Morning Mist at Corbett


The gate at Dhikala, inside Jim Corbett park opens for tourists at 6:30 in the morning, in winters. The Sun in the last week of December rises after 7 AM. I was also in the queue of jeeps to rush out for shooting (taking pictures only !) an always elusive tiger. The gate opened and we rushed out like bullets, but behold. There was so much of mist (unlike fog of north Indian plains) outside that we could not see any pug marks to help us trail a tiger. We decided therefore to wait for the mist to end. While waiting for that, I started noticing the beauty of nature which is sometimes ignored in the mad rush of sighting a tiger. The tiny droplets of water clinging to the tips of the grass blades and hanging like a ripe fruit presented a scene beyond par.
The results as shown in these pictures are a tribute to the glory of mother nature. Just watch these pics and forget about pug marks for some time.

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Jaspur’s Singhare( Water Chestnut) Ki Kachari

Coming back from Jim Corbett National Park, on my way to Dhampur, I was feeling a bit hungry as I had skipped my lunch. I was looking for some quick snack and that too non-oily and non junk. On a trisection  of the town Jaspur located on Jaspur-Dhampur highway(NH-74), I noticed a small road side eatery( thela) selling Kachari, made of Singhara or water Chestnut. I had heard that in winters, Jaspur boasts of selling best Singhare Ki Kachari and by some strange coincidence, I was not only hungry but at the right place at the right time. I went around the thela to see what was on offer actually.

I noticed that the boiled and mashed Singhara was kept covered in a cloth and on orders of customers, it was being garnished with onion, tomatoes, Cummin seeds, ginger and few more spices (India was raided perhaps more for spices in history than for gold!) and then heated with some butter. It was really something very appealing to senses and appetising to palate and suddenly I was feeling even more hungry. I ordered one serving for me to try that.

The man who was preparing it, was a proficient man and with clockwork precision, mixed all ingredients too soon and after heating it with butter prepared  the Kachari in no time. Before handing it to me, he garnished it with fresh lime juice. Without wasting any time I put a slice of this thick preparation of Kachari with the help of a wooden spoon. I closed my eyes for few seconds and commanded all my senses to help me taste that instant delicacy. It was really something to relish. The Singhara boiled  and mashed with all Indian spices was tasty beyond description. I polished off my portion too soon and ordered one more. I was just wondering why I had not eaten it earlier and why the hell, we Indians don’t encourage these outstanding Indian delicacies vis a vis junk foods and instant noodles and what not? As Indian we are too lucky to have a lot of these recipes actually and that too at a decent price of 20 Rs for a serving. I finished my second serving too in no time and thanked the man selling it. I also got to know by googling that Water Chestnut is a very nutritious fruit and fulfills the requirements of many vital minerals in the body. I hope more people do realize this and help preserve the great culinary tradition of India which is more healthy as well.

Thanks Jaspur….