow, may be!


July 31, 2012

Baitu Filter Kaapi, that is….

see my entry on my blog at

Citizen Matters

and here’s some of it for you…

2 baitu kapi 290712 adigas

How cycling can help….

July 18, 2012

see Chiddu’s blog about how someone I know very well has beaten the odds for more than a decade

Chiddu campaigns ceaselessly against vaccination, which, he says, is the only instance of medicine intervening actively in healthy people’s lives. I’d not agree with him wholly, but certainly sometimes, expensive treatments seem not to be needed…if a determined and sustained effort is made.