Morni Hills – Tikkar Taal – 1 January, 2019

Morni Hills – Tikkar Taal – 1 January, 2019

Tikkar Taal is a 253000 sq. m big lake in the Morni Hills at an altitude of 1200 m from the sea level. It is about 50 km from the city of Chandigarh. This place is known for its eminent for its picturesque Himalayan scenes and landscapes and a wide range of flora and fauna.

(The bluiy scenes you get to see there during early mornings are super beautiful)

Far away from the busyness of the cities, Morni is a place where you can come and let your body relax and calm all your worries for some time.

This place was named after a noble queen who once ruled the place thousands of years back.

It is an oasis of serenity away from the bustling world all around. Morni reflects peace and stillness. It is a place where you should just sit back and get lost in the beauty of nature.

The main tourist attractions in this region are :-

  1. Tikkar Taal and its sister Draupadi Taal
  2. Mountain Quail Resort
  3. Tikkar Taal Lakeside Motel
  4. Herbal Garden
  5. Tikkar Taal Periphery Nature Trail
  6. Morni Fort Museum

The Tikkar Taal is divided into two by a hill in between – Bhim Taal or the main Tikkar Taal and the smaller Draupadi Taal which is located on the other side of the road. Rumours suggest that a hidden underground water channel connects the two because the water level in both the lakes remains the same almost throughout the year.

(Bhim Taal in background – clicked from the top of a magnificent herbal garden)

Tikkar Taal is slowly developing into a proper tourist spot. Haryana Government is laying efforts to create proper accommodation for the tourists. At the same time, the empty and unused lands are being converted into Herbal Gardens and long Nature Trails to prevent the unnecessary construction in this region and protect it from being over-crowded.

Hotels here are less in number which is also a good thing because lesser the hotels lesser the crowd. Boating was started in the Tikkar Taal Lake by the Government for the tourists to make their holiday a memorable one.

(Boating time click)

We started our journey from Phillaur @ 11 am. It took us about 7 hours to reach there. The distance is of barely 3-5 hours but we are a sort of travelers who are not in hurry of reaching the place like most of the people, We enjoy the journey equally as we enjoy after reaching the destination.

This time Birding was not our main motive. Instead, it was Exploring a new place. The first time we stopped in the way was when we a lot of motion of small birds at the edge of the hill. The birds were too far away and the light was not at all favorable. There were some Grey-headed Canary-flycatchers, Grey Bushchats and One little fella which I had a hard time identifying because it was sitting too far away and against the sun. I did a lot of editing and cropping of the photo to make it a bit visible and it turned out to be a super rarity – Little Bunting.

(Grey Bushchat)

Super Rarity – Little Bunting

(If you can recognise this one then please comment down below)

Next up we had a group of Red Billed Blue Magpies feeding on the ground near the edge of the road. They did give us great shots but they were not great enough. 

(Red Billed Blue Magpie

We reached Tikkar Taal at 6 and were lucky enough to get the only two rooms left to be booked at the Motel.

Next day, we had breakfast and went for boating. While we were waiting for our turn to come, I saw a couple of Plain Prinias on the grass about 15 feet from where I was. I took the camera from dad and laid myself down on the lush green grass and started proceeding towards them like an army man with a ‘Ready to Shoot Camera.’

I went so close to them that the camera was having difficulty focusing on them and I had to step back a bit. The little birds seemed to give not a damn to me. I clicked lots of photographs and also clicked my first very own MasterPiece photograph.

(Plain Prinia)

Now in full mood, I started chasing a White Browed Wagtail. That bird literally made a fool out of me by running around the big grassland like crazy. But I did manage to get a nice shot of it.

(White Browed Wagtail)

Our turn had come for boating and I was called. We unlike every other person on a boat, headed the boat towards the adjacent edge of the lake because we were in a full mood of birding. We stopped the boat close to a tree.

The littly-wittly birds were hard to identify from naked eye but the camera was smarter than them. We had a bunch of Plain Prinias, a couple of Grey Bushchats and a solitary Common Rosefinch.

(Common Rosefinch)

We proceeded further. We saw a Little Cormorant on a submerged branch. The bird was no special one but because I wanted to click just simply any bird we forwarded in its direction. This one also came too close to us and didn’t fly away until we were so close that if I extended my hand out of the boat, I would have held his neck.

When I was photographing this bird I noticed something strange near its feet. There was a snake there. When the bird flew, it kicked the half-asleep snake and the snake went directly into the water. This was the last thing we had for the whole trip. We saw the snake’s head a few times while returning but we were not interested in it anymore.

(Little Cormorant with a Snake near its bottom)

The last thing left was the Morni Fort. It was a decent place and the government had also done efforts to restore the palace by building museums in all the four turrets of the fort.

(Rhesus Macaque that I clicked secretly in the Fort)

Photography was not allowed there so I couldn’t get anything there. While coming out I saw some Slender Billed Vultures and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk but they too against sunlight.

(Silhouette of a Slender Billed Vulture)

The journey back home was a smooth one. Overall, this 2-day New Year trip amazing and relaxed all the tension.

~Arjun Basandrai

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