The Last Bow

Dear Followers,
This is the last post on maverickonthemove.

We are sorry to bear the sad news of the passing away of Johnson Mathews. He had been battling cancer since February 2017. He breathed his last on 9th November 2017.

This blog meant a lot to him. Even in his last days, it gave him great joy to make us read notifications and comments on his blog. Dadda started his photography journey with a small Yashica camera bought with his first salary. Today, his Nikon D3s and set of lenses are our treasured mementos.

Even in the midst of an ambitious career, he found time for his passion. This last September, he completed 2 years of blogging. And although 221 posts cannot completely summarise his travels – many of his tours are still not made into posts and thousands of photographs still lie unedited- this blog will always remind us of the essence of Johnson – the traveller, the photographer, the maverick on the move.

With lots of love from his wife and two daughters.

Bird Watching Trip to Bhigwan & Mayureswar

Bhigwan is a small dusty town located on the Pune Solapur highway. The distance from Pune to Bhigwan is 100 kms. The nearest town is Baramati which is 27 kms. The major birdwatching points are Kumbhargaon and Diksal on the periphery of the catchment area of the Ujani dam built on the Bhima River. Kumbhargaon is aptly called as the Bharatpur of Maharashtra. During winter season this area hosts large variety of migratory birds.

Boating services are available from “Agnipankha Flamingo Birding Point” managed by Mr. Sandip Nagare (Contact no. 0996061065/8975017405). Mr. Nagare also arrange for the stay and food at Kumbhargaon for bird enthusiasts. It is an excellent place to try the home made food and also fresh fish from the backwaters. His competent guides can take you in their boats to the major points where you can observe flamingos and other water birds. The guide who accompanied us during our visit was very cooperative and was patient enough to wait for us to take the photographs of the birds and was very helpful in identifying the birds. You need to make advance bookings for accommodation during weekends as they have very limited facilities available in the village. Alternatively you can get accommodation in Baramati which is 27 kms from Kumbhargaon where there are many decent hotels available. The best time to visit this area is from December to March.

During our visit we could spot a variety of birds like Greater Flamingos, Painted Stork, Open Billed Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Cormorants, Black Headed Gulls, Purple Heron, Rudy Shelduck, Wooly Necked Stork, King Fisher etc. etc.

Sunset Near Pune on the way to Bhigwan
Sunset Near Pune on the way to Bhigwan
Flamingos
Flamingos

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Flamingos on Flight

Flamingos

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Flamingos on Flight 77
Sunrise at bhigwan

Painted Stork
Painted Stork

Painted stork 2

Painted stork 3

Painted stork

Black Headed Ibis
Black Headed Ibis

Black Headed Ibis 1

Black Headed Ibis

Black Ibis
Black Ibis

Black Ibis on flight

Spoonbill Spoonbill

Spoon Bill (2)

Spoon Bill (3)

Spoon Bill (4)

Open Beak Stork
Open Beak Stork

Open Beak Stork 2

Open Beak Stork

Open Beak Stork 22

Open Beak Stork 23

Grey Heron
Grey Heron

Grey Heron (2)

Grey Heron (3)

Grey Heron (4)

Pond Heron
Pond Heron

Pond Heron (2)

Egret
Egret

Egret (2)

Egret (3)

Egret (4)

Egret (5)

Egret (6)

Egret (7)

Egret (8)

Egret (9)

Drongo
Drongo

Drongo (2)

Bee Eater
Bee Eater

Bee Eater (2)

Bee Eater (3)

Cormorant
Cormorant

Cormorant (2)

Ruddy Shelduck
Ruddy Shelduck

Rudy Shelduck (2)

White Breasted Kingfisher (1)

White Breasted Kingfisher (2)

Osprey on flight
Osprey on flight
Pied Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher
Red Wattled Lapwing
Red Wattled Lapwing
Yellow Wattled Lapwing
Yellow Wattled Lapwing

Ducks, Terns Etc.

Ducks & Terns (1)

Ducks & Terns (2)

Ducks & Terns (3)

Ducks & Terns (4)

Ducks & Terns (5)

Ducks & Terns (6)

Ducks & Terns (7)

Ducks & Terns (8)

Ducks & Terns (9)

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Ducks & Terns (11)

Ducks & Terns (12)

Ducks & Terns (13)

Ducks & Terns (14)

Ducks & Terns (15)

Ducks & Terns (16)

Ducks & Terns (17)

Ducks & Terns (18)

more (1)

more (2)

more (3)

more (4)

Mayreswar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated near Supe village in Baramti Tehsil, in Pune District. It is 40 Kms from Baramti town and 74 Kms from Pune. The forest department office at the entrance will issue the entry pass and vehicle pass. They are also supposed to provide a guide but unfortunately when we reached at the gate in the early morning there was no guides available. The entrance fee is Rs. 30/- per person and the vehicle entrance fee is Rs. 100/- per vehicle. Camera charges Rs.50/-.

There are around 125 Chinkaras in the sanctuary and sighting is almost guaranteed. There are few observation towers, where you can wait for the Chinkaras. This sanctuary is home to many bird species as well.

Chinkara
Chinkara

Chinkara (2)

Brahmini Myna
Brahmini Myna

Brahmini Myna (2)

Brahmini Myna (3)

Parrot
Parrot
This wonderful sunrise on the way to Mayureswar
This wonderful sunrise on the way to Mayureswar
Cucoo
Cucoo

Parrot twin (1)

Parrot twin (2)

Shrikes, Robin Etc. Etc.

Shrikes Robin @ other birds (1)

Shrikes Robin @ other birds (2)

Shrikes Robin @ other birds (3)

Shrikes Robin @ other birds (4)

Shrikes Robin @ other birds (5)

Shrikes Robin @ other birds (6)

Shrikes Robin @ other birds (7)

Shrikes Robin @ other birds (8)

Kite
Kite

Kite

Others (1)

Others (2)

Others (3)

Others (4)

Others (5)

Romancing the Flamingos at Sewri Mudflats

Sewri mudflats are located along the Sewri jetty. It is on a walkable distance from the Harbour Line station, Sewri. If you could reach there on a January morning you can witness the sunrise which is a golden treat. With the orange and red splashed across the sky, the view is really a spectacular one. This area is home to a variety of migratory birds, mainly flamingos.
01 Sewri Flamingos

02 Sewri Flamingos

03 Sewri Flamingos

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31 Sewri Flamings

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41 Sewri Flamingos

Thane Flower Show by Piramal Vaikunth – A Photowalk

This flower treat was a Christmas-New Year gift from Piramal Vaikunth to Thaneites. They have organized this grand flower show at Piramal Realty, Balkum and opened to public from 22nd December to 03rd January 2016. Inspired by the Chelsea flower show of UK, in this flower show Thaneites can see one million flowers of 180 different species and 18 differently themed gardens.

The Main Entrance
The Main Entrance

The Rikshaw of Roses The Rikshaw of Roses

The Orchid Garden
The Orchid Garden
Orchid
Orchid
Orchid
Orchid
Orchid
Orchid
Orchid
Orchid
Old Typewriter and the Trunk
Old Typewriter and the Trunk
The Log Pile
The Log Pile
Orchid
Orchid
Orchid Decoration
Orchid Decoration
More Orchid
More Orchid
Orchid
Orchid
The Maratha Horse Garden
The Maratha Horse Garden
The Persian Garden
The Persian Garden
The Persian Garden
The Persian Garden
The Persian Garden
The Persian Garden
The Wishing Well Fairy Garden
The Wishing Well Fairy Garden
The Garden of Buddha Blessings
The Garden of Buddha Blessings

21 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

22 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

The Black Sheep on the Hill Garden
The Black Sheep on the Hill Garden
The Teapot Garden
The Teapot Garden

25 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

26 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

27 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

"Little Sultan" The Replica of the First Passenger Train Run between Victoria Terminus and Thane
“Little Sultan” The Replica of the First Passenger Train Run between Victoria Terminus and Thane
The Value House village and Train Garden
The Value House village and Train Garden
Old Bombay Garden
Old Bombay Garden

31 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

32 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

33 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

34 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

The Brazil Landscape
The Brazil Landscape
A Cart Full of Flowers
A Cart Full of Flowers

37 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

The Enchanted World of the Nutcracker
The Enchanted World of the Nutcracker
The Plant and Bottle Decoration
The Plant and Bottle Decoration
The Bullock cart Garden
The Bullock cart Garden

41 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

42 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

The Tree House
The Tree House
The Toyland Garden
The Toyland Garden
The Bottle Decoration
The Bottle Decoration
The Bonsai Garden
The Bonsai Garden

49 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

47 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

50 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

51 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

52 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

53 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

54 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

55 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

56 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

57 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

58 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

59 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

60 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

61 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

62 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

63 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

64 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

65 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

66 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

67 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

68 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

69 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

71 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

72 Piramal Vaikunth Thane Flower Show

Bhopar – Nature Trail

Bhopar is a village near Dombivli. It is 4kms. from Dombivli railway station east and is a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers. There are rikshaws available from Dombivli railway station to Bhopar. This grass land is rapidly diminishing due to the ever expanding Kalyan-Dombivli municipality.

Bhopar Bird Trail 01

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Bhopar Bird Trail 55

Bhopar Bird Trail 54

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Bhopar Bird Trail 52

Bhopar Bird Trail 51

Bhopar Bird Trail 50

Bhopar Bird Trail 49

Bhopar Bird Trail 48

Bhopar Bird Trail 47

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Bhopar Bird Trail 45

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Bhopar Bird Trail 43

Bhopar Bird Trail 42

Bhopar Bird Trail 41

Bhopar Bird Trail 40

Bhopar Bird Trail 39

Bhopar Bird Trail 38

Bhopar Bird Trail 37

Bhopar Bird Trail 36

Bhopar Bird Trail 35

Bhopar Bird Trail 34

Bhopar Bird Trail 33

Bhopar Bird Trail 32

Bhopar Bird Trail 31

Bhopar Bird Trail 30

Bhopar Bird Trail 29

Bhopar Bird Trail 28

Bhopar Bird Trail 27

Bhopar Bird Trail 26

Bhopar Bird Trail 25

Bhopar Bird Trail 24

Bhopar Bird Trail 23

Bhopar Bird Trail 22

Bhopar Bird Trail 21

Bhopar Bird Trail 20

Bhopar Bird Trail 19

Bhopar Bird Trail 18

Bhopar Bird Trail 17

Bhopar Bird Trail 16

Bhopar Bird Trail 15

Bhopar Bird Trail 14

Bhopar Bird Trail 13

Bhopar Bird Trail 12

Bhopar Bird Trail 11

Bhopar Bird Trail 10

Bhopar Bird Trail 09

Bhopar Bird Trail 08

Bhopar Bird Trail 07

Bhopar Bird Trail 06

Bhopar Bird Trail 05

Bhopar Bird Trail 04

Bhopar Bird Trail 03

Bhopar Bird Trail 02

Gandhari – Nature Trail

Gandhari is a small patch of grass land situated on the banks of Ulhas River at the outskirts of Kalyan. Some part of it consists of dense forest as well. This area is rich in a variety of flora and fauna, a paradise for nature enthusiasts. The growing Kalyan city is a threat to the ecosystem of this area. During our four hours stay we sighted many birds – Openbill Storks, Bee Eaters, Cukoos, Short Toed Snake Eagle, Plovers, Oriental Honey Buzzards, Babblers etc. This area is home to varieties of butterflies also.

On the central railway take Mumbai- Karjat local and get down at Kalyan Junction. A rikshaw from Kalyan railway station can take you there in 15 minutes. There are share rikshaws available from lal chowk which will cost Rs. 40/- per head.

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A LONG WEEKEND AT DAMAN

Orientation & History
Daman the ex-Portuguese enclave is perched on both sides of Daman Ganga River also called Dawan river by locals. Daman occupies both banks of the river’s estuary. The southern bank is Moti Daman (‘Moti’ means ‘big’) and the Northern bank is Nani Daman (‘Nani’ means ‘small’). Both sides are connected by the Rajiv Gandhi Bridge. The district has an area of 72 square kms. The chief occupation of the area is fishing.

Daman is one of the two districts of the Union Territory of Daman and Diu. It is surrounded by Valsad district of Gujrat from three sides and by Arabian sea on the Western side. Along with Diu and Goa, Daman was taken over by government of India from the Portuguese in 1961. The Portuguese had been occupying the region since 1531 after they captured it from the sultan of Gujarat.

How to Reach
The closest railway station to Daman in is Vapi (13 kms). The city of Surat lies to the north of Vapi at a distance of 93kms by train and the city of Mumbai lies on the south at a distance of 140kms by train. There are ample train services on this route. From Vapi to Daman there are plenty of taxis waiting outside the railway station and also buses from the bus stand which is on a walkable distance from the railway station.

Accommodation & Eating
There are plenty of hotels and restaurants in and around Nani Daman. We have booked in Hotel Marina just behind Nani Daman police station not far from the Taxi/Bus Stand. A Portuguese style house converted in to a hotel with nice wooden interiors and managed by a Parsi couple with very friendly staff. The first floor rooms opening in to the large common area with nice old world ambience. My daughters enjoyed this area very much except for the dust and noise from the rooms on the other side which are under renovation. The Hotel also has a nice restaurant which serves vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies.

Hotel Marina Daman
Hotel Marina Daman
The wooden Interiors on the First Floor
The wooden Interiors on the First Floor
The Restaurant on the Ground Floor
The Restaurant on the Ground Floor

Sights & Activities

The main attraction is Fort St Jerome popularly known as the Nani Daman Fort situated on the Northern side of the river Daman Ganga . The Portuguese started the construction of the fort in 1614 AD and completed in 1672. The impressive gateway of the fort is opening to the Daman Ganga River. The gateway is adorned with a statue of St Jerome at the top and two giant human figures on either sides of the gateway.

Within the fort is the Church of Our Lady of the Sea which was constructed in 1901. Also within the fort is a small graveyard. Inside the fort there is a pathway all around the walls with splendid views of the Daman Ganga River and the Samudra Narayan Mandir on its banks. It is really interesting to watch the colourful fishing fleet on the river from the top of the fort during sunset.

The main Entrance of Fort St Jerome
The main Entrance of Fort St Jerome
One of the Giant Figures at the Main Entrance
One of the Giant Figures at the Main Entrance
The Church of Our Lady of the Sea inside the Fort
The Church of Our Lady of the Sea inside the Fort
The View of the Fishing Fleet from the Top of the Nani Daman Fort
The View of the Fishing Fleet from the Top of the Nani Daman Fort
View from Nani Daman Fort (You can see the walls of the Moti Daman Fort on the other side of the River)
View from Nani Daman Fort (You can see the walls of the Moti Daman Fort on the other side of the River)
Inside Nani Daman Fort
Inside Nani Daman Fort
Another View of the Nani Daman Fort
Another View of the Nani Daman Fort
The Fish Drying Areas
The Fish Drying Areas
The Fish Drying Areas Near the Nani Daman Fort
The Fish Drying Areas Near the Nani Daman Fort

About 3 km north of Nani Daman is the black sand Devka beach. Along the beach there are shacks which are serving liquor and beer and often crowded in the evenings with visitors from across the border where there is prohibition in force.

Sun Set at Devka Beach
Sun Set at Devka Beach

On the other side of the river is the Moti Daman Fort, dates back to 1559 AD. Inside the fort are the sleepy streets and the quaint churches which are reminiscent of the Portuguese era. Also inside the fort is the Secretariat and few other government departments.

The Church of Bom Jesus built in 1603 is a living tribute to the craftsmanship of the Portuguese artisans. The main feature of the church is the altar and pulpit with its detailed wood carvings. Other church is the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Moti Daman Fort Walls with the Old Light House on the Background
Moti Daman Fort Walls with the Old Light House on the Background
One of the Entrances of the Moti Daman Fort
One of the Entrances of the Moti Daman Fort
The Lonely Street Inside the Moti Daman Fort
The Lonely Street Inside the Moti Daman Fort
The Façade of the Church of Bom Jesus
The Façade of the Church of Bom Jesus
Interior of the Bom Jesus Church
Interior of the Bom Jesus Church
A Close View of the Wooden Altar
A Close View of the Wooden Altar
The Detailed Wood Carvings Inside the Church
The Detailed Wood Carvings Inside the Church
The Church Ceiling
The Church Ceiling
View of the Walls of Moti Daman Fort
View of the Walls of Moti Daman Fort
Another View of the Moti Daman Walls with the Light House in the Background
Another View of the Moti Daman Walls with the Light House in the Background
The Moti Daman Light House
The Moti Daman Light House

The Fishing Boat at Moti Daman
The Fishing Boat at Moti Daman
Sun Set behind Moti Daman Fort
Sun Set behind Moti Daman Fort

The Rajiv Gandhi Bridge which Connects the Moti Daman & Nani Daman
The Rajiv Gandhi Bridge which Connects the Moti Daman & Nani Daman

About 3km south of Moti Daman is the Jampore beach. Lined with casuarinas, this beach also has its share of shacks selling beer and sea food. One can also enjoy horse and camel rides on the beach.

Casuarinas at Jampore Beach
Casuarinas at Jampore Beach
The Shacks which Serves Beer and Fried Fish at Jampore Beach
The Shacks which Serves Beer and Fried Fish at Jampore Beach
Horse Ride at Jampore Beach
Horse Ride at Jampore Beach
Camel Cart at Jampore Beach
Camel Cart at Jampore Beach
Sun Set at Jampore Beach
Sun Set at Jampore Beach