Sunday, 12 February 2017

Road trip to Majestic land of Rajasthan (Part 1: Udaipur-Haldighati-Kumbhalgarh)

Every year, we plan a trip to celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year we decided to go for a long road trip and then we planned to explore Rajasthan. While return journey we took a halt in Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. Without a doubt, travelers for this trip were me and my wife Renuka.

To avoid length of Travel blog, I have divided it into 3 parts. In this part, will like to share my travel experience of Udaipur, Haldighati, and Kumbhalgarh

City Palace at Night, Udaipur
City Palace at Night, Udaipur

About Udaipur
Udaipur is known as Lake city or city of Lakes. It consists of 5 major lakes, namely Fateh Sagar Lake, Pichola Lake, Swaroopsagar, Rangsagar and Doodh Talai Lake. Udaipur was founded in 1553 by Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia. He Shifted his capital from the city of Chittorgarh to Udaipur. Udaipur remained the capital of the state of Mewar, which became a princely state of British India in 1818. After India's independence in 1947, Mewar was integrated into the state of Rajasthan.

Our road trip route was Pune - Udaipur - Haladighati - Kumbhalgarh - Jodhpur - Phalodi - Jaisalmer - India-Pakistan Border (Pillar No 609) - Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) - Vadodara - Daman - Pune

Day 0: 07 Feb 2017 - Pune to Mumbai
            To avoid Pune to Udaipur drive, we left Pune city by 7 PM after completing office work. We took Expressway route and reached Relative's place by 11 PM.  we decided to leave Mumbai next day by 5 AM and try to reach Udaipur before sunset time. To achieve the distance target, we decided to take an only lunch break.

Expenses:
  • Car Petrol: INR 3300/- (Approx 42 Lit at INR 76 per Lit)
  • Expressway Toll: INR 195/- (One Way)
  • Snacks/Meal at Food Mall: INR 190/- for 2 people (Rates as per order)
  • Toll at Mumbai entry point: INR 35/- (One Way)

Day 1: 08 Feb 2017 - Mumbai to Udaipur
              We left Mumbai by 5 AM and joined National Highway. Our Road Trip to Rajasthan began. The National Highway was in excellent condition and well suited for a long drive. We face heavy vehicle traffic till Surat but then it was the smooth speedy drive. We took a quick break after Surat for Coffee.
             Our Route was Mumbai - Surat - Vadodara - Godhra - Modasa - Cross Gujarat-Rajasthan border - Udaipur. We were changing driving seat after every 3 hours. After crossing Godhra, we had our Lunch break on highway side Dhaba. Soon we reached Rajasthan State Border. This was our longest road trip till now so Selfie/Photo on border became a mandatory part.
Selfie at Rajasthan Border

Drive till Rajasthan Border

             We reach Udaipur, before 6 PM. Yes, we achieved what we planned. Our stay was at Nukkad Guest house which was close to Lake. The owner gave us best lake view room as our stay in Udaipur was for 3 nights. We enjoyed Sunset from our Room. Owner with his family stays in the same building. The family takes care of each guest. The owner helped us in exploring the Udaipur and shared Maps and info. As I'm foodie person, He suggested us good restaurants even tough they have their own running roof top restaurant.
              The room which we got was large in space and with best Lake view. Though the hotel is not located on the bank of Lake but offers you nice Lake view from 1-2 rooms and from Rooftop restaurant. 24 Hours of hot water was a lifer for us as the weather was too cold when we were in Udaipur. Decor part of Room and Hotel was excellent
              After getting fresh, we left for a walk around Lake and Dinner. It was freezing cold weather. We went at Ambrai Ghat which offers you beautiful view of Lake Palace and City Palace. Light effect of City Palace tempts you to take out the camera and capture the beauty. Ghat has 2 temples, Hanuman temple, and Manji Temple.
               We were hungry so we left Ambrai Ghat after spending 1 hour. We had Rajasthani food at Millets of Mewar Restaurant. we reached the hotel by 11 PM and took rest.

City Palace, Udaipur
City Palace, Udaipur

Expenses:
  • Toll at Mumbai: INR 35/- (One Way)
  • Gujarat Toll 1: INR 60/- (One way)
  • Gujarat Toll 2: INR 65/- (One way)
  • One Coffee at McD: INR 120/-
  • Gujarat Toll 3: INR 55/- (One way)
  • Gujarat Toll 4: INR 65/- (One way)
  • Gujarat Toll 5: INR 85/- (One way)
  • Lunch at Highway Dhaba: INR 215/- (1 Masala Papad, 1 Paneer veg, and 3-4 Rotis)
  • Rajasthan Toll 1: INR 40/- (One way)
  • Rajasthan Toll 2: INR 75/- (One way)
  • Car petrol: INR 3000/- (Approx 40-41 Lit)
  • Hotel stay at Nukkad Guest House: INR 3600/- for 3-night stay
  • Pani Puri: INR 40/- for 2 plates
  • Dinner at Millets of Mewar: INR 622/- (Soup, Rajasthani veg dish, Bhakri, and Rotis)

Day 2: 09 Feb 2017 - Udaipur
               We woke up by 8-8:30 AM and had breakfast at Nukkad's roof top restaurant. Most of the places to visit in Udaipur can be cover by Foot easily. We left the hotel for day sightseen. Our first destination was Jagdish Temple. Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Temple was built in Indo-Aryan architectural style. you can see beautiful carving on the walls of temple showcasing carvings of Vishnu and scenes from Lord Krishna’s life. The entrance of Temple is from Jagdish square and you need to climb around 40 steps.

Jagdish Temple, Udaipur
Jagdish Temple, Udaipur

              City Palace is around 100-150 meters away from Temple. City Palace opens at 10 AM and closed at 5 PM. City Palace is located on the bank of Lake Pichola. Palace was the capital of Sisodia Rajput family built by Maharana Udai Singh II in the year 1953. The architectural style of City palace is a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal style.

City Palace

              We took Ticket and 1 Audio tour guide machine. Guides are available all most on the same rate of Audio tour machine. We took an audio tour to avoid fast forward guide tour. City Palace is converted into Royal Museum. Be ready for a long walk as it takes around 2-3 hours to explore entire Palace,

View from City Palace
View from City Palace

View from City Palace

             City Palace is consist of Amar Vilas, Badi Mahal, Durbar Hall, Fatehprakash Palace, Krishna Vilas, Manak Mahal, Peacock Square, Zenana Mahal, Rang Bhawan and Sheesh Mahal. It also has multiple galleries of carvings, weapons, Royal cloths, painting etc.
             Amar Vilas content Court inside Palace having beautiful Mughal Style garden.Square marble pool is worth to watch. Durbar Hall was built in 1909 which was used by the royal ladies to observe the court proceedings. King's weapon and paintings are placed in this hall. Krishna Vilas is a chamber in Fatehprakash Palance. In the nineteenth century, a royal princess was unable to choose from two suitors seeking her hand in marriage, one from the royal family of Jaipur and another from Jodhpur. In a state of dilemma, she poisoned herself to death. Peacock Square is the masterpiece place from Palace. This chamber consists of three peacocks representing the three seasons as summer, winter, and monsoon.The peacocks have been crafted with 5,000 pieces of glass which shine in green, gold and blue. Zenana Mahal means Women's palace built for royal women which are converted into a museum. Sheesh, Mahal was built in 1716 with mirrors and colorful glasses.

Windows of City Palace
Windows of City Palace

Inside City Palace

               City Palace has detailed information of all the Kings. It was a wonderful experience to explore the largest palace of Rajasthan. After Palace visit, we were too hungry. We had lunch at Sun & Moon rooftop restaurant.
              Our Next destination was Gulab Bagh (Rose Garden). It was built by Maharaja Sajjan Singh. This park is good for an afternoon visit. It consists of a huge variety of Roses. There is one mini train which covers entire park. The zoo from Gulab Bagh shifted to a new location close to Monsoon Palace.

Toy Train

              We decided to witness the sunset from Karni Mata temple hill. There is ropeway to reach the top of the hill. Ropeway boarding point is located next to Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Park. There are steps to climb on the hill. Karni Mata temple is relatively small. There is small canteen on the hill. you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Udaipur city. aerial view of City Palace, Lake Palace, and Pichola Lake was treated to the eye during sunset.

Ropeway to Karni Mata temple

Balancing show

View of City Palace from Karni Mata Temple Hill

View of Udaipur from Karni Mata Temple Hill


              Our last place to visit before the day was Bagore ki Haveli. They arrange Culture program on daily basis from 7 PM to 8 PM. Our Hotel owner arranged the ticket for us without any additional cost. Culture show consists of local folk dance type from a different region of Rajasthan. 70-year-old lady balancing of 9 stacked pots on her head is a major attraction of the event. It is must visit event from Udaipur. We realized the value of this culture show after visiting Jaisalmer. Tent/Hotels from Sam sand dunes also arrange similar kind of show but they have a modern touch to it with few DJ song dance with tourist.

Folk Dance at Bagore ki Haveli

Folk Dance at Bagore ki Haveli

Folk dance cannot be completed without music

Main attraction

              We had dinner at Hari Garh hotel after a beautiful cultural show. It is a lakeside restaurant with beautiful view of Pichola lake. The food was average in taste. After dinner, we took a walk near Ambrai Ghat. After some photoshoot, we had must needed coffee near the Lake. The temperature was below 10 degree and feel factor was lower than temperature due to lakes. It was the perfect end of the day.

We...

Expenses:
  • Breakfast at Nukkad hotel: INR 265/- for 2 people (2 Omelet bread, Coffee, and Juice)
  • City palace entry: INR 250/- for Indian adult
  • City Palace student entry: INR 100/- (My wife is pursuing MBA degree along with job. College iCard is mandatory)
  • City Palace Camera Chargers: INR 250/-
  • City Palace Audio tour: INR 200/- for 1 machine
  • Lunch at Sun & Moon Hotel: INR 350/- for 2 people (one Punjabi veg dish, Rotis, and Cold drinks)
  • Rose Garden Railway ticket: INR 48/- for 2 people
  • Ropeway chargers for Karni Mata temple: INR 193/- return ticket for 2 people
  • Coffee at Karni Mata temple canteen: INR 35/- (one coffee)
  • Auto: INR 90/- from Ropeway base to Nukkad palace (Need to bargain or get an idea of actual fare from locals)
  • Culture program at Bagore ki Haveli: INR 180/- for 2 people (INR 200-250/- for Non-Indians)
  • Camera fee at Bagore ki Haveli: INR 150/- (Mobile camera is also considered as Camera. Either pay for Mobile camera or Do not record/shoot by Mobile during show)
  • Dinner at Hari Garh hotel: INR 350/- for 2 people
  • Hot coffee and pizza at Kinara near Ambrai Ghat: INR 200/- (2 coffee and 1 Pizza)

Day 3: 10 Feb 2017 - Udaipur
               Our day began after 8:30 AM. Monsoon Palace was our first place to visit which is few km away from the city. we decided to have breakfast one the way to Monsoon Palace. While crossing bridge, we saw a group of Comb Duck. We were not expecting them here. we spend some time to watch their activity and then left for Monsoon Palace.

Comb Duck at Pichola Lake
Comb Duck at Pichola Lake

Comb Duck at Pichola Lake

Comb Duck at Pichola Lake
Comb Duck at Pichola Lake

               Monsoon Palace is located on the hill. There is entry fee at the base of the hill for vehicle and for tourist. There is Sajjan Garh Biological park and zoo at the base of the Hill. We first went to Monsoon Palace. As the name is self-explanatory it was built for monsoon period. Palace is very small in size and not maintained properly. View from Monsoon Palace is wonderful. It hardly takes an hour to explore the palace.

Monsoon Palace

              Palace is built in White marble and it was nine storey building. It was used to keep track and record of monsoon clouds. The Palace has a huge central court with a staircase and many rooms. The palace is built on marble pillars, which are carved with delicate motifs of leaves and flowers. Please take of children as walls of the fort is small in height with a huge drop on another side. You can see a picture gallery of flora and fauna found a nearby hill.

Monsoon Palace

View from Monsoon Palace

             Our next destination was Sajjan Garh Biological park and zoo. you can explore zoo either by walk or by hiring cycle or by golf cart. We opt 2 cycles to explore the park. Zoo has all type of animals. It required more than an hour to view the park by cycle or foot. They have maintained zoo very well and a huge space is allocated in each cage for animals.
              We choose shilpgram place showcasing the rural art of Rajasthan. They have restaurant serves local food. you can see model houses of traditional homes of different tribal communities living in Gujarat & Rajasthan. They have culture program as some local shopping items. we spend our noon in shilpgram but it's better to visit in the evening time. The Shilpgram Festival is organized every year from 21 December to 31 December.
              Sahelion ki Bari means Garden built for Queen and her friends. Sahelion Ki Bari was laid for a group of 48 young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry. Now this place is converted into a nice clean garden. It consists of a large pool with fountain, small science museum for kids and wonderful collection of flowers and plants.

Sahelion ki Bari

              The last place to visit from Udaipur was Fateh Sagar Lake and nearby spots. Lake is one of the best places to spend your evening time. you can visit Chetak Smarak, Maharana Pratap Museum, and Lake. Chetak Smarak is built in memory of King Maharana Pratap's brave horse name Chetak. In war, he saves the life of King and then took King in the safe place before he dies. Better to visit in the evening time and then you can spend time near Lake for sunset.

Chetak Smarak

              Maharana Pratap Memorial built in memory of King Maharana Pratap. It consists of kings weapons, painting, and King's belongings. The best part is to see fort and city palace miniature kept in the glass.
              Fatehsagar Lake is another lake which is popular for evening time. It is a huge lake and small island in between. Boating option is available on the lake and nice walkway is built around the lake to enjoy the evening time. A lot of chat Food stalls available around the lake which offer good snacks for the evening. We witness the beautiful sunset from Lake.

Sunset at Fatehsagar Lake
Sunset at Fatehsagar Lake

            After refreshing in the hotel, we went out for a walk around Pichola Lake and then Dinner at Sarovar Lake hotel. Two days stay in Udaipur was memorable and we loved the city of Lake. Perfect start of Road trip to Majestic land of Rajasthan

Taj Lake Palace

Colors of Udaipur city

Expenses:
  • Laundry charges at Hotel: INR 60/- for 3 cloths
  • Breakfast near Monsoon Palace ticket counter: INR 190/- (Aloo Paratha, Sandwich, and 2 coffee)
  • Monsoon Palace entry: INR 100/- for 2 people
  • Monsoon Palace car entry: INR 200/-
  • Car parking charges for Sajjangarh Biological zoo: INR 10/-
  • Sajjangarh Biological zoo entry: INR 60/- for 2 people
  • Sajjangarh Biological zoo cycle Rent: INR 40/- for 2 people for 1 hour (Golf cart ride INR 60-90/-)
  • Shilpagram entry: INR 100/- for 2 people
  • Shilpagram Camera fee: INR 50/-
  • Lunch at Shilpagram: INR 320/- for 2 Rajasthani Thali (Rates varies as per Thali type)
  • Saheliyon ki Bari entry fee: INR 20/- for 2 people
  • Moti Magri (a.k.a Chetak smarak) entry: INR 60/- for 1 people
  • Moti Magri (a.k.a Chetak smarak) student entry: INR 30/-
  • Moti Magri (a.k.a Chetak smarak) car entry: INR 80/-
  • Bhel and Pani Puri at Fateh SagaPurike: INR 60/- (Chat cost range INR 30 to INR 50 per dish)
  • Dinner at Sarovar Lake hotel: INR 470/- for 2 people (Soup, continental dishes)

Day 4: 11 Feb 2017 - Udaipur - Haldighati-Kumbhalgarh - Jodhpur
               We left Udaipur in the morning for Haldighati. Our today's journey was Haldighati, Kumbhalgarh and then stay at Jodhpur. Our first tourist attraction place was Haldighati. In Haldighati, you can visit Maharana Pratap Museum, Chetak memorial, Haladighati, and Rakht-Talai. This is a place that was once filled with blood in a battle - the battle between the Mewar and the Mughals.
              Maharana Pratap Museum gives you an idea about Maharana Pratap's life and battle history. They have a short animated film about King's life. The museum has several weapons used in the battle. There are also paintings depicting important incidents/events from the battle. After guided tour, they take you to an open place where you can buy local stuff, overpriced clothing or do a boat ride or eat some snacks at a cafeteria.

Epic movement from Battle

               Rakht Talai is few km ahead of Maharana Pratap Museum. Haldihati battle (18 June 1579) was an attempt by the Mughals to capture Udaipur, Man Singh fought against Pratap Singh (Mewar ruler). The Mughals had almost 2 Lakhs+ soldiers but the Mewar managed with just 22,000 soldiers among which almost 8,000 were tribal people, untrained for battles. They resorted to guerilla warfare and the battle had many soldiers killed. There was so much blood in the battlefield and it rained that evening, making the whole place seem like it was a pond (talai) of blood (Rakht) thus getting the name Rakht talai. Now the same place is converted into a Garden. Hardly any tourist visits this place. When we went, Garden was closed.
            During the battle, chetak the Maharana's faithful horse was injured on one of his hind legs when he confronted Maan Singh who was on an elephant. The horse Chetak was so loyal, he knew if he continued to stay on the battlefield, the Maharana Pratap would get killed. He ran for over 3 kilometers with his injured leg and even crossed a river to save the king. The king and the horse spent some private time during the last minutes of the horse. You will often see this picture of Rana Pratap holding the horse's face in his hands. Chetak memorial was built to honor the Chetak.

Chetak Memorial

            You can see Haldighati Pass between Rakht Talai and Chetak memorial. Haladighat is narrow pass in hill and soil is in yellow color hence it is known as Haladighati. Haladi comes in yellow color and Ghati means valley.

HaladiGhati

            After Haldighati visit, we headed towards, Kumbhalgarh fort. The road was not in good condition and somehow we manage to reach at the fort by lunch time. we had our lunch in the small restaurant inside the fort walls. There is plenty of parking space available. Ticket rates are nominal and guides are also available at the entrance of the fort. This fort is the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the king of Mewar. It is second largest fort after Chittorgarh fort from Rajasthan. This fort consists of the 38km long wall which is second largest wall in the world after China wall. Fort was Built on the Aravalli range. There are more than 300 temples within the fort area. you can enjoy the breathtaking view of Aravalli range from the top of the fort.

Strong wall of Kumbhalgarh

            Walking all the way to top of the fort, you will see Jain and Hindu temple build inside. Most of part of the fort is inaccessible to the general public. You can see the birthplace of King Maharana Pratap inside the Palace. Fort consists of Temples, solid fortification, Bisons, Palace, Courtyard and massive Wall. You can take a Beautiful panorama of Fort from Fort viewpoint. You can hire a guide for fast track tour else explore the fort by your own way. Do carry water as there is steep climb till the top of the fort.

Kumbhalgarh Fort

            Our last destination of the day was Ranakpur Jain temple. It is around 35 km away from the Fort. Jain temple from Ranakpur is famous for amazing detailed level carving and its Architecture. A Temple standing against tough times with 1444 Pillars and each carved Uniquely. Temple have their own set of Rules like Dupatta on dress/shirt or Sadi is mandatory for female whereas pant/shorts should be below the knee for male or female. Camera/Mobile are allowed inside the temple with some nominal charges else you can keep in paid locker at the entrance of Temple. Audio tour devices are available for temple visit.

Jain Temple

             We had a quick visit to the temple and left for Jodhpur. We reached Jodhpur by sunset time and searched hotel as per our budget and requirement. Jodhpur is a second largest city after Jaipur from Rajasthan State. The city is also known as Sun City for the bright and sunny weather throughout the year OR Blue City because of the blue colors that decorate many of the houses in the old city. The city was built as the new capital of the state of Marwar to replace the capital Mandore.
             After a small break, we left the hotel to visit Clock Tower which is also known as Ghanta Ghar. It was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh. Market area of Jodhpur is located around this Clock Tower. After this visit, we had dinner in Gypsy restaurant.

To avoid length of the travel blog, please click on Road trip to Majestic land of Rajasthan (Part 2: Jodhpur-Jaisalmer) to read about our further journey.

Expenses:
  • Maharana Pratap Museum entry: INR 100/- for 2 people
  • Maharana Pratap Museum camera fee: INR 80/-
  • Kumbhalgarh car parking: INR 30/-
  • Kumbhalgarh entry fee: INR 30/- for 2 people
  • Lunch at hotel inside Kumbhalgarh: INR 235/- for 2 people (Veg Dish and Rotis)
  • Rajasthan Toll 1: INR 40/- (One way)
  • Rajasthan Toll 2: INR 40/- (One way)
  • Hotel Mohan villa stay: INR 2200/- for 2 nights (got walk-in discount else Room rate is between 1800-2500 per night)
  • Auto from Umed club square to Clock Tower: INR 60/-
  • Auto from Clock tower to restaurant Gypsy: INR 60/-
  • Dinner at Gypsy restaurant: INR 535/- for 2 people
  • Uber cab till hotel: INR 88/-

Contact numbers for your reference:
  • Nukkad Guest House, Udaipur: +919460572341
  • Millets of Mewar Restaurant, Udaipur: 08963908397
  • Lake Shore Restaurant, Udaipur: 09001832042.
  • Lake view Restaurant, Kumbhalgarh: 09772907576
  • Mount Valley Resort, Kumbhalgarh: +919460323206
  • Shree Mohan Villas, Jodhpur: +919929006571, +919680583508
  • Gypsy Restaurant, Jodhpur: 02915106767, 02915103882.
Please click on Next blog to read about our further journey:

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni 
Pune

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Bird watching @ Kumbhargaon and Diksal, Bhigwan 2017

I visit Bhigwan at least once a year for bird watching and this year was not an exception for my activity. I and Renuka decided to visit this place January 2017. To avoid crowd we decided to visit on weekdays. Every year, I visit Diksal village from Bhigwan. I heard a lot about Kumbhargaon village which is developed as a bird sanctuary and professional people to handle all type of tourists.
We decided to visit Kumbhargaon in the morning and sunset time at Diksal village. From last 9 years, Bharat Nagare from Diksal helping me for a boat ride. We developed good friendship bond hence Diksal visit was mandatory.

About Bhigwan Bird sanctuary:
Bhigwan, a catchment area of Ujani Dam, is about 105 km from Pune on the Pune-Solapur highway (NH 9). An area of about 18000 hectares has been proposed as a sanctuary for migratory birds. It is an amazing place to see wetland migratory birds like Bar-Headed Goose, Greater Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck, many spices of ducks and many more birds.

To reach Diksal village (near Bhigwan), the easy way is Pune – Hadapsar – Join Solapur highway – Drive your vehicle 100km from Pune on Highway – Do not use Bhigwan flyover – Take a left at Bhigwan square on highway – Drive 3 to 3.5km – Take right for sanctuary. How to identify correct right turn is; you can spot water tank tower (yellow colored) on that T junction on the left-hand side of the road.

GPS Location for Kumbhargaon: 18.263426, 74.803876
GPS Location for Diksal: 18.295129, 74.806933

Greater Flamingo at Diksal
Greater Flamingo at Diksal

Jan 2017: Bhigwan Bird sanctuary:
               As we had to cover around 105-110km so we decided to leave Pune before 5 AM and we managed to leave on time. Soon we touched Solapur highway. Road condition of the highway was excellent. Due to the wide and smooth road, we were able to reach Bhigwan in less than 2 hours. We reached at Kumbhargaon first. We have informed Datta Nagare for a boat ride. Soon we took a boat ride. Electric pole-wire was occupied by Whiskered Tern.

Grey Heron after sunrise at Bhigwan
Grey Heron after sunrise at Bhigwan

Whiskered Terns

We traveled towards Diksal village as all Flamingos and other birds were landed there. While going there, I got few flight photos. Soon we approached towards Flamingo. Every year I visit Diksal and my expectation was to see birding activity near Kumbhargaon. Got to know that most of the time, boats from Kumbhargaon visit Diksal for Flamingos.

Northen Shoveler Duck

              We spend around 1.5 hours watching their activity without disturbing them. By any chance, if they noticed us, they were just moving their position. A couple of times they flew away but again settled down close to our boat.
              Greater flamingo is the largest species of flamingo. It is found in Africa, on the Indian subcontinent, in the Middle East and southern Europe. Average Life of Flamingo is 60 years. Greater Flamingos are pinkish white but Dark pink feathers with black feathers are covered under wings. You can see beautiful Display of pink color during their Flight. Using its feet, the bird stirs up the mud, then sucks water through its bill and filters out small shrimp, seeds and blue-green algae. Greater Flamingo can be seen in Bhigwan but Lesser Flamingo observed rarely here.

Greater Flamingo

Glossy ibis

Greater Flamingo in flight

Take off flight by Greater Flamingo

             We left that place to spot other birds. We went on another side of catchment area by boat. We saw a huge group of Painted stork. We spend around an hour and watched their morning activity, sun basking etc. Besides Flamingo, we spotted Woolly Necked Stork, Coot, ibis, bar-headed goose's, Ruddy Shelduck (aka Brahmini Duck), Northern Shoveler, Garganey Duck, northern pintail and much more.

Northern pintail duck at Bhigwan
Northern pintail duck at Bhigwan

It's a Wake-up Time

Northern shoveler Duck

Open billed stork at Bhigwan
Open-billed stork at Bhigwan

ibis gang - Glossy ibis and orientail ibis

We returned to Kumbhargaon after spending more than 2-3 hours. When we reach close to the village, we saw a small group of Comb Duck. We spend an hour to observe their activity.

Comb Duck
Comb Duck

Comb Duck

Photo finish race...Greater Flamingo
Photo finish race...Greater Flamingo

               We had a small break and then left the place. We drove the car towards Baramati for few km and took an afternoon break at newly open Food mall. We had lunch and then required power nap in a car. By 3 PM, we begin our journey towards Diksal village for evening bird sighting
               Our Friend, Bharat Nagare was waiting for us, Soon we board the boat and went for birding. My intention to capture Flamingo during sunset. I'm completely aware that capturing such a moments required luck. We decided to go for other birds until sunset time.

Oriental ibis

Open Billed stork

Northern shoveler Duck
Northern shoveler Duck

               We saw around 5-10 Bar Headed Goose along with few Brahmin Duck busy with their breakfast and some of them were resting. We kept a safe distance and I clicked a lot of Photos. We enjoyed for an hour observing their activity. An astonishing fact about these birds is that they are one of the world's highest flying birds; they migrate over Himalayas (flying higher than 21000 ft.) to spend the winter in parts of India.

Bar headed goose yoga
Bar-headed goose yoga

Bar-headed Goose

Let's Fly high...Bar-headed goose

               We spot a group of Flamingo and went close to them keeping a safe distance between us. Idea is to wait till sunset and capture sunset movements. Slowly large number of Flamingo groups started gathering in front of me. I was happy as everything was going into my favor. I clicked few photographs. Just before half an hour, all of sudden all decided to take a flight and went away. I missed an opportunity to capture the beautiful sunset. In wildlife photography, experience matters a lot than the opportunity.

Greater Flamingo at Diksal
Greater Flamingo at Diksal

Greater Flamingo at Diksal
Greater Flamingo at Diksal

Greater Flamingo with Sunset at Diksal
Greater Flamingo with Sunset at Diksal

               We left the Beautiful place after sunset and had dinner at my favorite restaurant hotel Kachan. we reached Pune by 8 PM safely.

Bye, Bye Diksal...Greater Flamingos

Expenses:
  • Car Petrol: INR 1000/- (Avg INR 68/Lit, Total distance cover by car was 230km)
  • Toll on NH-09: INR 30/- (Return toll)
  • Toll 2 on NH-09: INR 50/- (Return Toll)
  • Boat ride at Kumbhargaon: INR 1000/- for boat for 2-2.30 Hrs
  • Breakfast at Kumbhargaon: INR 50/- for 2 Poha
  • Coffee at Kumbhargaon: INR 30/- for 1 Glass
  • Lunch: INR 200-400/- for couple based on your order
  • Evening boat ride at Diksal: INR 800/- for boat
  • Dinner at hotel Kanchan: INR 440/- for couple
Contact number:

  • Bharat (Boatman from Diksal): 9766292989. 
  • Datta Nagare (Boatman from Kumbhargaon ): 8087767691.

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni 
Pune