Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trip to Karaiyar Dam (Papanasam)

   I was in my home town then, owning to the Pongal Festival (the festival of harvest) in Tamil Nadu. Nothing can substitute the happiness that one gets, when he visits his hometown after a long span. I had quite reasonable number of days in hand, that I could spare a day for this outing.

   I've heard about this place Papanasam, often remembered as a town with spiritual importance, beautiful mountains and few water falls. One must be careful with the season of visit since it can be highly disgusting if hit at the wrong season. January is a perfect time, with the rainy seasons just about over and the dams in full flow. Be sure to pack your own food, as you don't find any hotels once you reach the hills.

  Me and my brother in law started in our hatchback around 11 AM. The starting point of the hill station reads lower camp. The route spans nearly 62 Kms from Tirunelveli to Papanasam.
Tirunelveli --> Tharuvai --> Cheranmahadevi --> Ambasamudram -->Papanasam -->Karaiyar.

Took some breaks inbetween to enjoy the flavour of nature that the little towns enroute threw at us. This shot was made near Tharuvai about 10 Km away.

   The road from Tharuvai to Ambasamudram was OK to tread, should be able to do some decent speed. Had a sip at Ambasamudram. From Ambasamudram, the road was horrible until Papanasam. Exercise caution to avoid hitting the chassis on the ground. It is said Papanasam is famous for a medical treatment, a particular family that cures people from Jaundice.It is said that the treatment is inherited from their ancestors and no others can do it.

From Papanasam begins the Reserve forest area, spread across a massive area marked as a reserve for tiger rehabilitation programme. At the lower camp, the place where the reserve starts, officials kept constant vigil for any illegal poaching and even alcohol.. They inist to swith off the music system and refrain using horns inside the forest area.

Toll gate

In few Kms, the road diverges into two , the left one towards Agasthiar falls and right side towards Karaiyar dam. We took the 'right' one. New road was laid by the time we visited, it was narrrow though. We also encountered a metal bridge where people stalled to have a click.

Finally we reached Karaiyar Dam. Odo zeroed before taking the trip, now read 62. Parking the vehicle alongside the narrow road was tricky, a slight miss and you park it over the vehicle behind ! The day being Sunday witnessed a pretty decent crowd, not irritating however. You gotta hire a boat to reach the Karaiyar falls, which is situated right in the middle of the forest, engulfed with mountains on all sides. Rs 300 for a boat of 15 seats. We joined along with a gang of 5 and hired a private boat for the new 7 of us.

Karaiyar Dam

The boat ride was amazing, giving the perfect thrill of trekking a forest.

The boat ferry, maintained by TTDC

The boat cruised thought the crystal clear taking us into the dense forest radar.

The first glimpse of the falls

After 15 minutes of travel, we reached the shore where the Karaiyar falls flows. The boatmen insisted us to return within an hour. We had to walk a bit to reach the falls. The path was lined with vendors selling mangoes, snacks, etc .  where we had a smack too.

View of the dam from the falls.

   To conclude, it was worth the visit, a truly rejuvenating experience. If you are visiting Tirunelveli, Kannyakumari or nearby places, Karaiyar is a must visit place and should be first in your list !!

More interesting travelogues yet to come,
Watch Out !!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Travelogue gets a new address !!

     Folks, I'm glad to share you that I've got a new domain for my travelogue, . Let's start blogging for my own page now !! Hurrah !

- Ram Kishore K

Monday, February 1, 2010

Trip to Crocodile Park (Chennai) via ECR

April 05, 2009

      This is about a short trip to Crocodile park located about 40Kms from Chennai city. It was a typical bachelor life for me in Chennai then. Lousy weekdays, frequent filter coffees, enticing weekends, the usual break out trips to beaches at outskirts , it was fun. It's very hard to kill time in weekends, as the land breeze's heat wave forces you to lock you up in your room all the day.  Evenings would be moderate with the sea breeze taking stage.

     Organizing a get-together would often end up in vain, thanks to the sultry weather a prefect excuse for pals to refrain from hitting the roads. But this time four of us (Me, Sam, Abraham and Ramesh) finally decided to zero in on Crocodile Park. Reason one, the park is located within a comfortable 35KM radar and second being the scenic and smooth East coast Road lining the Ocean, Bay of Bengal. I had already mentioned about this road in my previous post Trip to Mahabalipuram.

      We met at Medavakkam, where few of my friends are put up in an apartment. Having had all the usual pranks and flirts, we started around half past two in the afternoon on our two bikes. Medavakkam -- > Sholinganallur -- > ECR Road --> Crocodile Park. Forgive me for the image clarity, as these pics were shot from my mobile camera.

      As usual, the Sun started pouring in and humidity too joined hands in tiring us down. It was highly difficult to brave the heat, though sips of beverages helped. Our first break was at Muttukadu, a place where TTDC has setup a boat ferry to enjoy the only backwater that Chennai boasts. Read more about Muttukadu here. Out intention was to hit Crocodile park and hence kicked our engines again, swearing to experience Muttukadu on our way back.

      Within few miles, we reached Crocodile Bank. Being a Sunday, crowd was in large to this park. After paying a nominal entry fee we skidded in. The park was properly maintained and was especially neat. This park also houses varieties snakes species and turtles, a thrilling experience for kids. Also, the dense trees in the park shielded us from the scorching sun.

      There were crocodiles everywhere (what else would be in a crocodile park ??!! ), small, large and gigantic, belonging to different breeds. Some enjoying the visitors, few fighting with one another and the rest standing as still as a rock. It is said that crocs' after popping out of water, to maintain its internal body temperature, lie on the ground with its mouth wide open and stays still for hours together.

Sam also encountered a dangerous and venomous animal in the park. OMG !!

Videos with 'never say don't know' Abraham's comments. !

       You can also take snaps with tiny crocodiles and snakes. The management levies a charge to 'mingle' with little animals in the park. You can take a snap with viper hugging your neck or hold a little alligator by your hand !! Sheer fun ! If you are at the right time, then you can see the zoo keeper feeding the crocodiles with raw beef. A time when the ever static crocodiles, plunge into action !! And yes, if you are ready to pay for the meat, you can feed them too, at any time !!

It was fun in the park with guys making funny noises to provoke the crocodile, that went in vain ! We left the place shortly and travelled back to Muttukadu, the boat house. 

         Sam and Ramesh had loads of fun with the boats, while me and Abraham preferred to be offshore ! The sun had already drained up our entire energy by the time we started back. However, it was a perfect spot for killing your weekend time, once in a while. Crocodile bank and Muttukkadu are popular tourist destinations in Chennai and don't ever dare to miss it !!

More interesting travelogues to come.
Watch out !!.

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- Ram Kishore K