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 ‚Äďthe 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 ‚Äď 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

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