Here is a male lion marking his territory in Gir National Park, India. They mark the area with urine, roar menacingly to warn intruders, and chase off animals that encroach on their turf.
Category Archives: Travel
Male Asiatic Lion
The Asiatic lion, a subspecies that split from African lions around 100,000 years ago, once prowled across Asia and the Middle East. Since the turn of the 20th century, its range has been restricted to Gir National Park and the surrounding areas in the Indian state of Gujarat. Asiatic lions are slightly smaller than African lions. Male lions are not as sociable as females, joining the pride mainly for mating and on a large kill. Although hunting takes cooperation, adult males don’t tend to take part in it.
A young lion cub watches with curiosity while a juvenile one walks through the forest of Gir National Park, Gujarat, India.
The discernible difference between Asiatic Lions and their African cousins is the shorter and sparser mane in male lions. Asiatic Lions also have a longitudinal fold of skin running along the abdomen, rarely seen in African lions. Here is an Asiatic lion strolling in Gir National Park, Gujarat, India
Gir National Park in India is the only natural habitat of world popular Asiatic Lions. When one visits Gir, the primary objective, waking up at dawn, is to see lions while riding in open, utility vehicles. If lucky, you can even spot a lion walking along the road, but it seems these tourists are looking in another direction.
Visiting Gir National Park
Gir Forest National Park is a wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, western India. It was established to protect Asiatic lions. Gir National Park is the only place in the world outside Africa where a lion can be seen in its natural habitat. The lions of Gir are a majestic animal, averaging 2.75 meters in length, and with a bigger tail tassel, bushier elbow tuffs and prominent belly folds than his African cousin which has larger mane. Gir is a home to 40 species of mammals and 425 species of birds.
We went on four safaris at Gir using open air utility vehicles. Here is a composite of the entrances to the park and two vehicles following a lion walking on the forest road.
Sunset at Somnath Sea
We said goodbye to Somnath Temple with a beautiful sunset over the Arabian Sea as we venture out to other sights in Gujarat.
Sunset in Somnath
At a distance of 750 meters from Somnath Temple is the coast of the Arabian Sea. Here are images of the sunset with concrete ocean barriers, to protect the temple, partially silhouetted against the sun.
Somnath Temple Lighted Up
The Somnath temple in Gujarat, India is lighted up at night with multiple color themes and is a major attraction for tourists and worshippers.
Somnath Temple Spire
The Somnath temple was reconstructed several times in the past after repeated destruction by multiple Muslim invaders and rulers over India.
The present temple is a Māru-Gurjara architecture (also called Chaulukya or Solanki style) temple. It has a “Kailash Mahameru Prasad” form. The architect of the new Somnath temple was Prabhashankarbhai Oghadbhai Sompura, who worked on recovering and integrating the old recoverable parts with the new design in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The new Somnath temple is intricately carved, two level temple with pillared mandapa and 212 relief panels.
The temple’s śikhara, or main spire, is 15 metres (49 ft) in height above the sanctum, and it has an 8.2-metre-tall flag pole at the top.
Shree Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple
The intricately carved honey-colored (further accentuated at sunset) Somnath temple on the western edge of Gujarat is believed to be the place where the first of the twelve holy jyotirlingas emerged in India – a spot where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. The temples lies at the meeting of Kapila, Hiran and Sarasvati rivers and the waves of the Arabian Sea ebb and flow touching the shore on which it is constructed. The ancient temple’s timeline can be traced from 649 BC but is believed to be older than that. The present form was reconstructed in 1951.
The setting sun transforms the temple sign, in Hindi script, painted with Indian flag colors by casting a golden glow.
Somnath Temple, Gujarat
The Somnath temple is a Hindu temple located in Gujarat, India. It is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus and is believed to be first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. We visited the temple at sunset and the golden glow of the sun’s rays is evidenced in all images.
Photography is not allowed on the temple site so we had to access a walkway along the ocean to capture the images.
After attending a spectacular Indian wedding, we left Hyderabad with a beautiful sunset to continue our journey in India.
Decorations at the Reception
Lights transformed the decorations from the wedding to reception adding to festivity and celebration of the event. What a fantastic end to a classy Indian wedding with lovely decorations!
Indian Wedding Decorations
The Wedding was held at the same venue as the Musical Night and within less than 24 hours, the decorations were changed to be unique from the previous night and were spectacular.
From the colorful flower walkway, to the greeting stand where the bride and groom exchange garlands before the wedding ceremony, to the wedding stage decorated with fresh flowers, is eye pleasing.
Musical Event Decorations
Among the many pre-wedding events that occur prior to the Hindu, Punjabi, and Gujarati wedding ceremonies, the Sangeet is where the party begins. The word Sangeet translates to ‘sung together’ from Sanskrit. Unlike religious ceremonies such as the Haldi or portions of the wedding ceremony, the Sangeet is solely conducted to relish in the happiness and joy surrounding the couple.
The décor reflects the festive spirit of this Indian wedding event …..
Sangeet Event Decorations
The word “Sangeet “ means music, but when it is used as a term to describe a celebratory event during an Indian wedding it translates to Music Night or Musical party. This musical night is a celebration of the union of not only the couple but the bonding of both families. A sangeet usually takes place the night before the wedding. It can feel very similar to a wedding reception, with food, dancing, and fun—and everyone is invited! The couple’s family members and friends perform special dances to celebrate the couple.
Fresh flower decorations and colorful lights welcome the guests …….
Haldi Ceremony Decorations
Warmed to the very core with the color of sunshine, a Haldi (Turmeric) ceremony is one tradition of many that brings a unique feel to an Indian wedding. Haldi or turmeric paste is renowned for cleansing and purifying couple’s body before they enter into holy matrimony. Additionally, it symbolizes the happy start of a new life together. Haldi is said to safeguard the bride and groom from any negative omen that may damage them before the wedding.
The decorations and outfits at this event were matched to the colors of turmeric …..
Wedding Decorations in India
We attended in January 2023 a spectacular wedding in Hyderabad, India. There were five events for the wedding and the decorations at different venues were all unique, elegant, and colorful. The decorations at these events were at a different level, but reflected the normal festive spirit of celebrating Indian weddings.
The first event was the Welcome Party where family and friends of the groom and bride introduced themselves and had an outdoor party with live music.
Farewell Costa Rica
We end our series of postcards from Costa Rica with our unique dining experience in San Jose. We had delicious Indian food at an outdoor tent setting serenaded by peacocks on elephant sculptures.