Return to a Model Village

Kumbalangy is known to be India’s first model tourism village, and it has been a place where I spent a lot of my childhood; and a long time later, I made a return to the place. It looks the same as there is the scenic beauty close enough to the city of Cochin, but with better roads and more facilities for tourism than during those earlier days. Here is something that I leave for you readers from my visit, and you can check my earlier post too 🙂

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***All images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone 5 or Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Destination: Since Childhood

Munnar is that kind of a place; we have been visiting there since childhood, and it still remains a big destination. There is so much rush there these days, and it never ceases to be a crowd favourite. Here are a few photos from our recent visit to the place! There are new restaurants on the way, and there is so much traffic – we need to be prepared for them too 🙂

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***All photos used here were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone 5.

TeNy

One Little Trip in Between

As most of my friends know, I was on a Jaipur trip two weeks ago – but as most of my friends here know, the focus was not really on the historic monuments, which is why there were not many good pictures taken, but I will share a few of them with you right now. It is really a beautiful city! 🙂 Maybe I will write about this in detail later, but I can’t be that sure – here are the pictures.

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***All photos used here were taken on my Asus Zenfone 5.

Teny

Requirement for a Dream

We all have our dreams; sometimes we keep them there, not wishing to get it out of that stage due to the high impossible nature, but there are those other dreams which we have no plan to keep there as dreams. We need to get hold of the second type, even though there are times when we are not really sure if they can actually go to the next stage. Maybe those related to competitive examinations and getting a better job can go on forever, but with those related to travel, we do have a certain amount of power to accomplish them.

There will always be the factors which try to keep us away though, and they might be stronger; still there will be a time when we just have to go. I have had mine, but I haven’t let them go, and I haven’t even tried to make them happen yet. I have my travelling list on hold right now, and I hope to keep reminding myself of the same, so that they don’t disappear right into one of those nightmares that I have during those darkest of nights. My dreams about travel go a long way back; and they are deep in those books, those belonging to the horror genre, beginning and ending with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but not limited there.

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Dracula and the rest of the Gothic: There is a certain call!

As I have told a good number of people already, the one dream related to travel, that I have had since my childhood days was to visit the Dracula Castle; not just to reach there, but to get to the destination after wandering through the Carpathian Mountains. I have read many other works which relates to the Gothic horror, located in places which are more appropriate to be called the “land of the dead”, but the Carpathians stayed, not just with the legend of the world’s best known vampire, but also with its natural beauty.

There are the locations which can make a normal person happy; that should include Paris being the City of Love, New York as the City of Skyscrapers, Rome known to be the Eternal City, and all those sobriquets that came with these – then there are the rest of the places in North America and Europe which should be second home to some of our relatives, the grand cities with huge shopping places in the Middle East, the places of pilgrimage, the frequently featured places of natural beauty and the rest which have made into news for one reason or the other.

Then there are those places, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand – it is as if everyone wants to go to at least one of the three nations; most of my friends have, if I go back and read flashback memories of us talking; and I have also been to two of the three already. Then, we know which are those few cities around here that everyone visits frequently – those names are even better known to the crowd. But they won’t make it to my priority list, as I haven’t been in that usual “normal list” for a long time; for I have evolved enough to get my name darkened so much that no sign of it remains there. This means that I will have to travel alone? That would be my pleasure.

So, with the lack of existence in that list of people, I have managed to get into another list, and instead of those usually preferred trips, here is the journey to the historical Bran Castle to which the legend is associated, and it will have to be one trip through those beautiful lands. The imposing Corvin Castle and Poenari Castle, the two other castles which are also connected to the legend, will also require a visit, because the dream is never limited; it is something that is spread over all these. The great castles will have tales to tell, all of which, I will be very happy to listen to, for I also have my own stories to tell in return.

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All journeys need a big turn like this one even between all the beauty.

I have hoped to be there within that dark fantasy world which I had dreamt about; I have wished to be part of that special world of the unknown which was beyond human understanding, and to be part of myth and history at the same time. There was to be those days of the darker side of mysteries which go a long way beyond our knowledge – it was to make life better for me, even without that magic and that fantasy there, but is that to happen soon? Well, we will know at some point.

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra #DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me.

TeNy

The South: Nilgiris

I have been wishing to travel again for a long time. It is one of those many things that I think about these days, and as I look back, I remember that it has really been a very long time. It has been so long that I have gone for a trip for the traveling purpose alone. But it doesn’t stop me from looking at those old photos of travel, and as you might have figured it out, I have so many of them. Well, I am going to need a hard disc to store them all soon – a separate one. As one journey provides thousands of photos, I have always felt that there would be the need. But here, I share ten photos of Ooty and Coonoor.

We stayed at Coonoor when we decided to get to Ooty. Well, I have been to Ooty only once and that journey actually came too late. I visited Ooty in the last few years, and I should be the last one in my friends circle to visit the hill station for the first time. Both of these places were nothing less than charming; I loved my stay at Coonoor and the tea there. The places to visit exist close enough both towns. Coonoor is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiris, and you will want to stop there too, along with being at those usual tourist destinations at Ooty. The photos shared here were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

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Meanwhile, I hope most of you haven’t missed Charlie.

TeNy

Further to the South

I have written a number of posts related to the places in Kerala and did share a number of photos taken during my visits there too. Among the places outside Kerala, I have visited a lot of places in Tamil Nadu, and the list is longer than the rest. It has been quite some time since I last visited my neighboring state, but I have been there a lot. I have visited Chennai more than any other city outside Kerala, and right from my childhood, the one place which has always been on our list, should be Kanyakumari which was earlier known as Cape Comorin, even though the one memorable journey to the destination came much later. It happens to be one of my favourite journeys of the time, and that was also an extended one.

It has felt good to travel in those local buses around. As almost everyone knows about Kanyakumari as the southernmost point of peninsular India and the sunsets as well as sunrise being very popular, there is not much of information needed to be provided about the town which is often added to a journey which is included with the Trivandrum visit. It used to be a part of the Kingdom of Travancore, and later of the state of Travancore-Cochin, and this district of Tamil Nadu with the same name as the town, was one place which I visited in detail and spent my time in peace with such amazing view. Thiruvalluvar Statue, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Gandhi Memorial, temples, churches and everything else will stay with you. These photos shared here were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 during my last visit.

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Meanwhile, feel free to read about the movie of the week, Paavada.

TeNy

Being There: Vagamon

The first time I went to Vagamon was during my school days, and during that time, I didn’t know that this place was a hill station. I used to think about it as another scenic place because it was very close to my place, and it might the one hill station which I can go for a one day trip from my location. It is also the only hill station to which I have driven the car all by myself. It is not located not that high as compared to the other popular hill stations like Munnar, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Yercaud and Valparai, and the roads don’t have that much of complicated turns. There is also more than one path to reach there even if you are coming from the same direction.

You can combine the journey to Vagamon with Ilaveezhapoonchira which is another destination on a hill on the way, and is a place of amazing scenic beauty. The first time I was at Vagamon, it was not that much of a big tourist destination, but things have become different now. But still, it doesn’t bring many people from outside Kerala for visit. It is located about a hundred kilometres from the city of Cochin, and the nearest big towns Palai and Thodupuzha are about thirty five and forty five kilometres from Vagamon. Sixty five kilometres away, Kottayam is the nearest railway station. The Cochin Airport is close to a hundred kilometres from Vagamon. Here are ten photos which I had taken during the journey to this particular place, on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310. Even though I have only limited captures of the beauty of the place, I am hoping that this serves as inspiration for your future visit 😀

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TeNy

Of Hills and Rivers

I am sure that most of the people who visited Central Kerala might have visited Munnar, the beautiful hill station which often serves as the Lake District type of inspiration for us. I have made a number of visits to the place with the 2012 journey being the last one. The truth is that you never really get tired of visiting Munnar, which is why I have kept visiting the place throughout my life, and another possible visit to come later some time. Among the hill stations which I visited, Munnar will have the big advantage in my mind. Last time we stayed at Ayur County Chancellor Resorts and it was a nice place to stay with a peaceful atmosphere and beauty of nature all around – the options were also many.

Munnar also has many locations which can be visited during the journey, and as you would have guessed, the traveling part itself is fun and refreshing. Having its name from Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers, Munnar’s tea plantations are sure to provide the best view along with its eternally green world. Yes, you will love to have tea at Munnar. Here are ten photos which I had taken during my last visit to Munnar; all of them were taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310. I hope these photos will remind you to visit Munnar again, or make you interested in arriving in Kerala and get to Munnar!

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TeNy

District 12: The Heights

You should have surely heard about the District 12 of Kerala – Wayanad. As one of the more popular tourist destinations, it came into existence in its present form in 1980 as the twelfth district of Kerala right out of Kannur and Kozhikode districts. The special thing about this district is that there is no place with the name of the district, and the headquarters is at Kalpetta which has developed very well. Wayanad district also has the distinction of being the only district of Kerala to share the borders with both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and it is the district with the least population around here.

Wayanad has been known for its natural beauty, and it has no railway connection anywhere in the district; the nearest airport is at Kozhikode. Kalpetta, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery are its major towns. When I was a child, I wished to travel here, but the destination wasn’t considered then. But I managed to be there many years later, and I am sharing a few photos from that trip here, even though I still haven’t explored the destination in detail – that is pending, and this post could have a second part. They were all taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-310. The base of operations for the visit was fixed at Kozhikode at that time with Chevrolet Beat taking that long journey from Aluva, and it extended all the way to Kannur, with three northern districts being toured, and the final one left to visit on another day.

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TeNy

An Isle and Two Towers

Among the many things, Kochi has also been known for its islands. I had earlier written about Kumbalangy which is a model tourism village and an island which has become quite popular in the recent years for its serenity and natural beauty. This time, the post is going to be related to another island, which is situated on the Vembanad Lake itself and has its own beautiful areas of backwaters. There is no shortage of natural beauty here either. Vallarpadam is situated between two other islands, Bolghatty and Vypin, and the port of Cochin is partially situated here with major portion going to Willingdon Island which is the largest man-made isle in India. The Bolghatty Palace as well as the Kochi Marina are close, with the Goshree bridges opened about twelve years ago.

Vallarpadam is home to the International Container Transshipment Terminal as well as the Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom which is also known as the pilgrimage centre dedicated to Vallarpadathamma. It is one of the most visited Marian pilgrimage centres in Kerala along with the popular pilgrimage centres at Koratty and Kuravilangad. There is a nice view possible from the top of the church towers. With the location being very close to the city with the Goshree bridges, and connected to the other side by the new Container Terminal Road, the popularity of the place has only increased. The journey through the road is smooth without much traffic and a nice scenic view. The travelers on two-wheelers at noon will feel the heat though.

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The journey to Vallarpadam has some nice scenic areas.

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The idea of stopping on the way will be nice.

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You have surely seen this one before, remember?

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The Rosary Park which is associated with the church.

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The church’s last renovation has made it look huge.

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A look from the top of the church tower becomes a necessity.

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One side of the Rosary Park – interesting views all around.

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The Two Towers: From one to the other.

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You stop the car and take the photos – I don’t see why not.

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Then you take more photos as you keep stopping 😀

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 on the way to Vallarpadam from Aluva and at the island. Btw, click here for the movie choice for Christmas 2015 season.

TeNy

Kodanad: Of the Past

I am sure that a lot of people who have traveled to Central Kerala will have heard about Kodanad, the village and the popular elephant training centre which has existed for a very long. This long history of the place means that it is better known among the locals than those more popular destinations which have come into existence in the last few years. This has been a regular holiday destination for us as little children. It is located about ten kilometres from Perumbavooor, which is the closest big town for the place. It is a place of natural beauty which can be connected to your journey closer to nature with Paniyeli-Poru, the location which has developed so much more.

With the new bridge ready for operation, Malayattoor, one of the most significant Christian pilgrim centres in Kerala also gets connected to the place better, as the distance is a lot reduced. Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya is also one thirteen kilometres from here. Kodanad is also located at about nineteen kilometres from the Cochin International Airport, and Angamaly railway station is only at twenty one kilometres from there making the closest railway station; the nearest big railway station will be Aluva though, at twenty five kilometres distance. There are interesting churches and temples on the way, and there are frequent bus services, along with one non-AC low-floor bus which starts from Perumbavoor KSRTC bus station for Paniyeli-Poru.

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Well, this particular photo means that some explanation is done with ease 😀

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All the natural beauty that you need right here; take it 😀

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Vallom Church on the way is dedicated to Teresa, the patron of writers.

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You do want to be here with all the greenery around, right? Do agree 😛

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The baby elephant has a look outside as humans wander around.

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Just a view which you have while walking around the place.

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Lets sit here and talk about topics from vampires to tapioca chips 😀

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Here are a few companions which you find at Kodanad 😀

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And yes, these people will also be there to provide some company 😀

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And then, you will have one final look at nature as you leave!

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 during my earlier visits to this particular place of natural beauty. Btw, have you read the 2015 Movie Summary and Review post yet? 🙂

TeNy

Trip to the Dam

When I was a child, there used to be one place where all the school trips went – Malampuzha Dam. It is a case of nostalgia when we hear anything about this destination. The largest reservoir in Kerala which is located near Palakkad town has been the right choice of destination because it is far away, but still good enough for a one day trip. I visited the place for the first time when I was in the fourth standard. It was actually the only school trip that I ever had, and that ended late night with a movie. But with the development of other places as the big tourist destinations, this older scenic setting which has natural beauty as well as the beautiful park is not that much talked about around here. With these ten photos, I hope to make the place part of your list of places to visit, especially if you are planning to arrive in Kerala!

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This dam which is built over the Malampuzha River, a tributary of Kerala’s second longest river Bharathappuzha, bring you a fine experience – something which I felt again after visiting the place a long time after those school days when I finished the college. The gardens are beautiful, the nature is splendid as usual, you will find a snake park, there is amusement park area and there are boating facilities as well as the rope-way option available. Palakkad Junction railway station is the closest rail option and Coimbatore airport is the closest choice to fly. There are other attractions which you can visit from here including Tipu’s Fort which was built by Hyder Ali, but this place itself is worth the whole day! It is about one hundred and fifty five kilometres from the city of Cochin, and you can follow the Aluva-Angamaly-Trichur route; the National Highway! The Cochin International Airport is one hundred and twenty kilometres from there and Calicut International Airport one hundred and ten kilometres. The closest city corporation in Kerala would be Trichur at seventy nine kilometres from the dam.

***The images used in this blog post were taken be me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 camera.

TeNy

Kerala and Houseboats

During your journey to Kerala, you might have wandered around Alappuzha/Aleppey which is called the Venice of the East, and also through Kumarakom, both being huge tourism destinations on the Vembanad Lake – the longest lake in India, and the largest in Kerala. This lake which serves the three districts of Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam, is also known by the names Punnamada Lake and Kochi Lake as it has Kochi’s significant islands located on it or bordered by the lake and the Arabian Sea. The houseboats or kettuvallams have been a major component of Kerala’s backwater tourism, and these will be the special attractions which you should have noticed during your journeys! Here are a few photos of them with the natural beauty of Kerala from around Alappuzha-Kumarakom area.

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So, have you been to one of these houseboats or traveled through/near the backwaters of Kerala having one of the most beautiful waterways around? If this hasn’t been accomplished yet, when are you making an attempt? There are also some interesting temples and churches which you can also visit while doing the same. The Venetian Capital of Kerala and the other towns around awaits you, as a journey to the South of India won’t be complete without witnessing the charm of this area which has canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons within a few kilometres.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 around Alappuzha and Kumarakom during the period of 2010-2011, and it is a small selection from a big collection of photos.

TeNy

Remember the Waterfalls

Vampire Owl: Welcome, Squire Hamster. Are we ready for the great immortality test?

Vampire Hamster: Yes, Sir Vampire Owl. But we haven’t yet found the right waterfalls with the great scenic beauty which you had asked.

Vampire Bat: It is such a shame. A long time has passed since the search had begun – we might just be delayed this time, and Uncle Dracula won’t be too happy. He had called from the hospital yesterday.

Vampire Alligator: What are these guys talking about? This feels like a new thing for me.

So, the vampires need waterfalls - these rocks are near such a place :D

So, the vampires need waterfalls – these rocks are near such a place 😀

Vampire Crocodile: Every five years, on this day, the vampire community comes up with an immortality test for the vampire apprentices which will make sure that they are immortal and ready for the next step of their training.

Vampire Alligator: What? You mean that they are going to test if we will die or not?

Vampire Crocodile: Somewhat like that. They will push us from the top the waterfalls.

Vampire Alligator: What? Holy alligator of the salt water! I am going to die. I thought immortality came naturally.

Vampire Crocodile: Okay, you can naturally jump from the top.

Vampire Alligator: What? Still, I am going to die! I haven’t even written a will yet.

Vampire Crocodile: Shut up! We are not going to die. We are immortal already. You should attend more classes; you are not understanding the whole point.

Here is the view from top of a particular waterfall ;)

Here is the view from top of a particular waterfall around here 😉

Vampire Alligator: Even if I don’t die of falling, I will still die of fear. I am afraid of heights. I want to see my mummy; the one who is not inside the Pyramids.

Vampire Crocodile: Dude, that is also covered under the vampire immortality clause. If we die, Lady Death will bring our souls back according to the deal which has been signed between the two parties, the dead and the undead. Your life is insured. So, stay cool and wait for the vampire team to find the right waterfalls.

Vampire Alligator: It is okay then, I guess.

Vampire Crocodile: It will be a nice experience. We need to explore our immortality and get so much close to death and then understand that we don’t belong to the world of the dead.

Vampire Panda: I can even practice some Kungfu moves while falling through the air. This is going to be so cool. You will see that I can land on two legs.

Vampire Penguin: And I will do some dance steps in the air.

When waterfalls are around, rocks become more of a thing of beauty, right?

When waterfalls are around, rocks become more of a thing of beauty, right?

Vampire Owl: Come in, Squire Vampire Cat and Squire Vampire Crow.

Vampire Cat: Sir, the right place has been found. It is in Kerala. The location is very beautiful.

Vampire Crow: Half the credit for that should come to me too, as it was me who sent him for this search. I had noticed the signs long ago.

Vampire Bat: I see. I believe that I have been to these waterfalls which you are going to talk about. We can also have some fun walking around. This will also be the official vampire trip of the year. There will be no other journeys outside the realm.

Vampire Owl: So where exactly can we find these waterfalls?

[Vampire Cat takes a map out of the bag].

And a few people whom you will meet on the way there :)

And a few very special people whom you will meet on the way there 🙂

Kerala has a number of waterfalls which have become interesting tourist destinations. There are lots of such names which come into our mind, but there is nothing like one place which has become another name for waterfalls in Kerala, and it is the most popular name among them all. Athirappilly Waterfalls in the Thrissur district in Kerala located about fifty kilometres from the Cochin International Airport and around eighty three kilometres from the City of Cochin, is also only about thirty one kilometres from the Chalakudy town; a fine location for everyone to have a visit.

All the waterfalls which you need can be found here :D

All the waterfalls which you need can be found here along with the water 😀

An Athirappilly visit can also be combined with a journey to Ezhattumugham which is not that far away; if started early during the day, both can be covered in one day. Meanwhile, the Vazhachal Falls are just one around Athirappilly, even though it is not as steep as the big Falls. There is also another waterfall on the side of the road, and you can actually travel through Sholayar to reach the other side of Western Ghats, and the hill station of Valparai awaits you as you cross over to Tamil Nadu. This journey will be through the forests and allowed only duting day time.

You shall witness the glory of Athirappilly Waterfalls :D

And you shall witness the glory of Athirappilly Waterfalls 😀

The visiting time allowed at Athirappilly is between eight and six, and the tickets will be given only until five. Plastic as well as liquor and smoking are prohibited. People are adviced not to feed animals, but people were not that respectful to that advice when we last visited – may be things are better now. There is a some walk to be undertaken after entering the place. The number of tourists here is usually high, as there has been a lot of visitors every time we were there, not just on those big holidays. So, for peace, the journey should be for Ezhaattumugham.

Enjoy the waterfalls and keep the surroundings clean :)

Enjoy the waterfalls and keep the surroundings clean; be responsible 🙂

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Model Village: Kumbalangy

If you look through the map of Cochin, you will see a number of island all around, and among them, there is one which is going to be the focus in this post – Kumbalangy. Located about eleven to thirteen kilometres from the popular tourist spots Fort Cochin and Mattanchery, Kumbalangy is that extra location which one can visit while going through the usual destinations around the City of Cochin. Yes, you don’t really need to make those two places with monuments that crowded, for there is this option where you can spend the night peacefully.

You get to island - Welcome to Kumbalangy!

You get to the model tourism island – Welcome to Kumbalangy!

It was some years ago that we had to take the ferry to get to the island of Kumbalangy. There was no bridge connecting Perumpadappu and the island, and when I was a child, I had to take the ferry to reach the island. There were two boats operating, and the vehicles and some of the cargo also joined us. The journey to the island was not something that I really cherished during that time. But things have changed with the new bridge being built and Kumbalangy finding its position in the tourist map of Cochin with ease.

Do you wish to be welcomed be the coconut trees for a change?

Do you wish to be welcomed be the coconut trees for a change?

It was in the year 2003 that Kumbalangy was selected as a model tourism village by Kerala government, seeing its potential. The same has transformed it into a model fishing village and a tourist location which is getting more and more popular. It is associated with my childhood nostalgia, and now it is a lot more. Now, Kumbalangy is the place where you can really go on a trip, and it might be the next big tourist destination around Cochin as there is a lot of peace all around, and the place is also quite easy to reach.

The Chinese fishing nets - you will keep seeing them.

The Chinese fishing nets – you will keep seeing them.

There is the city service bus facility available from Aluva to Kumbalangy, and you can also choose the Perumpadappu buses and get an auto. There will be AC and Non-AC low-floor buses starting from Aluva, Angamaly, Perumbavoor or Cochin Airport which will go to Fort Cochin and Mattanchery and you can get down at Thoppumpady to choose another bus to Kumbalangy or Perumpadappu which is just the other side of the Kumbalangy bridge. The island is just about eight kilometres from Thoppumpady too. Well, in one way or the other, it is part of Cochin and Greater Cochin Development Authority should agree.

As you look far far away, what is it that you see?

As you look far far away, what is it that you see?

The distance from the Cochin International Airport is about fourty five kilometres. It is almost the same distance to Aleppey and its backwaters. But the backwaters of Kumbalangi and its fishing nets will make sure that you don’t really want to leave that early. The availability of the option to find peace and happiness not that away from city is a boon. Kumbalangy is also a nice eco-tourism centre. It is also only about fourteen kilometres to the city centre, and so everything is easily accessible from there, even though there will be the problem of traffic at some points – but it depends on the time when you are traveling.

This is also a good place to park your car unless coconuts fall :D

This is also a good place to park your car unless coconuts fall 😀

You just need to travel thirteen kilometres from the Ernakulam South railway station to reach here, while it will be about seventeen kilometres from the North station. But if you are coming through the road from Aluva on one side or Perumbavoor/Muvattupuzha on the other and beyond, you can avoid the city by traveling through Maradu as it will get you to Thoppumpady. At the island, the most beautiful parts might be accessed through the smaller roads, just like the path which leads to heaven, as it is said. You might need the calmness and beauty here; you can keep bringing this to your mind whenever you are busy.

You stop, you look, and you enjoy the beauty.

You stop, you look, and you enjoy the beauty of all that is on the way.

At Kumbalangy, you will see a good number of churches and temples. Most of them can be seen on the way itself. You can also travel to the famous pilgrimage centre, the Kannamaly Church from there. One the north-western side of the island, there is another smaller island which is connected to Kumbalangy, called Kallenchery, and it is a very scenic location there. It can be reached by traveling on the road by the side of the village office. There are some nice home-stays there, including the Kallanchery Retreat. New facilities are always being set up at Kumbalangy, and it has been some time since I last made a visit there. Maybe it is time to be surrounded by the backwaters again!

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

When Darkness Calls

Vampire Hamster: A strange creature has arrived, Sir Vampire Bat and Sir Vampire Owl. It just can’t wait to meet you and has told me that it is urgent.

Vampire Bat: Let it in, after checking for any magical devices in its possession which can cause harm to the vampire kind.

Vampire Owl: Don’t you think that we taking the role of Uncle Dracula when he is not here, is not really the right thing to do as he hasn’t named a temporary substitute?

Vampire Bat: Well, in that case, he should have named someone before choosing to watch some of those terrible Bollywood movies. As of now, we have to take control or the whole of the New Vampire World will fall into chaos. The werewolves, the Lich Queen and the dark elves are looking for this opportunity. The rest of the creatures including the orcs, high elves, goblins, dwarves and the wood elves are no different either.

Vampire Owl: We shall defend the vampire world, whatever be the cost. I am sure that we can’t trust that Werewolf Anger at all. Lich Queen is a bloody opportunist and we know that she wants to rule us.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is exactly what I am talking about.

Vampire Owl: I would say that this is also a nice time to talk about it as the Vampire Crocodile has gone to study break-dance.

Vampire Bat: What? Is he seriously going to do that? He told me that he was going to the bathroom.

Vampire Owl: You know what kind of a person he is. He is always looking for opportunities to overtake his. He thinks that learning this strange art form of humans can make him more popular. It is not just the usual dance, because it has breaks; he once said!

The Creature: Greetings, vampire lords. I am from the Shadow World with a message from the Dark Overlord.

Vampire Owl: Speak, strange creature. I hope you bring good news.

The Creature: As the King of Kings, Dracula is hospitalized, we have decided to declare emergency in the borders, which means that you will have to pay tribute to the dark souls with one place of darkness for a month.

Vampire Owl: Is this really happening?

Vampire Bat: Yes, this declaration of emergency and the protection of the shadow creatures are needed to ensure that the vampire world remains safe from terrorist infiltration through the border areas.

The Creature: I shall return again next week to collect this month’s tribute, a place with darkness in its name.

Vampire Hamster: I don’t like this creature at all. Why do shadow creatures wander around the world of vampires which has no shadows or reflections?

Vampire Owl: Do you think that we can do it? Is there such a place with darkness in its name?

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is one; Andhakaranazhy – it is a beach, and the name means “The Darkness Lagoon” or “The Lagoon of Darkness”.

Vampire Owl: Fine, lets just go and explore that place then.

[Transforms a unicorn into a Honda Unicorn and leaves for Andhakaranazhy with chocolate chip cookies].

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You are arriving at Andhakaranazhy Beach. You are welcome here and be good.

Andhakaranazhy is located about twenty eight kilometres from Cochin if you take the usual route through the highway; the distance will be shorter with a few other smaller routes though, but they should be harder to find and travel through. The distance from Aleppey is around thirty four kilometres, which makes this location a nice choice from both sides of Kerala. The Cochin-Alleppey route is a nice route to travel, and there is also an Indian Coffee House at Aroor when coming from Cochin. When coming from the Aleppey side, the best option for food is the KTDC Restaurant on the way.

As you know already, there is a nice beach around here!

As you know already, there is a nice beach around here; take a walk around!

The journey from the Cochin side is through Vyttila, Maradu, Aroor and you have to take a right turn a few kilometres after you pass Thuravoor and when you go through Vayalar Railway Station, you know that you are traveling in the right direction. When you are coming from Perumbavoor, the total distance will be sixty one kilometres through thet Chithrapuzha route – people around the town can calculate accordingly. Coming from Aluva requires traveling fifty eight kilometres, and so those who are coming from places beyond that town needs to calculate based on this – it is the same distance from the Cochin International Airport.

Well, we are always fond of such wonderful sunsets, aren't we?

Well, we are always fond of such wonderful sunsets around here, aren’t we?

Those coming from Muvattupuzha side can take the Tripunithura route, and travelers from Kothamangalam side can follow the same path. The closest big town for Andhakaranazhy should be Cherthala, and it comes under the Pattanakkad Panchayath of Cherthala Taluk. If you have watched Aashiq Abu’s heavy nostalgia movie Idukki Gold, you will remember seeing this beach and the area around it. It is a beautiful place, and quite different from those usual beaches which you see around in Kerala. It is quite a neat place which is well-maintained, but will require more attention to develop it into something bigger.

The sea meets the backwaters, and the sands separate them.

The sea meets the backwaters here, and the sands separate them in style.

The crowd was there when we visited the place, but that was expected because it was the evening on a Sunday. We had some cardamom tea there, enjoying the view of the sunset. There are some good small shops all around to have some snacks. Even with the clouds threatening to bring the rain and also obstruct the view, we had some good time there on that day. The silhouettes of the trees were around, and the people looked very confident in playing with the waves; it can get rough though. There is that place where the sea joins the backwaters, and a lighthouse is also present there, catching our attention along with the other structures which are already built there.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

River Through Camera II

I had posted a few photos of Periyar’s “Aluva puzha” side which you had witnessed in a better way in the blockbuster Premam with all its beauty from the movie makers. Here are a few more photos to go with it. All these were taken by me on my camera and mobile. These will show the beautiful side of the river which blesses the town of Aluva or Alwaye once again. I hope that these will make you fall in love with the beauty of nature again.

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But there were occasions when the river was not that kind; this one happened in the year 2013. The truth is that we are never prepared for situations like floods.

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TeNy

The Tea Photos

It is a lovely Friday even though my laptop’s display screen desired to commit suicide; I can’t access most of my saved material, and so I will share a few tea photos taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 to make sure that this day doesn’t go as a waste 😀 The movie of the day, My God was good though. All these photos shown here were taken at Munnar, Coonnoor and Ooty.

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Hope this inspires you to have more tea 😛

TeNy

On Responsible Tourism

Exploration is a fine thing to do, and occasional travel refreshes our mind and soul as we wander around those wonderful destinations, whether they are the much visited ones or the locations lesser known. There is the never-ending need to travel, and as we go through these journeys, we arrange our food and stay at some nice place, and take photos of the beauty which is around us. When we are on such a journey, especially through the beauty of nature, we not only have the right to enjoy all these, but also got some responsibilities.

1. The first thing which I would consider as part of the responsible tourism is not to litter, no matter whatever be the circumstances. Well, the situation might differ everywhere, but the nature and our responsibility remains the same. It is a bad idea to leave the trace of our visits here and there. If there is something to be left behind, I would suggest that we leave some love and take home only the beauty which we have captured on our cameras and phones along with those rejuvenating memories.

This tree welcomes you to Ezhattumugham as the official messenger of nature :D

Why someone feel the need to litter at places like these is beyond understanding!

2. I would also suggest treating these places as if they are our own homes. Will we make our own homes dirty? We are supposed to keep these places clean as we would do to our own houses. We do see those historical monuments which are not in the best shape due to the visitors who find some fun in writing on them as well as spitting here and there. Along with conservation of nature, there is the need to preserve these archaeological monuments which tells the story of our past; it is also our duty to consider them as part of our culture.

3. We should also respect the local culture with their customs and traditions. After all, it is their world into which we enter. If something is banned somewhere, lets not use it, whether it is parts of the law or the tradition. If alcohol is banned, do not use it; the same goes for smoking. If some place has a vegetarian traditions, lets follow the same. If beef or pork is not supposed to be part of the culture at some place, respect that too. Wherever photography is prohibited, lets not take photos; there will always be other areas where it can be done.

4. There is also the choice to minimize the pollution in other ways. When there are four people on a journey, you don’t need to use two cars. But unfortunately, some parents who provide too much for their children make sure that they go on and show some style with the extra vehicle. It is mostly in the name of the homes being a few kilometres away from each other. If you are entering a place close to nature, I would suggest keeping the vehicle some more distance away from the place than you are expected to.

5. One should also stop making noises causing disturbance to other people as well as creatures of nature. This kind of people create more terror than most of the others, because they instantly destroy the peace which prevails in areas close to nature. It is a case of lack of respect, and unfortunately, this one can’t be taught by anyone else, but their own people. There is too much disrespect going on among people, especially the new generation and it might to be too much to ask this, but we have to.

So, when Thommankuthu calls you, will you be there? :D

So, you really want to disturb nature and the other visitors – then be ashamed.

6. As a visitor, it is our duty to be aware of where we are going and what we are doing, not just one of us, but the whole group of people. It will help us to cause the minimum impact during our visits and there is nothing which makes a negative impression is left behind. Enough information about the place, its people and nature will help us to make sure that the journey is a responsible one. Even if a place is mostly unexplored, there will be always something available at least related to the surrounding areas.

I am blogging for #ResponsibleTourism activity by Outlook Traveller in association with BlogAdda

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

A Fort of Monsters

A long time ago, there lived a kid who believed in monsters. He believed in monsters long before he had detailed information about them. He knew that they were real. He used to go under the bed and search for them so that there would be someone for him to play with. But he never really found the monster. They were real, but still they were not there. He waited for them to arrive, but they never came. Still, he knew that they had to come, and that much he had hoped.

The monsters exist, just like the certainty of the beauty of nature.

The monsters exist, just like the certainty of the beauty of nature.

There was such a destination for the myths. I still believe in monsters, and this place called Bhoothathankettu or the Fort of Monsters had a good role to play during my early monster belief season. The advantage of this Malayalam word is that it can be used in more than one way; we can also call them demons. I am sure that they won’t mind whatever we call them because horror is beyond names. Bhoothathankettu has a dam and is a popular tourist destination which was lesser visited at those times.

Bhoothathankettu has been the place to visit again and again.

Bhoothathankettu has been the place to visit again and again – worth it.

But it existed when I was a kid and it was only eleven kilometres from my Kothamangalam where my ancestral home is situated. So, it was always going to be a popular destination for me. It was different at that time, with less tourists, and naming it a tourist destination wasn’t going to be accurate during those days. The places for tourists were at other places, and this was just a dam and a park. But now, things have changed and a lot more facilities became available around the dam.

This might be the first dam which I ever saw, but can't be so sure.

This might be the first dam which I ever saw in my life, but can’t be so sure.

Located about fourty seven kilometres from the nearest railway station at Aluva and around fourty two kilometres from the Cochin International Airport, you can pass through the town of Kothamangalam to reach this place. There are tree houses and boating facilities for the tourists, and more have been added in the recent years. It has been some time since we last visited the place, and an update was to happen when I decided to travel less. May be another day with relatives will see me traveling again here, later.

Nature makes the call, but we are rarely ready for the journey.

Nature makes the call, but we are rarely ready for the journey to the greens.

From there, you can also travel to the Idamalayar Dam which provides more of the scenic views there. Then you can go for the other option, which is the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary which is also not that far away from there; it is also close enough to Kothamangalam, reached by taking a turn while going to Bhoothathankettu. It was the first bird sanctuary in Kerala, and is named after the famous ornithologist Salim Ali. You can also travel to Kuttampuzha, Urulanthanni and Pooyamkutty if you keep that route.

The tree-house - this one never losses the charm, that is for sure.

The tree-house once again – this one never losses the charm, that is for sure.

The distance from the city of Cochin will be around sixty three kilometres. There is quite some distance which can be traveled through the forests, with all the greenery around. There is a park on the side, and the dam itself provides a nice view of the nature which has blessed the surroundings. It will be an ideal tourist spot if you decide to travel to this side – you can find many other places, but this one will have its special charm with the myths, the dam and the improving scope.

You take a walk around to make it feel better, and nature heals.

You take a walk around here to make it feel better, and nature can heal.

There is something about this place which I have visited so many times, with friends and also with relatives. But time has passed since the last journey and I hope to be back there again. May be that will happen on another day when I will have the desire to travel again. There will be a lot more awaiting me by that time with the popularity of the place increasing. I hope that the kid finds the right monsters there on that special day, because the human monsters have been too evil for his liking.

Can the monsters be around here? This is a nice place, isn't it?

Can the monsters be around here? This is a nice place for them, isn’t it?

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy