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Nature Connect (Gloucester Harbor,Massachusetts)

Can there be anything more rejuvenating than connecting with nature? Especially during travel. Yes, especially during travel- far away from the city, far from the madding crowd, just to connect with nature. Steal a few beautiful moments to be with nature and then capture them with your lens so that they remain with you forever. Its one of my secrets to remain happy!

Today, I wish to share a photo gallery from our travels to the Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts in USA. We had the good fortune and opportunity to drive along the prestigious area along the harbor, close to Gloucester’s Good Harbor beach. Though human habitation is pretty evident, the wide open spaces, lush grass, azure blue skies and clear sparkling waters of the Atlantic ocean provide an immediate connect with nature. Unspoiled and pure. A must visit place for the nature enthusiast! Let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

P.S: No filter, no edit – just auto correct used on a couple of them.
Photo credit: Anil Nanda and Ritu Nanda

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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

A Walk through Rose Garden, Chandigarh

The mere mention of the Rose Garden fills the air with romance!.Undoubtedly its like paradise for a leisurely walk as a tourist or a brisk walk or jog in order to keep fit.

As one enters the garden, walking through the canopy of orange showers, along with the tall and stately silver oak treesIMG_1219 lining the path, you are greeted with thousands of roses of different hues bobbing their pretty heads in the breeze. You breathe deeply – mesmerized by their sheer beauty. The Dr. Zakir Hussain Rose Garden in Sector 16 of Chandigarh was established in 1967 under (late) Dr. M.S. Randhawa, Chandigarh’s first Chief Commissioner. It is the largest Rose Garden in Asia spread over an area of about 4000 acres and has around 825 varieties of roses and more than 32,500 plants.

Continuing with our walk along the periphery of the garden, we cross several bottle brush trees and walk along side the majestic eucalyptus trees. Walk further and you come across a cluster of Bael trees laden with fruit around the time of  ‘Shivratri’. Walk a few steps more and you can see trees like Fiddle wood (a tree with fragrant flowers and useful for making sound boards of musical instruments) and Kachnar (ever tried making ‘raita’ from Kachnar buds ?) Several other trees like Amaltas, Gulmohar, Burr, simbal, Devil’s trees, Koelreuteria (golden rain tree) and Pride of India dot the garden either individually or in small clusters. As you complete your round, you meander through rows of neatly planted roses with fancy names such as President Giri, Queen Elizabeth, Iceberg, Pink Perfect etc. Kiss of Fire is a vibrant yellow rose with a fusion of blushing pink and Arabian Nights; a red rose that makes me sing from John Boyle O’Reilly’s poem, ‘A white Rose’,

“The red rose whispers of passion,IMG_1222

And the white rose breathes of love;

O, the red rose is a falcon

And the white rose is a dove”

The Rose Garden is home for several birds too like parrots and Great Indian Hornbill. It is fun to chase a little squirrel nibbling away at a seed and watch it vanish into its abode in the great Jamun tree. The coloured water fountains add to the joyous mood of the place. The garden is very well maintained, thanks to the annual feature of the Rose Festival in February. The lawns are perfectly manicured and there is sufficient lighting for walkers to feel safe during their evening walk. There are three solar arrays to meet some of the electricity requirements. There is also an open air stage to host quizzes during the festival. The garden also boasts of well–maintained toilets and a play area for children.

One word of advice, dress properly as it’s a busy place and you may meet many acquaintances (sometimes four times in two rounds, if walking in opposite directions) along with the usual tourists!

IMG_1221

All pictures are by Anil Nanda and Ritu Nanda

A Walk through Leisure Valley

Chandigarh is home to some beautiful gardens and by far one of the ???????????????????????????????greenest Indian cities. No wonder it is called ‘City Beautiful.’ I love going for my morning walk, and one of my most favourite places is Leisure Valley. Let me take you on a virtual tour through this garden from the perspective of a walking enthusiast!

The moment one steps into the garden, a palpable difference in ???????????????????????????????temperature can be felt, being a few notches below the outside temperature. A whiff of air from the scented trees fills the nostrils and the lilting song of the Koel (Cuckoo bird) welcomes you; immediately lifting the mood and making one feel light and happy.

The leisure valley, sector 10, is a part of an 8 km long stretch around??????????????????????????????? the eroded valley left by a seasonal rivulet (choe) which was retained by the great French architect, Le–Corbusier.The jogging track is flanked by temple plant trees, the ornamental Yellow Oleander trees (peeli kaner) and some young silver oaks. As we walk along we come across an assortment of trees like Amaltas, Bottle brush, Dhak flower trees and Peepal. During April–May, when these trees are flowering, one can see a myriad of colours which is a sight to behold. The Devil’s trees are planted in large numbers.

Walking through the canopy of these trees, a grey hornbill swishes IMG_2769past overhead and settles on a branch above. Several other birds like hoopoe, woodpecker and parrots are often seen. The babbler can be seen hopping on the grasses in small groups creating quite a cacophony.

The topography of the Leisure valley is uneven and that perhaps

Beautiful open spaces of Leisure Valley
Beautiful open spaces of Leisure Valley

adds to the beauty of the place.One  can see vast stretches of green from a distance, having a balming effect on the eyes. In the interior of the garden more varieties of trees such as Golden trumpet and Jarul can be spotted. At times I have bumped into a sahtoot tree (mulberry) and got rewarded by its succulent fruit or picked some mogra from the gardenia shrubs for the morning puja! Neatly planted rows of seasonal flowers too dot the garden. My favourite spot in the garden is the Bamboo grove . According to Feng Shui, a wish made under a bamboo shrub is fulfilled. Needless to say, I have my daily quota of wishes to be granted! The picturesque bamboo grove is inspiration for many renowned painters and photographers!

After walking around the garden it is worth while to sit for a few minutes on a  favourite bench, breathe deeply and focus on “Pranayam” or sit back and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the place. To quote William Henry Davies from the poem, ‘Leisure’.

“What is this life, if full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass?’

The Leisure valley is a laid back place, quite suitable for people who ???????????????????????????????do not wish to wake up too early in the morning for their walk. It is also not very crowded, so its almost like your own personal farmhouse! I, for one could happily spend the whole day here walking, meditating or simply sitting in a corner reading my favourite book.

It is heartening to note that of late the Chandigarh Municipal corporation is taking pains towards further improvement of the garden. New jogging tracks have been laid and care is being taken to maintain the garden.

All the pictures used in this article are original clicks by Ritu and Anil Nanda