The little boy clapped his hands few time and looked up in the sky. His eager eyes scanned the sky waiting for the special appearance of someone. Someone who will bless the rituals he has been performing. Then from the distance he appeared, with elegance only few posses, the celestial carrier of Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Lakshmi, the Krishna Parunthu or Brahminy kite (Haliastur indus), also known as the Red-backed Sea-eagle
I would rank him among my top five favorite birds. In Hindu mythology, he is often referred to as the ‘king of birds’. He has been give the status of a deity by the religious scriptures and hence, is worshipped. In most Vishnu temples, there is a separate shrine for Garuda, also known as Garudalwar. Garuda is also the symbol on Lord Vishnu’s flag. (Garuda dwaja)
The auspicious phenomenon of the appearance of the Krishna Parunthu occurs also on some other special occasions, like just before the procession carrying the Thiruvaabharanam, the special ornaments of the Lord, starts from the Pandalam Palace, and also when the procession reaches Saramkuthiyaal, a sacred spot near Sabarimala Temple, Kerala. These occurrences, as if programmed, take place every year and can be regarded as Nature’s clues reminding man of the all-pervading Reality behind all phenomena. Such events serve to remind him of the greater dimensions in Nature beyond what he knows in his ordinary conditioned state. However, more than such supra-rational incidents, it is the very intimacy with the inner Divinity, which the pilgrimage provides, that draws millions to Sabarimala.
The following pictures were taken during my recent trip to Kollam, Kerala. I always wanted to take pictures of these mystic birds against the sunlight, just when the sun starts to rise above the horizon. Typically you only have the window of 30-45 minutes before that magic angle disappears. So some of the shots I could manage in that spot. I am not very happy with the outcome but during my last trip I could manage to go out and shoot only on one morning. I am sure I will be heading down there more often.
Special thanks to my trusted better half Jaclyn who helped me to spot the coming birds and warmed me as they come near my camera. I am looking forward to have many more sessions with her.