As usual Vaibhav is quick with the posts of our trips and I like to sit on the photographs. Finally when I was done with the photographs, I wanted to write a post as I have not done it for some time, but I was wondering what to write after Vaibhav’s post on Valley School.

While returning after the wonderful birding, Mohan was talking to the person at security check at the entrance of the school while I was drinking water. I was listening to them trying to understand what there were talking. I got a leaflet and a book called Rta09.

After coming back I thought we have never written about the school itself. So I though I’ll write about the school and then my account of the birding there 🙂

I must warn you that this will be a lengthy post.

I have picked up the content from their website and from that leaflet and book which I got.

The Valley School was established in 1978 [when I was -5 (minus five) years old]. It is run by Krishnamurti Foundation India. The Valley School is based on the teachings of the eminent philosopher and a great thinker, Jiddu Krishnamurti. It is located at Thatguni, about 17 km to the south of Bangalore, capital of the state of Karnataka, in a picturesque valley with undulating hills and farms and with a reserve forest on the fringe. It has about 104 acres of dense vegetation, with a  lake on one side and a running stream.

It is a coeducational, English medium day-school affiliated to CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations), New Delhi. It has  a student strength of about 365 and teacher strength of about 60.

 You enter in that area and greenery is all over the place. Only 2% of the land is being used for buildings and structures. Over the last 33 years, thousands of tree saplings of native species have been planted by students and staff.  These trees have now grown to provide a forest cover and a canopy that covers almost the entire campus.

Shrubs, herbs and grasses have grown at their natural pace, with minimal efforts at weeding and control.  The water bodies in the campus- the lake, the stream and the pond – act as effective water recharging sources besides serving as a habitat for a variety of flora and fauna.  The people at the Valley share their home with at least 250 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles, scores of insects, and a number of small and large mammals. The Valley is a treasure trove of a variety of medicinal herbs and endangered species of plants.

Flowering trees like Bauhinia, Tahbubia, Palash, Gulmohar, Jacaranda and Amaltash add spectacular beauty to this serene place.

The leaflet has got photograph of young J. Krishnamurti. It states –

What is sacred?…

That can be understood only when there is complete freedom – from fear, from sorrow – and when there is this sense of love, and compassion with its own intelligence. Then, when the mind is utterly still, that which is sacred can take place.

J. Krishnamurti was born on 11 May 1895in a small town of Andhra Pradesh. He was adopted in his youth by Dr Annie Besant, the president of Theosophical Society. Mrs Besant and others proclaimed that Krishnamurti was to be the world Teacher. A World Teacher, according to various scriptures, takes a human form from time to time to bring salvation to mankind. To prepare the world for his coming, an organization called the Order of the Star in the East was formed in 1911 with the young Krishnamurti as it head.

in 1922,  Krishnamurti underwent certain mystical experienced which, as he said, made him touch that ‘compassion that heals all sorrow and suffering’. Some years later he dissolved the Order with its huge following and gave up all the money and property collected for the work. In a historic speech in 1929 he explained why religious organizations cannot lead man to truth and declared that his only concern was ‘to set man absolutely, unconditionally free’.

The for more than sixty years, till his passing away in 1986, he travelled round the world talking to people and holding discussions with them, not as a guru but as a friend. His talks and discussions were based not on book knowledge and scholarship but on his insight into the human condition and his vision of the sacred. He did not expound any philosophy, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday life – the problems of living in modern society with its corruption and violence; the individual’s search for security and happiness; and the need for man to free himself from his inner burdens of fear, anger, envy, sorrow, and so on.

Although he is recognized in both the East and the West as one of the greatest religious teachers of all times, Krishnamurti himself belonged to no religion, sect or country. Nor did he subscribe to any school of political or ideological thought. On the very contrary he maintained that these are the very factors that divide man from man and brings about conflict and war. He emphasized time and again that we are first and foremost human beings that we are like the rest of humanity and are not different. He asked that e tread lightly on this earth without destroying ourselves or the environment. He communicated to his listeners a deep sense of reverence for nature and all its creations.

Krishnamurti Foundation India –

The Krishnamurti Foundation India (KFI), recognized as a religious, charitable and educational institution, is one of four Krishnamurti Foundation in the world, the others being located in England, USA< and Latin America. KFI is engaged in educational and humanitarian work in the light of the teaching. It runs five schools: Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh Rajghat Besant School in Varanasi, The Valley School in Bangalore, The School-KFI in Chennai, and Shyadri School in Pune.

One of the chief concerns of the Foundation is preserving, publishing and disseminating Krishnamurti’s teachings in the form of books, audio an video recordings. KFI also runs Study Centers where people can stay for short periods in order to explore his teachings. It holds annual gatherings which enable serious people to come together for dialogues, arrange video-screenings in various places, and interacts with other schools, colleges, and religious and cultural institutions.

There is a Football Field, Pottery Shed, Small Jungle, Gym, Amphitheater, Damball Court in the school. on Rta 09 – Rta is a Sanskrit word from the Vedas meaning the natural order or course of things. Simply put, rta is truth. Rta09 is filled with articles, poems, stories and artwork by the students and teachers of the school.

Now on the birding experience this time. This was a very different trip. We spotted lots of birds, lots of butterflies, talking to Prashant (PK) was also wonderful.

It has become a tradition to come back with some dog photographs on my birding trips.

Stray Dog

Stray Dog

 

 

Stray Dog

Stray Dog

Beautifyl Ashy Prinia and a group of Greater Cormorants flying.

Ashy Prinia

Ashy Prinia

 

Greater Cormorant Flying

Greater Cormorant Flying

There were lots of Hoverflies and a lot of Rose-ringed Parakeets.

Hoverfly

Hoverfly

 

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Rose-ringed Parakeet

There was a tree on which a cactus was growing. It was full of cactus. Mouth watering Custard Apples!

Cactus on a tree

Cactus on a tree

 

Custard Apple

Custard Apple

 

Beautiful House Swifts. We were observing them. There were a lot of House Swift there and there were two big nests on the walls of abandoned house. These swifts were flying and just ging near the nest and coming back. They were not even touching the nest. While some of them were actually landing on the nest and guess feeding to the young ones, majority of theem seem to be just visiting the nest from a distance. This is a very beautifyl black and white bird.

House Swift

House Swift

 

 

House Swift

House Swift

 

We spotted many White Cheek and Coppersmith barbets. We spotted Asian Koel, Black Drongos, White Browed Bulbul, Small Minivet, Purple Rumped Sunbirds, White Browed Fantail Flycature, Silver Bill, Baya Weaver, Scaly Breasted Munia, Red Wattled Lapwing as well.

Scaly Breasted Munia

Scaly Breasted Munia

 

Red Wattled Lapwing

Red Wattled Lapwing

Now lets look at some of the beautiful buterflies. I’ll not even attempt to ID them, so please let me know the ID and I’ll make the changes. One of the most beautiful ones which I have seen till now, this black and white beauty. It has got two tentacles on the other side (opposite side of mouth on its wings) and it keeps moving these tentacles. Why? To distract and save it self from predators?

Common Pierrot

Common Pierrot

 

Crimson Rose

Crimson Rose

 

Butterfly 3

Butterfly 3

 

Common Indian Crow

Common Indian Crow

 

Yellow Orange Tip

Yellow Orange Tip

 

Butterfly 6

Butterfly 6

 

Three-spot Grass Yellow

Three-spot Grass Yellow

 

Butterfly 8

Butterfly 8

 

To be Butterfly

To be Butterfly

This one was interesting. It was all over the plant. I woder what this is.

Yes talking about this

Yes talking about this

There were also interesting.

Edible?

Edible?

 

Eating the leaf?

Eating the leaf?

 

Giant Wood Spider?

Giant Wood Spider

Giant Wood Spider

 

And now the most awaited one, Mottled Wood Owl. Oh what a beauty. Kannan and Vaibhav spotted this owl. And we followed them to see it. It was in deep sleep and was not at all disturbed by our presence.

Mottled Wood Owl

Mottled Wood Owl

 

Mottled Wood Owl

Mottled Wood Owl

 

After some time we left it and went ahead. After abut 45 mins while returning we heard a lot of noise coming out from the same area where we spotted this owl. After going there what we saw was unbelivable and amazing. There were a group of babblers who were shouting and hitting this owl. I asked Prashant the reason for this behavior and he told that these birds do not want a predator to be present in their area and want to chase this owl out of their territory. The owl was repeatedly attacked by these babblers. At times it used to half open one of its eye, at times it used to just ignore the birds. It was not at all worried about the babblers hitting it. Do what ever you want to do I am going to continue sleeping is what it was saying. This would have went around for about 15- 20 minutes I guess after which babblers left the owl and went awal. In the mean while we spotted a Blue-faced Malkoha on the same tree. Here are some of the photographs of the owl during that time. What a grip this guy had, he was not even falling down after getting hit by those babblers.

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

 

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

 

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

 

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

 

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

 

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

 

Now you will see some amazing wing display!

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

 

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

 

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

Mottled Wood Owl being attacked by Babblers

That is it. What a day this was. The Valley School!