Saturday, November 28, 2009

Trip to Kannyakumari.

Hello again,
           After a long delay, finally made up my mind to finish this post. This is about my frequent trips to Kannyakumari, also called as the Cape Comorin. This place has got much importance, that it used to be the frequently asked location to be pointed on map during high school exams :) Kannyakumari, is the southern most part of the Indian Peninsula and it's one of the must-visit tourist places in India and is renowned for the Sun Rise and Sun Set view. Its flanked by foreign tourists almost throught the year.

       From my hometown, Tirunelveli Kannyakumari is approximately 90 Kms and is well connected by roads. NH-7 is the primary route to reach Kannyakumari from Tirunelveli. This is also one of our favourite and preferred location to hangout with friends, bunking classes. This travelogue would contain a mix of all the trips that I made here. Though we've made a couple of trips with my college dudes on our two-wheelers , I'd be emphasizing the trip that I made with my family. Don't get misled by the pictures because they are taken during different trips and I don't want a new travelogue to be opened for each trip that I make to the same place. It was soon after Pongal- the festival of harvest in India, that we decided to hit the spot with my family and relatives. We took two cars this time, our I10 and my Uncle's Ambassador and we were 10 in head count. I was not yet used to long drive in four wheeler already and my dad wanted me to take charge to teach me some skills.

      We started around 4 PM evening and managed to reach Kannyakumari by around 5:30 Pm. If you've read my previous post "Trip to Thirparappu", the major part of the route is the same except for a left turn after"Kaaval Kinaru" leading to Kannyakumari.  (remember we took the right to Nagercoil for heading towards Thirparappu) . This area is known for the wind mills and is planted with a numbers of wind turbines along the high way.

Reaching Kannayakumari after a brief break at Valliyur at about half the distance, it seemed that eve was perfectly set for our visit, with clear skies.

       The major attraction here in Kannyakumari is the "Kumari Amman" temple, the Vivekananda Rock, Tiruvalluvar Statue and Gandhi Mandapam.You gotta take a ferry from the shore to reach the Vivekananda rock. The tourist dept. has arranged motorised boats to ferry people to and fro from the rock. However, it's the sole discretion of the management to stop service, if they feel the sea water is too rough to tug. Also, it's banned after evening and no service will be available to the rock post evening. There is a memorial for Swami Vivekananda and it has got a meditation hall in it and some testimonials of Vivekananda. There is also a gigantic statue of the Tamil Poet Tiruvalluvar, that reaches to a height of 133 feet reflecting his works of 133 chapters in Thirukkural. I almost need a new website to describe about this saint, but you still can find lots of information about him and his works in the internet.

The above picture is a long shot view of the statue and I swear, you cannot capture the statue in a single frame no matter what your camera is capable of. The toenail of the statue would be bigger than your palm !! People taking bath and playing in the seashore is a common sight here. Also importantly, this place is the point where the three major water bodies The Indian Ocean, The Bay of Bengal and The Arabian Sea merger together. It is also said that, the sea when viewed from the view point here, one can spot the three different colors of the ocean representing each, should be beautiful sight.

Near the shore, one can find vendors selling eatables, fancy items made of shells and corals and are relatively cheap that you can fill your bags with stuffs by shelling out few bucks, however you gotta bargain at the best.

The Gandhi Mandapam is another important place of interest here. It is where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi was kept for public view, also houses some rare pictures and historical information. The design of this mandapam is quite unique that during October 2'nd (Gandhi's B'day), the sunbeam falls on the place where his ashes were kept.

Back to our journey now, it was around 6PM that the crowd gathered towards one direction to get a glimpse of the Sun set. I had been there a number of times previously, but I never ever had a chance to see such a spectacular sun set as this day. Thanks to the clear skies and little crowd !!.

We all stood there awestruck for almost 15 minutes after which the Sun drowned under the seas. We has a good time there and was lucky enough with the skies to get a crystal clear Sunset that day. I don't have any adjectives left and leaving the rest for the pictures to speak !

 Finally with a satisfied mind and a burdened heart, we packed up, had some refreshments at the restaurants lining the shore, worshiped the goddess "Kumari Amman" and huddled inside our cars to hit the roads back home.

As a whole, no matter which part of the world you dwell, if you visit India Kannyakumari should be at the top in your priority and I assure you, it's worth the time spent here.

More travelogues yet to come, Watch Out !!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trip To Thirparappu Water Falls.


Hi again,
        I planned a couple of days off, after a long exhausting work span. Visited my native Tirunelveli, where I thought, could spend my hours with  my kin. Being a festive season, joy filled the air with almost everyone back at home. Thought of hitting the roads again with our I10 this time. A trip to Kodaikanal was all that I was looking for, but provided the time and factuality, it was not a wise option (well, may be atleast this time) that we chose a place relatively nearer. Also, the mercury was at its peak those days and we were looking for a real break away from the regular life. We chose Thirparappu falls few kilometers from Marthandam and about 100 Kms away from our home. The plan was too late, that we had to take off in the early noon around 11:00 AM with the mercury pointing over 95+ F ! My dad, brother in law and my uncle (dad's youngest brother) planned for the trip, initially. Yet another Uncle(dad's immediate brother) seemed to have got impressed by the trip and within minutes, he was all set to go. A full five would seem too much for an I10, but it was the best option we had, in comparison with my latter Uncle's non-a/c Ambassador, with the temperature in mind. The ride would have been better, but I10 being new, definitely needed some heavy figures on the odo atleast to meet the next service due. So we started fully packed around around 11 AM with my favorite album in the head unit and ac's on.

       The major road enroute is National Highways 7. Of late, there had been renovation work being carried out on the highways to make it a four way lane, a part of the golden quadrilateral project in India. By that time, the stretch that we tread on was almost complete, except for junctions and cross roads. NH 7 is barely 3 Kms from my home (Palayamcottai). It was pleasant to travel on this stretch, though all the trees lining the roads were chopped down to give way to the four lanes, it was scorching. We travelled unhindered until "KavalKinaru", where we stopped to take a break. Shortly, we've to take a right turn into State Highways 45, that leads towards Nagercoil. There are a couple of roads leading to Tirparappu from Nagercoil, but we took the one through Padmanabhapuram Palace(later we repented !!).

The padmanabhapuram route to Tirparappu was very narrow and full of potholes. It was too narrow that, no two cars can travel parallely at the same time, so vehicles on one side had to stop for the opposite traffic. We got struck in middle, with traffic got jammed on both sides. I had to step down the drivers' seat to make way for my dad to handle it. Lost 20 minutes here and finally traffic got cleared (atleast for us) when I and my Uncle played Traffic sergeants.


           Except for that bottleneck, the ambience on this road was picturesque, with lush green spots everywhere. Coconut trees constitute the main plantation here, though the area is quite famous for its honey. Provided the abundant greenery, one can get honey in its pure form at pretty low price here.

           We managed to reach the falls around 2:00 PM. There was very little crowd that day than we expected. Parking slots were empty with only few vehicles making it. The way to the falls is lined with few petty shops selling bhajjis, beverages and essential stuffs like coconut oil, soaps etc.. Tasted few bhajjis and proceed to trek down the path enroute to the falls. As said, there was not much crowd in the falls, favoring us a lot, that we enjoyed a lot of time drenching ourselves there and running across its entire breadth.

            We spent almost an hour under the falls, expelling all the heat in our body. Soon, crowd started filling in, with college students checking-in  in couple of buses. With no mind to leave, we left the falls to make up the time, it was way too late for the lunch. We started from there around 3:00 PM. We had our lunch in Marthandam, should be within 10 Kms from the falls. We also visited one of our relative's home in "Veerani". Aesthetically located amongst the hills, the drive to the place was a pleasure with paddy fields and coconut grooves on either side, a treat to be in there.

            Finally, we left the place and headed back home through the NH7, with dad in charge. The road, was well lit in the night, thanks to the imported paints and reflectors. A constant 80Kmph on the Odo and we were back home in 90 minutes, no break this time, except for a pause to fuel the car. Should have clocked a total of around 250 Kms that day.

Was once again a pleasant experience..

Yet, more interesting travelogues to come. Watch Out !!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trip to Thenmala (From Tirunelveli) - Part II

This is the continuation of the previous post. Be sure to read the first one before reading this.

We finally reached Thenmala at around 3.00 PM. The main attraction here is the Thenmala Dam and the Ecotourism centre. We reached the ecotourism centre, that aided us with professional tourist information of the place. We can avail boat ride on the dam, trekking, nature walk, cycling, bird watching and they even offer a lot of adventure activities too.

 We first took the elevated walkway, a mad made arrangement for bird/insect watchers to trek amidst the plush greenery, an unforgettable experience. Sudden showers were uninvited guest to join us. There was a photo point too. It was really a thrilling experience, with only four of us inside the dense forest, armed with nothing but fists!! There was also a pond in the centre of the walkway, giving us a perfect spot to sitback and relax.

Then, we visited the deer park, spotted few deers that never feared to come near us, it should have got used to visitors. Spent some time in the tree house that was built for tourists. Visited the dam. Took some cool shots on the bridge that runs over the dam's exit. Took "Pazha Bajji" (Bhajji made from banana), which is the favourite snack there. "Vaathu muttai" (Duck's egg) is common here. Private Jeeps transport local people to and fro the hills. There is a branch of the bank "State Bank of Travancore" in Thenmala, where my uncle was lucky enough to work for amost a year.

In short, it was a fascinating experience for all four of us. We even visited this place again two more times, and planning to do it again in near future. I'd advise you to take a two wheeler if you want to enjoy the nature in its best, or a SUV if you are going as a family. Small cars would not fit, as the road is steep and potholes camouflaged with rain water. An experienced driver can make it though.

For more information log on to

Even more interesting travelogues yet to come, Watch Out !!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trip to Thenmala (From Tirunelveli)


I could not resist myself in posting this travelogue, though it was made a couple of years ago. This one is one of the best trips I ever had so far. We were pursuing our undergraduate course in Engineering then and we were on the verge of its completion. As a typical college dude and acknowledging the funny T-Shirt slogan, we were definitely the guys your mom warned you about !! Our group were fondly called the 7.5 guys (though we claimed the title ourself ! ).

        I had already been to Thenmala along with my family, but we decided to make it with our two wheelers this time. It was me, Sam, Vinoth and Ramachandra this time, in our two modded splendors. Thenmala was around 95 kms from our place. We had to pick up two of our friends(Vinoth and Ram) on the way. Sam and I started at around 7:30 AM from Tirunelveli, Nellai as it's also called. We took the State Highways 40, SH 40 in our Splendor, the city being a tier II city, traffic was not a concern at all throughout our entire trip.  We reached Alangualm, 30 Kms from Nellai, picked up Vinoth and proceeded to Thenkasi. After clocking 25 kms more, we reached Tenkasi and picked up another fella Ramachandran. The route from Nellai to Tenkasi is not too interesting, but you can see moderate greeneries, farms on both sides a common sight in these towns. But after Tenkasi the scene is different. I'm sure you guys gonna love it, the stretch from Tenkasi to Tenmala. From Tenkasi until Shenkottai are plain lands, and Shenkottai is the gateway to the hill where we are heading for. The climate was perfectly set for the show that day with mist engulfing the cliff that we gonna trek. It's NH208 from Tenkasi, that leads to Thenmala.

Thenmala is a small village at the foothills of Western Ghats and predominantly a forest area. The famous Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary is the most important ecotourism resource of Thenmala Ecotourism. This Wildlife Sanctuary is of about 100 sq. km. and harbors large varieties of flora and fauna.
     Thenmala : "Then + Mala" , i.e. in local parlance "Then" means honey and "Mala" means hillock i.e. it mean honey hills. The honey collected from Thenmala forest region is of good quality and of high medicinal value because of the unique floristic composition of the forests.  It is said that Thenmala is the first planned ecotourism centre in India.
- Courtesy -

From Shenkottai to Tenmala, being a ghat section, you are assured of breathtaking landscapes, naturistic greeneries contributing a stunning experience.

   On the way to Tenmala, there is a falls "Palaruvi", surrounded be dense tropical forest and mist clad mountains. The road that leads to Palaruvi is cut through the dense forest, you have to pay a minimal toll on this stretch and the foresters warn about wild animals on this track.

We drenched ourselves in the fresh milky water here and proceeded to Thenmala. On the way we were blessed with a lone tea shop, which I guess should be the only one amidst the hills. The place around the shop were picturesque. My digcam was busy all the time swallowing as much scenery it could. Right across the teashop was a narrow ravine, which sure pulled our attention. Those ravines brimed almost throught the entire way till Thenmala, beautiful to look at.

Spent some time here and left this place half heartedly, only to stick to the time. Somewhere around 3 Kms to Thenmala, we came across a railway bridge, an age old one constructed during the British period. It was so captivating that we had to turn off the engines to stare at this engineering marvel.

Continuing the rest in another post. Will meet you at Thenmala in the next post.

Watch out !!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trip to Nandi Hills

Hello again,
That was a fine Sunday morning. Drowsy as every weekend would be. It was around 11:30 am, that me and my brother-in-law Prasanna, sketched a plan to go to Nandi hills. It would not be that hard to make it as Nandi hills was barely 60 Kms from the place we dwell. This time it was with my BIL's  Santro Xing. My four wheeler license was just about a year old, whereas my BIL's was few months!!. Both of us were not professional drivers, but by that time I got used to those city driving. We started around 11:30, fueled our car, got some snacks and lots of water. BIL not being used to city driving yet, I had to kick the pedals initially. I have a craving craze for cars and can name almost any car on India roads with a mere look. Santro a perfect mid size car, suitable for a nuclear family perfomed good on this track. But still my preference would be for my I10 that we purched almost a year ago. Of course Hyundai I10 was a newbie in the small car segment, whereas Santro has proved its might already. With BSB leaking on the speakers, we zapped through the city roads. Took the outer ring road to reach Hebbal flyover and took a right turn to merge into National Highways 7. NH7 though a four way lane, traffic annoyed us till Yelahanka, making it hard to strike above 60Kmph. Since then, I easily hit a solid 80+ on the odo, with a/c ON with internal circulation, the weather being a bit hot. We were able to spot vendors along the highways selling some unusual fruits on push carts. Far from city, we swapped our seats with my BIL on the pedal. One have to take a sharp left to the state highways 104 (gmap would help), that leads to the mountain. The NH7 ambience was not good and reflects just the city roads. When we hit the state highways, things were different. Farms on both sides. That particular area was famous for grapes and you could see boys selling it on both side of the roads. They even blocked our car only to sell grapes, that we never needed.

The road was pretty good, but it was not enthralling to see many SUVs zooming past our car leaving back their dust. That road contained few resorts as well, where those cozy SUVs would be heading towards. BIL was hitting between 50-60 just to be careful both being an amateur. One has to take a sharp left again at the end of this road to proceed on State High ways 74, the road that actually leads over the mountains. We started climbing the hills, with BIL still on charge.

Driving on this stretch requires utmost attention, also with few haripins on the road.  As we moved, we gained altitude, gradually getting a whole new view of the city. Ambeince was stunning. Our heart started pounding faster, when we scrolled over a steep hairpin, BIL got the engine off !! The car started moving backward, the surface being too steep for the brakes to handle. Also, with the engine off, its no more a power break. Felt like heart falling out of our ribs and finally, I pulled the hand lever swiftly immobilizing the car. Thanked the one who found this lever and proceeded further. Cops were constantly scrutinising every vehicle for booze as it's banned on the mountain. So hide it somewhere in the boot, if you'd like one !  Nandi hills, is a small mountain, atop of which there is a temple dedicated to Nandi lord for Hindus. This mountain is also flanked by few smaller mountains, beautiful to gaze. We reached the destination around 1:45 PM.

We had some breathtaking view of the city landscape. We also traced the road we travelled (in the pic), hard to believe if that was the one we took with a bus resembling an ant to our eyes.

Then, we visited the temple, a small one on the top. The day being a Sunday, the place was too much crowded with familes, couples, friends, lovers etc.. Temple was just like any ordinary temple would be in South India, with rock carvings and statues.

We had our lunch from the hotel that was near the temple, should be one from karnataka tourism dept., was average though. Took few snaps on the mountains. Monkeys literally snatched food stuffs from people's hands and one has to be very careful with those, as a slight slip would land you at the bottom of the hill !

Overall, if you are looking for a place away from city where you can stretch yourself, to test your driving skills,  to push your car's engine to its max then Nandi hills is the right spot. It was pleasant experience.

Dusting out my old CD pouch, more Travelogues to come. Watch Out !!

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