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

Having New Favourites

The recent trip to the North has helped in changing a few ideas that I had about the geography of India, and is a very good boost to my knowledge about the location of the major cities and monuments. It also helps in my further reading of History. There is another major thing that happened, and it is in the arrangement of those monuments inside my mind – throughout my life, I have thought that some monuments were the only ones which I really needed to visit, but now, it seems that the order has been changed.

1. Humayun’s Tomb: This place actually became my Taj Mahal, or one of my favourite Indian monuments of all time along with the temples of Mahabalipuram and Victoria Memorial of Kolkata. I have found it a peaceful place unlike Taj Mahal, and we could wear footwears as well as take pictures inside, unlike the great wonder at Agra. When you visit a historical monument, it is peace that you want the most, and here you can have it. Humayun is also a Mughal Emperor whom I have always liked, as a fine personality from history, despite hearing people saying that he was a weak ruler.

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2. Agra Fort: I had initially thought that this was the Red Fort, but it turned out to the the Agra Fort in red. The colour of the building looks exactly like the colour of my home, if I look at it from a personal viewpoint. Despite all of the fort not being open, there was so much to see around there, and we walked and walked until finally finishing that journey inside the walls. The carvings as well as those white areas inside the red fort catches our attention, and there is the view of Taj Mahal from here, and Shah Jahan was at least lucky enough to have a view of his masterpiece from here even though he was imprisoned by his own son.

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3. Lotus Temple: When we see it from a distance, there is the desperation to visit this place as soon as possible. It is like the feeling automatically comes to you due to that unique architecture. It is a very impressive structure, and nothing like I have seen anywhere due to its variety. This one has cent percent met my expectations, and I am glad that I visited this early in the morning, and when we were back, there was that long queue of visitors. This actually leaves you highly interested in the BahĂĄ’Ă­ faith, and I have even bought a book about the same.

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4. Qutub Minar: The popular misconception about this minaret is that it is very tall. Well, it is the tallest brick minaret in the world, but not the tallest one of today’s standard – it is tall according to its times as well as the method used for construction. Begun by Qutb-ud-din Aibak and finished by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, the monument is surrounded by other historical monuments, and among them, this one remains special. Yes, I have visited Qutub Minar, something that I have been longing to do since childhood. UNESCO World Heritage Sites in my Indian bucket list gets another tick.

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5. Red Fort: Being home to the Mughal emperors for a long time and witnessing history a lot, this structure which was built by Shah Jahan surely has a lot of interesting areas, including a number of museums. The fort itself is a beautiful structure, and I do have an attraction towards this colour as I have mentioned earlier. The shops inside were interesting, and were cheaper than those outside Taj Mahal – may be it is because those outside “the Wonder” needed some wonderful bargaining, but that is not my method. I would still prefer the Agra (red) Fort more than this one.

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Throughout my life, I have wanted to visit Taj Mahal. The problem with such repeated praise of a monument is that when you go to see it, you will end up feeling that it is not that much of a wonder. I skipped the Akshardham Temple because I don’t see any point in visiting any place which doesn’t allow photography – the decision is very unfair as it is something of joy to take something from a wonderful place when we go back home, after all we travel so much to witness the beauty of a place – restrict it, but please don’t ban it completely.

***All photos used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 during my recent trip to Delhi.

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TeNy

A Dream World to Visit

There are only a few places which have imprinted themselves enough in my heart to inspire a journey there. Among them, there are almost none outside the Europe and the Americas except for Melbourne, a city which has had my attention since my early cricket loving times which seems to have lasted an eternity, or a significant part of it. So how did the second most populous city in Australia become the most loved city in my list overtaking the other big names including Sydney, Dubai, Wellington, Riyadh, Doha, Pretoria, Cape Town and Sharjah?

1. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG): This stadium has been in my list for quite a long time, above many of the other cricket venues of the world. The largest stadium in Australia as well as the whole Southern Hemisphere, this eleventh largest stadium in the world and largest cricket stadium has a special memory from my cricket loving past for me. There has been only one One Day International century by an Indian at the MCG, and it was by Sourav Ganguly – the Lord of the Offside; not to be considered the God, but undoubtedly the greatest of India’s left-handed cricketers. There was no more of ODI centuries by an Indian there again – shows how good the man used to be. That makes MCG our holy place.

2. Melbourne Park: There are not many things I wish for, more than watching my favourite players go against each other, especially Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Australian Open has been among my favourite tournament and I have admired it as much as The Wimbledon. It is a tournment where my three favourite players, Federer, Djokovic and Agassi hold record for winning it the most number of times. It is also that Grand Slam which has given us new stars, like Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Verdasco, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando GonzĂĄlez, also leading to the big rise of players like Stanislas Wawrinka, making the tennis world more competitive. Who wouldn’t want to go to Melbourne Park? One day, I will.

St Paul's Cathedral keeps calling one to have a look with its beautiful interiors.

St Paul’s Cathedral keeps calling everyone to have a look with its beautiful interiors.

3. St Paul’s Cathedral: I have seen this Anglican cathedral in pictures, and I was like, why do you always think about Europe when feeling the need to go to a beautiful church? This one is right there among those church buildings of the world that I wist to visit. I have seen a number of cathedrals in Europe in my life, and this one surely has a certain amount of divinity as I keep staring at the photos. The inside of the structure clearly overtakes the outside in its beauty and this is one Gothic building that can make even the horror fans proud along with spiritual ones. The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne as well as the residents of the city can be proud of this creation of man for God.

4. The City Circle Tram: I had developed a certain amount of love for the trams since my early childhood journey to Kolkata, but this one that we witness in Melbourne is not just simple tram, as it has so much of beauty about it. There is that one day when you accidently go through the photos of these beautiful transportation vehicles, and there is nothing left to do but admire them and hope to take a journey in it. There is something about trams, it is related to the beauty and the antiquity – but the tram that we see here is more than that, or the highest point of all of them.

A dram: to travel in this tram, not like any other tram in the world.

A special tram here: to travel in this tram, not like any other tram in the world.

5. St Patrick’s Cathedral: Belonging to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, this is also added to my long list of churches which are to be visited in my lifetime. I have already visited around a thousand churches in my life, and I have kept a count of the same, even as it is more or less accurate. Among the churches to visit, this also has a prominent place, as I have been searching for more each and every day. I have read that it is the largest church building in the country and that adds to the interest. May be, one day I can join this archdiocese, in case a jobless me gets a job there.

6. State Library of Victoria: I have been to many libraries in my life, as I have been quite a reader – but nothing like this one in Melbourne. I saw the structure and wondered if it is really a library or rather something else. I compared it to those which I have visited and thought about it only to feel the respect for the care that is given to history, architecture and over them all, to the procedure of reading. Along with wondering if I can see anything like this in my lifetime, I also feel that something like this won’t be enough, and only witnessing this building and satisfying my hunger for reading can make me happy, leaving me with some respect for myself as a reader.

St Patrick's Cathedral becomes one big Gothic reason to visit Melbourne.

St Patrick’s Cathedral becomes one huge Gothic reason to visit Melbourne.

7. Eureka Tower: I am going to climb to the top of this tower, and enjoy the top view as this would become the tallest building I have ever been to. Yes, I have been to the Petronas Towers, but never went to the top, and was also close to visiting Burj Khalifa, but as those things never happened, I wish to start with the Eureka Tower’s observation deck which will officially begin my skyscraper love. Formerly the tallest residential structure, it is now the fourteenth tallest residential building in the world, and I am reserving quite some attention for this one. What I am planning is to yell “eureka” after climbing to the top of the tower and taking some awesome photos.

8. 120 Collins Street: This one comes next and adds to my skyscraper visiting needs as there are lots of things that the structure reminds me of. This reminds me of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building of the New York City – I would choose to visit this one and consider myself having visited all three of them. This has that kind of architecture which has stuck to my mind for too long, thanks to those Hollywood movies – I don’t think that I will be visiting the United States of America, and therefore I choose Melbourne to satisfy my need to get to such a structure and hope this can be done some day.

State Library of Victoria: a need to make the reader in me lot happier.

State Library of Victoria: a huge need to make the reader in me lot happier.

9. St. James Old Cathedral: There is no avoiding the older ones no matter how many new structures come up. The oldest church in Melbourne also gets my attention, and it is only one of three buildings in the city which has a history before the Gold Rush of 1851. With its foundation in 1839, there is no way that this cathedral should not be visited during a journey to Melbourne, and I would wish to start my possible journey in Melbourne from this one, as this has been home to God for more time than any other such structures in this city. There is always value for antiquity, and it demands respect and admiration.

10. The Melbourne Museum: My need for the museums have always been alive, and it has been with me through all the journeys that I have made throughout my life. I have visited a good number of them during my journey to the United Kingdom and I wish to do the same with is one belonging to Melbourne. There is no man without his dose of history, and I respect this city for having a wonderful place as this one for keeping the past saved for present and the future. A post-modernist style museum? Let me tell you something – I have always only dreamt about such a building. Night at the Museum, this is your time to bring the exhibits alive.

I have given ten reasons in this blog post for which I love this wonderful city and hope to travel there. So far, I have traveled to four nations in detail, and another one just as part of a longer journey – the four are the United Kingdom, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Malaysia along with the fifth, the United Arab Emirates. My hope is to add Australia somewhere in that list, and it would be just awesome. I would also like to add a journey through the Yarra River as a special need along with looking down from the top of the tallest office building in the Southern Hemisphere, the Rialto Towers.

Spare some time to watch a “Come Alive in Melbourne” video from http://bit.ly/CAMvideos – I would personally choose

Do visit the Tourism Victoria website (http://www.visitmelbourne.com/India.aspx). *All photos used in this blog post of mine are from the wikipedia pages of the respective tourist attractions.

Hosting a contest below: 

So, one question remains here. “Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?” [The best answer chosen is eligible to win a gift voucher from Tourism Victoria as it says in the contest page (as long as this entry of mine is accepted). The contest will end by 4th Jan 2015]

TeNy

A Special Destination

There is one special destination which I have already mentioned on my travel blog – Travel Diaries: Of this world and beyond (http://theviator.wordpress.com), but has traveled to the same location in more detail again. I had also shared only one photo at that time, and so I would take this occasion to talk about that place again, this time related to our second journey. All the photos shared in this blog post are from the two big journeys to the place, taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

Such water-bodies are common on the way to our place.

Such water-bodies are common on the way to our place; take some time to look.

The destination is Ilaveezhapoonjira, the beautiful place with a name which people from outside Kerala will struggle to pronounce. It is a tourist destination which hasn’t been that explored and therefore stays beyond the boundaries of modernity. There will be not much crowd in this area, which mostly only has the youth among the visitors, as there is a good amount of journey on foot or by the juggling jeep to the top.

We are going among the hills this time.

We are going among the hills this time, away from the modern barbarians.

We had started our journey quite early on that day, and it is a perfect road until Thodupuzha from where the Vagamon route was also quite good. But from that moment you take the turn to the road going for this place, you are introduced to the smaller road which goes up, having enough potholes and curves to make you mad, especially if another vehicle comes from the other side. In the case of an early morning visit, there is not going to be anything coming down from Ilaveezhapoonjira though.

When the dark clouds arrive, trees are ready with silhouette.

When the dark clouds arrive and show their strength, trees are ready with silhouettes.

Once you reach the first part of the top, there is a small tea stall kind of setup which was not open when we went there. But it surely deserves a mention as this is “the tea cerebrations” blog. May be it will be there again on another day when we go there. There is also something which looks like a resort, but is seemingly abandoned; looks good enough to nicely blend with nature. The wind is usually strong there, making the tall grass bow down, as the sphere of air takes control here.

The fog takes over and makes a big impact at times.

The fog takes over and makes a big impact at times, improving the view even more.

There is also that fog that comes through and makes a big impact, as the vision is minimal when it makes its presence felt. On that day, there was rain too, but by the time we reached the top, it had a more clear version of the site, even as not that good enough to make a great impression on our ordinary cameras. Yes, you will get some awesome photos if you take someone with a big camera, or you can persuade a rich guy to buy an awesome camera and take him with you. By the time we returned, it had felt so good with the wonderful climate.

When you reach the top-most point, you find this.

When you reach the top-most point, you find this place and then you take out the camera.

Ilaveezhapoonjira is one of our favourite destinations, followed only by Thommankuthu and Bhoothathankettu, both being far behind in popularity in our circle. As it is not stormed by the visitors and never does it lack in being a thing of dazzling beauty, we would choose Ilaveezhapoonjira any day for just another random trip away from the modern barbarian world which tries to devour us like spiders of the movie Enemy (http://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/enemy/).

What you see when you have a look down from there.

What you see when you have a look down from there. I needed a better camera here.

This place might not find a place in your list of tourist attractions as it is not a popular desination suggested for people from outside Kerala. The rest should be aware of this place, especially those from the Central Travancore area as well as Ernakulam and Trichur districts. It is located around twenty kilometres from the town of Thodupuzha and about double the distance from Muvattupuzha – a distance of around twenty more will take you to Perumbavoor. Do add this to your list.

TeNy