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

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

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

These Hills Have Eyes

Whenever there is a talk about waterfalls in Kerala, it is all about Athirappilly Falls – Yes, there is no match for that wonderful waterfalls which should be the largest and the most talked about fall of water in Kerala. It is Thommankuthu Waterfalls which managed to gain some attention with its multiple group of falls which come one after the other, at a location which is easily accessible. Then there is Thusharagiri Waterfalls in the north, in the district of Kozhikode, which has become more popular than ever, these days, located about fifty one kilometres from the big city of northern Kerala. I leave you with some of the photos taken during our last visit through this beautiful place of wonderful greenery. Well, this is not where the natural beauty of Kerala begins or ends, as there is always score for more greenery with the state!

***The images used in this blog were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max, which has proven to be a fine mobile phone. As you read this, take time to read reviews of the latest flicks from Malayalam movie industry, Aadhi and Shikkari Shambhu which are nice entertainers.

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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