Grand Palace of Movies

Varikkasseri Mana is one of the oldest traditional Brahmin houses of Kerala, located at Manissery, a small village in Ottapalam, within the district of Palakkad. It is the place where two of the most loved movies Devasuram and Aaraam Thampuran were shot, along with Rappakal, Drona, Simhasanam, Sufi Paranja Katha, Thooval Kottaram, Rudra Simhasanam, Valliettan, Madambi, Manthrikan and the most recent one which specifies the name of the place itself, Pretham 2. As far as Malayalam movies are concerned, the place is something special, and no movie lover from Kerala is to fail to identify it. There are other common locations too, but this one stands taller. There is more than one path to take while traveling here from Cochin, and it will be a tiring journey if the trip is during March, April or May. It is better to have some milk shake or juice in between. Without the movie setting, the place might seem to be lacking something, but for the small entry fee of Rs. 20, it is worth the journey.

*The photos on this blog post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max.

An Eternity in a Journey

I need to pass through the bubble. It has been four hours since I reached here. Vagamon is one of the most beautiful hillstations despite it being very easy to reach here from Cochin and its satellite towns. The idea is to take the leap of faith, and it is not just a figurative thing, as literally it remains the same too. The bubble is located far below the suicide point, and the leap had to be perfect. Otherwise, the rock below would have something special to say, and it won’t be beautiful. These rocks had a say between life and death, as they are known to have decided the fate of everyman more than once or twice.

How can someone trust a necromancer with something that is beyond your ability for willing suspension of disbelief? When was the last time a necromancer desired for the betterment of a human being? If I was a creature of darkness, it wouldn’t have caused me any trouble in instantly believing in this. If he was a regular mage, this wouldn’t have been so difficult. But something had to be done, as every second lost in this world will count as a day in what lies beyond the bubble. It has to be the portal that connects the two world. This happens right now or it can never happen. I am taking this chance.

Finding a new world is always difficult, and this one is the closest to nature

I could feel that I am falling into eternity, destined to continue this forever. The fall felt to be very quick, but I could see beautiful castles and meadows on both sides, and occasionally the scenes changed to something darker, with thunderstorms over the ruins of some old buildings. The fall stopped half an hour later, and I could find myself on a smooth surface resembling water. It was not really water as it was solid. It was not really ice as it was incredibly soft. I made my way to the sands on my left side, and after I set my foot there, the surface turned into water. I walked further to meet the same necromancer channeling certain energy into his orb.

The necromancer explained the idea of having this realm parallel to our own. It had to be the utopia which could exist and take all those people who can live in harmony with nature. Below all those meadows, there were houses which were completely made out of living trees and plants. There was only a little bit of metal being used in there, and it was the kind of material which seemed to strengthen the trees. All the vegetation grew in such a way that it was supposed to support the homes as the humans tries to keep the environment intact. The relation here was symbiotic.

There is no lack of beauty with nature staying close to humanity

I left him to wander around the newly discovered place. There were so many wonders of nature all around that small space. I could see aurora in the sky as green lights on the sky reflected the greenery on the meadows. Surrounded by an unknown river on all sides, the place had its own waterfalls and the increasing flow of water kept many waterwheels moving. Along with the same, the wind energy was used with help of those windmills on the top of cliffs and solar energy seemed to taken in using a certain device in the form of an obelisk. The transportation was through ropeway which had car-like things hanging on them.

I noticed that there were two suns on the horizon. I came across the necromancer again, and he told me that it is a natural phenomenon. The portal transports one to that corner of the galaxy which has been unknown to all known alien life forms. It was a few warlocks who found this particular place while exploring their skills of teleportation. One had to go for the #BlindList each and every time to travel all the way here. One also had to #SayYesToTheWorld, to that kind of a world which opposed modernity and its exploitation. Then there was the need to take the leap of faith, where almost all rationalists failed.

It was like being invited on a blind date. To travel to a place you know nothing about, for an experience you have no clue about, has never been something designed for the brain – it was always about the heart and soul. In a world of chaos, people can’t be open-minded enough to say yes. Compared to the #BucketList which has known wishes, #TheBlindList is the one thing that goes a step forward. At some point of time, we have to go for this list, and there is the need to explore more, finding that perfect place which is “magical”, figuratively or literally. The traveler in us asks for the same. Be openminded, #SayYesToTheWorld now and begin the exploration!

**The images used in this blog post are taken from the Official Facebook Page of the popular video game, Mass Effect.

TeNy

Pattaya: Where Everyone Goes

A long time had passed since we wanted to go on a trip outside India, and my last foreign trip was the one to United Kingdom eight years ago in the same year in which the trip to Sri Lanka had happened. Here, the obvious choice of nation for a quick visit was Thailand, as most Keralites do prefer the country these days, and the other options like Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka were already covered by me. Pattaya, Bangkok and Phuket have been becoming dream destinations for our people, especially Pattaya with its water sports, islands and beaches bringing quite the reputation.

Coral Islands of Pattaya, where you desire to go!

Even though the holiday packages have both Pattaya and Bangkok on the list, the former is the place where we get to spend more time. It is Bangkok where we arrive, at the Don Mueang International Airport to which Air Asia operates daily direct flights from Cochin. It is Suvarnabhumi Airport which seems to be the sight to behold though. But for now, the travellers from here will have to wait to have a flight to travel in that direction. Even though we arrive at the city of Bangkok first, the itinerary from the holiday agencies will have us beginning our expedition at Pattaya with a quick ride from the airport to the beach city.

The Pattaya about which you know from descriptions!

There is one mistake that we tend to make due to this travel plan, and it is that we leave the idea of buying goods to the end, and the problem here is that it is always cheaper in Pattaya than in Bangkok. The price of goods that you see in Pattaya is only going to get higher in Bangkok. So, waiting for the trip to get to the final stages before going shopping will be the wrong thing to do, unless you have a lot of money to spend. Pattaya also have a good number of Indian restaurants, and for us, they become the obvious choice – the selection of food is mostly North Indian though, with not much of a dosa team presence.

The Tiger Zoo is a fine place to begin the journey.

Just before we reach Pattaya City, there is Sriracha Tiger Zoo, situated on the outskirts of the city. The place claims to have the largest such populations of tigers and crocodiles for a zoo all around the world. The tickets would cost nearly one thousand rupees when converted, and will be part of almost all packages. There is a lot of space to walk around and souvenirs to buy, along with separate shows involving tigers, elephants, crocodiles and pigs. Indian breakfast was available there including Poori and Uppumavu. We can watch the tigers roaming around outside the glass, as we have food.

Parasailing is certainly a common sight out there.

At Pattaya, before anything else, finding an Indian restaurant was important to us, and there was one close – there were actually many of them to be exact. Then there are those shops on the side of the road, and there are those 7-Eleven and Family-Mart stores which come to save the day. These are those days when visiting McDonalds or Burger King are cheaper, and one finds tea to be the expensive drink. But the days are worth it, and spending on each and everything here is absolutely worth it. There were so many other Malayali families around there too, as it was the grand vacation time.

Pattaya’s Floating Market – expand your trip with this.

Then there is the programme on the way to Coral Islands and on the island, starting from parasailing which is done from a boat located a little away from the beach and underwater walk which are conducted from boats located further away from the coast. Watching some marine life and walking underwater was a different and interesting experience for sure, even though the water was not that much clear as expected – 1200 bahts for a person is worth it for sure, especially with a CD of the experience for 700 bahts. It is still something that is to be remembered for long. The time spent at the island is rather less, and one has to be quick to go through jet ski and banana boat, and there was not much time to explore out there – we avoided them for a walk.

The Sanctuary of Truth – one masterpiece on wood.

Pattaya was indeed a fine experience, and we spent a lot of time on the streets, especially late night. The journey to Bangkok followed, and leaving Pattaya surely didn’t feel good, as we never really felt that we had enough. Maybe, one needs to travel through Pattaya without a holiday package, and it should be just wandering. Some exploration lasting a few more days would do better, without doubt. The two extra additions to our packages were the Sanctuary of Truth and the Floating Market, both which should be part of any travel plan, former for its beautiful carvings on an astonishing structure and the latter for that kind of a market to which we are strangers. Well, others know Pattaya from Amar Akbar Anthony, but that movie had a silly reason.

*All photos were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max. My friends on Facebook can see more of our experiences at Pattaya.

TeNy

Life and its Journeys

Throughout our lives, we have the opportunity to see many things that will change our prespective about the world. It is by traveling to different places that we are able to achieve this. It is our privilege to be Indians, being part of a nation which has so many cultures, giving us a different experience in different states, or even while traveling through different districts within a state. As we keep traveling, there are those places in the world which makes us feel safe as well as happy, and there are those which we hesitate to visit. Well, if we don’t visit, we never know.

The Ceylon Ramayana trip was one such journey which brought new experiences to shape my thoughts and life. It was spiritual, and there was more to it. Each cup of tea we had there meant more than just tea. Each person we met, whether it was a Buddhist monk or a commoner at the streets, had a story to tell – each in different ways, but all of them becoming part of our lives and thoughts. It was that kind of a journey when spirituality was frequent, whether it was a Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, church or mosque, and it was the journey which had life as a major part of it.

Towards Kandy, would be a spiritual journey for the soul (Captured in Sri Lanka).

But the British trop was entirely different, and it came only a few months after the trip to Sri Lanka. It was not spiritual or religious, even though it came right after that journey to the holy lands in and around Israel was cancelled due to some bomb blasts and possibility of war in the area. This one was a journey into modernity, but not far away from history and literature which were present throughout the trip. There were the favourite poets, novelists and history’s most famous people right before our eyes. Then there was the vision of this other side of the world.

England’s history, even the ruined side reflects a new world (Captured in England).

There was plenty in both cases, and I was able to find more than one side of my thoughts in each place. This plenty was displayed in one model in Colombo and Kandy, and in another way in London and Manchester. The admiration that we feel in each case is different, and just like we love each city of India in a different way, we saw such divergence here too. But this time, this was more than one could have imagined, and a divergent world is always a beautiful one, just like India has thrived with its unity in diversity.

Among all our neighbours, Sri Lanka has something special (Captured in Sri Lanka).

There can always be differences between closer places. The two towns of Kerala, fifteen kilometres from each other, belonging to the same district of Ernakulam, between Aluva and North Paravur, there is difference. The former being close to the river and the latter being close to the sea can be seen to have developed different cultures in the past, even though Ernakulam district has come close to each other making that difference minimal. We often hear people say that Kerala is like one big city, but the differences are clearly there in between the similarities.

Kerala has its one beautiful culture, and there too divergence (Captured in Kerala).

Considering such a situation, United Kingdom and Sri Lanka were always going to bring different lessons of life. Both places did feel good, and there was the desire to continue to stay there. At the same time, there was the need to be home. Traveling through these places provide the feeling of not being restricted to one place, for we, as humans are part of all of these places, and a part of these will follow us home. We are never really away from these places which we have lived or visited, and no city, town or village is really alien to us, if we look closely.

It is more or less the path that we take, that defines us (Captured in Kerala).

The story of humanity is the same in each and every place, and as we see the people and talk them, we will only know this better. By traveling, we enjoy these tales of those seemingly different people who are the same within, and we feel the need to travel more. At the same time, we understand ourselves more, for there might be more to us than we could ever know. We explore the world, and by doing the same, we explore within us, and the journeys change us, creating something different inside our souls. What more do you need for travel inspiration?

This is why I #SayYesToTheWorld. There is something for the soul around us with beautiful divergence, and there is always more than what meets the eye, bringing hope for a world traveller. Please watch this video and think about traveling more!

TeNy

Nilambur: Teak and More

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

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

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

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

TeNy

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