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Recieved my gmail account today - a day after Yahoo upped the storage quota to 100MB on the two accounts I have over there. So now it raises the question of whether I need to change my e-mail address to get an additional 900MB !

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Sikkim - A State of Mind: Day 2

Day Two
We're awake at 5:30 AM and it's bright daylight. Our first sight of Sikkim in the daylight shows a land bursting with greenery and flowers.





The valley is shrouded in fog. Occasionally the fog lifts to show glimpses of the mountainside. Everything we see is in  panoramic mode - sweeping hills, rolling clouds and the fog appearing suddenly shrouding the entire landscape in grey.




Before we have breakfast, we go for a quick round of birding - there are Mountain Bulbuls, Oriental White Eyes and lots of Mynas. We have a breakfast of Alu Parathas with yogurt and pickle, some toast and marmalade and the teas for which North East India is famous.

Our plan for the day is to leave after breakfast for the town of Lachung, in Northern Sikkim. Lachung is the gateway to the Yumthang Valley and Zero Point in Yumesamdong beyond. While it is just 129 km (80 miles) away, the uphill ascent and the bad roads mean that it would take us close to six hours to get there.

Our route will take us…

Thattekad Travels

May 2013

We leave the small town of Kidangoor, near Kottayam, at 730 AM to head out to Thattekad. En route we stop at the ancient Subrahmanya temple at Kidangoor.


It is absolutely quite except for the calls of a few Oriental Magpie Robins pecking at worms in the circumambulatory path around the temple. Women are not allowed inside the temple which has a beautiful image of Karthikeya with his spear and peacock. There is a small Vishnu temple on the side. We step out and walk onwards the river which has a bathing ghat for devotees. It is an amazing view - clear water lined by lush greenery as far as the eye can see.



In a tiled hall nearby we hear the rhythmic tapping indicating that a Kathakali class is in progress.As we turn back our progress is arrested by the sight of two Asian Paradise Flycatchers, a Rufous Treepie and a few Oriental Magpie Robins.
On the drive towards Thattekad we see many acres of land have been stripped bare of the native vegetation and replaced by rubber trees …

Weekend in Wayanad

After living in Bangalore, with it's cross-city drives turning out to be day-trips,Mysore seems like a small town. We drive a couple of kilometers and are soon out of the city, heading out towards Gundlupet. There is a steady procession of villagers driving goats, sheep and the occasional bullock towards the city. It's Bakrid, when pious Muslims sacrifice an animal to show their devotion, and the villagers want to sell their livestock when prices are high.
Gundlupet, like many small South Indian towns, has one main road where all the prominent landmarks are located - high school, college and government offices. However, it's clean, and the garbage and sewerage have not yet overtaken the town.

The roads are lined with decades-old trees as we turn South-West and approach Bandipur National Park.










We cross Bandipur and are soon at the entrance of Muthanga National Park. The entrance resembles the Bannerghatta National Park , choked with small kiosks selling junk food. We check at …