Rishikesh, Uttar Pradesh 11/1/00

Mark Walker MWalker at gensym.com
Fri Nov 10 04:28:38 EST 2000

This area of India is very beautiful indeed.  This is the spot where the
Ganga River flows out of the Himalayas and heads down the plains towards
Calcutta.  The water color here is turquoise, and the terrain is mixed
woodland and jungle.  The mountains spring up here - to the north and east
are the highest of the peaks.  It is a popular place for sojourners -
Westerners, Buddhists and Hindus alike - with several large temples
overlooking the river.  It is also a very nice area for TITLIS.

The road to Rishikesh from Delhi is no raceway.  The road is dotted with
many villages - each equipped with it's own massive human traffic jam.
These towns are incredibly busy places - with the constant buzzing and
clamoring of labor and commerce.  Indian people are busy people in general,
and perhaps the hardest working people I have ever encountered.  They start
before sunrise and are still working well after dark.  Large wagons stuffed
20 feet high with various sorts of produce, being pulled by horses, buffalo,
camels, or people, can be seen on the roadsides until the wee hours of the
morning.  Sweeping, cutting, banging, loading - all activities continue
throughout the day and night.  This is an enterprising people - striving
with almost every waking breath to ensure yet another days subsistence.

It's a five hour drive not counting pit stops - which are essential for both
driver and passenger.  One not-to-be-missed oasis along the way is the
Cheetal Grand Restaurant (I think I've spelled that correctly).  A gorgeous
garden, clean restrooms, and plenty of chai and samosas for everyone.  It's
quite the tourist spot - but a welcome one for sure.

It turns out that Rohtas was not only a great driver, but he also became
quite the "TITILI helper" (his self-given title).  At first he was
dumbfounded by the sight of my butterfly net.  After awhile, he got the idea
- and reached for a second net that I had left in the back of his
Ambassador.  The sight of a large bearded American and his Indian driver
prancing about the jungle with their TITILI nets was undoubtedly too much
for most to handle - including the resident monkeys.  The same were
congregating about the jungle path, staring in a most bewildered state at
these two ridiculous humans.  At first the monkeys considered throwing
things at us from the trees, but as it became obvious that we were no threat
- they were content to come down and just stare.

We saw easily 30 different species in just a short 30 minutes.  Too many to
count let alone identify.  Here are a few highlights:

(I've included a few links to the "Butterflies in Thailand" website - where
at least relatives of the following leps can be seen)

Papilio polytes (Common Mormon) 

Pachliopta aristolochiae (Common Rose) 

Pareronia valeria (Common Wanderer)

Delias eucharis (Common Jezebel)
Eurema andersonii 
Leptosia nina (Pysche) 

Catopsilia pyranthe (Mottled Emigrant)
Catopsilia pomona (Common Emigrant)

Euploea core (Common Crow)
Parantica aglea (Glassy Tiger)

Charaxes bernardus (Tawny Rajah)
Vindula erota (Cruiser)
Junonia (Precis) iphita (Chocolate Soldier)
Junonia lemonias (Lemon Pansy)
Junonia almana (Peacock Pansy)
Jononia atlites (Gray Pansy)

Phalanta phalantha (Leopard)
Neptis hylas (Common Sailor)
Lassipa tiga (Lascar)

There were many other Pierids that I haven't identified yet, along with a
few skippers (one which looked very much like a Systasea).  I think it may
be a Tapena sp?.

I could have stayed here for several days - but I was required to be in the
Delhi area throughout the week.  So - after a short retreat, it was back
through five hours of high blood pressure driving.  Phew!

Mark Walker


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