Wordless Wednesday


Amritapuri Tulasi Garden

The Tulasi Garden is the first garden I ever visited in Amritapuri. I probably saw it for the first time a decade or more ago. It has changed so much over the years. They have added land and there are so many different kinds of plants there now. Most of the plants are edible.

I really enjoyed my visit to the Tulasi garden last week. These first photos are of the nursery and some newly planted seedlings. (Click on any of the galleries to enlarge the photos.)

The garden had a banana palm that was at least thirty feet tall. It was twice the size of any I have seen in the past. I also saw several sprouts, the beginning of new banana palms. These photos show various views of banana palms.

I thought this scene of a coconut palm tree was beautiful.

These are old and new papaya trees. The short ones surround the tall one.

There was a wild orchid in the garden.

This is a photo of some of the rudraksha trees…

The seeds that are inside the fruit of a rudraksha tree are sacred. They are often used in making malas. I took these photos of the fruit of rudraksha trees, and the seeds that are inside of them, a few years ago. The second photo was taken at a work station where ashram residents were separating the seeds from the fruit.

Below are photos of other plants I saw in the garden.

And last but not least, I saw this unusual but beautiful tree as I walked back to the main part of the ashram.

To read the previous posts in this series click here.

More Photos of the School of Biotechnology Grounds

I was unsuccessful in locating the photos I took of the School of Biotechnology grounds a few years ago. All I can do is tell you that when I saw it last week, I was astounded by how much some of the shrubs have grown since I saw it back then. The land was beautiful at that time, and it is even more beautiful now. (Click on the gallery to enlarge the photos.)

To read the previous posts in this series click here.

Amritapuri Gardens: School of Biotechnology

I took these photos when I was visiting the Amrita University School of Biotechnology. That part of the university is located in Vallikavu, the town across the backwaters from the ashram.

Can you find the bird?

To read the previous posts in this series click here.

A Surprise Gift

On Friday, I spent time working in our Greenbelt restoration site. As I turned to go back home, I heard a loud sound. It took a moment for me to figure out what it was. When I looked ahead of me, I saw a woodpecker pecking at a dead tree. It was unlike any woodpecker I’ve ever seen. One of the remarkable things about it was that it looked huge.

I used the burst setting on my phone camera and was able to capture a shot of it in the action of pecking.

I wish I had thought to take a video so you could hear the loud sound it made when it was pecking.

Later, I learned that it was a Pileated woodpecker. which is similar in size to a crow. One of their most notable features is their bright red crest. The males have a red streak on their cheek, so the one I saw must have been a female.

These birds are often found around dead trees, foraging for carpenter ants. They are known for the triangle shape holes they create in trees, holes that become habitat to “swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens.”

Pileated woodpeckers  apparently have bright white underwings. I hope that someday I have the opportunity to see one in flight!



Pileated Woodpecker


Night Approaches in Amritapuri

When I stepped off the elevator on my floor tonight, I saw that the sun was starting to set. I decided to photograph the sunset and beyond.

6:24 p.m.
6:25 p.m.
6:26 p.m.
6:27 p.m.
6:34 p.m.
6:37 p.m.
6:38 p.m.
6:43 p.m.
6:47 p.m.

As night approaches, the sound of birds coming home to roost fills the air… and eagles soar overhead.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

Shared with Senior Salon

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

There have been very few geckos in my room (in India) this year. I have missed them. The ones I have seen have been very small, about a third of the size of the ones I see in December. Maybe this is the time of year they are born.

A few days ago, when I was lounging on my bed, I looked up and saw a baby gecko. It was less than two inches from its head to the bottom of its tail. My photo didn’t turn out very clear so I decided to share it using a PicMonkey effect called Edge. That effect allows only the outline of the object being photographed to be visible. Do you see the outline of the little gecko? I really like how the photo turned out.

The gecko was located just below the place where the ceiling meets the wall. I watched it for some time. I was struck by how long it stayed in one place. I knew geckos eat insects so I decided it was waiting for one to come near. The only insects I’ve seen in the room are mosquitoes so it was probably waiting to eat one of those. The gecko was more patient than I was, so in time I stopped waiting for it to move and left the room.

When I returned an hour later, the gecko was in the same part of the room, but it had turned the other direction; it was facing south instead of north. The gecko continued to wait. I continued to watch it periodically. I didn’t have the patience to be waiting quietly to see what happened next.

About an hour later, I noticed the gecko start to walk down the wall. My half-hearted attempt at waiting was over! I decided I would video the gecko’s descent. The problem was, I had to get closer to do that. And when I moved in, the gecko stopped. It looked like it was watching me, waiting for me to go away. I waited for some time but once again, the gecko had more patience than I did. Eventually, I stopped waiting for the opportunity to take a video and took a still photo instead. I decided to use the PicMonkey Frost effect on this one.

I could learn a lot about patience from a gecko, if I was willing to wait long enough to learn it! But I guess that is a learning in and of itself.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting