Just a Little Away from Munnar

Mankulam which is located at about twenty seven kilometres and an hour and a quarter from Munnar was our location of choice when a few months had passed after the end of COVID-19 lock-down last year. We had chosen this place over Munnar because is it is located ten kilometres closer to the midlands than Munnar, even though it will still take the exact same amount of time to reach there due to the bad condition of the roads – but the road is being repaired, and so that can change. We had chosen this area because it was peaceful there in comparison with Munnar, even though the temperature there was lower by three or four degree Celsius. But it was December, and so that ended up okay. It is to be noted that the other hill stations like Thekkady, Vagamon and Nelliyampathy also have lower temperature than Munnar, and so this is not that much of negative at that particular moment.

We really wanted a break at that time because we hadn’t gone for a trip in such a long time, and we were staying at home whenever possible. At Mankulam, we stayed at Treebo Trend Misty Garden Resorts and Spa, a fine place to stay with a swimming pool, and a good variety of food options available if ordered early. There is also some nice areas to visit nearby, even though they are not big tourist destinations. An evening walk in the area was refreshing. The roads which were being repaired at that time, if finished, can make this journey a quick and easy one. If Munnar seems to crowded, or if you don’t want to go that far, you can choose Mankulam, and I have shared ten pictures below for you to remember this particular area. After all, a stay away from the crowd and within nature with hill view can always be refreshing enough.

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***The images used in blog post were taken by me on my Samsung Galaxy A20S.

TeNy

Kerala Drive: 14-1 Districts

In the last few years, I have driven through thirteen out of fourteen districts of Kerala, along with three districts of Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore, Theni and Dindigul. The only district in Kerala in which I haven’t driven by myself is Kasargod, where I haven’t tried to travel, and when I had finally had my plan, COVID-19 pandemic came upon us. As the district where I have been living, and where my ancestral home is situated, journeys through Ernakulam have been many. Ernakulam itself is a place with all kinds of tourist destinations, which can be visited again and again. Then, the other districts also follow, and among them, Kottayam and Thrissur have the lead with such drives.

Kottayam: Vagamon’s location in Kottayam itself makes the district a favourite travel destination. Along with the same, I have driven to Ilaveezhapoonchira multiple times, and Illikkal Kallu was also added to the list later. Along with the same, visiting St. Alphonsa Pilgrime Centre and shrine at Bharananganam came naturally to us. Other pilgrim centres like the Kuravilangad Church also comes into the picture, and these have made the district regular driving destinations. Along with the same, there are some relatives’ places out there which made me go through the district early itself. Kottayam should be the most driven through district outside Ernakulam.

Thrissur: It is to be noted that Thrissur is so close to Angamaly that we keep visiting the district’s border areas on regular intervals. There are also some relatives’ places to add to it, and pilgrim centres also exist there, starting from the Koratty Church. Some of the best known tourist destinations, Athirappilly and Vazhachal Waterfalls are there, and it is the district which serves as a border to Tamil Nadu through the Sholayar side, and towards Valparai on the other side. We have also loved traveling to the Shobha City Mall in Thrissur City itself, a mall which is one of the best in Kerala, and having a fine multiplex to go with it. There are some very nice resturants on the way.

Idukki: Having some of the best places of natural beauty, Idukki is a district which provides all the beautiful scenery to the eyes. There is always Munnar and we always have Thekkady out there. Along with the same, when we are crossing the borders, Kumily is always there to have a charming journey through the area. The best of tea is also available there, and just crossing the borders, takes us to those grapes in the vineyards of Cumbum. There are so many places which we have visited in Idukki, and you know Munnar very well in advance. Parunthumpara, Panchalimedu, Kuttikkanam and all have you there, and in the lowlands, there is the town of Thodupuzha which I always come across.

Alappuzha and Kollam: There have been many journeys witnessing the beauty of the backwaters of Kerala, and Alappuzha is indeed close enough – we also have some nice beaches to go with the same. Kollam might not be that close, but it also has the beauty of backwaters and those fine beaches. We remember having visiting a good number of them, and going through some interesting journeys on this path. Both the district capitals got their own fine beaches too. Yet, it has been some time since we went through this path, and there is the feeling of such a requirement.

Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram: The former is known for its beauty of nature, which we have quickly gone through, and the latter, is the charming capital of Kerala. The most recent visit to Thiruvananthapuram was for Varkala Beach, but there have been other journeys to that direction earlier. The capital city does have many interesting places to visit, and we have covered most of the beaches. Yet, Pathanamthitta is a district which we require to explore more. With some presence of the relatives, maybe that could happen later at some point of time.

Malabar (Palakkad, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Malappuram): We keep on traveling through Palakkad whenever there is the need to cross over the border to Coimbatore, and Palakkad Fort is always a charm. The Kozhikode trip was a nice one with Thusharagiri Waterfalls, multiples beaches and others. We had visited Thunchan Parambu and other beaches in Malappuram, and more beaches like Muzhappilangad, as well as multiple forts in Kannur with a fine dose of history. We also had a taste of the natural beauty of Wayanad even though a more detailed trip is needed there, as well as in most of Malabar.

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***The images used in blog post were taken by me during these trips between 2005 and 2019.

TeNy

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

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

Nilambur: Teak and More

There are not many things that has the power to stop you from visiting a place like Nilambur – it has no villains, for it is close enough to the midland area, and never really asks you to go on that long ride up, but there is a lot of natural beauty around, away from pollution into a healthy environment to fall in love. Often, it is all that we need during these busy days of life. It is easy to get around, being close enough to the big towns of Manjeri, Malappuram and Perinthalmanna, all well connected through road, and sufficient services of Kerala State Transport buses. Nilambur’s Teak Museum is one special thing, and along with Adyanpara Waterfalls, there are more things of natural beauty that you will need to consider. Valamthode Waterfalls, Nedumkayam, Conolly’s Plot and more should follow. We had our stay at Metro Regency when we visited, and it is a very good place for the cheap rate. Nilambur might be the best known tourist destination in Malappuram district, or at least it is the one place about which we have heard above the rest. It is also just forty five kilometres from Calicut International Airport. Be advised that Google Maps here can’t be termed as among the best guides, for local people will do better.

***All photos used in this blog post about Nilambur were taken on my Asus Zenfone 5 by me only.

For the detailed review of the latest Hollywood superhero flick which is breaking all box-office collection records with ease, not only all around world, but also in India and even Kerala, click here.

For the detailed review of the new Bollywood flick which is driven by best performances of the time, positioning itself safely above many overrated hundred crore dumb flicks in quality, click here.

TeNy

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

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 a Model Village

Kumbalangy is known to be India’s first model tourism village, and it has been a place where I spent a lot of my childhood; and a long time later, I made a return to the place. It looks the same as there is the scenic beauty close enough to the city of Cochin, but with better roads and more facilities for tourism than during those earlier days. Here is something that I leave for you readers from my visit, and you can check my earlier post too 🙂

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***All images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone 5 or Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Requirement for a Dream

We all have our dreams; sometimes we keep them there, not wishing to get it out of that stage due to the high impossible nature, but there are those other dreams which we have no plan to keep there as dreams. We need to get hold of the second type, even though there are times when we are not really sure if they can actually go to the next stage. Maybe those related to competitive examinations and getting a better job can go on forever, but with those related to travel, we do have a certain amount of power to accomplish them.

There will always be the factors which try to keep us away though, and they might be stronger; still there will be a time when we just have to go. I have had mine, but I haven’t let them go, and I haven’t even tried to make them happen yet. I have my travelling list on hold right now, and I hope to keep reminding myself of the same, so that they don’t disappear right into one of those nightmares that I have during those darkest of nights. My dreams about travel go a long way back; and they are deep in those books, those belonging to the horror genre, beginning and ending with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but not limited there.

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Dracula and the rest of the Gothic: There is a certain call!

As I have told a good number of people already, the one dream related to travel, that I have had since my childhood days was to visit the Dracula Castle; not just to reach there, but to get to the destination after wandering through the Carpathian Mountains. I have read many other works which relates to the Gothic horror, located in places which are more appropriate to be called the “land of the dead”, but the Carpathians stayed, not just with the legend of the world’s best known vampire, but also with its natural beauty.

There are the locations which can make a normal person happy; that should include Paris being the City of Love, New York as the City of Skyscrapers, Rome known to be the Eternal City, and all those sobriquets that came with these – then there are the rest of the places in North America and Europe which should be second home to some of our relatives, the grand cities with huge shopping places in the Middle East, the places of pilgrimage, the frequently featured places of natural beauty and the rest which have made into news for one reason or the other.

Then there are those places, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand – it is as if everyone wants to go to at least one of the three nations; most of my friends have, if I go back and read flashback memories of us talking; and I have also been to two of the three already. Then, we know which are those few cities around here that everyone visits frequently – those names are even better known to the crowd. But they won’t make it to my priority list, as I haven’t been in that usual “normal list” for a long time; for I have evolved enough to get my name darkened so much that no sign of it remains there. This means that I will have to travel alone? That would be my pleasure.

So, with the lack of existence in that list of people, I have managed to get into another list, and instead of those usually preferred trips, here is the journey to the historical Bran Castle to which the legend is associated, and it will have to be one trip through those beautiful lands. The imposing Corvin Castle and Poenari Castle, the two other castles which are also connected to the legend, will also require a visit, because the dream is never limited; it is something that is spread over all these. The great castles will have tales to tell, all of which, I will be very happy to listen to, for I also have my own stories to tell in return.

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All journeys need a big turn like this one even between all the beauty.

I have hoped to be there within that dark fantasy world which I had dreamt about; I have wished to be part of that special world of the unknown which was beyond human understanding, and to be part of myth and history at the same time. There was to be those days of the darker side of mysteries which go a long way beyond our knowledge – it was to make life better for me, even without that magic and that fantasy there, but is that to happen soon? Well, we will know at some point.

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra #DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me.

TeNy

The South: Nilgiris

I have been wishing to travel again for a long time. It is one of those many things that I think about these days, and as I look back, I remember that it has really been a very long time. It has been so long that I have gone for a trip for the traveling purpose alone. But it doesn’t stop me from looking at those old photos of travel, and as you might have figured it out, I have so many of them. Well, I am going to need a hard disc to store them all soon – a separate one. As one journey provides thousands of photos, I have always felt that there would be the need. But here, I share ten photos of Ooty and Coonoor.

We stayed at Coonoor when we decided to get to Ooty. Well, I have been to Ooty only once and that journey actually came too late. I visited Ooty in the last few years, and I should be the last one in my friends circle to visit the hill station for the first time. Both of these places were nothing less than charming; I loved my stay at Coonoor and the tea there. The places to visit exist close enough both towns. Coonoor is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiris, and you will want to stop there too, along with being at those usual tourist destinations at Ooty. The photos shared here were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

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Meanwhile, I hope most of you haven’t missed Charlie.

TeNy

Further to the South

I have written a number of posts related to the places in Kerala and did share a number of photos taken during my visits there too. Among the places outside Kerala, I have visited a lot of places in Tamil Nadu, and the list is longer than the rest. It has been quite some time since I last visited my neighboring state, but I have been there a lot. I have visited Chennai more than any other city outside Kerala, and right from my childhood, the one place which has always been on our list, should be Kanyakumari which was earlier known as Cape Comorin, even though the one memorable journey to the destination came much later. It happens to be one of my favourite journeys of the time, and that was also an extended one.

It has felt good to travel in those local buses around. As almost everyone knows about Kanyakumari as the southernmost point of peninsular India and the sunsets as well as sunrise being very popular, there is not much of information needed to be provided about the town which is often added to a journey which is included with the Trivandrum visit. It used to be a part of the Kingdom of Travancore, and later of the state of Travancore-Cochin, and this district of Tamil Nadu with the same name as the town, was one place which I visited in detail and spent my time in peace with such amazing view. Thiruvalluvar Statue, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Gandhi Memorial, temples, churches and everything else will stay with you. These photos shared here were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 during my last visit.

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Meanwhile, feel free to read about the movie of the week, Paavada.

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

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

An Isle and Two Towers

Among the many things, Kochi has also been known for its islands. I had earlier written about Kumbalangy which is a model tourism village and an island which has become quite popular in the recent years for its serenity and natural beauty. This time, the post is going to be related to another island, which is situated on the Vembanad Lake itself and has its own beautiful areas of backwaters. There is no shortage of natural beauty here either. Vallarpadam is situated between two other islands, Bolghatty and Vypin, and the port of Cochin is partially situated here with major portion going to Willingdon Island which is the largest man-made isle in India. The Bolghatty Palace as well as the Kochi Marina are close, with the Goshree bridges opened about twelve years ago.

Vallarpadam is home to the International Container Transshipment Terminal as well as the Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom which is also known as the pilgrimage centre dedicated to Vallarpadathamma. It is one of the most visited Marian pilgrimage centres in Kerala along with the popular pilgrimage centres at Koratty and Kuravilangad. There is a nice view possible from the top of the church towers. With the location being very close to the city with the Goshree bridges, and connected to the other side by the new Container Terminal Road, the popularity of the place has only increased. The journey through the road is smooth without much traffic and a nice scenic view. The travelers on two-wheelers at noon will feel the heat though.

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The journey to Vallarpadam has some nice scenic areas.

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The idea of stopping on the way will be nice.

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You have surely seen this one before, remember?

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The Rosary Park which is associated with the church.

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The church’s last renovation has made it look huge.

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A look from the top of the church tower becomes a necessity.

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One side of the Rosary Park – interesting views all around.

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The Two Towers: From one to the other.

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You stop the car and take the photos – I don’t see why not.

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Then you take more photos as you keep stopping 😀

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 on the way to Vallarpadam from Aluva and at the island. Btw, click here for the movie choice for Christmas 2015 season.

TeNy

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

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

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

Queen of the Arabian Sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A quote I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale :)

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

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

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

TeNy

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

Favourite Shots II

It was only now that I felt the need for sharing a second set of the favourite shots taken on my camera by me. I would start with the Chinese fishing nets at Fort Cochin which have been one of the most significant tourist attractions of the place which haven’t been historical, religious or spiritual in nature. There are so many of them, and as they are photogenic, they form one of the many symbols of the place. If you walk around the Fort Cochin beach, you can have some nice shots of the same. Here you can see a modern reflection on the other side.

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Among the favourite photos, the backwaters of Kerala needs to be there; that didn’t happen in the first set of photos, but it does here. Kumarakom has left a few more memories, as on one day, we decided to choose the smaller boats to go on a journey through the backwaters of Kerala. It is an interesting journey as we see the bigger houseboats keep moving around – there is beauty all around and we notice them closer. After the process, there is also the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary to have a look at.

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Bhoothathankettu Dam and its nearby forests have been the tourist destination which I have known for a very long time, right from my childhood. The place has expanded a lot with more facilities these days as the number of tourists has increased. The myth of the demons and monsters had only re-inforced my love for the place during that horror novel filled childhood. It is less than thirty kilometres from the Cochin International Airport and quite close to the town of Kothamangalam.

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We have visited Ezhattumugham since the first time we had any idea about its existence. The place has changed a lot since my first visit there, and still it retains some of the peace and tranquility of the earlier times. It is one of the closest tourist attraction to the Cochin International Airport and is good enough to combine with your trip with Athirappilly Waterfalls. The photo is from the times of the rain when there was water everywhere. It is more of a joy to watch then.

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Located less than twenty kilometres from Thodupuzha, Thommankuthu is another beautiful destination which I have visited multiple times. It is one of the better known eco-tourism centres of the area, and the walk on the sides of the stream leads to the waterfalls which is a very beautiful sight. It provides a nice and interesting place to spend some time in peace, away from the busy world. All the path to this place itself makes sure that there is an interesting journey in store.

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There was one small island which caught my attention during a houseboat journey through Aleppey, and there were so many houseboats around making it an interesting view of busy waterways. The backwaters remain a thing of beauty, and the time spent in exploring the same is never wasted. There is always something more to be caught in the camera, and it is the advantage of being here.

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I managed to take this photo at Kannur, from the Saint Angelo Fort. It remains a special favourite, and taken during a time when I was reading Old Man and the Sea, it feels good to have this shot coming up good. The fort itself is a wonderful place to spend some time and also witness the historical landmark which is well maintained. There is also the presence of enough greenery around to add to the charm.

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TeNy