September 17, 2023

Frames from the Backwaters!

Vembanad Lake, which forms a part of the backwaters of Kerala, is a captivating place where one can unwind, enjoy stunning landscape views, go on a boat ride, watch fishermen go about their daily chores, gaze at spectacular sunsets, stroll past lush paddy fields, get drenched in the rains, watch snake boat races, and enjoy some spicy 'Shaap food' with toddy.

Below are a few frames from this mesmerizing land.


Backyards can't get any prettier

It ain't always fun in the rains

The adrenaline rush while watching the boat race is unbelievable

For those who would like to take it slow

Racing past the 'Kettuvalloms'

How do you avoid the cliched frame?

A beautiful frame enroute R Block

Some homes here have stunning views

When nature leaves you stunned!

When backwaters made way for water lilies

A frame that reminds of Kochi

Life isn't always fair, even on this surreal land

Can gaze at this frame in oblivion

The moment nature took out the palette and turned into an artist

July 19, 2023

Exploring Chimmini Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary

A lazy Sunday morning ended up as an exciting day as we drove through lush greenery to Chimmini Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary. The rains had subsided, but overcast conditions prevailed, which made the journey a delightful one. Also spelled as Chimmony, the dam here is built across Chimmini River in the Thrissur district of Kerala, and borders other popular attractions such as Nelliyampathy Hills and Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary.

As the views on either side of the road gave way to tall trees and hillocks carpeted with shades of green, we knew we were in wildlife territory. However, no animals popped by or crossed our paths. A short walk away from the parking zone, and the sprawling waters of the Chimmini Dam opened up in front us. Still waters with hills in the backdrop and gloomy skies made up for some picturesque frames. There was a small crowd with family and kids loitering the place. However, it still seemed so quiet, as the breeze blew hard and the cows grazed in peace. One can rest under the trees and gaze in oblivion at the beautiful frames on offer, while uncluttering your mind.

You may also take a stroll along the banks of the reservoir or opt for a coracle ride, if you need some action. We opted for the second one, and buckled up our life jackets, before hopping on one of the coracles. Slowly we made our way to the other bank, and more silence followed, which was broken by the oarsman, who spoke about how the tourism development here has helped his life. Coming from the local tribal colony, he reminisced how the place has changed over the years after tourism took over. He did mention that they do spot birds and crocodiles (rare), but we had absolutely no luck. However, the pretty reservoir more than made for that with breathtaking vistas all around.

How to reach Chimmini Wildlife Sanctuary:

The nearest major town is Thrissur, 38 km away. The closest airport is in Cochin, 57 km away, and nearest railway station is in Chalakkudy, 37 km away. It is recommended to visit Chimmini in a private vehicle as public services are not frequent.

Food and Accommodation:

There is a small refreshment centre here that sells basic energy boosters, and a couple of push carts outside selling coconut water and ice creams.

July 12, 2023

14 Years of Tales of a Nomad!

I had been to Pykara Lake in The Nilgiris earlier this year, and it brought back a lot of nostalgic memories of my first visit here during my childhood. 

As Tales of a Nomad completes its 14th year today, it's again nostalgia that trickles in, reminding me of the time I started blogging.

Thanks to all the readers for the encouragement and support.

July 2, 2023

Exquisite Yet Affordable: Top 7 Palaces in India to Visit in 2023

India is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, majestic palaces, and opulent architecture that reflects the glory of bygone eras. While exploring the grandeur of Indian palaces may seem like an extravagant affair, it is indeed possible to visit these architectural marvels on a budget. In this article, we present the top seven palaces in India that offer an enchanting experience without breaking the bank. Additionally, we'll provide some valuable tips to help you plan a budget-friendly visit to these magnificent landmarks.

How to visit Palaces in India on a budget?

Traveling on a budget to Indian palaces is certainly achievable with careful planning and smart choices. You don’t have to play EuroMillions online and win the big prize to enjoy these rich and old sites. So, here are a few tips to ensure a satisfying palace tour while keeping costs under control:

·    Plan Your Trip during Off-Peak Seasons: Scheduling visits during off-peak seasons is one way to secure better deals on accommodation, transportation and entry fees at palaces. Prices tend to be higher during holidays and peak tourist seasons so shoulder seasons offer better savings with smaller crowds present.

·     Opt for budget accommodations: Instead of staying in luxurious hotels, look into cost-cutting accommodations such as guesthouses, hostels or homestays that can offer comfortable stays at a much more reasonable cost.

·    Choose public transportation: Public transportation options such as buses and trains tend to be more cost-effective than private taxis or rental cars. India boasts an expansive train and bus network, which can take you directly to palace destinations while still saving you money.

·    Utilize local guides: In lieu of hiring expensive private guides, take advantage of local guides at the palace or audio guides (if available) who may provide insightful insights into its history and architecture at much reduced costs. They could provide invaluable knowledge of its past and present that you wouldn't otherwise gain.

·    Bring Your Own Food and Water: Eating out at restaurants and tourist spots can quickly add up, particularly in popular tourist locations. Bring snacks, water bottles, meals for the day as well as snacks in order to save on costly food options; just be mindful to respect any rules or regulations regarding outside food or drinks in palaces or palace grounds.

Top 7 Palaces in India to Visit in 2023

City Palace, Jaipur

Located in the heart of Rajasthan's capital, Jaipur, the City Palace is an awe-inspiring blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. This sprawling palace complex offers a glimpse into the royal heritage of the region. To visit on a budget, consider purchasing a composite ticket that provides entry to multiple attractions within the complex, including the City Palace, Jantar Mantar, and Hawa Mahal. Exploring the palace's courtyards, gardens, and museum will transport you to a bygone era without straining your wallet.

Tip: Opt for a local guide who can provide valuable insights into the palace's history and architecture at an affordable rate.

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

The Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur is a testament to luxury and grandeur. Built in the 20th century, this magnificent palace is a stunning blend of Indo-Saracenic and Art Deco styles. While a stay at the palace hotel can be expensive, you can explore certain areas on a budget. The museum within the palace showcases a remarkable collection of artefacts and exhibits that shed light on the royal history of Jodhpur. Entry tickets to the museum are reasonably priced, allowing you to appreciate the palace's beauty without breaking your budget.

Tip: Consider visiting during the evening to witness the palace's illuminated facade, creating a mesmerizing sight at no extra cost.

Mysore Palace, Mysore

The Mysore Palace, located in the city of Mysore, Karnataka, is a captivating structure that blends Indo-Saracenic, Rajput, Hindu, and Gothic architectural styles. This majestic palace offers a glimpse into the opulent lives of the Wadiyar dynasty. Entry tickets to the palace are affordable, enabling you to explore the exquisitely decorated halls, intricate carvings, and the stunning Durbar Hall, where royal ceremonies were once held. To maximize your budget, time your visit during the Dasara festival when the palace is adorned with thousands of lights, creating a breathtaking spectacle.

Tip: Pack your own snacks and water to avoid buying overpriced refreshments within the palace premises.

Amber Palace, Jaipur

Situated on a hilltop overlooking the Maota Lake, the Amber Palace is a magnificent example of Rajput architecture. The palace's ornate interiors, intricate mirror work, and expansive courtyards offer a captivating experience. To visit on a budget, you can choose to hike up the hill instead of taking an elephant ride or a jeep. Entry tickets are reasonably priced, and exploring the palace's numerous halls, including the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), will transport you to a world of royal grandeur.

Tip: Engage with local artisans outside the palace premises to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts at reasonable prices, supporting the local economy.

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner

Often overshadowed by its more famous counterparts in Rajasthan, the Junagarh Fort in Bikaner boasts an architectural splendour that rivals them all. Built in the 16th century, this fort features a blend of Mughal, Rajput, and Gujarati architectural styles. The fort's palaces, pavilions, and temples are adorned with exquisite stone carvings and elaborate murals. Entry tickets are reasonably priced, allowing you to explore the fort's impressive architecture and rich history without straining your budget.

Tip: Plan your visit during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds and capture stunning photographs in the soft light.

Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh

Perched atop a hill in the city of Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, the Chittorgarh Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest fort complexes in India. This historic fort is a testament to the valour and pride of the Rajputs. Entry tickets to the fort are reasonably priced, granting you access to explore its sprawling grounds, majestic palaces, beautiful temples, and impressive towers. As you walk through the fort's corridors and ramparts, you'll be transported to a time of chivalry and romance.

Tip: Carry your own water and snacks, as there are limited options available within the fort premises.

Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace, Bengaluru

Located in the heart of Bengaluru, Karnataka, Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace is a striking example of Indo-Islamic architecture. This palace was the summer retreat of Tipu Sultan, the erstwhile ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. Entry tickets to the palace are affordable, allowing you to admire its intricately carved arches, frescoes, and ornate balconies. Explore the palace's various rooms and learn about Tipu Sultan's life and legacy through the exhibits and artefacts on display.

Tip: Combine your visit to the palace with a stroll through the nearby Krishna Rajendra Market, where you can experience the vibrant atmosphere and indulge in local street food.


Visiting the grand palaces of India on a budget is not only an achievable goal but also an enriching experience. Exploring these architectural marvels provides a deeper understanding of India's history and cultural heritage. By following the tips mentioned above and prioritizing affordable options, you can embark on a memorable journey through India's regal past without compromising your budget. So, pack your bags and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Indian palaces, where history and grandeur come alive.

N.B.: This is a collaborative post.

June 7, 2023

Road Signs!

 That's how the road welcomes you to Ooty in the summer months. Glendale, The Nilgiris. March 2023.

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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...