Category Archives: nature

Eden Project Cornwall,England: Beautiful Amalgamation of Art, Nature and Science

It’s not everyday that you get to visit a magical Global garden like the Eden Project in Cornwall, England (UK). So when I found myself finally standing on ‘Eden soil’ under one of the massive biomes that house the world’s largest rain-forest in captivity, along with other plant species from the Mediterranean,South Africa and California, I was nothing short of mesmerized. Never before had I witnessed a man made marvel nestled in a huge crater also with an outdoor garden spread over 30 acres. Recipient of the Best UK Leisure Attraction award continuously for 4 years (2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011) and the Silver Award for Best Leisure Attraction in 2016, the Eden Project is a must visit destination.  What makes the place even more interesting is the beautiful amalgamation of art, architecture, nature and science in one destination.

Eden Project, with view of biomes in backdrop
Eden Project, with view of biomes in backdrop

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Source: Eden Project Cornwall,England: Beautiful Amalgamation of Art, Nature and Science

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Open Door To Happiness: The Nature Connect

George Santayana, the Spanish -american philosopher, poet and novelist had rightly said- ‘The earth has its music for those who will listen’. We are all so caught up in our everyday mundane activities or work schedules that we often fail to notice the the abundant beauty of nature which surrounds us. Rather than popping pills for hypertension, break free from the vicious clutches of house chores for an hour or at least a few minutes everyday and choose a path that leads to peace and joy. All you need to do is take the first step. Be determined and step out and take a walk in a beautiful park or lake side. Listen to the earth’s melodious music and be healed and addicted to the soothing goodness for life. Well, I did just that yesterday and went for a long walk to the beautiful Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh (India). I was rewarded with clean fresh air, a spring in my step and some beautiful sunset pictures. This coming new year if you have to make a resolution, open the door to happiness- by embracing nature. Click on the following link to see those beautiful pictures.

Source: Open Door To Happiness: The Nature Connect

Color Burst Again-Amaltas Aglow !!

“Come lets paint the town yellow!”; conspired all the Amaltas trees in City Beautiful Chandigarh. Sure enough the city is bathed in a vibrant yet very pleasant golden shower of flowers on rows and rows of the beautiful Golden shower trees, also called Amaltas or Cassia Fistula. A feast for the eyes and a balm for the senses, the beauty of the flowers is a talking point and a much desired distraction from the intense summer heat. Flowering is at its peak from mid May to the beginning of June. The ornamental amaltas flower is much revered in the Indian subcontinent, especially in Kerala, where it is the state flower. Also, its the national flower of Thailand. For me , I’m just content to have several of these trees landscaping the wide roads of Chandigarh, adding to its beauty and enhancing the green cover. Here I share with you some pictures, clicked on a lazy summer afternoon which got a new lease of life with this view! Its almost as if the city is in a jubilant mood.

Color burst-2

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.
– John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice

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My beautiful city Chandigarh, in April is a sight to behold, with almost  all the trees flowering. This picture features the beautiful Flame of the Forest tree in full bloom. It’s also called by the names Palaash and Dhak in vernacular (Hindi). After I clicked this picture, I was tempted to caress a branch full of the vibrant flowers, but quickly had the good sense to withdraw my hand! There were some more living beings too, who had found the blooms irresistible. There was a swarm of honey bees hiding in the deep hollows of the flowers enjoying their nectar treat! So, I thought I better let them be and let them enjoy their dinner in peace.

Color Burst (Golden Trumpet)

Come end of March, the trees in the green belts of Chandigarh begin to flower. The first among these is the beautiful Golden trumpet ( Tabebuia chrysotricha).

Golden yellow flowers, like bellowing trumpets give the tree a befitting name. It loses most of its leaves during flowering as its a deciduous tree. The brilliant yellow of the flowers on almost bare branches makes for a striking burst of color against the clear blue sky!

Photo 101:Big and Point of View

I really wanted to experiment today, so decided to photograph a huge tree, from different angles on my evening walk to Rose garden, Chandigarh. I have a huge tree fetish and will probably one day write detailed posts on the different types of trees in our region. For today, I’ll be happy just with these photos clicked from different angles and points of view. The first one is a long shot, while the second is of the same tree clicked crouching on the ground! The tree trunk appears slimmed down with the rose looking monstrous in comparison.Which one do you like more?

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Slimmed down !

The cover picture is a favorite, clicked in the famous Kew Gardens of London.

The Mighty Trummelbach falls, Switzerland

There are certain things which I always find quite imposing, towering and magnificent at the same time. These are so impactful in terms of their effect that they have the power to make one feel like a dot, a mere dot; minuscule in comparison. This is good for inflated egos at times because it puts you in your place. This the kind of feeling I get whenever I visit the mountains. Besides enjoying their majestic presence and enjoying the cool weather, when you look closely at their rugged raw strength, you realize how fragile you are. Add to that the roar of water from a gurgling waterfall and this is what you get- The mighty Trummelbach falls in Switzerland!

Located in the Lauterbrunnen valley, they are Europe’s largest subterranean water falls and are one of 72 waterfalls.The Trümmelbach Falls are the world’s only glacier waterfalls that are accessible underground by lift, galleries, tunnels, paths and platforms. They alone carry the meltwater of the glaciers from the Jungfrau down to the valley – up to 20,000 liters of water per second. The water carries with it over 20,000 tons of boulders and scree per year and causes the entire mountain to shudder and make a thundering noise.

OMG! So much water and so much force ! It has to be seen to be believed. It is one amazing experience of my Switzerland holiday that I treasure and is a joy to relive. Mind you, although a huge lift carries you up to the falls there are a number of broad, sometimes slippery and watery steps to climb to get good views. It is also a bit dark as you are actually tunneling through the falls. The Trummelbach falls are hidden in the ‘Black Monk’ mountains and are often called the ‘Cork screw’ falls due to the spiral nature of flow of the water. I hope you enjoy my pictures in this post.

Trummelbach Corkscrew falls, Switzerland
Trummelbach Corkscrew falls, Switzerland
Trummelbach Falls, Switzerland
Trummelbach Falls, Switzerland
Good luck charm! Spectrum at Trummelbach falls, Switzerland.
Good luck charm!
Spectrum at Trummelbach falls, Switzerland.

Walking Barefoot On The Dewy Grass

Walking barefoot on dewy grass
Walking barefoot on dewy grass

Hey it’s time for festivities! The festive season has arrived- Halloween just went by and now its time to look forward to Diwali, Gurpurab, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. One just has to strike the right balance in terms of eating, partying and exercising in order to stay healthy. All the hectic preparations can at times be immensely exhausting!

One way to keep a balanced head on your shoulders and keep the health quotient up is walking barefoot on the dewy green grass every morning. It will calm your mind, soothe the nerves and have a cooling effect on your body. It is also believed to have a good effect on the eyesight. Walking barefoot also helps to strengthen the ankles and will help you to achieve beautiful toned legs. Undoubtedly you will be burning some calories too (So important in this festive season!). This technique of walking barefoot on grass or even sand is called ‘Earthing’ or ‘Grounding’.

The scientific theory behind the health benefits seen from this simple practice is that your body absorbs negative electrons from the Earth through the soles of your feet.

The Earth is negatively charged, so when you ground, you’re connecting your body to a negatively charged supply of energy. And since the Earth has a greater negative charge than your body, you end up absorbing electrons from it. The grounding effect is, in my understanding, one of the most potent antioxidants we know of and may have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. As written in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:4

“It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. Wearing shoes with insulating soles and/or sleeping in beds that are isolated from the electrical ground plane of the earth have disconnected most people from the earth’s electrical rhythms and free electrons.

… A previous study demonstrated that connecting the human body to the earth during sleep (earthing) normalizes the daily cortisol rhythm and improves sleep. A variety of other benefits were reported, including reductions in pain and inflammation. Subsequent studies have confirmed these earlier findings and documented virtually immediate physiologic and clinical effects of grounding or earthing the body.”

So ladies and gentlemen, tip toe on the balmy, dewy greens and topple the worldly worries away!

P.S: One word of caution though. Limit this exercise to a few minutes only in very cold weather or you risk a runny nose!  Further, it is advisable to  stuff some tissues in your pocket to wipe your feet clean after the exercise , before slipping on the shoes again.

A Bird Watcher!

I’m not really a great animal lover but I do have a healthy respect for all living beings and believe in a live and let live policy. I must confess that I am rather scared of dogs, although I have conquered this fear to some extent now as compared to when I was much younger. IMG_1978What I really love and enjoy is bird watching. I also think I am fortunate enough to be living in a beautiful place like Chandigarh (India) which is clean and green. The green cover is conductive and encourages the habitat of various bird species in the region. You can easily spot the brown and grey hornbills, parrots, woodpecker, hoopoe, eagles and cuckoo birds.There is a host of other birds like the sweet and swift hummingbird and so many more that I have yet to identify. Pigeons and mynahs love living close to residential areas and are not scared of humans. A lovey dovey pigeon couple has FullSizeRender (2)made a nest near our split air conditioner box (see picture) and the mynah is in the process of making her nest on the neem tree in my yard! The other day there was a full on fight between the parrots who are already nesting on the neem tree and this mynah and her mate. It really had to be seen to be believed. It simply amazes me! My daughter jokes that I’m on the way to becoming an expert on birds and their behaviour. Bird watching sure is therapeutic for me and I love clicking their pictures. Yes, bird watching is rewarding – it makes you pause and ponder and

Mynah bird on my Neem tree
Mynah bird on my Neem tree

appreciate the beautiful artistry of nature. It helps me  to unwind and relax.

The pictures clicked in this post are with the help of my Iphone, which is ‘oh! so convenient’ as compared to a conventional camera. Phoneography is becoming a way of life in today’s times. My husband and I love clicking pictures of birds we spot around our home and on our morning walks in the beautiful gardens of Chandigarh. I would love to add that I really don’t care for a menagerie with animals or birds captive; I

Companionship
Companionship

would rather have them free and in their natural habitat.

The Neem Tree in My Yard

There is an old neem tree in my house yard,

neem tree

Full of dense green foliage,

Come winter most of the green was chopped off

Coz it prevented the sun from showing off.

Much to my dismay!

woodpecker
woodpecker

Then , one day we saw a woodpecker on the neem tree

Pecking happily away.

Is she searching for insects?

Or was she drilling to make a nest?

My interest in the neem tree was recaptured,

And so was that of a pair of mating parrots.IMG_3261

They hijacked the nest partly crafted by the woodpecker,

And set to work, digging with beak and claws deeper and deeper,IMG_3260

Ready to call the neem tree their home

With their friendly neighbours; the squirrels and the doves!IMG_3322