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+

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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.

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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

The Rock Leaves a Point

Illickal Kallu is one of those tourist attractions in Central Kerala which came into picture quite late, but is bringing a lot of travelers these days. With the closest small town being Teekoy at thirteen kilometres, the place has good access to most places even though the roads are not that good these days just like in the case of Ilaveezhapoonjira. There is quite some distance to cover to reach to the top, and cars go only until a certain point after which you need to go for Mahindra jeep service and quite some climb by foot after that. The view is special here because a part of this rock has fallen off, and the rest remain nicely there. There is a beautiful view of green Kerala visible from the top too. A lot of people will be here during the evenings to take some nice photos of sunset.

This place can be visited on the way to Vagamon because it is only thirty kilometres from there. A Vagamon combo is always great. Among the bigger towns, the closest one is Erattupetta at nineteen kilometres. Both Palai and Thodupuzha are situated at around thirty one kilometres from here. With Ilaveezhapoonjira located only twelve kilometres from here, a trip can actually combine the two places. Kattikayam Waterfalls is also very close from here. There is more than one route to travel in this direction, and it is better to ask the locals and choose the roads which are in the best shape. From Kochi area, the distance varies between eighty five and ninety five kilometres according to the area from where you begin your journey. The distance from the big towns of Ernakulam district are: Muvattupuzha – fifty four, Perumbavoor – seventy two, Aluva – eighty eight, Angamaly – eighty eight, Kothamangalam – sixty two, Piravom – sixty one, Koothattukulam – fourty four.

*All photos of Illickal Kallu shown above were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max during my last visit.

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TeNy

An Eternity in a Journey

I need to pass through the bubble. It has been four hours since I reached here. Vagamon is one of the most beautiful hillstations despite it being very easy to reach here from Cochin and its satellite towns. The idea is to take the leap of faith, and it is not just a figurative thing, as literally it remains the same too. The bubble is located far below the suicide point, and the leap had to be perfect. Otherwise, the rock below would have something special to say, and it won’t be beautiful. These rocks had a say between life and death, as they are known to have decided the fate of everyman more than once or twice.

How can someone trust a necromancer with something that is beyond your ability for willing suspension of disbelief? When was the last time a necromancer desired for the betterment of a human being? If I was a creature of darkness, it wouldn’t have caused me any trouble in instantly believing in this. If he was a regular mage, this wouldn’t have been so difficult. But something had to be done, as every second lost in this world will count as a day in what lies beyond the bubble. It has to be the portal that connects the two world. This happens right now or it can never happen. I am taking this chance.

Finding a new world is always difficult, and this one is the closest to nature

I could feel that I am falling into eternity, destined to continue this forever. The fall felt to be very quick, but I could see beautiful castles and meadows on both sides, and occasionally the scenes changed to something darker, with thunderstorms over the ruins of some old buildings. The fall stopped half an hour later, and I could find myself on a smooth surface resembling water. It was not really water as it was solid. It was not really ice as it was incredibly soft. I made my way to the sands on my left side, and after I set my foot there, the surface turned into water. I walked further to meet the same necromancer channeling certain energy into his orb.

The necromancer explained the idea of having this realm parallel to our own. It had to be the utopia which could exist and take all those people who can live in harmony with nature. Below all those meadows, there were houses which were completely made out of living trees and plants. There was only a little bit of metal being used in there, and it was the kind of material which seemed to strengthen the trees. All the vegetation grew in such a way that it was supposed to support the homes as the humans tries to keep the environment intact. The relation here was symbiotic.

There is no lack of beauty with nature staying close to humanity

I left him to wander around the newly discovered place. There were so many wonders of nature all around that small space. I could see aurora in the sky as green lights on the sky reflected the greenery on the meadows. Surrounded by an unknown river on all sides, the place had its own waterfalls and the increasing flow of water kept many waterwheels moving. Along with the same, the wind energy was used with help of those windmills on the top of cliffs and solar energy seemed to taken in using a certain device in the form of an obelisk. The transportation was through ropeway which had car-like things hanging on them.

I noticed that there were two suns on the horizon. I came across the necromancer again, and he told me that it is a natural phenomenon. The portal transports one to that corner of the galaxy which has been unknown to all known alien life forms. It was a few warlocks who found this particular place while exploring their skills of teleportation. One had to go for the #BlindList each and every time to travel all the way here. One also had to #SayYesToTheWorld, to that kind of a world which opposed modernity and its exploitation. Then there was the need to take the leap of faith, where almost all rationalists failed.

It was like being invited on a blind date. To travel to a place you know nothing about, for an experience you have no clue about, has never been something designed for the brain – it was always about the heart and soul. In a world of chaos, people can’t be open-minded enough to say yes. Compared to the #BucketList which has known wishes, #TheBlindList is the one thing that goes a step forward. At some point of time, we have to go for this list, and there is the need to explore more, finding that perfect place which is “magical”, figuratively or literally. The traveler in us asks for the same. Be openminded, #SayYesToTheWorld now and begin the exploration!

**The images used in this blog post are taken from the Official Facebook Page of the popular video game, Mass Effect.

TeNy

Vagamon Revisited

Vagamon is a destination that goes back to childhood, and it was only a developing tourist place at that time. One can say that even now, it is a lesser hill station compared to Munnar and Thekkady. The elevation is surely less, and it might not be as cold as it can be in Munnar. On these days, when the road to Munnar is not that great, we decided to go on another trip to Vagamon, and the result was an interesting one. The shooting of Pranav Mohanlal starrer Irupathionnaam Noottandu was going on at the place, and the number of tourists was low. The traffic was also low, and the roads were not that good. There are some areas where the road is in a pathetic state, thanks to the rain which was continuous and had hammered the state.

Well, the journey this time was still better than the last one, as there was not much of a crowd there, and the options were still there. We saw a new suicide point coming up as an attraction with those usual destinations, and it is certain that it could be something to look out for next time with much more being built around that area. There are not many restaurants here now either, as it used to be then. The town hasn’t really developed that much as Munnar and Thekkady did, and the Kurisumala Farm was closed at that time. But the climate was cooler than ever, and the fog added further beauty to the scenic world. It was the combination of Muharram, Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi, Fourth Saturday and Sunday.

*All photos of Vagamon shown above were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max during my last visit.

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TeNy