In the Jew Town of Kochi

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After few minutes of walk among the streets of Fort Kochi, I ended up in the Burgher Street where one of the most famous cafes of Kochi is located. Yup, the Kashi Art Galley! Located in an old house built in the traditional Kerala style, it welcomes the tourists with it’s collection of paintings and arts created by local artists. As I passed the front hall which is full of wall-posters and paintings, the house transformed into a beautiful cafe filled with rich aroma of coffee and what impressed me were the huge art pieces fixed in middle of the pathways and the walls.

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Kashi is best known for its Continental and British menu, and also for its coffee. But, it’s too hot out and I don’t want to add a hot cup of coffee to it. So, I opted for an orange juice as it was the exact way how I like to drink, no sugar and no water ๐Ÿ™‚ . I clicked some pictures of the cafe and left forย the Indo-Portuguese museum. This museum is situated in the garden of the Bishop’s House and is a confluence of Indian and Portuguese art and architecture. And sunday, it’s closed :(. Though the watchman allowed me to go around the Bishop’s House, I couldn’t see what’s there in the museum ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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I took an auto from here and reached the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry, another must-visit place in Kochi. The palace doesn’t resemble any royal palaces like the Mysore Palace or the Palaces of Rajasthan, but is unique in it’s own aspect. The Palace is a two storied building and is currently under the Archaeological Survey of India and the entry ticket is just Rupees Five.

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This palace was actually built by the Portuguese colonizers of Kochi in 1555 and gifted to the local ruler Veera Kerala Varma. This was later renovated by the Dutch in 1663 and hence the name Dutch Palace. This is now a museum which houses the royal memorabilia, weapons, the family tree, furniture and many more. The walls are adored with striking murals depicting the scenes from the epics Mahabharata and the Ramayana and represent the finest of traditional Hindu temple art. The palace also has a temple of the Goddess Bhagawati.

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As I walked away from the Dutch Palace on to the roads, I entered into another different world, the world of Jews right in the heart of Forth Kochi. Kochi’s connection with the Jews dates back to a thousand years ago. I walked towards the famous Synagogue, one of the few remaining relics of the city’s Jewish past, and this Synagogue is known as the Paradesi Synagogue to the locals. The first thing that attracted me is a 18th century working clock tower just infront of the Synagogue. It is said that this is one of the oldest Synagogues among the commonwealth of Nations and the chintz, chandeliers and the Chinese hand-painted tiles are well-preserved.

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The area is full of art galleries, museums and heritage restaurants and one of the famous being the Jew Town restaurant. This is not only a restaurant, but an antique shop which also sells books and some jewelry. One can pick up jewelry, wooden pillars, wooden and metal figurines, carved wooden furniture, antiquities and clothes, but we just need to bargain hard. Have a sip of coffee or a bite of Italian Pizza or taste some other cuisines in any one of those cafes and restaurants.

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It was at this time, I remembered that there is a market dedicated to spices. How can one forget these exotic spices which were the most sought-after commodities once upon a time and made Cochin an important hub of trade and commerce in the earlier days. The Jew Town has a lot of spice shops and warehouses. There is also a market called the ‘Old Spice Market’ from where one can get good quality spices like Cinnamom, Cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander and many more. But again, the market will be closed on Sundays.

I had my lunch at a vegetarian restaurant called the Krishna Cafe and took an auto to Veli ground, from where the Kochi carnival’s procession starts. On the way, I came across another land mark the ‘Santa Cruz Basilica’. This church was also constructed by the Portuguese and in the 19th century, the British demolished the old structure and commissioned a new building. Subsequently in 1984, it was proclaimed a Basilica by Pope John Paul II. The architecture of the Basilica is an impressive blend of the Indo-European and Gothic styles.

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14.30 hrs – The people at Fort Kochi told me that the procession would start at 14.00 hrs. But now they told me that it would start only at 16.00 hrs and I got no other choice rather than skipping it as I have to leave to Trivandrum (can’t skip the office ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) . Took a bus to South Railway Junction and around 19.00 hrs, I was back in Trivandrum to enjoy my favorite Mushroom Biryani with fresh Pineapple juice at the Hyderabadi restaurant ‘Haveli’ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

And that’s how my New Year Started ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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New Year @ Kochi

Kochi, popularly known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, is a heady mix of colonial influences and can take anyone by surprise. It draws its unique textures from its rich multi-colonial history, and from the fact that it was the seat of the Kingdom of Kochi.

01.01.2017:

06.30 hrs – Time to be out of bed, but before that I checked my mobile and there were some 20 missed calls and 200 messages conveying the New Year wishes! I called up my dad and mom and wished them a very happy new year! Then replied to everyone who left me a message and completed my daily chores to leave for the day. 07.45 hrs – I deposited my room keys and headed towards the main road to have my breakfast. There is this Aryaas Restaurant just outside the Ernakulam South Railway station and I settled down for a quick bite. Ordered for a masala dosa, and I would definitely recommend this restaurant to everyone as the dosa is so fine and crisp and the chutneys were also good ๐Ÿ™‚

08.20 hrs – All this while in the restaurant, I tried booking a cab on Ola as well as Uber, but failed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . So, I thought that it’s better to catch a bus to Fort Kochi, rather than wasting my time in booking these cabs. I got into an auto-rickshaw and asked me to drop at the bus-station, which he did. From there, I ended up taking another auto, who agreed to drop me at Fort Kochi for Rs. 140. Bargain is the mantra! ๐Ÿ™‚ The driver is from Karnataka, married to a Malayali and was able to speak Telugu. Good to hear that ๐Ÿ™‚ . He showed me almost all the major landmarks along the route and shown me the bus-stop from where I could catch a bus to Trivandrum!

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08.45 hrs – Here, I am. In Old Kochi! Old Kochi is home to the heritage precincts of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. While the mainland Ernakulam bustles with a modern skyline, it is the original island of Kochi, now informally called Old Kochi, unfolds as a mesmerizing mosaic of varied colonial influences. History says that in 1503, the Rajah of Kochi granted the Portuguese permission to build a fort near the western seafront of Kochi island, and the stronghold went on to give that part of the island its name – Fort Kochi. Though the fort walls no longer exist, the name Fort Kochi continues to identify the compact area that enjoys a European flavor.

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08.50 hrs – My first stop is the Chinese Fishing nets. Lining the shore, these Cheena Vala (known in Malayalam) are permanent cantilevered fishing nets operated by agile men using heavy stones. The sight of these bamboo-and-rope nets silhouetted against a lightening sky and slowly dipping into the water is mesmerizing. It is said Chinese traders had originally put up these nets in about the early 15th century, giving them their unusual name. These were being operated by the time I was there and the fresh catch is being sold then and there itself. A good sight to watch ๐Ÿ™‚

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I started walking along the Vasco Da Gama square, which is a narrow stretch of promenade along the beach where one can actually observe local fishermen working upon those massive cantilevered fishing nets. Aptly located by the seafront, its name speaks of the intrepid adventurer who, credited for reaching India by circumnavigating Africa, had arrived in Calicut, Kerala, in 1498. From here, one can get the best view of Kochi harbor, one of the finest natural harbors in the world and once a bustling port which witnessed the arrival of the Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British.

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As I reached the Fort Kochi Beach, I witnessed the remains of a giant Pappanji which was burnt down to ashes the previous night. Well, one might be surprised to hear this. Let me explain it a bit! Pappanji (a Portuguese word meaning an old man) is a giant statue of an old man, which is burned exactly at stroke of midnight of 31st December every year. This signifies the end of a passing year and welcome New Year. History says that its origin lies in the influences of Portuguese and it symbolizes the burning of all the ills and beginning on a new note.

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While I was watching the distant sea and wishing someone over my phone, I saw some dolphins jumping and bouncing ๐Ÿ™‚ . The sight excited me and when I was ready with my camera to catch a glimpse of them, they stopped jumping and started swimming. Lol! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ . Walk for few more minutes, landed me up at one of the icons of Fort Kochi – the St. Francis Church, which is believed to be India’s oldest European -built church. This Church was originally built in wood by Portuguese Franciscan Friars in 1503 and was later rebuilt in stone during the mid-16th century and now a protected monument.

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It was dark inside and the only source of light are the windows of the Church. I admired the old-charms of the church – the wooden carvings on the pulpit and gabled roof, the pews, some inscriptions on the walls. But, I was more fascinated at seeing the place where the renowned Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama was laid to rest after his death in Kochi in 1524. Later, his remains were shifted to Lisbon. A must visit for the history lovers. And now, it’s time to have something to gain energy so that I can roam more ๐Ÿ˜€

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My next stop is Kashi Art Gallery. I asked people for directions and started walking through the narrow lanes of Fort Kochi. This place is quite different from the rest of the places. Neatly designed lanes, colorful houses, beautiful flower pots hanging to the roofs or infront of the houses, lots of museums, antique shops, hotels, cafes and restaurants. Wow, it’s a complete package for any tourist! But the thing which attracted me the most is the Street Art.

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Street art has for long been a part of India’s culture. Take the rangoli, elaborate pretty patterns that are drawn infront of homes, for instance, or political graffiti and filmy posters that brim with color and style. In places like Fort Kochi, Goa and Pondicherry, the colors of homes are in beautiful shades of yellow, green, blue and pink.ย The walls, roads and even the tree trunks were not spared here and were filled with colorful graffiti and carvings ๐Ÿ™‚

My New Year Celebrations..

The last day of the year 2016. The second time in my life, I was going to be away from my family for the New Year. Yup, it was a routine ritual for me to be at home on the last day of every year to welcome the New Year. By evening, be with my mom and aunts to send wishes to everyone on the roads by having some sort of rangolis welcoming the new year, watch a movie with dad later, and a cake cutting ceremony @ 12.00 hrs on the first day of the New Year.

But 2015 was the year which brought a change in this family tradition and for the first time, I worked on the New Year Day. And though this year i.e. 2016, the New Year Day was on a Sunday, I weren’t able to be home as I don’t have so many leaves. So, what am I going to do?? Luckily, few days back, a friend of mine invited me to his wedding on 31.12.2016 at his hometown ‘Mala’, which is 35 kms from Aluva, Kerala. So, I decided to attend his marriage. But, what about 01.01.2017??

31.12.2016:

05.00 hrs – I woke up, got ready, packed my backpack, took my camera and left my home to reach the Trivandrum Railway Station. 05.50 hrs – I was at the Railway station walking towards Platform No. 3 to get into the train Jan Shatabdi. The train was already there and I got into the compartment and made myself comfortable. Thanks to my friend Kiran, who booked my ticket in Tatkaal the other day ๐Ÿ™‚ . The plan is to get down at Aluva and reach Mala by a bus. 10.05 hrs – The train reached Aluva and I remember the instructions of my friend Jeff about getting a bus to Mala.

10.30 hrs – I reached the Kerala Transport Bus Depot in Aluva, which is some 500 mts from the railway station. After quick inquiries, I got into a bus which heads to Mala. 12.00 hrs – I was at Mala bus Depot waiting for Jeff’s cousin to pick me up. 12.15 hrs – I was dropped at the St. Stanislaus Forane Church which is the marriage venue. Mala is a small township which is quiet beautiful with lush green coconut groves, beautiful houses and churches. The marriage rituals were ongoing. But, what after the marriage? When should I go home? Should I go back to Trivandrum or stay back here for a night and start the next morning?

13.20 hrs – The marriage was over and we headed to the reception hall, where I wished my friend and his wife a happy married life! And told him that I would be leaving in another couple of minutes as I have to travel a long way. But then, I changed my mind. After all, it’s New Year, and I was away from my family, and if I go back to Trivandrum, what am I going to do? Sit back in my room all day?? Too bad for a new year day. Isn’t it? So, it’s decided. I will goย Kochi! A perfect New Year Destination ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

14.40 hrs – I was dropped at the Mala Bus Depot where I got into a bus to Kochi. In the meanwhile, I called up my office to make arrangements for my stay at the Office Guesthouse. The bus would be going to Vytilla Hub in Kochi, and they asked me to get down there and take an auto to the Ernakulam South Railway Station where my Guest House is located. It is a 2 hour journey from Mala to Kochi and I thought of going around the shopping malls for the rest of the evening, as Kochi is famous for it’s shopping malls.

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17.50 hrs – The bus bypassed the Lulu Shopping Mall at Vytilla and then it clicked in my mind that it’s better to get down here, check these out and then head to my Guest House. Lulu Mall, located in Edappally is said to be the biggest mall in India and one of the biggest in South Asia. With it’s hypermarket, fashion store and one of the biggest food courts and with the maximum number of brands (around 320), Lulu is perhaps the most happening market place in Kochi.

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A quick bite in the Mc Donald’s and a hot coffee from the Costa Coffee.. watching the hanging Santa clauses from the ceiling at the center, the giant snowmen and the twinkling and shining jingle bells and stars all over the mall is fascinating. Though I didn’t shop anything, this place is a must-visit for any tourist ๐Ÿ™‚ . Out of the mall, I took another bus to the South Railway Station. One thing I didn’t like about Kochi was that the Ola Cabs weren’t serving in all places, Uber is not able to mark the locations, auto-rickshaws don’t want to come where we want to go, if they are willing, they charge way too high and the transport buses – too crowded ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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It was only at 20.00 hrs I reached my guesthouse. A quick shower and I drifted deep into my sleep.

Backwater Beauty – Alleppy

A weekend in Alleppy..

Who will miss the famous houseboat ride when they are in Kerala? And that too when a person like me who is based in Trivandrum which is just 3 hours away from Alappuzzha? And that too when a friend like Mythri who will be ever ready to join me? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ . It’s time to soak in the beauty of the backwaters and lush green and palm fringed landscape while on a houseboat in Kerala.ย I called up my uncle and aunt who stays in Alleppy and told them that I am gonna visit them and we wanna explore the city a little. As planned Mythri and I landed there a night before and enjoyed a good meal prepared by my aunt.

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The next day we started off around 8.00 hrs in the morning and headed towards a jetty from where we can get onto a houseboat. A friend of my uncle has arranged the boat for us and we set on our boat ride at 9.00 hrs. As it was only me, my uncle and aunt, and Mythri we hired a boat of small size and we cut short the ride to only 5 to 6 hours.ย One can move around in traditional thatched roof houseboats in the backwaters of Alleppy, one of the best places to hire a boat in the state.

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Known as Kettuvalam, these boats were traditionally used to transfer rice and spices from the hills to the market towns and have now been converted into floating hotels made by tying huge planks of jackwood together, great amount of skill and precision is required to make these houseboats. Interestingly, not a single iron nail is used in their construction (they say so, I didn’t observe it so keenly ;-)). Earlier, an entire clan of artisans was dedicated to make these houseboats. But today, these have become an innovative way of holidaying and very proudly represent the unique culture of the southern state.

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Uncle started us explaining the various things about Alleppy and some facts about the backwaters of Kerala which are a crisscrossed network of lakes, lagoons, canals and rivers. Generally a private houseboat travels around 40-50 kms through the backwaters in a single day. As our boat passed through the canals we got to experience the local life and laze around while gazing at coconut palms, jackfruits, papayas and mango groves. The fisher-folk catching the fishes in their small boats and going around the canals to sell those and the women washing their clothes or the fish for the lunch, the ducks and gooses swimming around, it’s a must visit place to know how well the people’s lives were in-glove with the vast stretches of waters around them.

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We were about to enter the lake Vembanadu. My uncle showed us the wayย to reach Kottayam and Cochin which were connected by these backwaters. Vembanad is the most accessible backwaters where the Vembanad lake opens to sea at the Cochin Harbor, dotted with interconnected islands that adorn the Queen of the Arabian Sea. The southern Vembanad Lake is known for its large expanse of water, sandwiched between districts of Alappuzha and Kottayam.

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It was noon when we stopped at a toddy shop with a food joint, which are one of the common sights along the backwaters. By the time we stopped here, there was another big houseboat which is full of youngsters, who were probably on a weekend trip and stopped at this toddy shop to enjoy some toddy and were dancing to the hilt. Though I couldn’t read what was going in my uncle and aunt’s mind, I was happy to see so many happy faces enjoying in middle of no-where and as if they were not connected to this world anymore ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜€

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Though you can’t get a large variety of food items here, the list of fresh sea food items is long. The interesting thing is that one can choose the kind of fish or prawns from the display list and they cook it and serve hot on your plates ๐Ÿ™‚ . As we row along the small villages on the coast, we came across some resorts, houses and churches. We can anchor our boat somewhere on one of the banks and take a stroll among the white-washed homes and churches. But what I noticed is that a house-boat ride will be too good and enjoyable when there is a large group of people especially family and friends and trust me the fun will be unlimited ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

The ride came to an end at 15.00 hrs just when it started to drizzle a little and then started to rain heavily :). Typical Kerala’s climate! The boat dropped us at the jetty where we started and we really enjoyed this cruise of a lifetime!

World Environment Day โ€“ Gone wild!!

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On this June 5 โ€“ World Environment Day, the Kerala Forest Department along with WWF India organized a rain walk from Kallar to Ponmudi, a hill-station located at a distance of 61 kms from Trivandrum. Luckily, as it was a Sunday me and my friends decided to go on this trip, though we donโ€™t know whether it rains or not.

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We chose the route to Nedumangad-Anad-Vithura-Kallar. We set on our bikes around 6.15 hrs in the morning from Trivandrum to Kallar (42 kms). Truly an adventurous and thrilling drive as the roads were pretty narrow and curvy. And the lush green surroundings full of rubber plantations and coconut grooves, along with the early morning breeze enhanced its charm. As this is my first drive on a bike in Kerala, and has no experience on such roads, I struggled a bit at the beginning, but soon caught up my speed. We reached Kallar around 7.30 hrs.

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Quickly completed the process of registration, and watched around to see our group which comprised of some 35 people from different age groups (youngest โ€“ 11 yrs and oldest โ€“ 60 yrs). I was quite excited. The WWF representatives and the Forest Division Officer, Kerala Forest Dept gave us a quick introduction to the World Environment Day and its theme this year. Once done, they flagged off the walk around 8.00 hrs.

The first one to welcome us is the Kallar river, after which the place Kallar has been named. A bird watching spot. There is the Meenmutti waterfall nearby, but didnโ€™t get a chance to visit it this time :(. This is solely a road trek as they are very much concerned about our safety, but still got good chance of trying the off roads wherever possible.

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Ponmudi is situated at about 3000 feet and is home to mountain flowers, butterflies, spiders, springs and rivulets. The way from Kallar to Ponmudi comprises of 22 hairpin bends, probably one of the highest compared with rest of the hill stations in Kerala. The foothills of Ponmudi has few rubber plantations and I was lucky enough to see how the trees secret the latex and how it is being collected in the coconut shells or polythenes that were tied around the trees. The thing which attracted me the most is the down-hill view. It was almost as if the Mother Earth is wrapped up in a thick blanket of lush-green trees and forests.

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The cloud-kissed mountains, hills with tea plantations, mountain flowers on the road-sides and giant spiders and web right beside the trees, neat and clean roads, the green canopy, sun-rays playing hide and seek, it is simply one-hell of a beauty! Though the first few kms of distance was tiring, coz of the hot sun, it started to rain in mid-way and all of a sudden the climate changed into a pretty cool one. There was a temple dedicated to Karuppaswamy, a friend of Lord Ayyappa, a tea factory and a PWD Guest House on the way up.

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Though itโ€™s a road trek, we tried the off-road ways at the hairpin bends, and trekking through the tea-gardens wherever there were possibilities. It took us around 4 hours (around 13.00 hrs) to reach till the Government Guest House located on top of this hill. We had a good Saadhya (Malayali Lunch), which consisted of the local variety of rice, Aviyal (mix veg curry), Poriyal (a fried stuff), Sambar and the Pepper Rasam with a Papa, provided by the staff there.

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The Government Guest house is good enough and very clean. It has a balcony from which we can see the panorama of Western Ghats. Kudos to the forest department people for maintaining the roads and the surroundings so neat and clean! This environment day turned out to be a memorable one for me, as I was really entwined with it. Started our way back around 15.30 hrs and reached Trivandrum by 16.45 hrs. A good week off ๐Ÿ™‚

 

NEYYAR โ€“ A dam within the wildlife sanctuary

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Located about 32 km from Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum, Kerala, is a popular picnic spot with a lake and a picturesque dam site. The lake formed by the dam across the Neyyar river has boating facilities for the tourists. Boating is irresistible since the greenery adds to the lake’s beauty and one will not be ready to lose the chance of boating in it.

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The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary of which the dam is a part is the habitat of various species of fauna like the Asian Elephant, Tiger, deers etc. A crocodile breeding center, deer park and a lion safari park are also located here.ย Since Neyyar is not a tiger reserve, nature lovers can walk through it. One can do easy hikes along the foothills.

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The sanctuary is part of the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve that was recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The sanctuary is open throughout the year. November to March is the most pleasant time to visit. June to October brings heavy rain which makes trekking plans unpredictable. But, adventurists who are interested in Monsoon hikes can definitely try this place.

So, backpackers.. Why late? The monsoon already arrived in.. Move on.. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Kappil โ€“ the confluence of sea, river and the backwaters

About 53 kms from Trivandrum and 7 kms from Varkala, Kappil beach is one of the most picturesque destinations of Kerala. It is not just another tourist spot, but a must visit place.

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On the west is the true blue Arabian Sea and the east is Edava Narayan Lake. The true confluence of backwaters and sea with some lush green coconut grooves.. Road runs as such for about 1 km. Kappil has its own fishing community, and the true fun is the backwater ride.

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Ponnumthuruth Island:

Situated about 12 km south of Varkala. Have to board a country boat from Neduganda and take a tour through the backwaters for about 30 minutes to reach Ponnumthuruthu. Ponnumthuruthu, the name literally means Golden Island. This lush island is a perfect gateway for those who seek a break from the hustle and bustle of the urban life.

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This island is known for the Shiva Parvathi temple, which is more than 100 years old. A royal family owns the island and the temple.

In all, this place is for a good drive and fits in for a short trip.. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Gavi โ€“ A Eco-Tourist spot

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Gavi is an eco-tourist spot in Kerala which has widely become popular after โ€˜Alistar Internationalโ€™, the world acclaimed tourism major listed it among the leading eco-tourism centers and one of the must-see places in India. Spread across the beauty of Periyar Tiger Reserve, Gavi is a quiet, beautiful and pristine forest haven. ย Located 250 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, Gavi of Pathanamthitta district offers its visitors activities like trekking, wildlife watching, outdoor camping.ย So why late? Lemme share my travel tale of Gavi ๐Ÿ™‚

The road leading to Gavi is blanketed by tea plantations and pine plantation (which is a rare sight in South India, and is a refreshing experience. We took the route of Trivandrum-Patthanamthitta-Ranney-Mundakayyam-Vandiperiyar-Gavi. The Gavi check post which is located 18 kms away from Vandiperiyar is the gateway to the lap of Mother Nature.

One should be keen in observing the surroundings as this is the only way of spotting wildlife in Gavi. The place is rich in flora and fauna. The commonly sighted animals here are the Indian Giant Squirrel, Lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Bisons, Wild Pigs, elephants and birds like kingfishers and woodpeckers. I was lucky enough to spot almost all of these animals except the elephants. But did get a chance of seeing their footsteps and fecals.. Lol ๐Ÿ˜€

Places of Interest:

#Pine Plantation: This came as a surprise to me as I didnโ€™t expect such a beautiful place on this route. The windy climate and the mighty pines.. Ground covered with their leaves and seeds.. Sunlight peeping through the gapes and the surroundings adding to the Serenity.. The best place for our body and mind to rejuvenate. And a perfect place to meditate too ๐Ÿ˜›

# Safari: One can enjoy the sight of the wildlife in their natural habitat through Vehicle safaris to take a glimpse of the endangered species.

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# Boat Ride: Row boating is available at Gavi, on the Gavi damโ€™s reservoir. The panoramic view from the boat in middle of the watersโ€™ of the reservoir is truly enticing! There is a small waterfall on the other side of the reservoir, which can be reached on this boat and it is some 15 minutes hike. A must visit place see the undisturbed beauty of the Mother Nature.

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# Sabarimala View Point: Gavi gives an amazing view of the Sabarimala amongst the lush green surroundings. This is a 20 min hike from the Gavi Dam and the view of the mountain ranges and the sunset in the evening over these ranges covered with evergreen trees and a blanket of golden color grass is breath-taking!

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# Cardamom Plantation: Gavi is a fertile land and the localโ€™s mastery over the land has blessed the land with vegetation. A leisure visit to the nearby cardamom plantations is a sight to behold. We can see the wilderness of the wild elephants damaging these plantations.

Best part of the trip:

For the most adventurous ones who would love to spend a night in the deep forest can stay here in a small tent. This is the most unique feature ofย  Gavi, camping in the forests. As the dusk stretches into the silence of the night, one can feel the presence of wildlife in the middle of nowhere, an experience that cannot be explained in worlds, but needs to be just experienced.

The KFDC provides good vegetarian food and snacks with the local flavors and one should definitely try this food.

How to reach?

200 kms from Kochi International Airport, 250 kms from Trivandrum International Airport and 195 kms from the Madurai Airport. The nearest railway station is Kottayam (120 kms). Regular buses are available to Vandiperiyar from Kochi & Thiruvananthapuram. There are also buses available from Vandiperiyar to Gavi. But make sure that you reach the Gavi Checkpost before 5 pm.

Pack your backpacks now… ๐Ÿ˜‰