Archive for the ‘Kerala Attractions’ Category

Kerala Sightseeing : The Land of Enchanted Beauty

 Cherai Beach, Kerala
Cherai Beach, Kerala

Vibrant pictorial representations of the God’s Own Country in several magazines, newspapers and television enraged my curiosity to visit this land of enchanted beauty. Finally this curiosity ended up with a plan of Kerala Visit with my friends last month. We contacted the Delhi based tour operator Caper Travels Pvt Ltd, which is a National Tourism Award winning company to book a tour of 10 nights – 11 days. The destinations included in this package were Cochin, Periyar Munnar and Backwater Cruise, which were enough to fulfil my desire of exploring beaches, backwaters, hill stations, wildlife etc.

With my friends I boarded the Hazrat Nizamuddin Eravikulam Express from Delhi and arrived Cochin after 51 hours of long journey. During the journey the train passed by many cities which gave us an opportunity to get a glimpse of their culture and taste the different kinds of cuisine. When we reached the Eravikulum Railway Station, a hotel representative was standing with a placard. He greeted and transferred us to the well-maintained hotel where we were booked. At the hotel reception we were welcomed with flower garlands. We enjoyed the delicious dinner which we rounded off with sweetdish. After that we had a comfortable night at the hotel.

Next morning the call from the hotel reception awaken us and soon we prepared for the sightseeing  in Cochin. After having the sumptuous breakfast we with our guide left for the Cherai Beach. This beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala which is ideal for swimming. It is formed by the combination of lakes, lagoons, canals and estuaries. Here we enjoyed swimming, played with sand and quenched our thirst with coconut water. Later, we visited St. Francis Church and Mattancherry Dutch Place which is renowned for its architectural beauty.

Our next destination was Munnar. Here, we stayed for two days. It is one of the most popular and beautiful hill stations of India which is situated at an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level. It is a romantic destination known for its sublime greenery, tea and coffee gardens and pleasant climate throughout the year.

The Mattupetty lake is another major attraction of this place which is noted for alpine setting with green fields. The arresting beauty of this place forced us to capture several beautiful sights in our cameras. After spending the whole day in the lap of nature we returned to the guest house and enjoyed the traditional south Indian cuisine in our dinner.

Next morning, we woke up early in the morning and our guide took us to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary which is located at Thekkady. It is one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries of India which is situated on the banks of the Periyar Lake. This sanctuary is known for its dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grasslands surroundings. According to the census of the forest department this Sanctuary has around 40 tigers, 20 leopards, 900 elephants, 280 gaurs and a wide variety of other wildlife.

The reserve is also known for the Lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri langur, the Malabar giant squirrel, porcupine, wild dog, sloth bear, jungle cat, sambar, palm civet, wild boar and jackal. We enjoyed elephant safari and saw many animals, colourful birds and various species of plants. This slow and steady elephant ride was full of fun and excitement.

Posted on January 4th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Exploring Uncharted Land in Kerala

 Kerala House Boat

Kerala House Boat

Come January, and I arrived at Mangalore airport (Karnataka). This trip of mine was especially organized to explore lively Kerala backwaters, heavenly greenery, interesting wildlife and multi-coloured festivities. I hired a taxi to Kasargod (50 km) and headed to the northern Kerala. As I had observed in Kerala travel guide, the local people were busy with the celebration of Kerala Gramam. After a quick shower, I headed for the fair, where I came across traditional houses, bright & colourful attires, traditional cuisine, superb handicrafts and many such items.

The best part with my stay at Kasargod was backwater cruise. Being a history buff, I also visited sites like Bekal Fort, Madiyan Kulom temple, Ananthapura Lake Temple, Chandragiri Fort etc and captured them in my camera for a lifetime. While enjoying my backwater cruise, I also had a closer look at the dense greens of Kasargod, which provide a home to about 24 species of the rarest of mammals, 200 species of birds and about 100 species of butterflies. While leaving Kasargod, I visited the market area with my guide and bought a few coir products, handlooms and tobacco products for my friends.

My next halt was Cochin, but en route I spent a relaxing day at Wayanad –the land of Spicy Hills. Though I paid a short visit to the famous Edakkal Caves and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and clicked a few bisons, elephants and deer playing near the lake, but rest of the day was at leisure. My hotel was at close proximity to the tea / coffee & spice plantations, there fore the air was filled with refreshing fragrance.

The next morning, I reached Cochin – the Queen of the Arabian Sea by train. Located between the Western Ghats and Arabian Sea, the city is blessed with spotless natural beauty and serves as an important trade centre too. I was booked in a luxurious houseboat (traditional Kettuvallom). Apart from exploring the best of aquatic life and living of villagers along side the serene waters, I also relished various traditional dance forms, music and the sweet dish ‘Payasam’. I spent a couple of hours at an ancient Ayurveda & Yoga resort to rejuvenate my senses. During my entire tour, I found the coastline of Kerala dotted with canopies of coconuts, gorgeous greens, balmy beaches and the breathtakingly beautiful backwaters.

Posted on December 10th, 2009 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary – A Diamond in India's Ecological Crown

 

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

“I am the eagle, I live in high country,
in rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky,
I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers,

but time is still turning they soon will be dry,
All those who see me,
and all who believe in me,
share in the freedom I feel when I fly.”

This inspiring poem by American singer & poet John Denver is favourite among all the bird lovers / ornithologists in the world. The best part about my New Year Party, last year, was that I specially organized a trip to Kerala with my family and enjoyed the divine green beauty while staying in a houseboat and exploring the serene backwaters of Kerala. Still I was upset, as I did not get an opportunity to visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary due to lack of time. But positively, I got an invitation through a friend of mine to attend a two-day bird watching programme in Kumarakom, which was organized by WWF – India in connection with World Wetlands Day. That invitation brought a broader smile to me.

I arrived at Kottayam Junction on the scheduled date, which is the nearest railhead to Kumarakom (15 km). A cab took me to the hotel I was booked in. On the first day of the programme, all the guests were taken to the 14 acres wide Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary that lies on the banks of the Vembanad Lake. It’s hard to believe that one of the smallest parks in the country can be so stunning.

We clicked several local birds like waterfowl, cuckoo, parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, owl, egret, heron and the water duck, as well as the migratory Siberian cranes. The day ended perfectly. We all got back to the hotel and shared our experiences with each other till the wee hours. The next day was scheduled for a cruise along the Vembanad Lake, which is considered as the best way to experience the sanctuary. Houseboats and motorboats are easily available on hire for bird watching cruises on the lake.

Our first halt was Pathiramanal (sands of midnight), an enchanting island on the lake. This 10 acre island serves as a home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. Kingfishers, golden-backed woodpeckers and grey herons were the main attractions there. That short tour to Kumarakom left me mesmerized in every context.

Posted on November 27th, 2009 by Jagjit  |  1 Comment »

Kollam Tour: Kerala in Miniature

Kollam

Kerala Houseboat

Searching for a destination gifted with the best of waterways and the best of greenery?  Plan out a Kerala tour and go through Kollam travel guide. This  old seaport is also known as Quilon and is located on the banks of Ashtamudi  Lake, about 70 km from Thiruvananthapuram. Apart from serving as a  wonderful gateway to Kerala, this beautiful district is also known as a  renowned trade and commerce centre.

Background
Earlier a  renowned trading point for spice, Kollam has been a favourite place for  the traders of Persia,  Arab, Rome and China. It was established as a  modern trading centre by the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and the British. For the past few years, it has emerged as a leading  cashew trading and processing industry in India. Moreover, Kollam is an  important hub for the state’s marine products.

Major Attractions:

Ashtamudi Lake
This second  largest lake of the state offers the best of backwater cruises. The backdrop  of Chinese fishing nets forms the spell binding view here. Dense coconut  groves and palm trees surrounding the entire lake make it an ideal  place for your vacations. Kollam Boat Club offers ample opportunities  for cruising alongside the waterline.

Kottankulangara  Chamayavillanku
This is a  unique and interesting festival, in which all the men dress themselves  like women and perform various art forms in devotion to Goddess Bhagavathy.  Organized at the Kottankulangara temple in Chavara in March – April, the  festival is marked by the ‘Damsels’ that come to the temple at night in  a long procession with lighted lamps in their hands.

Jatayupara
As the  name suggests, this huge rock at Chadayamangalam is dedicated to the  mythical bird Jatayu in the epic Ramayana. As the legend goes,  that huge bird died here only while fighting against the demon King Ravana,  who kidnapped Devi Sita. Jatayupara serves as the venue for the ‘Crafts  Festival’ that is held annually during December-January. This  festival features the craftsmanship of artisans from all over the country.

Kottarakkara
Earlier  being the capital of Travancore Royal family, Kottarakkara is popular as  the place from where the famous Indian classical dance form originated.
Kollam  has no dearth of attractions. It is also frequented for the Picnic Village (the main centre of recreational activities), Rameshwara Temple, Palaruvi Waterfalls and the fresh water lake Sasthamkotta.

Kollam is favourite among history buffs because of several ruins of palaces and  forts that are worth visiting. The scenic beaches are a treat to all the  honeymooners as well as the routine vacationers.

Posted on November 9th, 2009 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off