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 González, 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