Kodaikanal: Hills and Us

Kodaikanal has been as much a well-known destination as Ooty has been, during our childhood. There hasn’t been many people from around here who didn’t go to the place, it reminded one of Ooty itself, and the temperature was around eleven. Coming from Cochin, Kodaikanal is almost as the same distance as Ooty, and both becomes perfect destinations for vacation as they have served for a long time to the students and families of Kerala. There are many routes to Kodaikanal, and we decided to go through the one which goes through Kuttikkanam, Kumily, Cumbum and Theni. It was a fine route except for the high traffic of Sabarimala season. Unlike the other hill stations, I have felt that Kodaikanal is not a place of different tourist attractions, but a grand attraction all by itself. We stayed at the TTDC Tamil Nadu Hotel, and that proved to be good too.

Journey through the mist means towards eternity.

One side of TTDC Hotel Tamil Nadu located close to the town.

The clouds are never too far away when in Kodaikanal.

The views are grand, and we need to be there again.

Some smaller, but lovely views are yet to be had here.

Always have a look from up above when in Kodaikanal.

You have to stop often, either for tea, or for some fruits.

Some places of spirituality are around when at this hill station.

A foggy morning serves Ford Figo Aspire with tea.

Some roads are divergent, and less traveled, but too good.

***All images here were taken on my Samsung Galaxy J4+

<— Click here to go to the first big movie of the year 2020.

<— Click here to go to the last big movie of the year 2019.

TeNy

Mango Meadows: Through Nature

Kerala always has new places to visit, and Mango Meadows had only become a new much appreciated attraction just a few months before we went on a trip there. The nearest town is Kaduthuruthy, at five kilometres, and the place provides a fine experience close to nature. Claiming to the world’s first agricultural theme park, it has all that is needed for a person to stay there with family the whole day. You are walking through the greenery, and there are many things to do, from archery and shooting to cycling and fishing. There are even more activities to do, and even staying there without doing anything is interesting too. There is nice food, and in this green world, there is some happiness in store with nature. The place seems to be still being built, and one can be sure that there will more to be seen during the next visit there, but even as of now, it is an interesting place to visit.

A stop on the way near Government Hospital, Perumbavoor.

Good restaurant just before Koothattukulam on the way.

The fishes do have some good feeling here.

This one is supposed to be the largest Malayalam Bible sculpture.

Parashurama, the sage who is supposed to have created Kerala.

Some boating together can always give a better feeling.

The coracle boats make an interesting option.

The bridge here leads to the centre of this lake.

The view from the watch tower in the theme park.

Ford Figo Aspire as usual makes the perfect companion.

<— Click here to go to the previous post.

<— Click here to go to the Bali post.

TeNy

The Two Sides of Kappil

Kerala’s long coastline continues to assure us of the presence of more beaches, and there are a few which are less known, but are more beautiful than most of the other beaches around. One such beach is Kappil, in Trivandrum district, but close enough to Kollam. It is a place which you can visit in combination with the journeys to the beaches of Varkala, Kovalam and Vizhinjam. It is located at around one hundred and fifty kilometres from Cochin, fifty kilometres from Trivandrum and twenty kilometres from Kollam. Varkala Beach itself is just about eight kilometres from there. The places is less crowded in comparison, and there is more than what you see from the roadside, about this beach.

Kappil has lake on side and the beach on the other, separated by a tiny stretch of land full of sand, and on the side of the lake, we can see some jelly fish at times. It makes a beautiful view on both sides, and even better when you see both together. With less crowd, it is enjoyable in a better way. The parking needed to be more though, even as you can choose to park on the side of the road some distance away from the main beach area. On most part it is clean, even though on some areas, some waste thrown here and there can be seen, mostly on the side of the lake. But Kappil is clean as a whole, and the beauty that it provides is to be witnessed and loved, as it stands above many other overrated beaches.

A small, beautiful church of the local people near the sea.

Parking the car near the lake on the sands.

Just the lake being beautiful as usual.

Finding the jelly fish around the place.

Beyond the sands, sea on one side & lake on the other.

Just the usual day at Kappil Beach near Varkala.

Not many people to be seen at the Kappil Beach.

Two worlds, of the lake and the sea – call Aquaman.

Looking towards the lake between the trees.

The path on the side of Kappil Beach.

Click here to read reviews on some of the best movies of the year, Unda, Virus and Uyare.

TeNy

Varkala: The Beach and the Cliff

With its long coastline, Kerala is certainly not short of its beautiful beaches, and the names which everyone knows and is full of visitors at all times might be Kovalam and Cherai. Muzhappilangad is our lovely drive-in beach to remember. On that long list, there is one place which stands tall. Varkala Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches, one which is not to be forgotten. It is the only beach in Kerala with cliffs like these so close to the sea. It is the kind of place which reminds one of Dover Beach, and that wonderful lyric poem by the English poet Matthew Arnold, which we have studied more than once – “the cliffs of England stand, glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay”. About 170 km from Cochin, and 35 km from Kollam, the beach is Thiruvananthapuram district, with its capital 45 km from there. The town of Paravur is only 12 km from the place.

Along with its beauty, Varkala also have some places of spirituality with its temples. There are some fine options for food while walking through the cliff. There are some nice shots to be taken both from the beach and the cliff. In comparison with other beaches, this one has its shops opening late in the morning and closing late in the evening. When coming from the North of Kerala, both the Kottayam and the Alappuzha routes can be chosen. There is much to be seen through the latter route, even though both routes can be joined at different places except for certain parts of the low lying areas filled with water. There are some fine choices with food and accommodation, and if it is off-season, the better idea is to book directly from location as rooms should be available, unless some huge event comes up.

You look down from the cliff, and you want to be there right now.

Reached the hotel a little late for lunch, and had to rush through.

As the sunset approaches, you are always hoping to stay on.

Just another side of Varkala Beach which is not that explored.

Spent some time looking at Varkala beach and cliff at night.

The colours of the sunset spreads, and leaves us with a happy feeling.

Not exactly the while cliffs of Dover, but Matthew Arnold won’t mind.

Had some variety food from God’s Own Country Kitchen on the cliffs.

It is happy walking through the Varkala Beach and surroundings at night.

Thiruvambadi Beach Retreat Resort provided some good space.

Also read on the Indonesian Bali journey.

TeNy

The Indonesian Saga

Being at Indonesia, especially at the island of Bali is a fantastic memory, something which would stay for a very long time. Before visiting the place itself, we knew that the two things which would rise above others were to be the temples and the natural beauty. The beaches were to be there, and the greenery too. It was just a few days before we planned the journey that there was a fire at the Bali airport, and there was a volcanic eruption just the day before we had the tickets booked. It is the same thing which kept us wondering as we couldn’t find the name Bali on the list of flights – well, the place was named Denpasar, and that was were we had to go in Bali. From the moment our flight landed at the beautiful airport with sea around, we know that there would be a lot to see.

We actually had a very good guide to help us there, and the person named Putra from Pacto was a very understanding person. Everyone around there would ask if we were from Delhi whenever we said that we were from India – maybe because all Keralites are going to Thailand focusing on Pattaya, there are not many people from South India who come that way, except for Hyderabad which a few people knew. Being close to nature, this is the first time I am seeing an active volcano, and also the friendliest beach around – there is also the first sight of terrace farming, and we could also deal with money in lakhs and many thousands – considering the fact that one rupee was two hundred rupiyah. It is one way of becoming a millionaire even though you need to spend thousands to buy anything. There are two sides to a few things, but Indonesia remains a cheaper destination for sure, and Bali proves the same.

One of the two active volcanoes of Bali – the lava flow route can be seen in black.

There is something about the sunsets of Bali – they make you feel immortality.

This marks our first encounter with rain when in Indonesia – the highlands with clouds.

Watching sunrise from a hotel at Semanyak with a cup of tea never gets tiring.

You look at the options you have, with beaches as well as these rocky beaches.

Mountains and lakes will have your attention, as you stop at different places.

More than one happy monkey family will wish to say hi to you from the trees.

This certainly looked like a perfect place for a wedding shoot, but its too late.

The rice terraces of Bali are worth your attention, a closer one, will do more good.

The Kuta beach makes sure that you have a lot to walk around and into the sea.

*All these photos were taken using my Samsung Galaxy J4+ that replaced the Asus Zenfone Max which I used for taking photos in Bangkok and Pattaya.

TeNy

Bali: Land of Temples

Our last journey was to Thailand, focusing on Bangkok and Pattaya, the two cities where almost everyone from Kerala goes these days. Pattaya has been the one place where every Malayali wanted to go, as shown in the movie, Amar Akbar Anthony itself. With Thailand done and Singapore and Malaysia already done in the South East, the next option had to be Indonesia in the South East. There were no direct packages to the other interesting South East Asian nations like Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma – there were none for the Himalayan nations of Bhutan and Nepal either, which made Indonesia the right choice, and the packages were all for Bali. Still, the journey was to be done with a stop at Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia – Air Asia, Air Asia X and Malindo Air were the options – the last one had free check-in luggage, in-flight entertainment and food, which made it a fine option while returning, as the luggage would be more on the return flight.

Indonesia feels cheaper than Thailand without doubt, and is simpler, less crowded and closer to nature as far as Bali island is concerned. The spiritual side stays very strong too, with the temples like these. Most of the Indian presence here were from the North, and we rarely saw any Keralite presence here unlike in Pattaya which had Keralites on tour at almost every corner. The temple design here is incredibly beautiful, even though rooted in simplicity. There is the same feeling being reflected with the people here too, ever happy and helpful. Have a look at a few shots of temple which I took using my Samsung Galaxy J4+ which replaced the Asus Zenfone Max which I used for taking photos in Bangkok and Pattaya. There are also the pictures of Bali’s natural beauty, agriculture, beaches, mountains, lakes and volcanoes, but that will be another story.

Tanah Lot – With a temple on the rock, going further into the sea.

These gates of heaven are common entrances to Balinese temples.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is also known as the Lake Temple in short.

Tanah Lot is more than just a rock formation and a temple with its view.

Bali has the charm in its Monkey Temple, forest and sanctuary.

Let the gateway to heaven take you to the same in the beautiful island.

There is no shortage of beautiful temples in the Island of Bali.

You always feel the great need to take a walk towards eternity.

The temples of Bali might be smaller, but the level of beauty goes further.

Most temples seem to lie close to water & well-maintained for sure.

*Please read my review on Avengers: Endgame, the biggest movie of the year. Also read my review on Lucifer, the biggest Malayalam movie release of the year.

TeNy