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,Ā 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

Destination: Since Childhood

Munnar is that kind of a place; we have been visiting there since childhood, and it still remains a big destination. There is so much rush there these days, and it never ceases to be a crowd favourite. Here are a few photos from our recent visit to the place! There are new restaurants on the way, and there is so much traffic – we need to be prepared for them too šŸ™‚

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***All photos used here were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone 5.

TeNy

One Little Trip in Between

As most of my friends know, I was on a Jaipur trip two weeks ago – but as most of my friends here know, the focus was not really on the historic monuments, which is why there were not many good pictures taken, but I will share a few of them with you right now. It is really a beautiful city! šŸ™‚ Maybe I will write about this in detail later, but I can’t be that sure – here are the pictures.

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***All photos used here were taken on my Asus Zenfone 5.

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 MahindraĀ #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 Changes of Life

Life changes, and it was always expected to happen. Even after a change, that particular changed situation is also going to change. It is not something that I wasn’t expecting, but it did come all of a sudden, and it is actually a good thing. One more year without change and I might have been rather too hesitant to change – I would have detested it and might have tried to prevent it in all ways possible. But not now, as this change is something that I wanted long ago, even before I started this blog.

People still say that if you take a degree in MA English Language and Literature, you have to write NET and even try for JRF, and it is the natural path right ahead of you. They say that you have to follow this path or not do justice to what you have studied, and most probably you won’t get another job at all. I know that most of my friends have done that and the rest have gone on to do BEd and made the choice to do SET instead – note the difference, but I consider it rather minute.

If you look in our class, you can find a maximum of one person who hasn’t gone after NET or SET, and not trying to become the college professor or school teacher – I have made it two in that case, and it is the divergence that I have always wanted; with the master divergent movieĀ Charlie winning so many of the state film awards, you might want the same too. Society has that idea that teaching in school or college is the better choice, especially for women, because they can reach home earlier, and there might be even many free hours – I know a few who have pursued the same for this reason.

I have walked around a lot these days through my favourite bus station!

I have walked around a lot these days through my favourite bus station!

Well, the case of post graduation in English has been rather strange. It is like the least professional course around here; you are not really preferred for most of the jobs out there. The newspapers and magazines ask for a journalism degree, and so I am glad to be part of a publishing house right now; it was getting seemingly impossible to get a job. Most people don’t even reply when an MA English graduate send a resume; they just don’t seem to have that idea that we are just readers and nothing else.

It is the same reason why me getting this job has been very significant. It has been the result of a long wait, and it is the same reason why I have broken my writing streak on my blog. If you remember, I have been writing continuously from December 9th 2014 to February 3rd 2016 – I continued for a few days after joining work, but it was getting tough with my timing as I start around 6:30 AM and return home around 8:30 PM – that is just the average, as I have reached at 7:30 and 9:30.

I have really less time at home, and so I have reduced my blogging just before reaching 500 posts on this blog, as this one is the post number 496. As of now, it seems that the 500th special post won’t happen anytime soon. But it might change some day, as the journey is just about 40 km even though it is the kind of a journey that can take about two hours, thanks to the pot-holes, traffic problems, change of timing of buses and the metro as well as fly-over constructions which are going on.

I travel through the bus station where I have passed through the most!

I once again travel through the bus station where I have passed through the most!

I have surely managed to be more used to it though, even as it still ends with me getting so much tired. I spend my time on the bus listening to music or watching some movie or television series in English. Well, at least I will have something to write about what I watch and the long journey which should actually finish in 45 minutes, but extends to two or even three hours based on which bus I manage to catch, and how many of times I have to change that giant transport!

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

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 missedĀ 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

Model Village: Kumbalangy

If you look through the map of Cochin, you will see a number of island all around, and among them, there is one which is going to be the focus in this post – Kumbalangy. Located about eleven to thirteen kilometres from the popular tourist spots Fort Cochin and Mattanchery, Kumbalangy is that extra location which one can visit while going through the usual destinations around the City of Cochin. Yes, you don’t really need to make those two places with monuments that crowded, for there is this option where you can spend the night peacefully.

You get to island - Welcome to Kumbalangy!

You get to the model tourism island – Welcome to Kumbalangy!

It was some years ago that we had to take the ferry to get to the island of Kumbalangy. There was no bridge connecting Perumpadappu and the island, and when I was a child, I had to take the ferry to reach the island. There were two boats operating, and the vehicles and some of the cargo also joined us. The journey to the island was not something that I really cherished during that time. But things have changed with the new bridge being built and Kumbalangy finding its position in the tourist map of Cochin with ease.

Do you wish to be welcomed be the coconut trees for a change?

Do you wish to be welcomed be the coconut trees for a change?

It was in the year 2003 that Kumbalangy was selected as a model tourism village by Kerala government, seeing its potential. The same has transformed it into a model fishing village and a tourist location which is getting more and more popular. It is associated with my childhood nostalgia, and now it is a lot more. Now, Kumbalangy is the place where you can really go on a trip, and it might be the next big tourist destination around Cochin as there is a lot of peace all around, and the place is also quite easy to reach.

The Chinese fishing nets - you will keep seeing them.

The Chinese fishing nets – you will keep seeing them.

There is the city service bus facility available from Aluva to Kumbalangy, and you can also choose the Perumpadappu buses and get an auto. There will be AC and Non-AC low-floor buses starting from Aluva, Angamaly, Perumbavoor or Cochin Airport which will go to Fort Cochin and Mattanchery and you can get down at Thoppumpady to choose another bus to Kumbalangy or Perumpadappu which is just the other side of the Kumbalangy bridge. The island is just about eight kilometres from Thoppumpady too. Well, in one way or the other, it is part of Cochin and Greater Cochin Development Authority should agree.

As you look far far away, what is it that you see?

As you look far far away, what is it that you see?

The distance from the Cochin International Airport is about fourty five kilometres. It is almost the same distance to Aleppey and its backwaters. But the backwaters of Kumbalangi and its fishing nets will make sure that you don’t really want to leave that early. The availability of the option to find peace and happiness not that away from city is a boon. Kumbalangy is also a nice eco-tourism centre. It is also only about fourteen kilometres to the city centre, and so everything is easily accessible from there, even though there will be the problem of traffic at some points – but it depends on the time when you are traveling.

This is also a good place to park your car unless coconuts fall :D

This is also a good place to park your car unless coconuts fall šŸ˜€

You just need to travel thirteen kilometres from the Ernakulam South railway station to reach here, while it will be about seventeen kilometres from the North station. But if you are coming through the road from Aluva on one side or Perumbavoor/Muvattupuzha on the other and beyond, you can avoid the city by traveling through Maradu as it will get you to Thoppumpady. At the island, the most beautiful parts might be accessed through the smaller roads, just like the path which leads to heaven, as it is said. You might need the calmness and beauty here; you can keep bringing this to your mind whenever you are busy.

You stop, you look, and you enjoy the beauty.

You stop, you look, and you enjoy the beauty of all that is on the way.

At Kumbalangy, you will see a good number of churches and temples. Most of them can be seen on the way itself. You can also travel to the famous pilgrimage centre, the Kannamaly Church from there. One the north-western side of the island, there is another smaller island which is connected to Kumbalangy, called Kallenchery, and it is a very scenic location there. It can be reached by traveling on the road by the side of the village office. There are some nice home-stays there, including the Kallanchery Retreat. New facilities are always being set up at Kumbalangy, and it has been some time since I last made a visit there. Maybe it is time to be surrounded by the backwaters again!

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

TeNy

The Tea Photos

It is a lovely Friday even though my laptop’s display screen desired to commit suicide; I can’t access most of my saved material, and so I will share a few tea photos taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 to make sure that this day doesn’t go as a waste šŸ˜€ The movie of the day, My God was good though. All these photos shown here were taken at Munnar, Coonnoor and Ooty.

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Hope this inspires you to have more tea šŸ˜›

TeNy

Into the Soul of Nature

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

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

So, when Thommankuthu finally calls you aloud, will you be there? šŸ˜€

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walking on the rocks, towards that final destination.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TeNy

Question of a Million

There is one question which has been commonly asked during talks – What if you had a million dollars? Before converting into rupees, that didn’t provide me that shock which was needed. Well, one million dollars was equal to 65,369,500 rupees when I last looked, and that is an amount which I am sure that I will never earn by myself in my whole life. It is not just the money that I won’t have, it is also more than all the money that I will need. So, this weekend’s WOW topic had me in some doubt. Well, the solution comes in many ways for the extra money that you will have.

Well, whoever you ask if there is the need for money, I am sure that the answer will be yes, even in the case of the top level millionaires. There is a little bit of a journey which has to be done around the world, and that is all for which the money needs to be spent. It has to cover Eastern Europe, especially Romania, as I had mentioned in my earlier post. There are also those historical cities like Rome, Venice, Barcelona, Milan, Berlin, Florence, Lisbon and Paris with all those amazing architecture. The other continents actually don’t have that much for me to travel through, except for a few places and that too the cheaper ones to wander around.

And then there was the Lighthouse Beach at Kovalam.

You need the beacon of light on this one; after all it will be the season of doubts.

This actually means that I will be left with something to talk about after finishing the journeys. The number of places to visit will only get lesser in number if things get repetitive, leaving me with more in the bank. Back home, the need for another house, four-wheeler and two-wheeler are not there as I am satisfied with what all is there already. What I have as of now is good. Trying to get more and more will only make me not liking myself that much. Too much luxury will only make me not the person that I have been. Most of us already have more than what we really need.

I am also not a person who believes in changing according to new fashion, and so the already existing clothes will be there for an eternity; I never judged people by their clothes much and never really cared what people thought about they way I dressed. It just needs to fair and decent; nothing more. A person is to be judged by good he or she is, and not by the grand clothing, and so there is no expense coming up there for me. My journey to different parts of the world is to be quick and will have almost no shopping with minimum food, and so there will be more left in the bank.

A few years ago, we used to have a Halloween program, and we collected what we could from the homes around our place and donated the same to a number of charity homes. The youth had decided to turn the night which was looked upon in a negative way into something positive. The response was nice, and one of the recipients we considered was a boys’ home called Snehakkoodu at Aluva. Unlike the other places which had the support of a lot of patrons, this at that time seemed to be a place which could use a lot of help.

Is there a sign of relief among the dark clouds?

Be the light in the darkness; be the colour among theĀ black and white!

The place would be my first home to provide a donation, and I am sure that it will be a very useful act for them. It is all about helping the people in need rather than anything else, and they were in need at that time. Sadly, after we moved from Aluva, I haven’t been there much, and I would like to leave quite something from the amount for them. There is also the Home for the Aged and the Infirm, a few kilometres from Aluva, and I also wish to leave an amount for the old and sick people there.

As we help people in need, there are many around us who are not in that much of good situations as we are. There are our own friends, relatives and neighbours who live around us, and they will also be in need at times, for which some of the money could be kept in reserve to provide for them. We also owe something to them, irrespective of religion, caste and status. It is our duty as an Indian not to discriminate by divisions, and to help our fellow countrymen, the people whom we see each and every day and are in need.

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

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

TeNy

Destination: Impossible

My list of places to travel in this life has been a very long one. I have often thought about buying a new shelf to keep that list. The cities like Rome, Barcelona, Milan, Vienna, Florence, Lisbon, Venice and many others have been part of that list, along with a good number of Latin American nations. There have also been nations on the Eastern side of Asia and the South of Africa which have been in my list. But there is something about Eastern Europe and one nation in particular, which I wished to visit right from my childhood, even before I knew more about the nations, their geographical locations, capitals and the distance to be traveled from here.

I know my friends who wish to travel and settle down in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, along with those who are already there. I am the first one to make this wish here, and I made it when I was in school, and nobody knew the name of even one Eastern European nation other than Russia. I wanted to travel to Romania. Some friends thought that I wanted to travel to Rome with its Colosseum and Vatican, but that was not my priority. I wanted to see the legend, the hero and the prince of darkness, or at least what remained of the myth and history.

I have loved almost everything I have known about Romania, the most recent love related to Simona Halep, the World No.2 in Women Singles Tennis; that even lead to our cat being named after her. Coming back to the love for Dracula, the first non-Malayalam horror novel which I have ever read, Carpathians had become a grand part of my perpetual endearment towards the unexplored side, something which was to be kept away – the kid who read horror is never the lovable kid, right? It was the time when I had to read the children’s books, and there I was, reading the horror novels.

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“That kid who read horror novels” – not that much of aĀ popular tag to have at the Municipal Library of a town; it was a fair title though. Then there were people who had the shocked expression seeing me with the horror novels. I was often called Dracula in the class and I loved it so much; as I soon asked to be called that name, my classmates realized that they couldn’t make fun of me by calling me Dracula and they decided to stop addressing me so. The horror always existed with me, and the genre grew, with horror movies and then reaching my final MA English and Literature project about Vampire as a Cultural Construct.

The Carpathian Mountains should be my place to begin. I should be there alone and be the Jonathon Harker of the time, and it is something which I owe that kid who read horror novels. The Bran Castle should be the big destination as the Dracula Castle, along with Poenari Castle and Hunyad Castle making sure that the legend is truthfully followed. I have always loved the castles even outside the horror stories, and with the myth connected here, you know which is the castle which I wish to visit long before any other. The Dracula Castle is like a holy site of myths for us!

Bucharest, the capital and largest city of Romania also needs to be visited. I have found a number of interesting buildings on the pages, most significant ones being Saint Spyridon the New Church, and the architectural beauty in right there with modernity as well as those with antiquity. Another city on the list is Iasi for the Metropolitan Cathedral there. Constanța, the port city where Simona Halep is from, also makes it to my list. The other cities include Timisoara, Ploiesti, Sibiu, Craiova, Brasov, Galați and Cluj-Napoca – you search for details about a city, and you end up wishing to visit them!

Well, it is clear that I have no job as I have been learning the names of cities. I wish that my MA thesis would come to its real end during a trip to Romania, or may be I could do a Ph.D thesis there on the same topic; the journey is a wish that is never to come true, and Romania is a dream destination which is never to be added to the “visited” list. This is one destination which seems necessary for my salvation, but it is also something which I have put on another list of many impossible things. Do I need to say those six impossible things before tea? May be I do.

***The image used in this blog post wasĀ taken by me on Samsung Galaxy A5.

TeNy

Old Ceylon Photos

I never really got to share most of the photos I had taken during my visit to Sri Lanka long ago. So, I will share a few of the interesting ones among them right here – they are the pictures which I haven’t shared yet, and are not really the perfectly shot photos of the major tourist attractions. I have shared a few pictures already, but I have been looking forward to sharing more with some variations for a long time. Do you have a favourite picture among these? Well I love them all and hope to visit the island nation again some day! šŸ™‚

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***All the images shared in this blog post were taken by me in Sri Lanka.

TeNy

Tale of Five Towns

I have traveled a lot in a particular area more than any other, from the time I can recollect anything about the same. Just because I had nothing else to do, one day, I looked at the Google Maps and checked for those five towns to which I have traveled the most, and made a connection between them. I found out that the connection that I madeĀ looked like a mask; and for me, it felt like the mask of Zorro, Robin, the Green Hornet, the Spirit, the Phantom, the Green Lantern and the Lone Ranger – well, in simple words, it looked like a domino mask.

These five towns are part of the Ernakulam district of Kerala, not that far away from the city of Cochin. They are Aluva, Angamaly, Perumbavoor, Muvattupuzha and Kothamangalam. All of these towns were visited by me for watching movies, and all of them had the presence of Indian Coffee House at some point of time. There are also interesting tourist places close enough to them, mostly related to natural beauty and the same can be said about places of religious and spiritual significance. They are all well-developed, and have some interesting restaurants and bakeries for the food lovers.

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1. Perumbavoor: The town lies in the centre of the other four towns, with less than twenty kilometres to each of them, the closest being Angamaly. Aluva-Munnar as well as the Main Central Road joins here to create one of the most prominent junctions without a National Highway passing through. The closest places of natural beauty are Kodanad which is famous for the elephant rescue/training centre and Paniyeli-Poru which is known for its serene beauty. With no railway connection, Perumbavoor along with Aluva and Angamaly becomes the three big towns near the Cochin International Airport. There is famous temple at Iringole Kavu near Perumbavoor, and other interesting places of worship also exists for all the three major religions.

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2. Angamaly: Even though Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya, and Malayattoor, where Saint Thomas had prayed remain close to both Angamaly and Perumbavoor, it is this town which has the railway station which serves these two places of spirituality. National Highway 47 connecting Kanyakumari to Salem goes through the town, and it has one of the largest churches in India, and the town has a long history of Christian spirituality. It also has one of the best-looking Kerala State Transport Bus Stations, and one of the earliest modern style multiplexes in the area in the form of Carnival Cinemas. The only double-decker bus service in the district starts from here. This also serves as the border town of Ernakulam district with Thrissur district close to it.

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3. Aluva: Often stylized with the older name of Alwaye, its most well-known part is the Sivarathri Manappuram and the Siva Temple there. Aluva Sivarathri is very famous, and the Advaita Ashram here was founded in 1913 by Sree Narayana Guru. St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary is also one of the oldest in the state. Aluva stays on the National Highway 47 connecting Kanyakumari to Salem, and Aluva-Munnar road is a common route taken by tourists. Aluva is where the city service to Cochin starts, and also the point from where the Kochi Metro begins, thus making it the unofficial finish-line of the city. Surrounded by the river Periyar, Aluva is also home to the Federal Bank Head Office. The Marthanda Varma Bridge is a significant landmark and the railway station is a busy one. Union Christian College (UCC) is the oldest college, and Premam movie shows a lot of the town and the college.

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4. Muvattupuzha: On the Main Central Road, Muvattupuzha lies as a border of Ernakulam district towards the higher grounds. Connected to Perumbavoor with a perfect road and also well connected to Kothamangalam, it also has the districts of Kottayam and Idukki close enough to it, making the place more like an entrance to the the lower lands. It easy to go to both the smaller Areekal falls and the larger Thommankuthu falls from here, passing through Thodupuzha. You can also travel to Ilaveezhapoinjira, Vagamon and other places of natural beauty from here.
Muvattupuzha, despite the absence of a railway station and being further away from the airport, has undergone very good development, including becoming the only town outside the Kochi city limits to have a mall with multiplex.

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5. Kothamangalam: Located closer to Muvattupuzha than any other town and also well connected to Perumbavoor, Kothamangalam is more like a gateway to the natural beauty of Kerala’s hilly areas. With no Latin influence, the town is known for its ancient Syrian Christian churches. It is a major pilgrimage area for the Jacobite Syrian Church, and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church also has a strong presence there. The Thrikkariyoor Temple nearby dates a long way back. Interesting places of natural beauty like Bhoothathankettu, Thattekkad, Urulanthanni, Pooyamkutty etc are nearby, and this is the path which you follow to Munnar and all the beautiful places related to that destination despite being further away from air travel and railways.

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***I have shared one photo of natural beauty from each of these towns along with the Google Map screenshot. All the photos were taken on my camera or mobile in the last five or six years. The most traveled cities are in the order – Aluva, Perumbavoor, Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha and Angamaly.

TeNy

The Beat Photos

Here, I am sharing ten photos of my Chevrolet Beat which are among my favourites. All of them were taken between the districts of Trivandrum and Kannur in Kerala. This is the result of my realization that I could manage to drive it for only one thousand kilometres between the last two services. It is a new low and I am hoping to boost the desire for another journey in the Beat with this post. It won’t happen anytime soon due to certain cirumstances, but I would rather let the boost happen first šŸ˜€

@Muzhappilangad Beach (Kannur)

@Muzhappilangad (Kannur)

@Thattekkad (Kothamangalam)

@Thattekkad (Kothamangalam)

@Varkala

@Varkala

@Urulanthanni (Kothamangalam)

@Urulanthanni (Kuttampuzha)

@Parakkadavu (arakuzha)

@Parakkadavu (Arakuzha)

@Thommankuthu

@Thommankuthu (Thodupuzha)

@Arakuzha

@Arakuzha

@UC College (Aluva)

@UC College (Aluva)

@Calicut

@Calicut

@Chowara (Aluva)

@Chowara (Aluva)

***All the photos were taken on my camera or mobile. The number plate is blurred in case someone wants to ram their car into my Beat just because of boredom or random hatred šŸ˜›

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 BahĆ”’Ć­ 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 decisionĀ 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 Little More Divinity

Here is another flashback of my spiritual journeys that go back a few years toĀ a season of Honda Unicorn. I have my doubts if churches can be called “cute”, but here are a few of them if they can really be called so. All of them are from Kerala, and have left a permanent mark despite their small sizes and in spite of not being that famous. This is the season of Lent, and I would consider a few more of the abodes of God can only do good. After all, I am one of those very few unlucky people who always have their birthdays during the time of Lent.

Christ Church, Munnar: Belonging to Church of South India and having a history of over one hundred years, this one goes back to the people of the tea who had arrived here in relation with the tea plantations of Munnar from Britain. The stone laid in on 11th March, 1910, this church is really well-maintained and you can have a very good view of the hilly town from here, which is beautiful, only to be challenged by the beauty of the church itself. You can see India’s colonial past and understand that this one has a lot of stories to tell.

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Church of Our Lady of Hope, Vypin: Located at the island of Vypin, which forms a part and is connected to the city of Kochi by the group of Goshree bridges, this is a small church which has the lake directly in front of it, and makes a very beautiful view if you are looking from the other side of the water body. There is a lawn, a cross and a grotto in front of this white church building, and also a number of Chinese nets and some huge trees which give enough to shades to have some spiritual rest.

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St. Sebastian’s Church, Thoppumpady: The new bridge which was built at Thoppumpady made sure that you can only travel to Fort Cochin and Mattanchery through the road which goes on the side of this church. This is a protected monument by the archeology department and the renovation works were delayed as it couldn’t be done without permission – it has been renovated now, and the photo that I have is from before that. Its antiquity is its beauty, and there is also the lake on the back-side with a nice view of the historical Harbour Bridge.

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Holy Cross Church, Mattanchery: More of a shrine than a church, this is a pilgrimage centre with historical significance. There is the presence of a small church-like area inside it though. It tells the tale of the historic oath which was made by the members of the Saint Thomas Christian community of Kerala that they would not submit to the rising Portuguese dominance which have been trying to forcibily Latinize the local Christian community that had existed with the Indianized version even before Christianity spread through Europe.

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St. Mary’s Church, Njarakkal: A part and a major centre of Vypin that I had earlier mentioned, this church at Njarakkal is not that different from Church of Our Lady of Hope in its architecture, but can still claim an identity of its own. It has more space inside the structure and also has very beautiful and traditional altar. The style is just like a number of older churches built at that time and having the feeling of being very old, but the renovations have made sure that it stays beautiful and worth the admiration.

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***I wish to leave the total statistics related to the number of the churches I have visited since 2009. The first one is the district-wise division, second on the list outside Kerala and third on the churches visited outside India. The only two districts missing are Kasargode and Malappuram. The districts might not be exact as I have my doubt about the borders, but the numbers are exact. *The photos used in this blog post are those taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC W-310 only.
(Ernakulam-174, Kottayam-69, Thrissur-39, Alappuzha-29, Pathanamthitta-17, Kollam-9, Kozhikode-7, Idukki-13, Kannur-4, Trivandrum-4, Wayanad-4, Palakkad-3)
(Tamil Nadu-59, Pondicherry-11, West Bengal-11, Karnataka-8)
(England-41, Scotland-9, Sri Lanka-8)

TeNy

Dauntless in Love and Care

I have had very few vacation trips as a kid compared to some of my friends who have traveled a lot. But as time passed, I understood the significance of having a memorable vacation journey which would refresh the mind of any normal person. Among the trips I had during childhood, there were Kolkata, Chennai, Goa, Bangalore and Mangalore which I remember. But I am ready to make sure that my child would have more vacations, and all of them shall be better than what I have had in my entire life. *I am sharing two photos of childhood here, the first one taken at Kolkata and the second one at home with my cousin brother.

I was going through an initiative from Club Mahindra at http://membership.clubmahindra.com/TeddyTravelogues/index.htmlĀ about travelogues written by children.Ā It reminded me of thinking about myself and how I would go on holidays with my child. The first thing I want to ensure is that I remain dauntless, so that my child would know that I will always be there for him, whenever he feels a certain amount of fear about anything. There is this feeling of insecurity that children feel while going on journeys, and I remember having felt the same on so many occasions. This insecurity is like a big mole on a face, as it affects the beauty of the vacation, and the significance of the journey itself is reduced.

From one of my first vacations ever, to Kolkata - a photo found and scanned.

From one of my first vacations ever, atĀ Kolkata – a photo discovered in the album and scanned.

The fear that children feel outside their home in quite natural, and the current world, we have to be very careful – these are not the best times for the children to grow up either. So, I would make sure that I shall be the friend to him and be the friend that I rarely had during my own childhood. I have to correct the mistakes from my earlier generation, and it is my duty to make sure that he enjoys, and it is a privilege to make sure that I also enjoy the little things that he does.

Even as I strive to make things happen here, another nice thing I would like to add is another person of his own age to give him company. I would choose a family friend who has kids of the same age to accompany us on the journey so that they can nicely contribute to the fun. Otherwise, I will find a relative with a child of the same age. I have been aware of the disadvantages of being a lone child, and I shall never let that happen to my kid, and it is a promise that I have to make to myself.

An old photo with my cousin brother. Never be the lonely child.

An old photo with my cousin brother. Never be the lonely child in a busy universe of chaos.

Well, what is a vacation when the child is not happy? My mother always used to tell me to be happy, or it affects her and destroys the whole purpose of the vacation as it was always about me. She always wanted me to order what I wanted in a restaurant and would have the same thing. This is what I would do, especially when we all have the same thing for food, it is the first step to letting him make decisions during a vacation – his ideas need to be valued. I have had almost no say in even my early education, and I know the pain.

I would let my child explore theĀ world with curiosity, but I will always keep an eye on him, making sure that his vacation universe goes perfectly, and looking at things in the way in which he sees things – it is a perspective that I would enjoy. It will be the best case of happiness for me to see my child enjoying a vacation which I had arranged. It makes my world special. When he loves the journey, my soul takes a leap forward, and it is what we should strive for when choosing a vacation. Let us remember the fact that every step that we make will also teach him somethingĀ – soĀ lets plan it well to make it a learning experience as well as anĀ entertaining one.

This entry is my submission for the latest Happy Hours Campaign from Indiblogger in association with Club Mahindra’s Teddy Travelogues. I don’t think that Club Mahindra Holidays, a part of the Mahindra Group needs any introduction for any of us Indians. They are among the most commonly mentionedĀ names in their field. For further details about the Teddy Travelogues from them, please spare some time to checkĀ http://membership.clubmahindra.com/TeddyTravelogues/index.html

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 photoĀ 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

That Aroma of Tea

There is no denying the fact that our travel is for the sake for visiting tourist destinations and having a peek at those places where we haven’t gone before and taking snaps to remember the journey. But some of those journeys are about smell, the fragrance that rises above what is visible, and makes us feel like never before, and I talk about such a journey here which stayed in my mind due to the fragrance factor.

There are not many things that have interested me more than the fragrance that the tea provides, even as it is a known fact that there will be more talks about the smell of coffee. The fragrance of tea leaves have been something that has inspired me, and that is evident from the name and header of this blog. I have never really left any doubt about the same either, it has been clear to me since an early childhood visit to Munnar in Kerala.

Can't wait to enter and have the much needed tea :D

Can’t wait to enter and have the much needed tea šŸ˜€

This is where my journey to Ceylon comes to the picture. The Sri Lankan journey happened in July 2010 which started with a fire on the flight which I boarded. But that was never really the beginning to the wonderful journey, which actually started somewhere higher in altitude – no not Kandy, much higher; and that should be the city of Nuwara Eliya as we travelled from Kandy to that place which was relatively unknown to us.

Our bus was going between the tea plantations until it stopped near a building which had a certain amount of beauty and could boast of having a scenic background that is close enough to a traveller’s paradise. I had decided at that moment that Nuwara Eliya was to be something special for my mind, forever. The guide brought us into the building which had that smell which filled the soul like nothing ever before. It was the fragrance of the tea leaves.

It might not be what most of people would wish to smell, but I found the fragrance like nothing ever before, even as I have been to tea factories before at least twice. It is like heaven to be at such a place, and the description of tea production never really caught my ears as this fragrance captured myself as a whole. There is beauty in the fragrance of tea, something which enchants and inspires us. It had transformed into a beautiful land of awesome tea.

There was the need to taste tea, and this opportunity only came later after minutes of living in that fragrance, hoping for the drink to grace my tongue; it was finally achieved by a cup of Orange Pekoe tea and one of the finest I have ever had, and the ambiance which was there for having that cup was simply mesmerizing. I wished I could stay there forever, but that was one of the shortest time periods spend anywhere during that journey. The only dose of happiness that we brought back was related to the Ceylon Tea packets which we brought home and a few photos which I keep as my wallpaper.

Who would not want to have tea here? Plus the aroma

Who would not want to have tea here? Plus the aroma

This blog entry is in relation to the #InspireAFragrance contest by Godrej aer: http://www.godrejaer.com/ – the contest was to inspire with an evocative travel experience to create the first crowd-inspired fragrances for Godrej aer. It always feels good to have one of such a thing for our cars, doesn’t it? Even if it is a new experience with the same, it never hurts to try. The fragrance is very important, as it is something which has become an unavoidable part of our lives, even related to the food and drinks.

TeNy