The Sahib of Saraidadar (Part 2 of 2)

Text: Venkat Ramanujam Sketch: Sandeep Sen It was Diwali soon, and the paddy started to ripen. Before I knew, the harvest season was in full swing. No sooner was the crop harvested than farmers went about preparing the khaniyaar, or threshing circle.  A circular patch of ground was cleared, plastered with cow dung, and a threshing pole driven down the centre. A team of bullocks circumambulated the threshing pole patiently, stamping on the harvested crop spread out on the ground. Threshing took a couple of days, sometimes three or even four. Then followed winnowing, the threshed grain was scooped up … Continue reading The Sahib of Saraidadar (Part 2 of 2)

The Sahib of Saraidadar (Part 1 of 2)

Text: R. Venkat Ramanujam Sketch: Sandeep Sen R. Venkat Ramanujam is a human geographer, who likes story-telling, and Sandeep Sen is a molecular evolutionary biologist and biogeographer, who sketches as a hobby. “Jai Ram, Sahib,” said the man walking up the dirt road as he arrived within greeting distance, deferentially drooping his shoulders and folding his hands into a loose namaste. Aghanlal was elder to me, broad-chested and well-built, a quiet and hard-working Gond adivasi farmer in Saraidadar, the village which had started out as the site of ethnographic fieldwork but which, after several months of living in, I had … Continue reading The Sahib of Saraidadar (Part 1 of 2)

Forests and Birds: Ruminations from five days in Sri Lanka’s Evergreen Forests (Part 2)

–Text and Images by Anand Krishnan; paintings by J.G. Keulemans from Legge (1880), sourced from Wikimedia Commons. As the day wears on, the calls of the endemic Purple-faced Leaf-Monkey are audible throughout Sinharaja, and the traveller may pause to listen to them at his or her own peril, for the ever-present leeches await everywhere. A multitude of butterflies, giant millipedes and beautiful lantern bugs may be found on or beside the forest trails, as may several beautiful reptiles such as the Green Garden Lizard and the Sri Lanka Kangaroo Lizard. Hiding unobtrusively in the foliage by the side of trails, … Continue reading Forests and Birds: Ruminations from five days in Sri Lanka’s Evergreen Forests (Part 2)

Forests and Birds: Ruminations from five days in Sri Lanka’s Evergreen Forests (Part 1)

–Text and Images by Anand Krishnan; paintings by J.G. Keulemans from Legge (1880), sourced from Wikimedia Commons. The island of Sri Lanka is located very close to the Southern tip of India, separated only by the narrow Palk Strait. The two landmasses have been connected and disconnected at various points in the geological history of the Subcontinent, resulting in both significant interchange of flora and fauna, and a marked degree of endemism, particularly in the evergreen forests of India’s Western Ghats and the rainforests of Sri Lanka’s wet zone. Rainfall is an important feature of Sri Lanka’s biogeography, demarcating as … Continue reading Forests and Birds: Ruminations from five days in Sri Lanka’s Evergreen Forests (Part 1)

Travels with birds in Cambodia’s wild landscapes (Part 2/2)

–Text by Anand Krishnan; Images by Chaitanya Deshpande (CD) and Vaibhhav Sinha (VS)  (This is the second of the two-part story on birds and natural history of Cambodia. Take it away Anand!) Cambodia’s Northern Plains harbor one of the largest remaining expanses of dry deciduous dipterocarp forest in Southeast Asia, and this habitat has been identified as crucial to the conservation and survival of a number of species. A two-day visit to this forest (under the auspices of the Sam Veasna Centre) was the highlight of our trip to Cambodia. The village of Tmatboey in Preah Vihear province is one of … Continue reading Travels with birds in Cambodia’s wild landscapes (Part 2/2)

Travels with birds in Cambodia’s wild landscapes (Part 1/2)

–Text by Anand Krishnan; Images by Chaitanya Deshpande (CD) and Vaibhhav Sinha (VS) (This is the first of a two-part story on birds and natural history of Cambodia. Take it away Anand!) Bordered on its north, east and west by Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, respectively, and with a short coastline along its Southern border, the Kingdom of Cambodia is a country of unique geographic and cultural history. The basin of the Mekong river, and in particular the closely associated Tonle Sap (Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater body), with its seasonally inundated floodplain, served as the ‘rice bowl’ of the Angkorian civilization … Continue reading Travels with birds in Cambodia’s wild landscapes (Part 1/2)

And the Himalayas are formed…

This is the first post in the series The Himalayas I still remember the first time I saw the Himalayas. I was in a flight going from Delhi to Chandigarh, and the pilot was flying sorties waiting the final signal to land. Chandigarh is situated just at the base of the Himalayas, and from the height I was at, I could see the entire mountain chain. The snow clad mountains towering over the smaller greener mountains was a sight to behold. For a South Indian, who had never seen snow before, the sight was, well, just too pretty. Sure, one had … Continue reading And the Himalayas are formed…

How To Reach: Balpakram National Park

This is the first post in our ‘Travel’ series that will deal with the logistics of reaching natural areas in remote corners of the country. Branches rustle overhead. A jet black face with snowy white eyebrows stares down. On sighting us, it draws its lips into an open pout. The guttural sounds it emits are not unlike those of your drunk friend vomiting on the sidewalk. Having made its disgust apparent, it continues crashing through the canopy, its dark agile arms swinging easily from branch to branch. We continue to stare in the direction of the black figure, another remarkable creature of … Continue reading How To Reach: Balpakram National Park