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Pictures of my Genetic Country!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I am a very funny mixture of two vastly different Regions of Maharashtra---and extremely am proud to be so!!!My father was a "Ghaati"----belonging to the fertile Kolhapur region on the Plateau of the Western Ghats---while my mother was a "Konkani" from Sawant Waadi---belonging to the narrow,flat Green strip that lay several 1000 Metres down from Kolhapur!!!Both were erstwhile Principalities--even today proud of their erstwhile Rulers---they still are respected and treated with loving awe!!Despite these Cultural differences, a couple more in love with each other I've yet to come across!!!Both Regions have a very vibrant Beauty---the paler but rich Green of the Sugar Cane Fields and Black Soil contrast sharply with the deep Red Soil and Dark Green of Coconut and Betel Nut Groves of the verdant Konkan Region---it's Soil supporting a thick cover of Greenery.
Kolhapur is a very fertile little Town--staid,typically Maharashtrian,proud of it's History and fiercely protective of it's Uniqueness and it's Culture.The Stock that I come from is very possessive about every thing Kolhapuri---Sudhir teases me that even my accent changes to Provincial when I drive into this Town!!






This is the rich Sugar District of Maharashtra----bristling with loads of Sugar Barons and Factories.However given the ambience,one would find it hard to believe that this laid back,rustic, sleepy Town literally bristles with Mercedes and BMWs!!
On the other hand the Beauty of the Konkan is based on it's thick Green Cover,Rivers,Waterfalls,Beaches as well as Coconut,Betel Nut,Cashew Nut ,Mango and "Kokum" or Mangosteen Groves.Despite Nature's rich bounty it still hasn't been able to cash in on the Gifts bestowed on it---though Tourism is slowly gaining a foothold in this extremely closeknit,clannish Region.







These Pictures are the Sawant Waadi Palace and the beautiful Lake there called the Moti Talaav.My mother's Family still owns a lot of Ancestral Landed Property and an old Ancestral "Waadaa" or Mansion there.


This is my way of acquainting my Spark Friends with an India that has a greater Beauty and Charm than the one usually seen---the Serenity and Grace of the Old World still holds true here!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAJASHREE108 5/31/2011 11:33PM

    So nice to visit Kolhapur through your blog. Loved your pictures and thanks for taking me back home.

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PARM01 5/28/2011 12:55AM

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NY-BEAN 5/21/2011 9:09AM

    Komal
I LOVE these photo blogs you've been posting.
You're exactly right that it shows me a side of India I never knew existed and makes me think about putting it on my vacation list. Simply breathtaking - and so rich in history and traditions.
The varieties of cooking make much more sense too, seeing the variety of landscapes.
Thanks for taking the time to post this!

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MAGIK0731 5/17/2011 12:55PM

    How beautiful! I hope to visit India some day.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 5/16/2011 2:18PM

    You are right... generally we see pictures of the Taj Mahal, the Ganges, the crowds in Mumbai, and poverty stricken areas. These pictures alter my picture of India and help me to realize how many faces there are to the landscape, much like here in the U.S. We have many Indians moving to the Chicago suburbs, and if they come from areas like this, I don't see how they can bear to leave it.

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BOVEY63 5/15/2011 10:17AM

    Such a beautiful country! Thanks for sharing more pictures - I love seeing them.

Also love how Sudhir says your accent even changes!
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*MADHU* 5/15/2011 8:41AM

    Beautiful history, background and pictures emoticon

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KARIDIAN1 5/15/2011 8:06AM

    Beautiful photos of India.

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Hot Indian Summer--3--Pictures

Sunday, May 15, 2011

These beautiful Flowers form a thick Carpet as they fall on the Roads below---much to the chagrin of the Municipal Sweepers who have constantly to sweep these up!!!

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These lovely brilliantly Red Blooms give way to Wispy Cotton Tufts---these are called"Saavaree chaa Kaapus" is collected and used to make a soft downy stuffing for Babies' Mattresses Pillows as well as other items.

This Tree is called the "Sita Ashok" Tree.Mentioned in the ancient Epic "Ramayana"---this is because the heroine of the Epic,Sita was imprisoned in a Grove of these Trees hence the name!!!Another Legend claims that this Tree would flower only after a beautiful "Kumari" or Virgin kicked it's trunk hard!!However these days it's begun to flower on it's own!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAJASHREE108 5/17/2011 7:25PM

    Lovely pictures... still very cold here so its almost like ... heat is bearable! Currently in Toronto for a wedding.. all the extended family gathered together.. there is nothing like family that makes you happy.

Stay cool.

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LAURIE-RN 5/15/2011 7:16AM

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Laurie emoticon

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Hot Indian Summer --2--Pictures

Friday, May 13, 2011


This is the "Bhendi" Tree----one of the most prolific Local Trees that lines most of Mumbai's roads along with the Rain Tree---bears Flowers of two different colours on the same branch---and it's hot Yellow and Peachy Red Flowers along with the thick dark foliage it sports make it a very shady Tree--presenting a very pretty contrast of Yellow,Red and Green!!

The Purply Blue Flowers of the beautiful Jacaranda Tree are something I've loved since childhood---there was one in our Garden at Chandigarh.To me these Flowers are magical---and give a sense of coolness in the hot Summer Landscape!!!

The "Palash" Flowers burn like a Summer Fire against the hot Sky---mostly a deep Orange and Red-----but sometimes they are also a beautiful Sunshine Yellow---contrasting starkly against the Summer Sky!!A White Palash also has been discovered in the Forests of the Indian State of Jharkhand---an extremely rare Phenomenon!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUDYAMK 9/21/2012 11:03PM

    The purple tree is the most beautiful tree I ever saw. Thank you for posting
Judy

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LISANANCY 5/14/2011 2:04PM

    I have a Jacaranda tree in my backyard. We have a connection. We are blessed to have such beauty around us. emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 5/13/2011 11:55AM

    Thank you! SO beautiful. I love to picture you, miles away, and see bits of what you are looking at around you. It is spring here, and the flowers and plants are growing as much as a foot a day, it seems... also the weeds!

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Hot Indian Summer 1--Pictures

Thursday, May 12, 2011


These Bougainvilleas add splashes of hot,bright Colours as they froth over Courtyard Walls,on Express Highway Dividers and in the Housing Societies Compounds---foaming away in a spectacular array of brilliant Shades!!!

The spreading Rain Tree----literally looks like a giant Umbrella---it's thick foliage giving plenty of cool shade in the hot Indian Summers!!!

The hot Red-Orange Blooms of the Gulmohur Tree contrast against the Blue Sky and hot Summer Sunshine---the entire Tree a great thick mass of these Flowers---a beautiful and spectacular sight!!!

These beautiful Yellow Bunches of Laburnum Flowers cascade from the branches---like Grapes hanging from the Vines----adding wonderfully vibrant shades of Yellow to the entire Picture!!!Summer isn't complete without these!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISANANCY 5/14/2011 2:02PM

    Wow, with such beautiful areas it is easy to forget one's worries. Thank you for some great photos. emoticon

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NICE125 5/12/2011 6:17PM

  Lovely, old memeories of gulmohar and the yellow trees, lining the main roads of Chandigarh, sadly replaced by some other variety, don't know it's name, shady , yes , but no yellow/ orange flowers to admire!

Thanks!

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EACHDAYAGIFT 5/12/2011 2:40PM

    How long do the trees stay in flower? We usually have about 3 weeks in spring, though some bloom earlier than others so the entire flowering period for trees is a bit longer. By June, most of the trees are just green or burgundy leaves until they turn color in late September through November. So our summer color is mainly on the ground. Thanks for the pictures... the closest I've seen to that was ion Hawaii.

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BOVEY63 5/12/2011 12:49PM

    Truly beautiful! I can see why you love them so much.

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ZANNACHAN 5/12/2011 11:27AM

    Awesome pictures! Those are gorgeous.

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*MADHU* 5/12/2011 9:40AM

    emoticonpictures again!

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ATMANI 5/12/2011 6:53AM

    Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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Under the Umbrella Tree!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Since childhood I've loved the Rain Tree---called the "Umbrella Tree" by my daughters!!This Tree is special because it predicts Rain---it's leaves fold like two palms pressed together in the typical Indian "Namastey"---folded together palm to palm!!!
My daughters first came in contact with these Trees in May 1980---when we spent part of our Summer Vacation in Lonavla---a Hill Station in the steep Western Ghats---called the Sahyadri Range.We used to hire a Cottage there---nestled very cosily under the spreading Rain Trees---their covering shade keeping the hot Sun at bay---so much so that the Girls could play in the Garden outside even in the Summer afternoons---without catching the Sun or feeling hot!!There were two Swings tied to the sturdy branches of these Trees---and these kept them occupied---singing and swinging away in the cool shade of these spreading Trees!!
For many years our Vacation Pattern was set at the farthest point first---that being Kolhapur---then on the way back Mahabaleshwar and finally halting at Lonavala for about 8-10 days---before climbing down the steep Khandala Ghat after the first Monsoon Showers hit us!!This Cottage was situated near the Bushi Dam---and was an idyllic place----it had one Bedroom and a large Living Room along with a well equipped Kitchen and Bathroom---and the biggest asset---a "Maali" or Gardner who also doubled as a Cook and cooked truly delicious Meals for us!!All of us adored the lip smacking "Chicken a la Maali"---accompanied by crisp Whole Wheat Parathas----a treat we all always looked forward to!!We'd buy the Chicken at a Poultry Farm on the way back from Poona called "The Chicken Inn " situated right on the Highway at Kamshet----adding the Onions,Potatoes,Green Chillies, Fresh Coriander,Mint and other Vegetables,Spices and Milk from the local Market on the way there.
To me it was always sad to leave this place lovely place---it reminded me of my Childhood---the Tree shaded Garden was what had caught my fancy.Besides the gnarled old Rain Trees,it also had an old Jack Fruit Tree,umpteen Mango Trees a "Chaphaa" Tree,a"Surangee" or Orange Blossom Tree----with the crowning Glory--an ancient spreading "Bakula "Tree as well.There was an old wooden Bench strategically placed in between the "Bakula" and Surangee" Trees--which was our favourite perch at night---after the Girls had gone to bed.
There used to be a rustling hush surrounding us with scented Darkness---the beautiful Flowers giving out their heady Fragrance---combining with the musky aroma of the ripening Fruit---mingling further with the smoky flavours of the Wood,Coal and Cowdung Fires burning in the tiny homesteads nearby .The Breeze rustling in the Trees would play softly with the leaves--swaying the Branches and shaking the Nests tucked high up in the Branches---causing a little irritated sleepy twitter at times---and some Owls would fly by silently---making us jump when they hooted!!The Transistor would play "Vividh Bharati" India's Premier Radio Channel during those days---and we'd just drink in the beautiful environment---specially if it was Moonlit!!Those hours were so magically beautiful that we'd be reluctant to leave and go to bed---despite the hardness of the Wood we sat on!!
Today we went out to Lunch---picking up Sayali from the Bandra-Kurla Complex where she's working presently---and to my delight the expanse of the wide Road was entirely shaded by these spreading old "Umbrella" Trees bordering both sides of it---their branches mingling overhead to form a feathery Green Canopy overhead!!!Some of them were even blooming with their beautiful feathery Pink and White Flowers---bringing back floods of the memories of those old Vacations---long ago!!There will definitely be "Chicken a la Maali "style for Dinner tomorrow---AND Parathas too---for Memories are made of this!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISANANCY 5/14/2011 2:00PM

    I want a Maali. This sounded wonderful. Isn't it great to create and then enjoy memories. I hope our children know this importance of memories. All the "junk" we have around us just doesn't compare to a sweet memory

Isn't funny, I'm on the other side of the world and I remember my grandmother telling me that "If I see the whites of the tree leaves, it meant it was going to rain" Seems to hold true, too.

Have a great weekend, my friend emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 5/12/2011 11:25AM

    That sounds so beautiful.

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ATMANI 5/12/2011 6:54AM

    Your blogs are always a good read. Thanks for sharing.

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BOVEY63 5/10/2011 4:12PM

    I love it when seeing something brings back so many wonderful memories.

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ANITAS66 5/10/2011 3:17PM

    Really enjoyed reading it as always. Thanks

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SAASHA17 5/10/2011 12:23PM

    emoticon I miss those vacation days with mom dad...its not the same like when u were kids...I fell in love with Darjeeling. We had gone when I was 12 and I kept wanted to go back....Nice blog...Makes me nostalgic:)

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