Perumbavoor’s Own Poru

You know how much nature and its beauty means to us these days. It is more than what it used to be, as despite Kerala having so much of greenery, we are having more and more of the concrete jungles every day, making life further difficult. It is where Paniyeli Poru comes to the picture again. It is a place about which I had written earlier, and as a place close to home, it has been easier to visit. The same meant that there was to be another visit to follow, and here it is. I am sharing a few pictures of the latest visit, and I am sure that you are all familiar with the place if you have been following this blog. The closest town is Perumbavoor, followed by Kothamangalam and then Muvattupuzha, it is also costing only a short drive from the Cochin International Airport. Vengoor and Kodanad are nearby villages where you can stop for a cup of tea. You can also combine the deer park at Abhayaranyam, elephant training centre at Kodanad, the birthplace of Sri Adi Shankara at Kalady and the International pilgrim centre at Malayattoor with this journey. Ernakulam district does have a lot more than it seems.

***All the photos shared here were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone 5, during my journeys. For the best among divergent horror movies, read about The Autopsy of Jane Doe.

TeNy

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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

More Time with Nature

Nature has been my first inspiration to blog. My first blog comes from my thoughts during the times of travel. Now, even this blog stands here many more posts older. On this day, I will add something about another interesting destination close to nature; a place which I have visited multiple times, and one of the closest eco-tourism destinations near my home. If any of you come to my home, I am sure that this will be the first place I will make you visit 😀

You will see this Nandi statue on the way; one of the largest in India.

You will see this Nandi statue on the way to the destination; one of the largest in India.

The place is Paniyeli Poru, another place which brings us close to nature, away from the troubles of modernity. It has only gained popularity in the last few years, but most of you will be very much familiar about the famous Elephant training center near the destination, Kodanad. It was always a popular destination, going back to my childhood when we went to see the elephants there – well, now Paniyeli Poru joins the package, just about five kilometres from this location.

The Pietà on the way tells you that the path taken is correct.

The Pietà on the way tells you that the path taken is correct and you need to continue.

You can reach the road to Kodanad by taking a right turn at Vallom if you are coming from Perumbavoor side, or the left turn if coming from the Angamaly side. The former is for people coming from the South which includes the city of Cochin and the latter is for those arriving from the Northern side which includes the Cochin International Airport. On the way, you can find a huge Nandi statue on left – a part of Aimury Shri Mahadeva Temple; this might be the largest statue of Nandi as of now. After a few kilometres, on the right, you will find a Pietà, and you know that the path is right.

You travel and travel looking to reach this place of serenity.

You travel and travel looking to reach this beautiful place of serenity; keep going.

Along with Kodanad, you can also visit Abhayaranyam Mini Zoo, which has mostly deers – it was still under construction when I last visited. Perumbavoor is the closest town, just above fifteen kilometres from there through the straight route and a lot shorter through shortcuts. about twenty five kilometres from there, Angamaly is the closest railway station while Aluva at thirty one kilometres is the closest big station. It is twenty five kilometres from the Cochin International Airport and fifty five kilometres from the city of Cochin.

There are some swings which are close to nature around here :D

There are some swings which are close to nature around here; for the inner child 😀

You can also combine this journey with your trips to the spiritual town of Kalady where Adi Shankara was born, and Malayattoor which is a very popular Christian pilgrim centre due to its relation to Saint Thomas. But once you reach Paniyeli Poru, it is all about you and nature. Actually, there is a KSRTC low-floor non-AC (green) bus which goes from Perumbavoor to Paniyeli Poru. This place which is located on the banks of river Periyar will have some interesting places on the way there where you might want to stop.

This side of Periyar continues to display that awesome beauty.

This side of Periyar continues to display that awesome beauty; you know the river.

There is a nice walk through the paved path which leads to further inside where there are rocks, water and greenery all around. There is beautiful sights all around, it is only gaining in popularity with more families coming there instead of the adventurous youth who were the only ones who preferred the place earlier. It has a history youth falling prey to the slippery areas around. People are adviced not to get into water during the monsoon season when there is more risk.

You go along such paved paths until you reach the rocks.

You go along such paved paths until you reach the rocks while noticing the river.

Paniyeli Poru is the kind of place where you can spend some time in peace. It might be the best place to find some time with nature when you are coming from Cochin. Your choice of places to combine with this nice package to Paniyeli Poru will depend on your interests. With the new bridge up, you can travel through Kalady and Malayattoor to reach Kodanad when coming from the North, and that will surely make a nice spiritual trip combined with the time nature at Paniyeli Poru. For food nearby, check out Possible Food Programs, even though some details in the post has changed.

The mountains are far away, but you know that there are promises to keep.

The mountains are far away, but you know that there are promises to keep.

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

TeNy

Antiquity, Beauty and Beliefs

Here are ten of my favourite Catholic churches in Kerala. Yes, I have traveled to a lot of them, and have taken photos of most of them. I have been pretty much interested in the spiritual affairs for some time now; some of these also got the value of antiquity and the rest has the strength of beauty, powered by legends and beliefs.

10. Basilica of Our Lady of Snows, Pallippuram: Saved from Tipu Sultan’s attack during the Mysorean Invasion of Travancore, this one managed not only to be spared from destruction but thrive, and is a smaller but beautiful structure located close to the oldest existing European fort in India.

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9. St. Joseph’s Church, Aluva: Part of the St. Joseph Pontifical Institute Of Theology Philosophy, which is one of the biggest of its kind in the area, this is one structure that you might wish to see for all its beauty in architecture as well as nature.

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8. Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam: Built after the tradition of Vallarpadath Amma who is believed to have saved her devotees multiple times from the forces of nature, this structure also has a tower which you can enter and see the area from a big height.

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7. Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Cochin: Originally built by Portuguese, and later rebuilt after being demolished by the British, this church is a beautiful building of Gothic and colonial architecture, becoming a symbol of Fort Cochin itself.

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6. St. Andrew’s Basilica, Arthunkal: Known for St. Sebastian’s feast, this church is also known for being a big pilgrimage centre. Its tradition traces its origins back to a mythical tale that links the Arthunkal Veluthachan of the church with the Sabarimala Ayyappan.

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5. St. George Church, Kothamangalam: The Catholic Church at Kothamangalam is often less noticed compared to the other churches there, but the beauty and the architectural style are something that will surely catch your attention.

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4. St. Mary’s Church, Kuravilangad: Believed to have witnessed the Marian apparition, and having a long history before the Europe even got close to being Christian, this church is another wonderful structure.

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3. St. Thomas Church, Malayattoor: At a pilgrim centre which has more churches, this newly built version of the older church is a mesmerizing beauty, and you just need to have a look at its altar to believe in Keats’ version of beauty.

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2. St. George Basilica, Angamaly: Often considered the largest church in India, or sometimes corrected as the biggest in South India, this one has some of the most beautiful painted glasses around, and the light reflected through the same is a thing of extreme beauty.

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1. Our Lady Of Dolours Basilica, Trichur: The tallest church in India and one of the tallest in Asia, this Gothic structure also has a big tower which can be entered to see the whole town, as this is also the tallest building in the town.

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All photos were taken on my camera and my previous mobile (Sony Cybershot DSC-W310/Samsung Star Duos). Which one is your favourite? 😉
TeNy

The Conquest of Fear

Watch the ad that shows Arya’s journey from fear to victory with Mountain Dew.

There are not many things stronger than fear. Some people will say that there is faith, others will believe in hope, but the strength of fear is, at most of the times bigger than any of these other things. People do things or hesitate to do things just because of fear, and it is not something new – it is a fact that we can see through centuries; history proves the same during its passage through ages. There is the need to conquer this fear if we have to progress in life. Don’t we all need to #RiseAboveFear?

I have had my fears, and even as I have never really made a list about the same, I am certain that one of the bigger fears were my fear of the heights. Yes, I have rarely dared to go to the heights and take a look below. Even when I did, I have mostly been holding on to something and chanting prayers. But that had to change with a journey, and it was that day on which we decided to go to Malayattoor.

The beautiful altar serves as a blessing to our journey.

The beautiful altar serves as a blessing as well as a confidence booster to the journey.

For those who don’t know about this place, it is a pilgrimage centre about fifty kilometres from Cochin, with a church located at the top of the hill, where Saint Thomas the Apostle is supposed to have prayed there. It is believed that, after arriving at Kodungalloor in AD 52, he stopped at Malayattoor on the way to Mylapore. This is one of the most visited Christian pilgrimage centres in Kerala and should be the top holy destination in the whole of India which is not dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

So, when my friend told me that this time he is visiting the place alone as his father was not well and won’t be able to climb the hill, I decided to give him company. This was to be my first successful climbing of a hill, as I have been afraid until then. I have tried to go up this hill, but never even reached near even quarter of the distance, as I got worried and came back every time – a total of three times until then.

The rocks are nothing just the path to our final destination

The rocks are nothing but just the path to our final destination at the top of the hill.

It was easier for him, as he has already been to the top many times. I was still worried about the slippery rocks which stood on the way, and my inability to maintain balance due to fear was evident. He was faster and had to stop regularly to wait for me. The sights of older people and devotees climbing while holding different types of big crosses on their shoulders were more of the inspiration for me.

The church at top of the hill awaits us reaching there.

The church at the top of the hill awaits us to reach there, surrounded by nature.

I wondered why I was thinking about myself as so weak, and was being too afraid. The fact that it was a pilgrimage strengthened me. I felt that this was the moment to get rid of the fear, and something like this will only strengthen me for future. If I can’t climb to the top now, my fear was never going to end, and I would never have any confidence about myself.

The old altar also awaits us believers on the top of the hill.

The old altar with its own antiquity also awaits us believers on the top of the hill.

So, I stopped at the beginning stages of the journey and had a Mountain Dew, one of my favourite soft drinks. It has been what I always preferred to have, along with Mirinda and 7Up. So I continued that journey upwards, and I decided to make it as fast as possible. There were so many people around, and as people of all ages were doing the same thing with confidence, it helped me a lot in gaining the confidence.

One of the views before reaching the top - fair enough to inspire.

One of the views before reaching the top – quite strong enough to inspire anybody.

It took me much less time for me to reach the top as I decided not to stop at anything, not for my fear of looking down and neither for my doubts about reaching the top, and I have never been happier when I was at the top. I considered it my greatest achievement against the fear, and I was not afraid anymore. We wandered around there, prayed and had another bottle of Mountain Dew along with clicking a few photos.

 And then I was at the top; I couldn't be any happier.

And then I was at the top; tired and of lesser strength, but I couldn’t be any happier.

After giving Saint Thomas his due and spending our time in prayers, we slowly came down, and I had no fear in coming down, as I had conquered what I thought I couldn’t. I was sure that this was only the beginning of my big journeys to the heights. It was the end of a journey and the beginning of the confidence which had me not that worried about the heights any more. On the way back, we stopped at the Indian Coffee House at Kalady and had tea to plan another journey, after this victory.

And then it was the time to take a look towards the beauty of nature.

And then it was the time to take a look at the beauty of nature, along with having some rest.

*All photos used in this blog are from my journeys to Malayattoor at different times, taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310. This blog post was written as part of Mountain Dew‘s “Rise Above Fear” Happy Hours campaign in association with Indiblogger. Have a wonderful weekend and Sunday, and do spare some time to check the official Mountain Dew Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia.

TeNy