Where Monsters Thrived

You might have heard about the name Bhoothathankettu – meaning the fort of monsters, and also having a legend regarding the same. I had already written about this beautiful place, but with a newer visit, and so many changes being occurred at the place, another post became a necessity, just like my recent posts about Paniyeli Poru and Ezhattumugham. The place is just eleven kilometres from its nearest town Kothamangalam, and can be grouped with the journeys to Thattekkad, Urulanthanni, Pooyamkutty and Idamalayar. Twenty two kilometres from Muvattupuzha, twenty six kilometres from Perumbavoor and around forty something kilometres from Aluva, Angamaly, Thodupuzha and the Cochin Airport, this place is one of the more easily accessible places of serenity. Even from Cochin city, the distance is just above fifty kilometres, and so, you can meet these monsters without that much of a trouble. These are the newer pictures taken by me on my Asus Zenfone; hope you like them!

TeNy

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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

Return to the Nature Village

It had been a long time since I had returned to the place which had the label, Prakrithi Gramam, or Nature Village. It was one of the first few places which I had visited with my friends on a motor-bike, and this time, with someone special, I had to return to the place. More about the same is on my Facebook profile, and I will share a few photos with you all on my third trip to the place overall, and the first trip after they built the bridge. The name of the place is Ezhattumugham, and I have already written about it related to my earlier visit, and it is close to the Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery, and the nearest town is Angamaly. If you are visiting the Athirappilly Waterfalls, you need to go here too.

***The photos used in this post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone 5.

Also read about the latest, humorous realistic movie in the theatres right now, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

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

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

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

Special Class: Great Traditions

Vampire Hamster: Greetings, my dear fellow vampire appendicitis, and I welcome all of you here.

Vampire Crocodile: Wait a minute! Did he just call us appendicitis?

Vampire Alligator: On some occasions, that is also true.

Vampire Panda: I would have been surprised if he had managed to get that one correct.

Vampire Bat: It is apprentice, Squire Hamster.

Vampire Hamster: Oh! I apologize! Yes, my dear fellow vampire apprentices, you are welcome to this special class on the “Great Vampire Family Traditions” which will taken by the Vampire Owl and watched over by the Vampire Bat.This will be the final class before the tea party.

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Vampire Owl: Good evening, students. I hope your coffins are all in good condition and you are enjoyed the darkness inside there. I would like to begin with the most important tradition that we follow here, which the humans never know about. It is called respecting each other ass a person, no matter from where and from what background the other person comes from. This has been a part of the great vampire tradition.

Vampire Crow: I know that very well. The humans disrespect crows every day. They don’t even have wings, and still they do this. I often wonder how evil they would have been if they could fly and had my special colour.

Vampire Penguin: They think that I am cute, and that is the most disrespectful thing.

Vampire Owl: Then there is the tradition of drinking tea. The artificial blood chemical mixed into tea makes the drink a usual part of our tradition. It was introduced for us with the second stage of the New Vampire World, but the roots go back to the Old Vampire Isles. This way, we remain mostly vegetarian.

Vampire Crocodile: The tea is my favourite. When we mix this tradition with the crocodile tradition of Lake Placid, it makes clear that the crocodiles need more tea than the others.

Vampire Panda: That makes no sense. We are from the Kungfu Panda tradition. We need more tea for more energy to practice martial arts.

Vampire Bat: Silence! The individual traditions will be dealt with during another class. This one will be on collective vampire traditions only.

Vampire Owl: Well, you know the tradition of not living according to the advice of the society. It is the elders of the realm and some people who call themselves professionals that keeps telling us that we have to do something and nothing else; that we are not capable of anything else. We have worked hard on this, but we haven’t been able to achieve this like our predecessors did. Still, we will keep trying, and soon we will achieve perfection in this.

Vampire Penguin: I have forgotten the happy feet dance completely. I am good at that.

Vampire Panda: And in my case, the noodles making procedure. I don’t even eat noodles these days.

Vampire Bat: That is once again not part of our class and discussion. Kindly listen to the class. There will time provided for asking questions.

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Vampire Owl: The grand tradition is to respect our history which has defined us and made us what we are now. It lives in us and it shall live through us. We have gone through the times of trouble and fought big wars, but all of us have come out of them stronger and with better understanding, having further care for each life and all that defines us, which has been proven to be very important.

Vampire Bat: And that is my personal favourite.

Vampire Owl: And our final and the most important tradition, to live in harmony with nature, not to exploit it, but to do whatever we can for conservation. We shall return to nature the love that it has provided us, at least in parts. This is a tradition which we intend to teach the humans soon because they are the only creatures who have absolutely no plan of respecting nature.

Vampire Bat: That finishes the lecture.

Vampire Hamster: I believe that will be all from the class, and now we are open to questions and some discussion.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie, Hotel Transylvania.

TeNy

Through the Oubliette

Werewolf Anger: The dungeons here are quite interesting. I am becoming a big fan of these things.

Vampire Bat: Actually, that is not a dungeon. It is an oubliette. You can see the difference from the style itself.

Werewolf Anger: In our world, there is no difference. We call them the Dungeons of Transformation.

Vampire Bat: Maybe it is case in the werewolf lands. But, here we keep them separately. We consider them different, both in the brain and the heart. These oubliettes can only be accessed by a hatch on the top while dungeons are like rooms, just with a lock which is rarely opened. Dungeons make it too easy for the evil ones.

Werewolf Anger: Is there a difference in the type of prisoners who are supposed to be here? As of now, I see nobody inside – or are they invisible creatures which can’t be detected by the werewolf eyes? I have had eye problems, but I should be able to see anything not belonging to magical spheres of fire and air.

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Vampire Bat: Actually, we could manage none so far. The people to be imprisoned here are not the usual kind of people. They are not found in this realm, but belongs to the world of humans.

Werewolf Anger: I understand. So, what kind of people are we talking about here?

Vampire Bat: You will know that. Do you see that greenery around our castle?

Werewolf Anger: Yes, I do. It is a nice view.

Vampire Bat: I saw such greenery in the human world on a beautiful day and in the next year, it wasn’t there. So, we decided to keep this place open for such people who destroy the beauty of nature by littering, deforestation and bothering wildlife in the name of tourism. We are actually planning to create special trashbins for them and plant trees in some lesser visited areas when they are not looking.

Werewolf Anger: I have to say that I like that idea a lot. Conservation of nature is a very important thing. Our kind has evolved in the forests and not the cities or towns. I consider these modernity as a terrible thing which we should fight together.

Vampire Bat: There is also space here for those who write, draw and spit on the monuments. They call themselves tourists, but if they are involved in such activities, I can only call them vandals or barbarians. We consider each monument as significant as our Great Vampire Castle. We won’t spare any of them. Nobody has the right to diminish the beauty of architecture which is a work of art.

Werewolf Anger: I am not sure about that because we live in caves, made with special rocks, of course. But I understand your feelings.

Vampire Bat: I have also expanded the list by adding those people who don’t value the local culture. It is very much needed because humans have always been fighting over cultures, languages, customs and traditions along with their religion, caste and race based problems. Everyone needs to be a good guest who respects the host no matter where they are visiting! When there are things which are not to be done, they shouldn’t be done! No alcohol means none, and no non-vegetarian food means a clear no! When photos are not allowed, capture the sights with your eyes or pen and paper.

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Werewolf Anger: Yes, like we respect each other and the two separate cultures divided by the blood-moon and the blue-moon, united by the aversion towards silver. So, when can I see some prisoners here? I am already very angry at them.

Vampire Bat: Well, we can’t be sure about that. The official permission letter hasn’t been received from the Vampire Elders. We are waiting for the same. After we are able to get that, we can contact some of the human governments to send them some of these irresponsible people.

Werewolf Anger: I shall keep the anger restricted to my name until then. It is really depressing to have all the anger in the name and not able to put it in display. My services will be available to you whenever there is the need.

Vampire Bat: I hope that the humans understand that responsible tourism is the path to follow. Otherwise, Werewolf Anger will see them in the oubliette for whatever kind of pollution and harm they have caused. The wood elves will also have something to say and a lot more to contribute. The world needs nature and all that are associated with it; the historical monuments are the symbols of the collective achievement of the known universe, and we need to keep them in the best way possible.

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

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie, Hotel Transylvania.

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

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

Day of the Fire-starter

The title refers to Sunday, and it has been the special day, the one holiday at the end of the week which everyone has been waiting for. Throughout our lives, we have prayed for Sunday to come earlier, especially during the school and college days – Saturdays were mostly holidays, but the threat of the arrival of special classes was eternally present. So, Sunday was the one safe day, and it was the day on which the plans could be made without thinking too much about what else could happen on the day. A nice Sunday treat makes a better Monday!

Plan A: The movie :: Watching a movie is always the best choice. Even as I watch one movie on Friday or the first day of its release itself, there are always more movies around here to give a try. Sunday movie watching program means that there will be also another person to accompany you. Well, it is needed for me because not everyone is that jobless as I am. I try to leave the more family-oriented movie for the Sunday if I go with parents or relatives; otherwise I leave the more fun movie for later, watching the lesser known movie on the first of day of release.

Plan B: The mall :: The malls came here quite late, but the biggest mall in India did come to Kochi in the form of Lulu Mall. With a total of six malls in the city area itself, we are provided with the option to spend the Sundays there in peace. Five out of the six malls actually have the movie option with the multiplexes too. So, it is only fair to spend some time there and the movie option can also add to it. The option of watching three or four movies on one day itself is also there in these malls considering the number of screens available.

A shot on one of the early days of Lulu Mall after the grand opening :)

A shot on one of the early days of Lulu Mall; isn’t this a nice weekend choice?

Plan C: The beach :: Kochi has no shortage of beaches, as the new tourism initiatives have made it better. A day at the beach will be another nice option, even though the rush will be higher at those more popular beaches like Fort Cochin and Cherai, but then we have those smaller and lesser known beaches which can give us the peaceful experience. I used to try this beach option very often when the friends were around the city, but not that much anymore with almost all of them working far away.

Plan D: The nature :: The closest destinations in the heart of nature includes Paniyeli Poru, Bhoothathankettu, Ezhattumugham, Thommankuthu and many others. As Kerala is blessed with such natural beauty, there is no need to travel much, with beautiful locations exist near and around the river Periyar, the state’s longest river. We friends used to go to some of these places on every Sunday – those were some wonderful days, which can be brought back at some point of time, I hope.

We go through places like this one, and we wonder why not be here forever?

We go through places like this, and we wonder why not choose nature right away?

Plan E: The relations :: There are the relatives who join us on a nice Sunday, but that situation has been brought down a lot to very less impact these days in our case. Not many relatives remain around here, and I am sure that I can find more relatives at Bangalore than in our district. But it wasn’t the case until a few years ago. The relatives were here and we could go to places with them. Nowadays, we still go to their houses at times, only two find the parents there who await the arrival of their children some day!

Plan Z: Home sweet home :: We call it Plan Z because it is the last plan. But it has been a usual plan for me during the last few months. There are not many friends left to go out with, and most of the time, the number remains a zero. So, the “home sweet home” option usually becomes the right choice. It is still a nice option to spend some time home with parents and the pet. After all, there is no other place like home, and there will be some nice movies on the television which can be watched together.

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

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

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

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

Seven Faces of Beauty

There are not many places which I have visited with friends in the first half of the 2000s. But I am sure that there was one such a place, and this destination was so lesser known at that time that if we had talked about this possible location for spending some time during the weekend, people would ask why – there was Ezhattumugham. Most of the people during that time wouldn’t have known the location, but things have changed now. This place has become more popular these days, even though it is not yet a destination which brings a lot of crowd.

Enter the world of rocks; do you feel like Super Mario around here?

Enter the world of rocks; do you feel like Super Mario around here?

After visiting the place in 2004, I had another journey there in 2012 and was surprised at the changes which had happened there. In 2004, it was like a place rarely explored, and nowadays, there is a good number of visitors there. Earlier, the cars were rare to find, and most of the visitors were the youth who came on motor-bikes. But in the last few years, the fame did spread and families did start visiting the place and the facilities also did increase making it an official tourist destination.

The tree-house idea keeps making things better, all the time.

The grand tree-house idea keeps making things better, all the time.

Even though it is located in the border areas of Ernakulam and Trichur districts, the place is only about fifty kilometres from the city of Cochin, and a journey from the Cochin International Airport will take only about thirteen kilometres. The nearest city is Trichur which is less than fifty kilometres away. You can take a turn at Angamaly or at Karukutty while coming from Cochin as you go through Aluva by the National Highway 47. A turn at Chalakudy might be the best road even though longer.

You have the right and privilege to get transported to this world.

You have the right and privilege to get transported to this world.

The Chalakudy route is mostly preferred for the people who come from the North while the South has their own shortcuts. There was also a hanging bridge coming up to join banks of the river. The popularity of Ezhattumugham also has its roots in the Federal Institute of Science and Technology (FISAT) which is located about four kilometres from there. It is from the students of the reputed engineering college that I first came to know about Ezhattumugham and my first visit was also with one of them.

There is more beauty to nature than you will ever find in the known world.

There is more beauty to nature than you will ever find in the known world.

Ezhattumugham is a place of serene beauty. There will be only less visitors during the morning times, and a walk through the place is nothing less than refreshing. With developments taking place as the potential has been realized, there are tree-houses and park facility for children along with small shops to have some nice tea on the entrance, with restroom facility also available on one side. You can walk quite some distance around there, looking at and capturing the beauty of nature.

You walk through this disconnected path, towards eternity.

You walk through this disconnected path, towards eternity.

You are free to walk on the rocks and water through nature as you witness trees fed by the water which surrounds them, and all those shapes which these rocks will take. As you walk on these rocks to reach the centre and the other sides of the river, you will feel the need to sit there and enjoy the beauty. You can also walk on the dam-like area to reach the other side. I haven’t seen where the new bridge actually begins and end; maybe it brings a better view of the beauty of the place.

It is the green side which pauses your journey each and every time.

It is the green side which pauses your journey each and every time.

Athirapally-Vazhachal waterfalls is also only about twenty four kilometres from here, and so you can combine both these destinations together to make it one nice package. The best places for food will still be Indian Coffee House which is present throughout the route from Cochin after Aluva. You can divide the day into two and cover both of them as long as you don’t slow down and start right when the places open for tourists. Ezhattumugham won’t be that safe during the rainy season though, and you have to be careful during the journey all the time if you are not used to this.

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

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

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC W-310.

+Wishing you all, a Happy Deepavali/Diwali 🙂

TeNy

Into the Soul of Nature

Less than twenty kilometres from the town of Thodupuzha lies Thommankuthu, the eco-tourism centre which has a number of waterfalls, including one very scenic fall which is a nice place for a photo-shoot. You have to walk some distance to reach this one, and the walking process, even though through uneven terrain, won’t be that difficult because the scenery is wonderful around. On your left, there will be elevation and on the right, there is the way down through rocks and water flowing through.

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

So, when Thommankuthu finally calls you aloud, will you be there? 😀

If you have watched the song “Kattum Mazhayum” from the 2012 movie Chattakkari featuring Shamna Kasim and Hemanth Menon, you will know that it was shot here; it is a beautiful song with the environment also well utilized – you can look for it on Youtube some time to enjoy the music as well as to see the place nicely shot. Getting to the waterfalls is rather easy. With Cochin Airport as the closest airport, the nearest railway stations should be Ernakulam, Kottayam, Aluva and Angamaly with Aluva being the best choice. I last traveled to the place about an year ago, and the roads were very good at that time.

A bridge on which you will drive your car. It is part of nature :D

A bridge on which you will drive your car. It is just a small part of nature 😀

About reaching Thommankuthu, coming from the North, you can go through Chalakudy, Angamaly and Perumbavoor to reach Muvattupuzha and then Thodupuzha; Perumbavoor route is to be taken when arriving from the Cochin Airport too. From the South, you can come through Palai getting to Thodupuzha from there or through Koothattukulam and Muvattpuzha. You can travel through Pattimattom or Kolenchery when coming from the city of Cochin. The accomodation is best at a town of your choice from those mentioned before. You can stop for food at any of the towns mentioned as there are some nice restaurants around.

The presence of a tree-house makes things special all the time.

The presence of a tree-house makes things special all the time; not just here.

But in the case of tea, if you need it, you can have some great tea from one of those shops around before entering the eco-tourism destination. You can have some tea and start the journey by taking some photos from the side of those shops as there is something like a nice viewpoint there. A visit in the morning will be better as there will be less rush. Thommankuthu is still a destination which has less crowd than those places with lesser potential manage to have. The evenings will have more people around.

Walking on the rocks, towards that final destination.

Walking on the rocks, towards that final destination which gets closer.

The journey from the last big town Thodupuzha to Thommankuthu will begin to get scenic very early if you look out through the windows of the vehicle. On the way, there will be places where you might wish to stop and take pictures. There is one particular bridge which you might really want to have a look at. There will be a lot of greenery around and this will surely make sure that your immortal desire for wandering away from modernity can get the early thumbs up.

Trees like this one brings a nice feeling of being close to nature's soul.

Trees like this one brings a nice feeling of being close to nature’s soul.

After you pass the gates, it the long, but interesting walk. The trees and the atmosphere makes sure that you won’t get tired that easily. The restrooms are there in the beginning, and there are also benches at some areas, even though you can sit on a rock or a giant root of a huge tree. It is after you go past the danger area that you should greet your temptation to get to the rocks and the water. You will still need to look for the slippery areas though. There is the necessity to look for the sign boards to make sure.

We go through places like this one, and we wonder why not be here forever?

We go through places like this one, and we wonder why not be here forever?

There will be tree-houses on the top of some trees which will provide nice viewpoints. Some trees will also inspire you to take some photos. After a certain point is reached, you will need a local guide to go further. The journey after that will be more difficult. In the case of a family trip or when you are beginning to get tired, stopping here will be appropriate. If you are in an adventurous mood and there is the need to see more waterfalls, caves and viewpoints, you can go ahead.

And then the waterfalls which proves to be nice background for everything!

And then the waterfalls which proves to be nice background for everything!

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 and Samsung Galaxy Duos. I wonder if Amal Neerad will shoot a movie like Iyobinte Pushtakam here, capturing all its glory! 🙂

TeNy

A River: Through Camera


There has been a good number of songs which have featured Periyar going through the town of Aluva, the most popular ones having the name itself in the songs including “Aluva Puzhayude” in the recent blockbuster Premam and “Aayiram Padasarangal Kilungi” from the 1969 movie Nadhi. Here are a few shots of the very popular river which has flown through inside a good number of Malayalam movies. All these shots were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 Camera.

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***Keep calm and spend some time near the Aluvaite part of Periyar or “Aluva puzha” 😀 Delighted to have lived so long on the banks of this river 🙂

TeNy

Discovering Togetherness

The world has been caught in the clutches of technology from which there seems to be no escape. It has only gotten worse in the last few years. The digital world has completely redefined the relationships, and the new meanings for the next generation are not really positive. There is so much of Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter which guide our lives. We are not really having the best future citizens for our nation. It has been some time since humanity has been slave to these machines, and it is time to make the grand return to the real world with some real emotions. It is time to get out of here.

What we need here is to be together, not while looking at our mobiles, and not by staring at the television or playing computer games. This togetherness has to happen outside, with nature, like a few of those moments which we remember from our childhood days. Things were much different at that time. There were trees to provide us with fruits and there were open grounds were we played cricket and football. But those days are clearly gone now with modernity taking over.

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So, the question remains about what we can do together. There was a 2014 Malayalam movie called How Old Are You, had Manju Warrier doing the main role of the lady who does vegetable cultivation on the rooftop and inspires many other women to join her. It was also remade in Tamil as 36 Vayadhinile with Jyothika playing the protagonist. Doing something useful along with being close to nature is something that brings a lot of relief to our daily stressful lives, and doing the same with others give one more satisfaction.

The thing about nature is that inspires us to continue what we have been doing. We have a number of trees planted around our home. There is not that much space around, but with what we have, we did manage to make something. There are also a few vegetables around. When our relatives away from the city arrives, they also join in helping with the same. There is a certain amount of happiness which is shared by doing such work together, that too being close to nature.

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A journey through nature will surely make us feel the same. May be we can visit some of our friends and relatives outside the city and town limits to witness some of the beauty. Nature is something which inspires not only our camera, but a wide variety of thoughts. It gives us reasons to love, and a chance to redeem the greenery which is being lost to us. Nature lets us know that we have the power to do something, and where we need to apply our thoughts. After all, we are part of nature too.

Still there will be people who won’t care, and it will up-to a small number of us. A recently released Malayalam movie Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi talks about the story of a few people who makes a different in saving a forest. It is a movie and they have done a lot more than what can be done in a usual situation. Still, in our current world, we should try and do what we can. It is all about trying, because this is not that much of a struggle as the whole thing is rather interesting!

There is something that we can do about it with ease. We can register at Kissanpur and get some tomato seeds for free. It is a fine interesting concept from Kissan. The advertisement nicely supports the idea too. There are some nice uses for tomato and as we already know, it is good for health in many ways. It always feels good to cultivate the healthy food at home at a time when all the fruits and vegetable comes mixed with the slow poison which will harm us one way or the other.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Kissan. You can check the website for more information about these: http://www.kissanpur.com/

TeNy