Feathered Friends – VII

Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull (Juvenile)
Great Black-backed Gull (Juvenile)
Great Black-backed Gulls (Juvenile)
A Herring Gull in flight
Herring Gull
Red-billed Gull
A Herring Gull in flight
Indian Pond Heron
Indian Pond Heron
Sandpiper
Sandpiper
Sandpiper
Sandpiper

Purple Sunbird
Purple Sunbird
Purple Sunbird
Rose ringed Parakeet
Rose ringed Parakeet
Rose ringed Parakeet
Rose ringed Parakeet
Rose ringed Parakeet
Baya Weaver
Baya Weaver
A pair of Baya Weavers
Baya Weavers
Purple Sunbird
Purple Sunbird
Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike
Black Kite

Herring Gull
Herring Gull

Thane Flamingo Sanctuary

These wading wonders were clicked at the Thane Flamingo Sanctuary. The Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary lies along the western banks of the Thane Creek, which is an inlet of the Arabian Sea. It was declared a sanctuary by the Maharashtra Government in 2015. These mudflats attract flamingoes from the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat in large numbers between the months of November and May. Some of the other birds that can be spotted here are the black-headed Ibis, Oriental Stork, Caspian Terns and Ospreys to name a few. The easiest way to reach the sanctuary is through the Airoli Vashi Bridge.

Reminiscence of a journey to the Land of Cedars – Lebanon (Part 7 of 7)

The Qadisha grotto lies on the main road between the Cedar forest and Bcharre. This 778-metre long grotto is the source of the River Qadisha. The natural stalactite and stalagmite formations in dazzling colours are a sight to behold. From the grotto, one could see the Qadisha Valley or Wadi Qadisha, as it is more popularly known. Qadisha means ‘holy’ in Aramaic and the valley is also sometimes called the Holy Valley.

Qadisha Grotto
Qadisha Grotto
Qadisha Grotto
Qadisha Grotto
Qadisha Valley
Qadisha Valley
Qadisha Valley
Qadisha Valley

Bcharre, pronounced as Sharr-i, in ancient times was a Phoenician settlement. Later in the 7th century AD, it became the refuge of Maronite Christians fleeing persecution. Bcharre is known to the world as the birthplace of the famous writer and poet, Kahlil Gibran. He is especially remembered for the book ‘The Prophet’. Today, the town of Bcharre also has a Gibran Museum which contains the works of the Lebanese writer.

On the way to Bcharre
On the way to Bcharre
Bcharre
Gibran Museum
Gibran Museum
One of the churches in Bcharre
Bcharre

Acknowledgment:
I would like to express my special thanks to my friend Zaher Joumblat for making this visit a reality. His hospitality and effort to show me around his country is much appreciated and will always be cherished. Especially, the journey we took to explore Hiram’s tomb and Noah’s tomb which were very difficult to locate. It was just one of the many adventures we had in Lebanon.

Reminiscence of a journey to the Land of Cedars – Lebanon ( Part 6 of 7)

Caliph Walid II of the Umayyad Islamic dynasty, founded the city of Anjar in the 8th century. It was a commercial centre which fell on two important trade routes – one leading from Beirut to Damascus and the other from Homs to Tiberiade. However, the city was destroyed and abandoned soon after, with the defeat of Walid’s son, Caliph Ibrahim. Anjar is a strikingly well-planned city with its rectangular shape, perpendicular streets and alleys that intersect at the city center. The city is also famous for its numerous hammamet or thermal baths. The ruins of the Great Palace of Anjer are a fine example of the Ummayyad era architecture.

Ruins of Anjer
Ruins of Anjer
Ruins of Anjer
The Great Palace of Anjer
The Great Palace of Anjer
Ruins of Anjer
Ruins of Anjer
Ruins of Anjer

Near to Zahle, in the suburb of Karak Nuh, is a 42 feet long tomb inside the local mosque, believed to be of Noah. The keeper of the mosque claims that the body of Noah was much longer than 42 feet and they had to bend his knees to fit him in.

Noah’s Tomb