Lorem ipsum dolor

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Read more

Lorem ipsum dolor

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Read more

Lorem ipsum dolor

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Read more

Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh – Untouched Beauty of Himalayas

5 Comments

Have you ever seen kid’s drawings?  A beautiful small house having trees and a river flowing nearby with mountains in the background; birds flying back to their homes in tandem as the Sun setting in. Most of us must have drawn the same picture hundreds of times when we were kids. Our stay at Tirthan reminds us of this picture. Located at the banks of Tirthan river with picturesque lower Himalayan Mountains, our trip to Tirthan consisted of staring at this beautiful scene for hours and days together.

Tirthan Valley – A picture perfect place for peace

We have been to few treks and some popular places in the Himalayas. “Ok, let’s try something different this time” we drifted to few options.

How about instead of moving from place to place, we just go one place and stay, stay there and just absorb that place fully; geographically, culturally and socially.

“Ok, sounds good, but where can we do this? Let’s check.

After some research we came across this wonderful blog by Medhavi, a braveheart trekker and a traveller.  Having gone through her blog/ her adventures and talking to her, we could immediately feel the connection. She has done numerous treks in the Himalayan region, but made this beautiful quaint village as her home away from home when she’s not trekking.

We talked to her at length about Tirthan and finally decided to stay in the same home stay where she was put up.  After reaching Tirthan, we got a chance to interact with her a lot and we indeed were inspired from her adventures. Not many people can pursue the path she is pursuing.

The Homestay and the daily routine

We stayed in Tirthan for a stretch of 15 days in Bisht Niwas.

The cozy wooden room facing the river made our stay pleasant and comfortable.Gushing sound of the river was our constant companion during the stay.

Mornings, we spent by the river side, staring at the rising sun,  and evenings, we did the same, but just looking at the opposite direction.

Dipping the feet in the river, feeling the chill of the gushing Tirthan, watching Small fish swimming by and the beautiful birds chirping, watch them making a stopover at some on the small rocks, stare at eagles flying majestically higher up; mostly, this was our daily routine.

View of the Tirthan River from our room

chilling by the riverside

A bird by the river side going about it’s day

Nature walks

The best way to absorb Tirthan valley’s beauty and depth is by walking around the places. The beautiful road with mountains on one side and the Tirthan River on the other side provides some spectacular views of the valley.  The main road is the only road where vehicles can be seen, all other roads need to be tread on foot. Small villages lie on either side of this main road which can only be reached on foot; typically a couple of kilometres inside.

Walking around Tirthan

Views around Tirthan

Waterfall and the great Himalayan National Park

“So, which direction did you walk today?” our host Kavitha asked, we said “we went towards the great himalayan national park, the botanical garden side”

“Nice, so did you see to the waterfall?”.

“Oh, is there a waterfall?, we didn’t know that”

“never mind, when you take a walk tomorrow, make sure you go there” Kavitha.

We had this on our mind and got delayed going there by few days. by 3rd day, our eagerness to go there rapidly increased and though it was late afternoon (by which many visitors to that place would be generally back), we decided to head towards the waterfall.

View of the valley enroute to the Waterfalls

Taking a couple of kilometers trek from main road, when we headed towards the waterfall, we saw few people coming back and it looked like we are the only ones heading towards the waterfall, while all others were coming back. The trek increasingly became scary and lonely. Since we were alone, the scary thoughts of cheetah attack of some wild animal encounter sounded possible as we headed deeper. The 20 min trek looked much longer with no trace of any human beings or any village visible from our paths.

Enroute to the waterfall

Near the waterfall

Thankfully, as we reached the waterfall, we could see some small village and actually realised that our fear was unreasonable and it was one of the safest routes to tread in the great himalayan national park.

The waterfall in the great himalayan national park

From great hosts to great friends

Mahendra and Kavitha, our friendly hosts, have made our stay a completely satisfying one with their feel-at-home treatment.  (http://bishtniwas.com/index.php) . The food served was probably the best we had in any of our previous Himalayan trips.

With Our lovely hosts in Tirthan, Mahendra and Kavitha

Mahendra was an extremely down to earth and a friendly person, who, right from picking us, to any suggestions, he was there for us. During our stay, we had some long leisure walk and talk sessions, where we got to know much more about the place. Hearing about a place from the locals always makes it much more enticing. Talking about the place did throw up some great stories about the place.

Mahendra and kavitha were there for us for any help required during the entire stay. After a point of time, we never felt like we were staying in a homestay, and instead we felt we were staying at our best friends place, comfortable and at home. We always imagine, if they visit our place, would we be able to treat them the way they treated us? Not really sure.

With Medhavi, the Himalayan Gypsy

In Medhavi, we made another good friend who has been an inspiration to many.

More stories on tirthan to follow later..

Categories: Uncategorized

A glimpse into the Spiritual world of Leh

3 Comments

Nature and spirituality are inseparable. A great view of the sunrise or a sunset, an infinite ocean with never ending waves, majestic and insurmountable mountains, or even a tiny beautiful flower, when looked at with passion, they ignite spirituality in all of us.

While leh is famous for stunning snow desert visuals, high altitude lakes, bike rides on few of the highest motorable roads, this region is also famous for it’s spiritual splendour.

Buddhist monasteries (Called as Gompas) are another key feature in the ladakh region apart from the above list.  These Gompas, are of both religious and historical significance in Leh. Although there are many Monasteries in the Leh region, each having its own beauty, we narrowed it down to a smaller list and visited few places.

 

Just outside the homestay we stayed in, we could see a beautiful Shanti Stupa on the local Hill top.

The distinct feature of most of these monasteries in the Himalayan region is the fact that they are located at the top of the local hill in the village. In addition, the architecture of these Gompas is mind blowing. Located at an altitude with tall and strong walls, these monasteries are designed to protect the villages from wars, floods or any other extremes, natural or otherwise.

Minimalist lifestyle

Located in the amazing serenity of the mountains, these monasteries do have a lasting and a calming effect on our minds. They are indeed spiritual powerhouses. In few of the monasteries we visited, we managed to talk to few of the monks and were indeed blessed to witness their way of living. The minimalist living without any desire for material things can be truly witnessed here in practice. The rough terrains and the harsh weather conditions in general make mountain people very mature about life’s priorities, the life in monasteries enhance it further.

If you are worried about not having the latest mobile phone, talk to these monks, whose only mode of communication is walk upto the person even if it means walking or trekking for few miles.

If you are complaining about boredom in life despite so many options of entertainment, look at the lifestyle of these monks, who has no means of so called mainstream entertainment whatsoever, but are full of life.

If you are cribbing about lack of facilities in your cities, what about these monks who had to climb up and down for hundreds of steps just to fetch a can of water? their only facility is the pity shown by harsh nature occasionally.

Key Places of importance in Leh

The first one we visited was the Shey Palace. This beautiful and an old palace, which is in ruins now, still glitters with the enchanting idol of SakyaMuni Buddha (the sage of Local sakya People).

The Palace, located at around 15 Km from Leh, has a captivating view of the glittering patch of greenery with a never ending view of the mountains in the background.

 

 

The place is full of the Buddhist prayer wheels with many mantras written on it, each carrying a deep meaning. The famous one being the  Om Mani Padme Hum (we were given many interpretations of this single mantra in many different places.)

 

No physical disability stops some people to reach these heights

 

Next up was Thikse Gompa; Located at around 19 KM from Leh, this monastery is one of the largest in the Ladakh region. The driver explained to us that the architecture of this is very similar to the famous Potala palace Lhasa, Tibet. Here’s we got a chance to stay for longer and interact with the monks and the other staff of the monastery.

Monk doing his bit to the world

The idols of Buddha are slightly different here, although we couldn’t notice much of the differences, our guide explained us some minute differences.

Golden Buddha at the top of the hill

Hemis Monastery

Thikse Monastery

A view from Thicksey Monastery

After the noon prayers, the priests departed to their dorms and we didn’t get much chance to interact with them. firstly, they speak very little and secondly they wouldn’t want to be disturbed in between their daily activities.

After wandering around in the monastery for some time, we got a chance to talk to Head Chef, who is in charge of the kitchen for the entire Gompa.The man was old but not weak. He was brimming with energy, though the lunch time was already over, he offered us tea. The local tea was actually tasty and has a distinct ladakhi flavour which can be made out only if we stayed in ladakh for few days at least.

These monks might be younger to me, but am sure they are much more educated about life

The dining Hall at the Thikse Gompa.

Monk’s Kitchen

 

Other than these, we did get a chance to visit few more monasteries, notably, the famous Lamayaru Monastery (More on it later). Although the key monasteries in leh are generally covered in a day’s trip, if you want to understand more about these Gompas, do give it a day more. For these monastery visits, slow and steady fills your hearts.

Categories: Leh Tags: Tags: , , ,

A two day trip to Ooty

2 Comments

On our Return from Masinagudi trip, we decided for a quick a 2 day visit to Ooty since it is located at just about 1.5 hr ride from Masinagudi. Also, this was our stop over before we headed to Coimbatore and headed back home. The main idea was to take the Toy train and the best way was to take it downhill from Ooty to Mettupalyam.

Though very popular, we have never been to Ooty once and hence decided to take it off from our list. Ooty, located at an altitude of round 7000ft. Ooty is easily reachable from Coimbatore at just around 90 km from the city.

Given that we have given only 2 days for Ooty, we did not want to overdo the sightseeing part, especially given the continuous drizzles throughout the stay.

A Bit spoilt, but retaining its charm:

As we approached Ooty, the signs of commercialization did show up, but beneath this bout of commercialization, Ooty does retain its charm. The rapid development of this place still is not enough to dominate the majestic Nilgiris. The monsoon season and the continuous rains ensured that the tourist flow was minimal when we visited this place.

Houses used as Advertisements boards-
sign of the Commercialization levels in Ooty

The advantage of the off season visit is that we can be choosy about our stay. We stayed in a resort called Lymond house. It turned out, that this place is actually quite a popular resort known for numerous movie shootings happening.

Lymond House – Our stay in Ooty

When it comes to resort stays, this was another lucky time for us where since there were no other guests in the resort (Ooty is heavily crowded during summers and winters, not much during monsoons), the entire resort was for us)

Our room in Lymond House..and it’s raining outside. can’t blame if we just wanted to stay indoors all the time

The wooden rooms fitted with fire place in the corner, a nice luxurious wooden Bed with a warm and cosy lighting making us lazy enough for us to just stay indoors. The chill breeze and the torrential rains didn’t help to beat the lethargy.

In the lines of Kodai Lake, we went for boating trip at the Ooty Lake. Due to the heavy tourist flow and commercialization, Ooty Lake seems a bit dull and jaded with the water being not so pure. The only respite being it is a bit far away from the centre of the town. However, the boat trip around the lake is a relaxing one. The smooth rocking movement of the boat with stunning views of the forest and the wind kissing us makes it a comfortable ride.

Ooty Lake

scenes around the lake

On the soothing Boat ride

Boating in the lake did give us enough energy to checkout few places in the town. We headed towards the rose garden followed by a ride to the famous glenmorgan tea estates which offers beautiful visuals.

When we got tired of walking, we took an auto rickshaw and headed wherever we feel like. The city map is handy during such ad hoc visits. The auto rickshaws are very costly, mostly a trend we observed across Ooty. They seem to have standard, but very high cost for even a 2-3 KM ride.

Rose gardens

Walking around the town

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” – Steven Wright.

Although the main town of Ooty is now heavily commercialized, if you move slightly away from the main town, that’s where the old charm returns.

Some scenes just away from the hustle of the city centre

We headed for some peaceful places slightly away from the town where we got to see the Ooty in its full flourish. The heavy wind conditions with occasional showers have made the conditions very chilly.

On the way to glenmorgan

View of the town from a slight distance

Monsoon definitely added beauty to every place we visited

View of the Glenmorgan lake

Toy Train – Joy ride to end the trip

The trip to Ooty is never complete without taking the Toy train (more on it in a separate blog later). Being one of the oldest mountain raliways, Nilgiri railways can be enjoyed by toy train ride. Other than English, mountain railways in another thing we are happy about British’s contribution to India. We took the toy train while heading back to Coimbatore.

 

The 4 hour ride to the bottom of the Ooty hills slowly takes us back from the top of the Nilgiris to the foot hills. Passing through the small and beautiful stations in between, we gobbled up some scrumptious snacks available at the stations in between; The nilgiris hangover remained even after we headed home for many months.

 

Categories: Ooty

Kodai – Above the clouds, gateway to heaven

3 Comments

We have two main fascinations when it comes to travelling in India; Himalayas and the Western Ghats. While Himalayas is an infinite package in itself where one lifetime is not enough to cover even a small piece of it, it’s smaller brother down south western Ghat ranges offer some similar features such as captivating Ghat roads, beautiful hill stations.

Kodai is one such destination which will satiate our thirst for hill stations. In fact, it is worth noting that Kodaikanal is at an altitude of close to 7000 ft, few hundred meters higher than Manali (we always compare with Manali just to get a gauge of where these hill stations stand). Kodai is probably the most beautiful hill station in South India; Probably that’s why this place is often called as the “Queen of Hill stations”. This is such a cool place that none of the hotels or resorts here has fans installed in the rooms.

 

Kodia town is centred around this lake primarily

We checked into a place called “Villa Retreat”, a small and a quaint resort, but very close to the centre of the town, the Kodai Lake. The views from the resort are breath taking making us relax in the lawn for long time during our stay. The wooden rooms with town view from the balcony were well maintained.

View from our home stay

Travelling in South India is incomplete without a mention of the food. The food served in this place is out of the world. The hot, smooth and delicious Idlis, dosas with a combination of assorted South Indian chutneys had us mesmerised throughout our stay. Having this breakfast, with a view of the town from the top was in fact a great start to each of days here.

While kodai has many scenic places to visit, the best thing to do is take a walk in the through the beautiful roads leading to the main town.  Evenings are the best time for it as we can feel the chill of the wind and also the town goes to laid back mode once the sun sets in. Of course, some interesting shopping waits us in terms of handmade chocolates, woollen wear, handlooms dresses etc.

The key attraction as you approach kodai is the silver cascade waterfalls, after a long ride from any of the nearby towns. There are few shops which sell fruits and refreshments; this is a pit stop for many of the tourists travelling to Kodai. Of course, beware of the monkeys which try to snatch anything from your hands.

digging for some snacks

Another favourite and a leisure activity that we got addicted to was the boating. The smooth and steady rocking of the boat with picturesque views of the town provides a therapeutic and a calming effect on our minds.

Boat ride gives us a glimpse of the homestays and resorts around

As you pass through the lake, you can enjoy the view of home stays seen between the tall trees, beautiful swans and other birds playing in the lake. We took multiple boat trips just to enjoy the pleasantness of the ride; it’s like a massage to your senses.

we get to see such beautiful ducks while boating

Other tourists enjoying the boating

After thoroughly enjoying the Lake and the strolls through the local town in the evenings, we ventured out to other places which are famous sightseeing points. The weather and the morning mist makes most of these places appear out of the world. The silent valley view point, as the name suggests is hushed and Divine. It was so peaceful that we were the only people at that place for most of the time. Our driver even got bored (we on the other side were fully excited to check out the place fully) and said he will at least take some pictures for us; he did turn out to be a good photographer.

Silent valley…it stands true to its name

After travelling further, we reached a point called Caps valley. Interesting story: it seems long time back when a British national visited this place and looked down from this view point, his cap fell down but in few seconds due to the gushing and heavy wind, it came up again; hence the name Caps Valley. We have actually seen few people trying to throw their caps and losing them.

At the caps valley

It feels like everyone are above clouds at many of the view points

 

Berijam Lake

Berijam Lake is seen from the top few kilometres away at a view point, which is now famously called as the Berijam lake view point. The Lake is covered and is nicely snuggled inside the forest with trees on all sides of the lake. The entry for Berijam Lake is restricted to few hours a day till 3:30 pm in order to ensure the quality of the lake whose water is supplied to few nearby by villages. We did hear that the Kodai lakes have problem of mercury Pollution (seems like a big story to even talk about it here, do Google it; interesting read)

at Berijam Lake

The Lake totally mesmerized us with beautiful backdrop of the lush green forest and pin drop silence across. After doing our bit of noise pollution by shouting excitedly (yeah we do feel guilty about it), we decided to head back.

The list of things to do never ends in Kodai. The visit to the Pine gardens, another popular spot used in several south Movies, which also served as a stop for some refreshments, specially the raw cut mango topped with salt and pepper.

Pine Gardens

Our evenings are generally spent in are around the Kodai lake for next couple of days, we did multiple boat rides, rented cycles and rode around the perimeter of the Lake. The lake’s perimeter road is very well maintained for walkers and cyclists. Locals come here for morning and evening walks, while the outsiders enjoy this place for the same with an extra option of horse riding or cycling on the rented ones.

We asked some guy jogging on the lake side to take a picture of us..he did well 🙂

With many options ranging from unwind, relax to drive around to treks, Kodai does offer nature lovers a variety of experience to cherish. Be aware that summers are jam packed and may be as we did, try this one during monsoons.

A weekend trip to Medak and Pocharam Lake

No Comments

We often hear people in Hyderabad complaining about lack of good places to visit during the weekends. Well, although that is true to an extent, there are some places which are often ignored as they do not feature much in the mainstream travel places. One such place is Medak Town. Located at just around 100 KM from Hyderabad, this place offers simple weekend getaway option for people in Hyderabad.

We decided to simply take out our car along with other friends and it did turn out to be a much more satisfactory one than what we imagined. There are few attractions in this town which gives us a piece of Nizam’s history or simply few options which are liked by nature lovers.

After we reached Medak town, we checked into Haritha resort, it is maintained by the Telangana tourism Department and is located just at the entrance of the Medak fort. This actually used to be a Bungalow used by Nizams during their rule, and then recently converted into a hotel to stay for the people.

View of the medak town from Haritha Resort

Since there is not much crowd during, we easily got the accommodation and it turn out to be such a large room that for a moment we were scared with the size of the rooms. Even bathroom we as big as a 1 Bedroom house in Hyderabad. The fact that we were only 2 couples in the entire resort added to the chill factor.

Bathroom in the old Nizam bungalow

First Day evening we visited the Medak Fort. It’s a small 200m hike and presents a good view of the town. After we are back to the resort from the fort hike, since there were no other guests in the resort, we decided to move the dining tables and played badminton for a good 2 hrs under the lights.

Some trips offer such surprises that they will remain in our memories for ever. We are food lovers and no trip is complete for us without a mention on the food. May be we were tired from playing, but the food we tasted at this place was actually out of the world. We ordered a simple jira rice with dal, and oh boy!!, it turns out that it was the best jira rice and dal we ever ate!! We tried to reason it by assuming we were hungry, we were tired, that’s why it must have tasted delicious, but nevertheless, it was so great that my wife actually took the tips from the chef about cooking various stuff.

Pocharam lake is the main attraction for us during the entire trip. It is a huge lake with a piece of melancholy tagged to it. It is not generally crowded and by the time we visited the lake around morning 6 AM, we were the only people at the lake.

Pocharam Lake

This lake is well known for nature lovers and also ornithologists as we get to see a lot of migratory birds. December to March is probably the best time to visit this place for observing the birds.

pocharam lake in it’s full glory in the morning

The lake is famous for spotting some migratory birds

The abandoned Nizam’s bungalow added to the melancholy. It is said that Medak forest used to be the favourite hunting place for nizams and they used to frequently visit medak and used to stay in this Bungalow.  Although it is currently not maintained well, just a visit to the lake and this bungalow for couple of hours makes it a good experience.

Another abandoned Nizam’s Bungalow near pocharam lake

Nizam’s Bungalow just beside the pocharam lake

While returning, we visited the pocharam wild life sanctuary and tough it is not a big sanctuary, the forest officer was a passionate person. He talked to us for length and explained how human activities were endangering the animal and plant species. He explained us at length about how the penicillin has made vultures extinct from most of the places and how the street dogs are now playing the role of these extinct vultures in scavenging the dead animals. Because of this, he says that there is a serious street dog menace across the country. He also had an interesting take on people’s excessive love for the dogs and paper love for wild animals. Also, how the cows in cities are ending up consuming plastics bags because of our excessive usage of plastics. It was a very educative session with him.

Although not much, pocharam sanctuary does offer some wildlife

After an eventful trip to the pocharam wild life sanctuary, we were in for another surprise. We came across a large plain lands on another side of the pocharam lake and saw few kids playing cricket. The setting was superb for fun one more time.

Kids enjoying their sunday in the best possible way

Kids playing cricket on the lush green grass besides the beautiful pocharam lake away from the hustle of the roads and traffic. These kids know how best to enjoy their weekends. May be we should learn something from them.

All set for a serious match

We walked to the kids and asked if we could play with them. The kids are so lively and they welcomed us whole heartedly. we learnt that village kids are far more courteous than the kids in cities and they were more than willing to accommodate us.

Not such a great shot

After a good game and hearty laughs, we bid good bye to the kids and headed home.

Sometimes, low expectations lead us to more happiness, and that’s what this trip was all about. Don’t expect too much and get disappointed, instead enjoy what comes in your way.

Actually, That’s true for for any thing in life.

Categories: Medak Tags: Tags: ,

Munnar – Heaven in the God’s Own Country

3 Comments

Kerala and Monsoon are the 2 words which ring a bell for any nature lover.

Travelling in Kerala during this season could be one of the most beautiful experiences. We travelled to Munnar in the monsoon season and rains make the God’s own country even more heavenly. Munnar is located at 5200 ft/1600 mt above sea level (few hundred meters lesser than manali)

The blossoming flowers, lush green forests drenched in rains, the misty feeling in the mountains, the curvaceous Ghats presenting stunning views of the mountains – all makes the journey to Munnar a beautiful experience.  The best way to reach Munnar is from Cochin or Ernakulam. You can take a bus or hire a cab from these places.

We started a bit late to Munnar from Gurvayur and it started raining heavily.  Although we were doubtful of reaching due to a possibility of landslides, we took the risk and went ahead.

What a fun to be on the Ghat roads on a rainy day

We were in a hurry to reach Munnar through these heavy rains with minimal visibility

Although worried about the heavy rain, we were indeed mesmerized by the views of almost everything

Since we wanted to enjoy the Munnar views from the top most point, we chose to stay in a resort called Nature Zone and booked it Online.

The Tree house where we stayed

The resort manager was a very courteous man and he not only waited for us exclusively till we arrived, he also made sure that the kitchen staff also waited for us in order to make every bit of our experience a very pleasant one. Nature zone is 5 km inside the forest from the last point where the regular vehicles stop. Hence, the resort manager sent us their own vehicle to the pickup point at 9:30 PM. It was a bumpy but a wonderful ride on a jeep through the jungle for next half an hour or so.  By the time we reached the resort, it was already 10 PM. The kitchen staff cooked us fresh and a hot food, which satiated not only our hunger, but also made us warm specially after a chilling journey through the rain and dark.

This is probably one of the most beautiful resorts where we booked a tree house for our stay. They do have other forms of accommodation such as cottages; we chose the tree house as it’s one of our long time wish to stay in a tree house. The tree houses are sturdily built with the main support of the tree and with a metal stair to reach the room. The cosy wooden rooms add to the snugly feeling during the monsoons.

sturdily build tree houses were captivating

The pitter patter of the rain and the wet stairs of the tree house

The tree house is, well, a 300m walk from the main reception with no phone connection or any such facility. Phone signal was also very flaky. But that’s the beauty of the place as it gave us the feeling of staying in the middle of the jungle. The best part about rains in Kerala is that they are not incessant. It generally rains for few hours and gives way for interludes of warm sunshine.

For next three days, we mainly spent the time enjoying the views from the top of this point and a few nature walks through the jungle paths and the tea gardens.

The fresh food served is a detox therapy to the body and the soul

Rain soaked trails

view on the neighbouring Tree house

The blissful nature

One thing we cannot miss in Munnar is the Tea gardens visit.  Munnar is flush with tea gardens which spread across 1000s of acres which are used for tea cultivation for more than hundred years. Although Munnar people are proud of their tea gardens, we heard one local giving a brief history saying that it was British ploy in early 19th Century to develop tea cultivation in India to counter Chinese Monopoly in the world team markets. Anyways, coming back to the point, yes, the Munnar tea gardens are a beautiful sight to watch and even there is a tea museum, which is one of its kind and is worth a visit.

view of one of the many Tea gardens of Munnar

The trails for the nature walks near the resort

After staying in the resort for few days, we came back to the Munnar town. The walk across the main road, though a bit noisy sometimes, can give a glimpse of the local life here. small cafes for a leisure chat coupled with some shops for the tourists make up most of the centre of the town. we stayed in the centre of the munnar town for a day mainly to observe and absorb a bit of local life.

 

pure coffee..Pure Bliss

Although Munnar is a typical touristy place, it offers many things ranging from pristine nature, beautiful tea gardens, hushed life inside the jungles and a laid back life in the town.

 

Categories: Kerala Tags: Tags: ,

Alleppey House Boat – A Royal Treat to the Senses

3 Comments

Any list of beautiful places of India, it cannot be complete without a mention of Kerala. The thick forests of Western Ghats, long and scenic sea coasts, beautiful beaches, stunning backwaters, picturesque mountains, name it and you can find it all in Kerala. The villages, towns and even cities are very laid back, making the travel to Kerala a beautiful experience.

Kerala was our first trip together where we not only got to know each other better, but also got the first taste of travelling together.

Actually, travelling to Places in Kerala itself is a beautiful experience. Typically, there is a nearby city or a town where you can reach by train or flight and from there most of the touristy places are couple of hours ride by cab; same with Alleppey. We reached Cochin airport by 10:00 PM, and booked a taxi to Alleppey. While you can book houseboats anywhere from Alleppey, kumarokam, kollam, kottayam or kasargod, Alleppey-kumarokam stretch is considered the most popular and the most beautiful.

The 2.5 hr ride to Alleppey is not just about a commute from one place to another, but is equally about getting to pass through beautiful villages.

view enroute to the housboat

Beautiful paddy fields see across the route  to Alleppey. we encountered many more even during the housboat ride

 

After a lovely south Indian meals at Aryas (the famous south Indian hotel plus a bit easy on the pocket as well) followed by a beautiful ride, we reached Alleppey ferry joint by 2:00 PM. A quick 20 min walk through a beautiful village side led us to our houseboat.

There are many houseboats, but since we visited the place during relatively a low peak season of August, ours was easy to spot by. Kerala has a well developed tourist industry and accordingly the hosts of these houseboats are really well mannered. We got a warm welcome with hearty smiles and a tender coconut and a fruit juice.

Houseboats (called as kettuvallam in Malayalam,meaning tie the Boat) are actually country boats which were used for carrying goods from Cochin to Kuttanad region. But After development of roadways across the state, these boats slowly lost their sheen. But after a bout of tourist visits, few boat owners have come up with this unique idea of renovating these boats as Houseboats. We are told that most of the houseboat don’t use any nails in construction, they mostly use coir for tying and establishing the boat structures.

Our house boat waiting for us to get aboard

view from the starting point of our journey

 

Within Half an hour, our houseboat started it’s soothing journey on the Alleppey back waters after passing through the Punnada and Vembanadu Lakes. The picturesque view of lush paddy fields, coconut trees and villages makes the journey even more relaxing.

coconuts and banana trees have truly added to the green factor

beautiful weather added a lot of pleasantness to the proceedings

I’m jealous of the locals who are living here

The views on both sides of the houseboat were a joy where we can see many villages and the people in the villages going casually about their daily lives. You wonder sometimes, why, we living in cities seem to have everything so hurried up?

For some villages on the sides of the backwaters, we see them taking out their boats for some chores just like we take out our bikes in our cities. I think you need to be blessed to be born or living in such places.

I have a Royal enfield parked outside my house and feel proud about it, but, can anything beat this ?

just an evening ride? or may be a domestic chore, not fair!!

As the sun started to set in, we were trying to soak up the relaxed feeling of the journey, capturing few pictures of the few other boats passing by. We actually heard, there will be almost traffic jams during peak season. But we were lucky to visit this place during an off season. After some chit chat with the friendly staff, we tried our hand at driving the boat, and boy, it does feel good to be in driver’s seat.

Another beautiful houseboat passing by

Parking..i mean docking at Kuppapuram

Once, the evening set in, our boat was docked at a point near a village called Kuppapuram, where we spent the night. The darkness and silence you witness at such docking points is actually a beautiful and a therapeutic experience. Though there is a hangout area outside the room with a TV set and a nicely decorated sofa set, we decided to shut the TV off and experience the night and the backwaters shining from the light from other boats passing by. We can spend the whole night not sleeping but just admiring the beauty of the backwaters.

The mornings are equally enchanting with birds chirping and sun rising through the opposite villages. Sipping the morning coffee and witnessing this whole scene of morning unfolding is an experience to Cherish.

morning lotus near by the docking point

 

enjoying the morning coffee and the morning freshness

After another ride through the villages, we reached another backwaters village, Kumarokam, where we headed for other destinations of our journey.

Whenever we travel to any place, we leave a piece of ourselves there and we take a piece of that place, becoming a new version of ourselves.

This trip was mostly a leisure travel for us and hence there were few things, which we felt we wanted to explore more when we visit this place again sometime. If you are planning for a leisure trip and enjoy backwaters, Houseboat is the best. However, if the idea is to enjoy life at the backwaters in a more closer way, probably a boat ride from cochin to kottayam is a way to go. That’s on cards for our next trip sometime for sure.

 

Helpful Info: 

Reaching the place: Google 🙂

Stay:

We booked our Houseboat online after talking to the guys at www.naturevisionkerala.com. The staff is courteous and well behaved. The food served is also hygienic.

All details can be found at their website. If you are planning to in peak season, do ensure to book 1 month in advance to avoid any last minute rush and premium pricing.

To do:

Nothing, enjoy the houseboat ride.

Gear Required:

Nothing, normal

Categories: Uncategorized