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

The Blog Post No: 500

I have been moving towards this milestone, the five hundredth post on this blog for some time – there was a time when I thought that I could get to five hundred posts only while combining all my blogs together, but here I am, as The Tea Cerebration(s) has achieved that figure. I have been thinking about writing about a movie for this special occasion, but then I felt that I should stick to the personal side with this post. I really haven’t watched that special a movie for some time; so lets take this one back through the memories.

Lets talk about the awesome people I have met in the last one year or so. At a time when I was wondering what was next for me, the blogging fraternity has always been there for me – I am thankful to them for the same. I have met a number of my fellow bloggers, all of them at Cochin or Delhi. I have met a lot of people already from online communities, and last one year for so, has been special. I have met some of the most amazing people in these times, and I have been a lot of happy about the same.

At Delhi, there were four other bloggers for the conclave, as the winners of the writing contest on The World Remade; I met Arvind, Shoma, Shreya and Yogita at Taj Palace Hotel, Delhi. It was the best of times – I also met Mayank from India Today there. This one might always be my biggest win ever, and the only time when I have met so many bloggers at the same time. It was also one of the most interesting journeys of all-time, with the chance to see all those celebrities in person, and also to wander around the city as a tourist. I really needed a reason to visit Taj Mahal, and finally, there I was, with the suitable reason.

It is good to have an identity - we don't always get to have one.

I was surely left with the feeling that I missed meeting so many other bloggers at Delhi though, with the chance there – maybe there is another opportunity on another day. Life has the ability to provide you with second chances, as I have felt and proven at many points of my time-line of existence. Well, hope has got wings, right? I am sure that we have read that somewhere in a poem. According to Emily Dickinson, it had feathers, I guess. It should never cease to exist – there were many situations when I thought that I was done with blogging, but here I am, with my existence still being there.

On another day, I managed to meet Anoop, at the Ernakulam South railway station, followed by four cups of tea. It was a meeting which was waiting to happen; I was sure that it was supposed to happen some day, and in the end, it did. At least before Batman was to go and battle Superman, it had to happen 😛 At my break between two movies – Paavada and Monsoon Mangoes, I met Ranjini at the mall – with the tea; that was another meeting which was due for so long, of course; well, we did happen to go to the same school at a point of our life too 😛 Well, a fine day is to be chosen for meeting such wonderful people. I was just lucky enough to find the best time 😀

I later met Deepa at Durbar Hall Art Gallery in Cochin during the exhibition of her paintings last month; feels good to see such awesome creativity at any time. It was just last day that I met Shrinidhi during his visit to Cochin. I am more than happy to meet such amazing people, they have been directly or indirectly a significant part of my life, as not only have they supported me, but their writings have always been a source of inspiration for me. People look at many fields for some motivation, but I have found the same among my friends – the bloggers about whom I have talked about a lot already.

You can avoid and forget many things, but not the lovely tea!

It has taken me 642 days to get to 500 posts on this blog. I have been stuck at the score of 499 for too long after continuously writing for more than a year, and I am glad to have finally got to this milestone. Sometimes, you feel that you need these scores to make you remember, but there are occasions when you understand that it is all about the ideas and the people, and the records and achievements will just follow. I haven’t been able to blog much in the last few months due to work, but I hope to keep this going, as blogging has defined my life more than anything else, and the impact has surely been deeper than I felt earlier.

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

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

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

Queen of the Arabian Sea

Kochi, or Cochin, known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is the city which has driven me forward throughout my life. Yes, we use both names for the city; Cochin and Kochi are used like we wish to! I have always lived less than fifty kilometres from the city, except when I had those trips which lasted not more than one or two months. I believe that this will also be the city which will drive me towards my desires and destinations in life. My mother’s place is located on the other side of the city and so I have traveled through Kochi a lot during my childhood, and later, the malls and multiplexes increased the number of city visits.

The fishing boats with the old bridge of Cochin on the background.

The fishing boats with the old bridge of Cochin on the background.

We used to love going on a drive through the city later in the night, and have food at some special places there. The traffic would be so less at that time. We enjoyed spending our time at the beaches as well as the Marine Drive during our early college life. During those times, there were multiplexes were only on waiting list as the malls were absent, and we frequented the local theatres and had fun there. We also had those historical tourist destinations of Fort Cochin making the place the one choice of antiquity – it was one design of Cochin for us, and now there is more of that design. We always considered Cochin as a city #madeofgreat.

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Cochin is an architectural beauty of great historical, religious and spiritual significance. You can also see the Jewish Synagogue which is considered as the oldest of its kind at this part of the world. The Mattancherry Palace will let you through another journey through the history of Kerala, surrounded by temples. There is also a beautiful Jain Temple. There is also the Dutch Cemetery. Saint Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India is also located at Fort Cochin. The Koonankurishu Church where the famous Coonan Cross Oath against the Portuguese domination took place among the native Christians of Kerala is located around Mattanchery area. You should also add Kumbalangy model tourism village to your journey as you have peace within the extended city!

Santa Cruz Basilica - a structure that you wouldn't want to miss.

Santa Cruz Basilica – a beautiful structure that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Meanwhile, the Kochi International Marina is the only marina in India. Pallipuram Fort built by the Portuguese is the oldest existing European fort in India; it was last owned by the Kingdom of Travancore. There is also the largest archaeological museum in Kerala, the Tripunithura Hill Palace. So many beaches are around from the Fort Cochin beach to the Puthuvype, Cherai and Munambam beaches. You see that there is history and there is the beauty of nature along with the newly arrived modernity – it is the right mixture in the design which you won’t fail to notice. Another nice mixture happens with the religious population which is like not many other cities can boast about.

Kochi has also been a city which has connected us friends coming from different suburbs, towns and villages around the place. Even now, it is where a lot of old friends arrive and we meet up there; the change in the design is with the malls though, with six malls around, and five of them having the multiplex option, Lulu being the largest mall in India. Connecting with the old friends over some food and movie has only managed to get things better. Kochi is well-connected to the towns around, and the bus option is easy, with the Kochi Metro Rail coming up, about to make things even more amazing.

Chinese fishing nets - always part of Cochin and its islands.

The Chinese fishing nets – always part of Cochin and all its islands.

Along with having connectivity through rail, air, water and the National Highway, Kochi’s location right at the centre of Kerala makes it easier for people from all around. The significance of Kochi has only been increasing at a steady rate throughout the the last few years. The Cochin International Airport is the largest and the busiest airport in Kerala it is also the fourth busiest airport in India according to the international passenger traffic recorded. It is also world’s first completely solar energy powered airport. Meanwhile, Cochin Port, has the largest container trans-shipment facility in India.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the home of Kerala Blasters and former home of Kochi Tuskers Kerala is one amazing place to spend some great time during a football match; you will see the love for football like nowhere else. There is one thing about which you can be more certain than many other things, and it is about the beauty of the backwaters of Kochi – it will be an instant hit going right into the soul, even more than those lovely beaches. Kochi also has some amazing food with a lot of variety, and it is up-to you to decide what drives you to connect with the grand design of Kochi. Maybe it can be the Kochi-Muziris Biennale with all the brilliant art on display?

A quote I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale :)

A quote which I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale visit 🙂

What about your favourite city? Is it also made of great things, driving you through its design and having a certain connection to your soul? http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/

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

TeNy