Tag Archives: Recreation

The Hot Air Balloon Ride On The 13th March 2011

While you are surfing the net  you get to know a lot different things you might not have known about before. Some you might have use for, some you file away for future reference, some might trigger something in your brain and you are doing something wholly  unrelated to the job you were trying to do on the net in the first place.

Amber from a hot air balloon

While searching for websites related to Jaipur I came across the website of SKYWALTZ, they are on Facebook too,   the company is providing hot-air balloon rides around Jaipur.I started reading the information provided there and I was hooked. I just had to go for a hot-air balloon ride.  I sent them an email and they  fixed the date to fly as  13.3.2010, a Sunday.  There were 2 or 3 days to go before  Sunday and I started having doubts. So I read some more information available on the net. I found things like  in their attempt to fly humans  used the hot air balloons  first of all.

Montgolfier Brothers made the first hot air balloon which carried the frenchmen  Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent d’Arlandes in 1783 in Paris.

The colorful  nylon oval ball is called an envelope and the wicker basket suspended from it is called a gondola-this is where the passengers ride. The envelope  can store hot air which when heated some more with burning gas can makes it rise. In India they use LPG.

You can only go up to 10,000 feet without oxygen.

And like all aircraft it needs atmosphere to fly.

It is called an aircraft as soon as it leaves ground.

World altitude record is held by Shri  Vijaypath Singhania who took off from Mumbai and landed 240 km away in Panchale setting the record by reaching a hight of 21,027  meters or 68,986 feet on 26 November 2005.

The cost of procuring the equipment and the hassle of getting permissions is such that people opt for buying rides from people like SKYWALTZ.

On the Skywaltz website they have given clipping of previous coverage where correspondents took the ride themselves and then wrote up about it.Their detailed description of the flight & the professionalism of the pilots and the outfit  sort of quelled my fears about the flight.

The only issue I could find was about landing the craft. But when the moment came to land, our pilot Mr. Imo Singh from Manipur saw to it that it was not an issue at all. The landing was perfect. We were down in a couple of bumps and bantering with the villagers who had seen our descent and had gathered around the gondola.

A Waltz In The Sky
In the morning  when we reached Amber I saw some people gathered around a couple of  huge envelopes which were being inflated in the dry part of the Mawatha. And soon enough the burners were lit and the balloons were standing tall in the morning sky. Somebody provided a step ladder for us to get in the gondola. Besides Mr.I Singh there were seven of us in the gondola. The other balloon was  being piloted by Mr.Fernando from Spain and was already in air moving and gaining altitude towards the Amber fort. Mr. I Singh also opened up the burners and removed an empty cylinder of gas from the gondola and we were air borne. The first sights we see are the Amber fort, the  Kesar Kyari and then we move on in to the raising sun. There is no anxiety. We are floating in the air the other passengers  are exclaiming at the beauty of the Amber Fort bathed in the rays of the raising sun.  I am taking pictures of the other balloon and the ground. We move some more in the general direction of the Delhi Jaipur highway . There is a lot of smoke here as there are a lot of brick kilns here. Mr.Imo Singh is providing small nuggets of informations. We move towards an area near a brick kiln which is clear enough to land. Mr Imo Singh asks us to take landing positions and pulls some ropes and we are down with a couple of bumps. The first to arrive are the villagers who want to know where the foreign tourists are from. The site team is right behind and are already preparing to deflate the balloon. Once the balloon in down on a big piece a plastic canvas the step ladder makes an appearance again and we get down. In 5 minutes the driver  from the Skywaltz team, who got me to Amber  finds me and the other passengers  and we are on our way back to Jaipur.Just before leaving the landing site, Mr.Rishi from the Skywaltz team hands over to us our first flight in a Hot air Balloon certificates. These certificates will be cherished for all times to come.

Later on I find out that we had landed some 30-40 km, by road, from Amber about 9 km from Nailla and had to drive through some body’s farm house, in a village to get to a road which would take us back to Jaipur.

“The winds have welcomed you with softness,

The sun has greeted you with it’s warm hands,

You have flown so high and so well,

That God has joined you in laughter,

And set you back gently into

The loving arms of mother Earth.”

The Balloonist’s Prayer by Anon.

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Photos Of Some Common Birds Found In The Parks & Gardens Of Jaipur.

OWL

Spotted Owlet (Athene brama indica)

Recently a cousin of mine,Madhav Rathore, an experienced, enthusiastic birder, bought a  Canon EOS 7D with a huge telephoto lens. When I kidded him about buying   such an expensive  camera he insisted on taking me birding in  the Central Park one evening. That is when the use of the camera became apparent to me.  He was shooting birds perched at the top of tallest of trees where as I was limited to shooting squirrels and birds sitting in front of me in the grass.

But I got hooked to birding that day. I am no expert birder but by my own experience it is far easier to watch birds today. I take a picture of the whichever  feathered friend which dares to cross my path and later on I put an ID to it with the help of a couple of Books. Where the books fail The Net comes  to help. This method helps to engrave the names of the birds in the mind too. So the next time I come across the same bird I  say smugly,” That is Brahminy Mayna you know !” and so on…

One thing you will notice is the exotic names of the birds.  I can bet you powers that be who gave names to the birds put more thought in naming the birds than in naming their newborn sons. They have names like starling,Black  Drongo,Grebe,darter etc. And each bird has its own charm. Own uniqueness which will hold you in thrall.

I have been to the Central Park many times before the day we went birding but I  did not notice the birds before that day. Oh I could see the pigeons and the doves but the other beauties were hidden behind a muslin curtain as it were. Somebody had to  point the birds out to me. Do you know  usually we see two types of Doves in Jaipur one is Laughing Dove and the other is the Eurasian Collared Dove. And that the house sparrow may be endangered soon enough! Who would have thought of it!

I have been posting photos I take around Jaipur to www.flickr.com for some time now. If you see the stats on the photos you will realize that people like photos of flowers and plants more than photos of birds. I do not know why that is so but we have to be more aware of the beauty surrounding us in the form of birds more. Birds forage in the early morning but people go for their morning walk just then too. So the birds perch themselves on the highest branches of the trees. I suppose they come down later. I do not know.There are some birds which do not mind people at all and are all over the grass in the Park.

Now a days in every home there is a computer and a digital camera. All you have to do is to buy a beginners guide to birding. Be sure to buy one which has photos of the birds & not sketches. You can graduate to the books with sketches  later.

Now find some time for yourself and the birds and go for a walk in the nearest Park or garden. Happy Birding.

I am posting  some photos of the Birds I found.

Brahminy Myna/Starling

Red-vented Bulbul

Black-Rumped Flameback

Black Drongo

Bank Myna

Asian Pied Starling (Pied Myna) - Adult

Green Bee Eater

Asian Koel Male

Rufous Treepie

Partridge

Purple Sun bird female

Eurasian Golden Oriole

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Makar Sakranti

Four Days After The Kite Festival

Every year at dawn on the 14th January a lot of people of Jaipur go to the Galtaji for a dip and there after give alms and donate blankets to the poor and feed cows green fodder and grain to the pigeons. Later in the day children and adults alike get on the roof top of their houses and fly multicolored kites, play blaring bollywood music and eat dal ke pakoras, revaries, gazak, phinie and til ke ladoos. One and only aim is to cut as many kites as possible. Food , body functions etc. can wait. The street urchins have a busy day as they try to collect as many cut kites as possible without any regard for their life or limb. The serious kite enthusiasts get invited to a home in the walled as that is where the real action is going to be.
A day before 14th January young and old alike shop for kites and string ( Sadda & Manjha) to fly them with.Budgets are the least of the constraints. Kites come in all colors and all shapes and sizes. They are even made of thin plastic sheets. Companies have their messages put on kites and on some photos of film stars are used to attract customers.There are even chinese made kites being sold in the markets.The master craftsmen who make kites and manjhas have been doing it for generations.
Once the booty is brought home the kites are readied for the next days action by stringing the kites and putting manjha on a sadda charkhy. Nobody wants to waste a single moment of the precious day on mundane details. There is a huge demand for black colored manjha as it is thought to have legendary powers to cut oppositions kites. Chinese manjha is to be avoided as it is coated with metal powder and can conduct electricity and can disrupt power supply if it falls on naked high tension lines.
Kite flying is simple enough if there is some wind blowing and somebody preps the kite for you. Long months of wasted youth flying kites are needed to learn the art of cutting the other guys kites. But once you get the knack every year 14th January will see you on your roof top enjoying the highs and lows of kite flying Jaipur style.
In 1878 Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh ji started the practice of flying kites on Makar Sakranti. Preparation for the festival would start 2 months before the festival date. Master craftsmen from Bareily & Ahemdabad were called to make manjha and kites.The Royals used to fly kites made of silver and gold and their charkhis used to be inlaid with gems. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh ji was also a great kite flying enthusiast. His kite collection is on display in the City Palace Museum even today.There is mention of Lord Ram having flown a kite in Ramchrita Manas of Tulsidasji.
A couple of things to keep in mind when flying kites this 14th is to say no to manjha of any kind and to take good care of ones self. Because accidents do happen. Remember there will be other sankrats. There will be other kites to fly. And the manjha can seriously hurt the birds sharing the sky with your kites. If we will not be considerate of our feathered friends who will be.

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This Jaipur-At A Glance

Birlamandir
Listed here below are some of the important posts about the city of Jaipur on this Blog for your ready reference.

BIRDING

This Pink City-In 1000 Words!

Museums

Shopping

Jaipur By Night

Books

Clubs

Gardens

Morning Walk

Birding

Thikana Govind Devji

Libraries

Jantar Mantar

Around Jaipur

Some Recipes

Jaipur Marriages

Where to Eat-1

Where To Eat-2

WORSHIP

Karan’s Guesthouse

Almost Twilight

An old man in the Central Park of Jaipur

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Deepawali Chali Gai

Sunset at the Central Park Jaipur-2

Last Of The Amaltas Blossoms

Some Strings Of Lights

A Star

A bouquet of lights, originally uploaded by ratnasinghrathore.

The festival of lights, after spreading a lot of cheer, is gone till next year and Jaipur is ready to welcome Winter.

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A Deer Park In Jaipur

 

Chital

Spring Fight At The Dear Park In Jaipur

The Forest Department’s Ashok Vihar Deer Park, is spread on a parcel of  land two and a half hectares in area. It is located in the heart of the city,in the C-Scheme Colony. It is not a big park but it has given good cheer to many a local child  and  children visiting Jaipur.Recently due to lack of space in the Park  and insufficient fodder and ever increasing numbers of chitals  a dozen deers were realesed in the Jhalana Forest Area and some were sent to the Kaila Devi Forest Park in Karauli. Though the Forest Department looks after the Park the food for the deer comes from the Jaipur Zoo.Far from the crowds and ever present traffic  this is one more place for a peaceful morning walk in Jaipur.

 

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A Traveler’s Resource Known As The Travelgrove.com

The following is my review for the website http://www.travelgrove.com ,a search engine for travel related services.Click away and check it out.They are offering A chance to win  An 8 GB iPOD Nano if you register for their travel community for free and upload content.

Travelgrove.com is a website where you can search and compare numerous vendors  for any travel related service you might be looking for.They provide search  engines for Flights, Hotels,Cars,Cruise,Hot Deals , destination guides and a  forum of like minded travelers .
The web site is available in English ,French,Spanish,Italian and German.

www.metafares.com and www.faredetective.com are also
managed by the people behind the http://www.travelgrove.com website.
http://www.travelgrove.com has been been reviewed by Editors of Five Star Reviews  Magazine but the link does not seem to work.
Copy Right licence is not current. ( ©2004-2008 )( It is just a clue people will look for  to see  if the is maintained currently or not.)
The websites official Blog is @ http://travelgrove.com/blog/ .
It is simple enough to use the site.You have to submit the information of  the service you are searching for once only.In my opinion they should tie up  with some more Website vendors so that the database of hotels etc increases  manifold.Some Indian websites are  booking Bus tickets thru their Portals.In my opinion they should look into searching for Bus ticket booking also thru their  portal.The more services they offer their clients the more useful they will  be and the customers will return more often.Travel guides offer useful
information to the first time visitor to the City.Travel Themes is an
interesting concept.An Indian website is offering Tours and stay in the  Cities/Palace hotels where the ever popular Indian Bollywood potboilers have  been shot.These Bollywood theme tours will add an interesting dimension to  the Portal.They should look into the possibility of partnering with some  important local websites also.The website should look to replace Lonely Planet Books and not give a link to the LP website.

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