Archive for March, 2012

Morni Wildlife: Leopard

March 30, 20120 Comments

Leopard (Panthera pardus) an agile and stealthy predator with powerful jaws and can run at a speed of 60 KM/HR. Its the smallest amongst the four ‘Big Cats’, smaller than the lion, tiger and jaguar but can hunt big animals because of its large jaw. It has short powerful legs and can climb trees while […]

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An evening with King Uncle

March 26, 20121 Comment

‘My naana-ji was a pehalwaan,’ he announced proudly, ‘Rustam-e-Punjab‘. This had us all in splits. Nobody comes to a post-grad hostel and talks about the physical prowess of his maternal grandfather.  Everybody just knows it without ever having been taught. But he somehow didn’t. He was a ready-witted, hard-core fauji kid who was born with […]

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Resorts of Morni: Pine Resort

March 23, 20120 Comments

Nestled in the heart of Morni’s only real pine belt is this two-storey green-coloured road-side dhaba that overlooks the terraced fields and the meandering ghaggar and the road to Barisher. The heavy shade of the whistling pines and the moss covered rocks give one the feel of being in the higher hills of Himachal. The […]

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Driving with Zorba

March 21, 20126 Comments

The movie, ‘Zorba the Greek,’ immortalized by Anthony Quinn’s characterization of the rustic, full-spirited Zorba, left quite an impression on me. I thought and talked about Zorba until I had my wife worried. ‘You are increasingly mistaking eccentricity for style,’ she complained, ‘ and I hope you are not nursing a secret desire to live […]

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Water Harvesting Dams: Lessons from Bharal, Bhoj Mataur

March 19, 20120 Comments

A water harvesting dam was built on the ‘Upali Khala’, a seasonal choe emerging from the Mandana hills near Bharal, a hamlet of Bhoj Mataur falling on the Jalah road. Pipes were laid out to provide water for the fields lying downstream of the dam. As per the locals, the dam got silted in the […]

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Birds of Morni: Great Barbet

March 19, 20120 Comments

Great Barbet (Megalaima virens) is the largest barbet, a large multi-coloured, plump bird over a foot in length and weighing about 250 gm. It has a short neck and tail. It has a large blue head and a brown back and breast. The rest of the plumage is green. Bristles mark the fringe of the […]

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Birds of Morni: White-capped Red Start

March 17, 20120 Comments

White-capped Red Start/ White-capped Water Red Start/ River Red Start/ White-capped River Chat (Chaimarrornis leucocephalus ) – a black and orange chestnut bird about the size of a sparrow that is found along rapid Himalayan rivers and streams. The throat, breast and upper parts are black with a prominent white cap and a constantly shivering […]

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Birds of Morni: Brown-headed Barbet

March 11, 20120 Comments

Brown-headed Barbet/Large Green Barbet (Megalaima zeylanica) is a relatively large plump barbet with a large brown head, a short brown neck and a short tail. Rest of the plumage is green. A prominent yellow-orange eye patch makes the eye seem large and menacing. The bill is thick and red. It feeds on fruit (mango, papaya, […]

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Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore

March 11, 20121 Comment

The vulture has been associated with death and decay across cultures. The forbidding, ghoulish look of an ugly bald headed bird feeding voraciously on a decaying and foul-smelling carcass is a repelling site. This was probably the reason why the sharp fall in vulture population sometime in early 90s was noticed so late.It was only […]

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Water Harvesting Dams: Experience at Bunga

March 7, 20121 Comment

Morni Hills receive an average annual rainfall of 1200 mm and 80% of it is received during the 3 monsoon months. Most of the precious rainwater is lost as run-off and it drains into the Ghaggar and Tangri rivers that originate in these hills. These rivers flow torrentially during the rains causing havoc in Ambala […]

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