Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mesmerizing Matheran

While my train was moving from Ulhasnagar to Neral, I was peeping out of my window and was looking at the green carpet and several water bodies generated by the rains. Moving train and passers were few Ibis, single greater coucal and spotted doves and solitaire wire tailed swallow perched on electrical over head wire. The 4th August of 2009 at 07.00 AM, these sightings in the rainy morning of monsoon were giving good indications that my tip to Matheran would be fruitful. This trip was specially designed to pic up a specimen of flower, which I photographed last time, just a month ago, in Matheran. The flower couldn’t get the attention of experts to ID it, hence a fresh sample was required. Here is the link of flower, I am talking about the flower is actually a small herb, photographed at Panorama point last time. Anyways, come to my report for the day. We three Jayesh Minde, Suhas Shirke & Me took a taxi from Neral stationa and headed to Dastoori point. Jayesh was excited about the day, since he is very fresh in photographing; especially birds and tigers are his main attraction. We reached Dastoori point at 08.00 and had some pet pooja and started our trail to Panorama point, which has become my hot spot for this hill station. Our day started with a whistling call of Malabar whistling thrush and a red vented bulbul just passed by our trail. Brown headed barbet’s distant calls were echoing in the valley. My first sighting was begonia crenata which had come up on the entire trail and even in the slopes of hill of Matheran, which we observed while descending. Pinda Concenenisis and justice procumbens dominated the carpet in little while, where the forest opens. My favorite flower was also just around the corner which was Tolypanthus laganifer Suhas and Jayesh took lot of time in photographing this flower from every angle. It drizzled thereafter for little time and we took shelter under tree canopy. I was in high spirits to collect a sample of the flower, hence didn’t invested much time in photographing the landscape. But, the serenity of this Sahyadri’s hot spot eco-sensitive zone was fresh after heavy rains. This time orchids were in bloom at the last part of trail, where earlier it was a grass land. I photographed Habenaria Grandifloriformis and habenaria foliosa . All my happiness vanished the moment I realized that flower, I have come to photograph and pick, is missing. I scanned the area, but it was disappointment for me. Although Sonerila scapigera given quite good shots, but all of those flowers couldn’t make me feel happy. Even this sonera Hypoxis aurea If anything at Matheran is worth to photograph, is only best of landscapes, if Flora and fauna is missing. I tired my hand on it and photographed the silver line of stream gushing down from hilltop to the plains We had our pet pooja again here, with a packet of biscuits and lot of gossip, we decided to return back. Perhaps this is time, when our cameras were not ready to photograph, which was there just round the corner. A full grown Male alpha languor along with its troop and Matheran’s pride Shekaroo (Indian Giant Squirrel Rafuta Indica). We had to track down from Dastoori point to Naral station, which is said to be apprx. 7 kms of walk. The walk, literally on hill slopes had much to offer for those who are into flower photographing, especially during monsoon. The Mathern was Fluorescent green and so were its waterfalls blue . A bracket fungus and another bracket fungus we photographed with bit of photographing locha Here a Forest Calotes, a garden lizard and Monitor lizard shown us their presentation. & In a little time, we descended very fast and also photographed some rare flora of sahyadri such as Impetiens Balsamina Trichodesma indicum & Neanotis Lancifolia By now it was 02.00 PM and all of us were exhausted with no stamina to go further down, we had our pet pooja again and took a rickshaw for Neral station. Thus ended our day at my best backyard of Sahyadri……MATHERAN.

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