May 31, 2023

A Day Trip to Koorumala Viewpoint & Areekal Waterfalls

As the sky cleared, I left the streets of Cochin early in the morning, and made my way to Piravom, a small town, an hour away. The plan was to explore a couple of lesser known and unexplored destinations in this region, and I started off with Koorumala Viewpoint. Winding past rubber plantations and open lands, the road gradually narrowed as I neared the viewpoint. The final stretch has to be walked as the road gets really tapered to a pathway. 

The lady at the ticket counter smiled and said, “You should have come an hour earlier, when the whole place was covered in mist”. I smiled back and walked up the rocky hillock which had a few scattered crosses and a watch tower, a few meters away. The panoramic view from the top was absolutely stunning with mist blanketing the surrounding lush greenery and silhouettes of distant hills. Though this viewpoint is located in Ernakulam district, on a clear day you can get a view of some regions of Kottayam district, and a watch tower located in Alappuzha district. Evenings too are an ideal time to visit here and enjoy the mélange of colours that splashes across the sky as the sun sets. I strolled around a bit before the sun made its presence felt as the mist cleared.

I soon made my way past the winding roads to Areekal Waterfalls, a multi-tier waterfall near Koorumala Viewpoint. The moss laden pathway was a delight to walk on, and the cascading waters could be heard more evidently as I went down. Tumbling over tiers of rocks, the water splashes and fills up the natural pool at the base. You can wade into the pool and enjoy some moments of fun while exploring here. Walked further down along the pathway to have a full view of the water thrashing down and flowing away down to form a creek. I was the first visitor in the morning, and had the whole space to myself. As I meandered along the pathway gazing at the beautiful waterfalls, the cloudy sky slowly opened up with a drizzle. I walked back up to the road, but not before having a quick glance of this hidden beauty near Kochi.


How to Reach:

The nearest town is Piravom, 12 km away from Koorumala Viewpoint, and 22 km away from Areekal Waterfalls. Cochin is the major city near Piravom, 31 km away. It is recommended to visit these places in your own vehicle as public services are not frequent. 

Food and Accommodation:

There are a few eateries near Areekal Waterfalls and a couple of shops near Koorumala Viewpoint.

March 31, 2023

Hues of Summer Sky!

Evenings during the summer months are a delight to gaze at, as the skies splash myriad colours while the sun sets. From yellow to orange to crimson to purple to mauve, you'll miss a colour if you blink even for a couple of seconds.

Kotagiri, March 2023

January 23, 2023

Pooyamkutty to Mamalakandam- A Beautiful Drive!

After a satiating breakfast at Kothamangalam, we left behind the hustle of the small towns and meandered our way past rubber plantations to Pooyamkutty, with the river, Periyar popping up intermittently. While the main intention was to drive through the lush greenery of Mamalakandam, we decided to explore a few other places as well enroute to the final destination.

Kuttampuzha was the first pit stop, where we took a short detour to get to Anakkayam Beach. From where the road ended, a narrow pathway along the Periyar River led us to the beach. A secluded place with hardly any visitors, we were welcomed by serenity and scenic frames. While technically this isn’t a beach, but a river bank with sand. A large tree with its branches sprawling like tentacles made a beautiful frame against the tranquil waters and lush greenery behind. A lone fisherman, probably a local having some moments of solitude, was the only human presence in the vicinity. After loitering around for a while, soaking in the serenity on offer, we walked back.

Enroute to Pooyamkutty, we stopped by at Blavana ferry, to watch a jeep loaded with rice and other daily necessities make its way across the river atop 2 tied up canoes. In today’s times, when modern technology and developments have reached every corner of the globe, this rudimentary means of transportation was quite captivating. I was told by the locals that the supplies were carried to the tribal colony across the river. As the jeep sailed its way to the other bank, we left for Pooyamkutty, a couple of kilometers away.

Pooyamkutty gained prominence after a couple of Malayalam movies were shot here. While there isn’t much to explore here, the aerial view of the gushing Pooyamkutty River, a tributary of Periyar River, under the bridge and the lush green surroundings, offers a beautiful frame. A winding road took me down to the bridge, which further leads to Manikandanchal, where there are tribal colonies. I crossed the bridge, gazed at the beautiful waters and then walked up to the magnificent huge trees lined up on either side of the road. Looking up at them, I strolled around for a while, and then returned back, as visitors aren’t allowed beyond this.

Drove back to the tiny hamlet of Pooyamkutty, and some short eats later, headed to Mamalakandam. The road became narrow, the lush greenery turned dense and apart from the rumbling of the car, it was only the cricket’s sound that could be heard. The road wound its way through dense greenery, with steep slopes, dips and wonderful views on offer. We took a pit stop in the middle of nowhere, to admire the beauty of nature. The leaves swayed to the swooshing breeze, and a waterfall could be heard at a distance. A lone tree house (more like an ‘erumaadam’) stood tall near to where we stopped, but had no access to get up there.

As more vehicles made pit stops, we drove further down, and slowly, the forest gave way to tiny clearings and settlements of Mamalakandam. A small pathway from the road led us inside, and we walked the path listening to the sound of gurgling waters in search of Urulikuzhi Waterfalls. After searching for a bit, we saw a large stream flowing over flat rocks and making its way further down. The dips in the rocks resembles like an ’uruli’ (a large vessel), and that’s how the place gets its name, Urulikkuzhi Waterfalls. The place reminded me of Paniyeli Poru, but there weren’t any whirlpools or under currents here. We sat by the bank on the large open rock and enjoyed some moments of silence before getting back on the main road.

Govt. High School, Mamalakandam was where we headed next. This probably is one of the most picturesque schools in Kerala, with a magnificent backdrop of a hill and Elamplassery Waterfalls gushing down it. The frame is so captivating that it made me wonder how students are able to concentrate in their classes, when the nature outside is absolutely surreal.

On the way back to Kochi, we stopped by at the gushing Valara Waterfalls and the stunning Cheeyappara Waterfalls. The sign board near the waterfalls had Munnar written on it, but I was content with the beautiful drive between Pooyamkutty and Mamalakandam, and the lovely pit stops we had. The drive through the forest and chasing the Periyar River was a wonderful experience.

How to reach:

Pooyamkutty is 78 km from Kochi, and it is ideal to visit in your own vehicle. There are buses from Kochi and Muvattupuzha to Pooyamkutty, but is not frequent. The nearest major town in Kothamangalam. The route from Pooyamkutty to Mamalakandam does not have public services, except for one KSRTC bus in a day.

Food and Accommodation:

There are small eateries near Pooyamkutty Bridge and at Mamalakandam. The region also has a few homestays.

November 30, 2022

Suvarnavathy Dam- Surreal and Secluded

Engulfed by lush greenery and silhouettes of hills, Suvarnavathy Dam lies secluded away from the touristy maps. An ideal place to spend some moments of solitude, this sprawling reservoir in Chamarajanagar district is also home to a few species of birds. Take a stroll along the pathway and capture some wonderful landscape frames.

October 7, 2022

Beaches of Vadanappally

A cycle passed by as we stopped the car and gazed at the beautifully aligned coconut trees, while the sound of waves crashing echoed in the background. The well laid out road meandered its way between the beaches and lush greenery on either sides. No crowds, no instagrammers, no hawkers, and we had the secluded beaches and greenery to ourselves.

We were in Vadanappally in Kerala, and there's a line of beaches next to each other which you can visit as you drive along the parallel road, which is lined with coconut trees and houses. While Kerala is home to some of the popular beaches in Varkala and Kovalam, there are many others, like the ones near Vadanappally in Thrissur district, which remains fairly unexplored. They also reminded me of the pretty and secluded beaches of  Kannur.

A deviation at Thalikulam ahead of Thriprayar on NH-66, took me through narrow roads and past typical Kerala houses painted in bright colours to Snehatheeram Beach. This is one of the beautified beaches here with a small park and a couple of shops. There were a few local boys who were enjoying their camaraderie as we walked in. It was a cloudy day, the sun was missing, and I strolled around the sandy beach soaking in the salty air wafting around, while strong waves thrashed onto the shore. We walked further to the right and was greeted by numerous black stones piled up as a bund. Hardly a soul in place, we had the whole beach to ourselves. What a way to start the day, I thought to myself.

The stretch from Snehatheeram to Vadanappally is lined with four beaches, and we drove down through the narrow, but pretty road with swaying coconut trees for constant company. We crossed a small bridge, and stopped by to watch the backwaters joining the sea, which was a pretty sight. While that was a beautiful frame, what left us in awe was the view on the other side of the bridge where the canal with water was adorned with numerous slanting coconut trees forming a spectacular frame. The picturesque place seemed like a perfect picture-postcard, and we gazed at it in oblivion until a few visitors stopped by. The mouth of the canal is along the beach called Thampankadavu, where it disembarks its waters. Munching on some salt water dipped gooseberries we walked up to the beach, which again was devoid of people, but lined with more coconut trees. A peaceful place to watch the waves and spend some time in solitude.

Further ahead we drove to Chilanka Beach, which had a few fishermen unknotting their fishnets and a few dogs loitering around. Without spending much time here, we drove further on the snaking road past a couple of small settlements to Vadanappally Beach. This is one of the longest beaches here, stretching more than half a kilometre. After parking the car, we strolled down the beach, which looked quite hazy in the strong winds that blew. The beach was empty, as far as my eyes could see. Not a soul in the vicinity, we chased the waves, listened to its thrashing sound and relaxed here for a while soaking in the serenity of this place.

The last beach that we wanted to visit was a little away. We had to get back on to the highway, and then take a deviation while maneuvering through narrow muddy roads past paddy fields and backwaters to get to it. Google maps showed a broken bridge with a view near to it, and that is what caught my eye. Anugraha Beach and Ganeshamangalam Beach overlap each other, and the locals call this beach by both the names. We had to stop the car after a while and then walk to the beach. Passed by a large backwater, where we chatted with the locals and saw a couple of them fishing. The road further ended at the beach, which had a few abandoned houses, which were semi-submerged in the sand. Seemed like the sea over the years had swallowed a part of the land and encroached the houses. The headless coconut trees there may have quite a few stories to tell of the encroachment. The waves here were the fiercest and lashed against the stone-bund built by the locals. As the sun set, we walked away from the beach, which again was devoid of any visitors, but this was probably because it was abandoned by its people.


How to reach Vadanappally:

The closest airport is at Kochi, 62 km away, and the nearest major railway station is at Thrissur, 20 km away. There are frequent buses from Kochi and Thrissur to get you to Vadanappally. There are no public services between the beaches, and it would be ideal to come in your own vehicle.

Food and Accommodation:

There are a few stalls and a restaurant near Snehatheeram Beach. The other beaches are devoid of any shops except a couple of push carts. There are a few homestays near Snehatheeram and Thampankadavu beaches if you would like to spend a couple of days here.

September 15, 2022

Why Dubai should be on your list to visit during Diwali

There is no better location to spend Diwali than Dubai with a Dubai tour package, where there are exciting events, family-friendly entertainment, and unforgettable gastronomic delights. With spectacular fireworks displays and alluring promos, the city ushers in the Festival of Lights, making it one of the largest and brightest ever!

The beaches are not the only places to visit in Dubai during Diwali. At the Bollywood Parks, you may also take part in the celebrations with your family and friends. It is among the greatest locations for a Bollywood-style Diwali celebration. By the Waterfront Promenade at the Dubai Mall is another fantastic location where people love to spend Diwali in Dubai. People find it fascinating to see the beautiful artistic cruise on the sea.

Therefore, you should not miss a chance to be a part of these unmissable treats if you are in Dubai during Diwali with an international tour package!

1. Dubai Creek for Fireworks

Every Diwali celebration in Dubai is illuminated with fireworks, which are also the only ones that are legal in the city during this holiday. Thousands of people enjoy a spectacular fireworks show with their loved ones.

2. Bollywood Parks

Numerous Bollywood celebs appear in performances and numerous concerts are held here by well-known singers. Some of the most popular Bollywood films are shown in the theater, and an Indian street food festival is also held there.

3. Al Seef festivities

The Diwali Mela at Al Seef is the place to go if you want to experience Diwali in Dubai in the same manner as it is celebrated in India. You may create vibrant rangolis and get henna patterns applied on your hands. Al Seef also takes in a number of Bollywood acts and concerts with lots of music and dancing that you can enjoy.

4. Waterfront Promenade at the Dubai Mall

Witness an exhibition of floating art on boats that use the water as a canvas to show off a lovely image to its viewers.

5. Witness The Burj Khalifa Diwali Light Show

There will never be a more spectacular Diwali light show than the one on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Burj Khalifa, the highest structure in the world, puts on a light show for this event, which you can witness in Downtown Dubai.

6. Enjoy Your Diwali Dinner In Patiala

Patiala restaurant is named after the Indian city with the same name. A unique menu of mouthwatering Diwali treats is available at this souk Al Bahar restaurant during their ten-day Diwali celebration. Enjoy the authentic Indian flavor at the most popular Indian event in a luxurious setting.

7. Global Village

One of the greatest sites to see fireworks in Dubai during Diwali is Global Village. Along with fireworks, you may enjoy exotic and traditional cuisines, spectacular light shows, live entertainment, and a few shopping opportunities.

8. Masala Bazaa

Enjoy a delectable Diwali feast including a variety of India's best culinary creations. The menu will include sweet sweets, chaats, and pani puri stations in addition to savory starters, appetizers, soups, and main courses.

P.S.: This is a collaborative post.

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