Lion Photo to Pencil Art

One of my fellow members of the Catawba Valley Camera Club, Hickory – Judy Young is also a pencil sketch artist. She used my lion photo from Gir National Park, Gujarat, India to create a pencil art piece. Wonderful rendition by Judy!

Lion Photo to Pencil Art

Rocky Habitat for Leopards

Bera, nested in the Aravalli mountain ranges of India, forms a beautiful and serene backdrop to the world’s most outstanding opportunities for leopard photography. Amongst spellbinding, billion-year-old granite rock formations, leopards roam wild and free, coexisting comfortably with the charismatic communities around Bera, Rajasthan, India. It is home to a vibrant population of approximately fifty leopards. It is a relatively small area blessed with an exceptional density of the iconic cats that live on a  rocky terrain that was seemingly designed for photographers (with very long lenses).

A Rocky Hill
Rocky Terrain

Trip to Bera, Rajasthan

Hidden in the belly of Rajasthan, Bera is a small town in Pali district with a considerable number of leopards but very few tourists. Bera was hardly known amongst the wild lifers, however of late it is gaining popularity and also known as leopard country. We ventured to Bera to hopefully spot leopards in a different setting than Gir National Park in Gujarat, India.

Castle Bera is the ancestral home of the Royal family of Bera, whose lineage dates back 400 years to the Legendary warrior King Maharana Pratap of Udaipur (Mewar). Castle Bera, built in 1638, is a luxury, award-winning Heritage Homestay hotel in Jawai Bera. We enjoyed the hospitality at the palace while looking for leopards.

Magnificent Castle
Castle Bera Postcard

Peaceful Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama, most commonly referred to as the Buddha, was a wandering ascetic and religious teacher who lived in South Asia during the 6th or 5th century BCE and founded Buddhism. Statues of Buddha, generally under a tree, are found all over India depicting him in a serene, peaceful, and meditative pose.

Peaceful Buddha

Sunset at the Temple

Located in Vadodara district of Gujarat, Kayavarohan Shiv temple is one of the sixty-eight ‘teerthas’ (Pilgrimage) of Lord Shiva as mentioned in the Shiva Purana. According to the legends, Lord Shiva took the incarnation of Lakulish in this temple. Lord Shiva took the form of a brahmin child so the place is known as Kayavarohan. Kayavarohan lingam represents the formlessness and uniqueness of Lord Shiva. 

Visitors enjoying peace and serenity at the temple around sunset.

Sunset at the Temple

A Crouching, Moving Leopard

The Indian leopard has strong legs and a long well-formed tail, a broad muzzle, short ears, and small, yellowish-grey eyes, light grey ocular bulbs. Its coat is spotted and rosetted on a pale yellow to the yellowish-brown or golden background. Leopards are elusive, and solitary animals. They are active mainly from dusk till dawn but in some regions, they are nocturnal. 

 Here is a leopard on the move, crouching low to the ground as if stalking something in Gir National Park.

Leopard Crouching

Leopard in Stride

The Lion is probably the biggest enemy of the Leopard and a fight to the death will ensue when they come into contact. Hyenas and Baboons have also been known to attack and kill Leopards, in particular the young cubs. Leopards climb trees to survey the surrounding area for food, stay cool in the shade, store their prey and, most importantly, escape potential danger.

A leopard in full stride at Gir National Park, Gujarat, India.

Leopard in Stride