Archive for April, 2012

Morni Wildlife (Herpetofauna): Kashmir Rock Agama

April 30, 20123 Comments

Kashmir Rock Agama (Laudakia tuberculata)- a common, medium-sized (5-6 inch), brownish lizard  found in the Himalayas. It is terrestrial and lives in holes and crevices and stone walls. The stone ‘dangahs’ or retaining walls in Morni have these olive-brown lizards living in the holes left as an outlet for releasing the percolated rainwater.  Kashmie agama is omnivorous and […]

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Classification of Agricultural Land in Morni

April 23, 20120 Comments

P.S. Melvill’s Ambala Settlement Report 1855 presented an interesting classification of agricultural land in Morni with many terms being still in usage with the revenue department. MELVILL’s 19th CENTURY CLASSIFICATION OF AGRICULTURAL LAND IN MORNI KOOLAHOO Land watered from kools (i.e., small water-courses from a stream etc.). Such land was ploughed. BARANEE (OBUR) Land ‘dependent […]

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Morni Wildlife: Rhesus Macaque

April 23, 20120 Comments

Rhesus macaque/ Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) is greyish brown in colour with a pink face that is clear of fur. It is about two-feet in size with a tail less than a foot long.  It is diurnal and lives in trees and on the ground. It is mostly herbivorous and feeds largely on fruit (often […]

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Fossil discovery in Morni Hills

April 21, 20124 Comments

Captain Proby Thomas Cautley, an engineer of the Bengal Artillery (and a palaeontologist) did pioneering research on the geology of India and discovered many fossil remains of extinct quadrupeds at the southern foot of the Himalayas. Dr. Hugh Falconer, Superintendent of the Botanic Garden at Saharunpore was his close research associate. The duo were conferred […]

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Goga-Marhi Temples of Morni

April 18, 20121 Comment

The Morni hills and the neighbouring countryside is dotted with the numerous ‘Goga-Marhi’ (also Gugga-Marhi) temples. The Goga-Marhi temple is invariably located at the boundary of the village and is typically built like a square white fort with conical towers at each of the four corners. The bare white-washed walls are adorned with paintings of the ‘Goga pir’ […]

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Trees of Morni: Flame of the Forest

April 15, 20120 Comments

Flame of the Forest/ Bastard Teak/ Dhak/ Keshu (Butea monosperma) is a slow growing medium sized dry deciduous tree with a crooked trunk and twisted irregular branches. The leaves are pinnately compound with three leaflets. The hindi phrase ‘Dhak ke teen paat’ originates from the three leaves of dhak tree that were sewn together to […]

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Morni Wildlife (Herpetofauna): Indian Skipper Frog

April 15, 20120 Comments

Indian Skipper Frog/Skittering Frog (Euphlyctis cyanophlyctis) is a common South Asian acquatic frog that can be seen swimming in pools of stagnant water, floating close to the vegetation at the edge, with the eyes above the water. It ‘skitters’ away noisly when disturbed, skipping over the water surface and may dive if provoked further. Emperor […]

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On the bike with Baghera – Bunga and Masoompur

April 13, 20122 Comments

A great thing about the Christian faith is that its holidays follow the Gregorian calendar and fall on fixed dates. Better still the Good Friday holiday has to, by definition, fall on a Friday and gives one an assured extended weekend. The Hindu, Islamic and Sikh religions are less obliging and holidays fall on dates […]

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Birds of Morni: Spot-billed Duck

April 11, 20121 Comment

Spot-billed Duck/ Garm-pai/ Gugral (Anas poecilorhyncha) a large sized duck, about 2 feet in length, with a scaly patterned light and dark brown plummage. The head and neck are a pale grey/buff. It has a black bill tipped with bright yellow. Males have a prominent red spot at the base of the bill.  A white wing bar […]

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Birds of Morni: Median Egret

April 11, 20120 Comments

Median Egret (Mesophoyx intermedia) is intermediate between the small and the large egret and is about two-feet long with a four feet wing span. The bill is thick and yellowish which may turn black during breeding.Breeding birds also display loose filamentous plumes on their breast and back. The legs are dark. The plumage is white. […]

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