7 July 2018

Catching up with the winged beauties at Bhigwan..

Though we had visited Sewri in Mumbai for Flamingo watch, we missed the visit to Bhandup pumping station, where agencies offer boat ride through the lakes to get the better view of winged beauties. I had come across many of my friend's photographs which had been clicked on boat ride, and they couldn't be missed. Bhigwan in Pune Sholapur border also attracts Flamingos and immigrant birds from Dec to almost May. So when we planned our visit to Padharpur in Feb, we thought of connecting Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary. Its an hours drive from Dahigaon to reach Pune-Sholapur Highway and another 25km till you reach Kumbhargaon Flamingo Point. There are many agencies in Kumbhargaon who offer the bird watch service, we had booked with Agneepankh Flamingo Point. We had been coordinating with Mr. Sandeep Nagare, the owner of Agneepankh for the visit. But the phone network was really bad towards the end, however the localites easily guide you. Mr. Sandeep Nagare, owns a house there and offers home-stay option. There is enough parking near his house, and a member of Agneepankh took us to the lake. The boat ride is around 20 mins(to reach the bird), they take you to the deeper waters with motor boats and then row as you near the birds. The number of birds when we visited was really low, when compared to those we had seen in Sewri, and didn't spot a single Flamingo. Even the mangroves of Kalwa and Bhandup in Mumbai offer you with Flamingos during the season. We were really disappointed, but the only good thing was we were able to view them from near. 
Bird watching, Bhigwan, Flamingo, Storks, Herons, Bird Sanctuary, Bhigwan Bird Sanctuar

Bird watching, Bhigwan, Flamingo, Storks, Herons, Bird Sanctuary, Bhigwan Bird Sanctuar
Herons

Bird watching, Bhigwan, Flamingo, Storks, Herons, Bird Sanctuary, Bhigwan Bird Sanctuar
Seagulls

Bird watching, Bhigwan, Flamingo, Storks, Herons, Bird Sanctuary, Bhigwan Bird Sanctuar
Storks and Gulls

Bird watching, Bhigwan, Flamingo, Storks, Herons, Bird Sanctuary, Bhigwan Bird Sanctuar
Herons and a stork

Bird watching, Bhigwan, Flamingo, Storks, Herons, Bird Sanctuary, Bhigwan Bird Sanctuar
A stork in flight
Just go with least expectation and you will be happy to find even few. Happy Birdwatching... 

Bhigwan is 115km from Pune on Pune -Sholapur road. The drive from Bhigwan village to Kumbhargaon is another 15km. 

22 June 2018

Snack Jars and Breakfast Parfaits from Season's best Fruits!!!

I hardly post any recipe posts on my blog, but this I couldn't resist. Being moved to Bangalore in March, I have been lucky to have my terrace kitchen garden and a neighbour who grows almost every fruit, veggies, spices, herbs. I will definitely take a tour of her and my gardens in one of my posts, but this post is for breakfast jars. She gave me few avocados, passion fruits and pomegranate, me been obsessed with parfaits off late, tried few of the recipes with them. So here are the parfaits I tried over the month for my daughter's snack tiffin,

Avocado Oreo Parfait

It was my first try with avocados and tried initially having with sugar, but non of us at home liked it. So thought of making avocado cream, which just turned to be superb. And that got added to my parfait list.
Avocado cream: 
Ingredient: Avocado, Vanilla ice cream, honey, milk
Method: Blend all the ingredients together, if you opt for a Smoothie use more milk, else just a little milk to blend all the ingredients and your avocado cream is ready.
Dry fruit Crunches:
Ingredient: Dry fruit, jaggery
Method: Melt jaggery in a non stick pan, add a spoon of water, to avoid jaggery from burning. Add chopped dry fruits. Roast for 2-3mins, take out on a plate immediately and let cool, I leave it overnight to get the better crunchiness.
Parfait Method:
Layer the jar with avocado cream, crushed oreo biscuits and top it with dry fruit crunches and you are done.

Falooda

Ingredients: Vermicelli, sugar, strawberry syrup, basil seeds, fresh fruit and dry fruit of your choice, custard, milk, sprinkles.
Method: 
Prepare Vermicelli by cooking it in milk and sugar and keep aside.
Soak basil seeds for 15mins
Prepare custard milk with milk and sugar(as instructed on the pack)
Line your jar with strawberry syrup, layer it with vermicelli, basil seeds, fresh fruits, dry fruits, custard milk and top it with sprinkles.

Mango Passion Fruit Parfait

Its still the season of king of fruits, mango and the passion fruits are growing in glory, so here it is Mango Passion Fruit Parfait.
Ingredients: Passion Fruit, Mango Puree, Mango cubes, Hung curd(you can use Greek Yogurt as well, but I chose to keep it home make without preservatives), honey, granola, choco-chips and apricots. 
Method:
Mix hung curd, passion fruit and honey as per your taste. 
Layer the jar with curd mixture, mango cubes, mango puree, granola and top it with choco chips and apricots, and you are done.

Banana Choco Peanut Butter Parfait

Ingredients: Banana, Plain Greek Yogurt, Coco Powder, Peanut Butter, honey, granola, roasted peanut and choco chips
Method:
Mix Greek Yogurt, coco powder(you can have enough coco powder to make it dark, mine turned out to be little), peanut butter and honey.
Layer your jar with Yogurt mixture, chopped banana, granola and top it with roasted peanuts and choco chips.
Peanut Butter recipe: Dry roast peanut, allow it to cool for 5mins and blend it, blend till it turns buttery. It doesn't need any extra oil, peanut has enough oil content. And your home made peanut butter is done.

Sprout Salad Jar

Ingredients: Sprouted green gram, grated carrots, chopped cucumber, pomegranate, salt, lemon, pepper powder
Mixed sprout and the veggies, dress it with salt, pepper and lemon. 

9 June 2018

Shri 1008 Mahavir Swami Digambar Jain Temple, Dahigaon!!!

On our way back from Pandharpur, we had planned our visit to Dahigaon and booked our Flamingo watch at Bhigwan. Dahigaon is a very small village in Solapur district, which is known for 200 year old Shri 1008 Mahavir Swami Digambar Jain Temple. Been one of the oldest Jain temples in this area, the temple has 5.5ft high idol of Bhagwan Mahaveer, and 18ft high idol of Bhagwan Bahubali. Best thing about this temple is the basement, with stone cave like structure which appears to be of ages. We have always heard about the threat Jain community and the temples have been facing, and might be it was one of those reasons for idols to be placed at the basement to avoid the destruction. You can't even guess there is a basement in the temple until you are told. The basement has idols of 20 thirthankaras of Videha Kshetra which are 4.4ft high, 9ft Adhinath Bhagwan and many small idols, which count upto 50 numbers.
Jain Temple, Maharashtra, Dahigaon, Sholapur, Shri 1008 Mahavir Swami Digambar Jain Temple

Jain Temple, Maharashtra, Dahigaon, Sholapur, Shri 1008 Mahavir Swami Digambar Jain Temple

Jain Temple, Maharashtra, Dahigaon, Sholapur, Shri 1008 Mahavir Swami Digambar Jain Temple

Jain Temple, Maharashtra, Dahigaon, Sholapur, Shri 1008 Mahavir Swami Digambar Jain Temple

Jain Temple, Maharashtra, Dahigaon, Sholapur, Shri 1008 Mahavir Swami Digambar Jain Temple
The temple is really auspicious and idols are so different from the regular jain idols. You can feel the calmness and serenity when you are inside the temple premises. There is Jain Dharamshala and Bhojanshala near the temple. But you need to intimate prior at the Bhojanshala to have food.

Dahigaon is around 150km from Pune and Sholapur. Its 35km from Baramati and Phaltan, there are many jain families in Baramati and Phaltan and also temples. Every year many jain muni maharaj ji visit and stay during chathurmas at Baramati, Phaltan and Dahigaon.