Thursday, October 29, 2009

I compiled it from various sources and found this extremely interesting.

Amphibians in Indian culture:

In India, frogs were believed to personify thunder. In the Sanskrit language, the word for frog is also the word for cloud.

As a part of a centuries-old "Pongal" harvest tradition to "prevent the outbreak of mysterious diseases in the village" a remote village in India Marries young girls to frogs. The ceremony has its roots in the story of the Hindu God Shiva who turned himself into a frog following a quarrel with his wife Parvati. She cried for days causing disease to spread throughout local villages. When the villages asked for help she sent them to find Shiva and plead with him to marry a young girl. She herself posed as the girl, and when Shiva agreed to marry her they returned to their original god forms and the outbreak was cured.

The word Salamander means fire lizard when translated from its Greek origin. Linked with fire, Salamanders were thought to be immune to fire and able to put off flames with special secretions from their skin. Collected and burned to ashes salamenders have been used in medicinal purposes. The skins, bodies and body parts of salamanders are used in traditional Asian medicine even today.

Newar community in the Bagmathi River Valley of Nepal (an ancient land situated in the southern lap of the central Himalayas) has a strange practice of worshipping a frog. The Jyapu farmers form a majority in the Newar community and are cultivators connected with frog worship since time memorial. The frog worship takes place annually on the full moon day of Shrawan (July) during the rainy season. On the particular day they worship the frogs in their lush green rice fields, with flowers, sandalwood paste, and dry rice and also make an offering of boiled rice plus the soup of nine varieties of legume seeds for their consumption. This religious rite is called Byan Janakegu (Feeding rice to the frog) in the local dialect. The frog is a godling of rain.

The Rig-Veda the oldest existing work in Sanskrit, we find a panegyric of the frogs being compared with the Brahmin priests. The hymn is a satire to the Brahmins but an encomium to the frogs. They even believed that frogs were the givers of hundreds of cows to them and also lengthened their life in the rich autumn.
The principal of frog worship is the essence of Frog Conservation.

The peasants in the Bihar state in India also believe that the crocking of frogs is heard by Indra, the rain god, who sends timely rain. But they do not worship the frogs.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dandeli! Wildlife week celebrations.

I keep frequenting this place as my work takes me there. Its always a pleasure being in those jungles. I'm fond of the people and the place :)

DANDELI : A wildlife enthusiasts delight. Be it the diversity, the forests or the birds it has lots to offer. I had the opportunity of staying in Kulgi for a week and be apart of the wildlife week celebrations.

Wildlife Week 2009
The 55th wildlife week celebrations in Dandeli Anshi Tiger Reserve, in association with CEE organized a weeklong programme to mark the wildlife week celebrations at Kulgi and Dandeli for various target groups from the 1st to the 7th October 2009. The overall objective of this celebration was to sensitize citizens on the importance of nature and wildlife and a need for its conservation.

On the 1 st and 2nd October, the Teachers Training Programme on Nature Education was conducted. 23 teachers from various schools around Dandeli attended the programme.
The Wildlife week as well as the teacher's training programme was inaugurated by the chief guest Dr. Sunil Panwar IFS, Deputy Conservator of Forests, wildlife division Dandeli. The programme aims at teaching them about nature and showing interactive ways to educate their children.
I gave a small ppt on reptiles found in Dandeli and Anshi. I spoke about the venomous and non venomous species and also about the myths regarding snakes. The need for conserving them was high lighted.

The 3RD of October was for school children around Dandeli. The event was called "GAJARAJA MELA". Painting competitions, activities, street play and essay writing was conducted. A photography exhibition was also held which featured the best of wildlife from professional photographers as well as amateurs. The children got materials on wildlife and nature. Each child was happy and learnt about the wildlife near their homes.

4th day:
The event was inaugurated by MR. Sudarshan, Chief Wildlife Warden.
Mr. Sudarshan spoke briefly about bird watching, how one should go about it, the ways of identifying birds and their calls. He mentioned the bird books of Dr.Salim Ali and Grimmet and inskipp’s. Dr. Sunil Panwar, Mr. Kumaraswamy, Raghu ( RFO) and other officials were present.
The group included children, college students and families. Different groups were formed and each group had a naturalist to help them identify the birds.
The purpose of this event was to instill the passion for bird watching and need for conserving them. We made groups and i was the head naturalist for my group.

The birds seen were lovely species:

Malabar Pied Hornbills
Malabar Grey Hornbills
Scarlet Minivets
white bellied woodpecker
plum headed parakeets
Lesser rAcket tailed Drongos
flower peckers
Brahminy Kite
black drogo
spotted dove and alot more.

WE also saw a pair of Malabar Giant Squirrels and hanuman langurs.

The 5th day had self help groups from around kulgi and Dandeli. These women are important as they are the ones who interact and see wildlife near their homes. The need is to sensitize them on nature and its conservation.Slide shows, documentaries, ppt presentations and talks were part of their programme. Making them aware of their role they play in protecting the forests.

The 6 th day was conducted for the rural youths of dandeli. They were enthusiastic and form an important part in conserving our resources. Activities on nature, slide shows on wildlife, documentary screening about climate change and talks were conducted for them.

The 7 th day was the last day of the wildlife week. The distribution of prizes was conducted.All the children from their respective schools attended.

The STREET PLAY was by a local group who protect the forests.


The street play has a unique way of showing the importance of the forest and wildlife. The play concentrated on poaching of the hornbills, wild boar and tiger, the forest fires, and the ethics to conserve these.
They showed the need for conserving the forests and that’s its each ones role in conserving the forests.

All in All the whole week went by and it was an amazing experience. It always feels nice when your doing something worthwhile. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baneraghatta! A little oasis.

Baneraghatta National Park is a Little unknown destination. Located hardly 30 km from Bangalore it harbours wild elephants,leopards, wild dogs, gaurs,barking deer, chitals and numerous small carnivores and bird species. I m not talking about the zoo side at all. The park spans 104 sq. kms which includes ten reserve forests of Anekal Range of the Bangalore Forest Division. It is surrounded by scenic hills, with many ancient temples perched on them.

The principal inhabitants of the national park are elephants, which migrate from Kollegal and nearby Tamil Nadu territory, for the major part of the year. The abundant bamboo growth provides fodder for these Gentle Giants.

I visited this place and was amazed at the beauty. It was shocking to see it so close to Bangalore. My Dear friend had a farm and he invited us to stay. Its a wonderful delight to trek and watch the little green bee eaters sand bathing. :) A wonderful hill gives you a spectacular view of the range of hills and the city (Bangalore). Its amazing how this Oasis exists for the wild animals.
This park has so many pressures on it such as the ever increasing human habitation around, poaching and the illegal mining. This mining is destroying the place. The sound is so loud and deafening.

There is no viable corridor for the Elephants and they have to cross the high way to migrate.
I sincerely wish that this place survives for these wild creatures.

The sunset!

My Next trip to Baneraghatta was with a group of Wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists. We camped at GeeD. We sat up and enjoyed each others company and also brought in a friends birthday.Tha cake shape: A gps unit:)
We trekked up to dodda beta that evening and watched the view.
Next morning we went on a coracle boat ride on a lake near the farm. It was fun :)