Saturday, November 12, 2016

Chamraj Golden Tips

Drove down from Bengaluru to Chamraj Tea Estate in the Nilgiris, a distance of 350 kms.  
Once you cross Mysuru (Mysore) it becomes more scenic, especially when you go past the Bandipur National Park and the Madumalai National Park. 

Chamraj is famous for their “Chamraj Golden Tip”, an extra special quality of Nilgiris tea leaf always fetching a record price. Specially hand plucked Chamraj Golden Tips come from the Chamraj Estate, just west of Conoor, a property belonging to The United Nilgiri Tea Estate Ltd. 

If Chamraj was at the southwest end of Nilgiris  “Kotercherry” or Kotagherry was at the north eastern end, now known as Kotagiri. The place is simply beautiful. 

It was the first table land to be reached by the Europeans when Wish and Kindersly ‘discovered’ the cool of the jungle heights in 1819 while pursuing a band of smugglers. It was their ‘discovery’ that led John Sullivan to establish a home in Kotagiri. Of those Europeans who followed Sullivan and opened the Nilgiris, it was said, “If you live in Conoor, you live till 80, if you live in Ooty you will live till 90, but in Kotagiri you will have to be shot!” He wasn’t shot but, John Erskine lived till he was 100 after he arrived in Kotagiri. 

The tea gardens are lush with tea leaves. On a clear sky you get to see the lovely sunrise and sun set 

Spotted some coffee plants too here. 

If you have the patience you are likely to spot different species of birds 

I saw one land crab who was in two minds about staying put and carry on with his feeding (see video) 

We had those “Chamraj Golden Tip” in one of the tea stalls where it was freshly prepared for us 

and some tasty “parippu wada” after a long time. 

To reach there, we had to pass through Ooty and some of those old structures still look grand. 

The military establishments in this area are well maintained. 

On the way back, while passing through the Madumalai National Park, there was this tusker who gave us a threatening charge as we slowed down (can be seen in the video) He was probably trying to protect this little one in the herd.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Open Day in Mumbai

Close on the heels of the open day in Pune, there was one more open day for the Little Angels school in Mumbai.
This time it was on a larger scale with more students and more parents.  The first photo that I clicked was of this young boy trying to convince the customer about the quality of the products that were on display and sale. 

As usual, after the open day the parents had a visual treat to all the products that were displayed by Kalanidhi 

The sale was brisk and it was good to see that things were getting sold at a fast pace. 

While the parents and the students were busy, I just ambled around the school. These happy happy murals on the staircase must have greeted many students as they climbed up the stairs. 

I liked these three drawings on one of the boards 

What a great feeling it must have been for Ansh Obhan when he saw this little note on the notice board (and also a boosting factor for other students) 

In this age of cell phone and texting, a good reminder of simple polite words which is seldom used now a days.  

It was good to see the children’s face light up when they introduced the parents to the teachers  

Kalanidhi had also organized a food stall with the food items reasonably priced. 

I have heard the Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, many times, but never felt it more meaningful than when I saw it on this notice board:

While leaving the premises, I saw this flex board kept at the entrance. 

Probably my next visit will be to the Kalanidhi Production Centre.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All Souls Day

People usually visit the cemetery on all souls day to pay their respects to their near and dear ones. I make it a point to walk around and have a look at all the graves, some colourfully decorated 

while some make it simple with just a single bouquet 

It’s a pleasure to walk around the St Sepulchers cemetery in Pune.

I saw these small graves which were unmarked (probably infants) but someone had left some flowers on the graves  

Some sit down and painstakingly arrange each and every flower 

I noticed this dog with a collar. Was he spending a few minutes of solitude with his master? 

Some of the graves looked uniform, (with similar decorations) 

If you have the time and patience, you get to read some good and meaningful writings on the tombstones. 

I noticed that on the older tombstones, the cause of the death was also mentioned. 

I was fascinated by the statue of an angel behind this lady 

I don’t think the present day craftsman can make anything like this in marble or stone.

The next time I must make it a point to go early. The noon sun is not the right time to click pictures.