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Old 20th December 2011, 08:43   #46
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Default Re: In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum

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Originally Posted by Guderian View Post
Hi Mysticeyes,
My favourite - the very first one with Tommy (!) lying on the trail.
I really must check this place Bonacaud - on my next visit to Kerala/Tvm.
Sir, the place continues to 'haunt' like no other place. I'm sure that it would 'haunt' you too once you visit. If you look down, figo_mba would vouch for that

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Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
Even Thomas Hardy would have been proud of the above quote!!
Blame it on the allure of the place

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Originally Posted by figo_mba View Post
excellent one mysticeyes. Had been there twice but I guess both my words and pics are no match and could not have done justice to the place like you have.

There is also a waterfall called vazvanthol which is right from the forest checkpost point. That is more of a trek spot. Bonacaud was my alternative to Ponmudi cos I had been there a lot of times during my 3 years in Trivandrum.
Incidentally even I travelled in a Ford to Bonacaud.

Once I saw Bonacaud I never went to Ponmudi this was simply pristine.
Really great to see it all come alive in words and pics.
Figo, good to know that you are also an enticed 'Bonacaudian'My personal opinion is that Ponmudi is good for a drive through alone during misty/ rainy days. But, I'm thankful to Ponmudi so diverting so much traffic off from Bonacaud. Else, it would never have been this pristine.

Vazhvanthol - it's in our 'must visit' list. Our car was parked at the spot where the trek begins to Vazhvanthol. You remember the huge parking area like open space with teak plantation on one side, right? From there, you take the left for Vazhvanthol, to the right hitting the forest and a bridge straight from the parking leads to the tribal areas/ settlement areas of the Peppara dam. The tribals who were there told us that the loner was quite close to our car. May be it felt kind for the black car and left it so.

There has been increasing instance of wildlife spilling over to the checkpost/ parking area of late. Our guide told us the 'lore' of 'Puli (Leopard) Murukan' who fought with the leopard near the parking area last year and escaped. He's a superstar now and an acclaimed guide for the hardcore trekkers who want to explore the dense forest in the area. It was the first instance of leopard coming out in open in the area.

Another disturbing news is that leopard spotting has been reported in the Ponmudi area of late. A group of tourists were attacked around 6pm near the 20th hairpin bend and they managed to escape. One of them took the pic and it came in newspapers. Last week, pug marks were found and warning issued at Kallar/ Golden Valley/ Vithura. While on a trek to Kallar early this year, we came across signs of elephant presence in the Kallar path. All these were considered safe spots for tourists.

The official permission for the trek to 'Bonafalls' have been cancelled over last 4-5 months due to increasing wildlife activities in the area. Vazhvanthol is in the downstream of Bonafalls and still considered safe to trek. But these seems to add to the aura of Bonacaud and very few place have caught up like this.

this was where the leopard attacked the tourists near ponmudi. a bit further up, the roads widens and its a place where many stop to get feel of mist. might sound funny, but there's a similar deity enroute to bonacaud. the distance from ponmudi to the point in this pic and the distance from Bonacaud tea factory to the deity enroute are same.

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sightings have been reported that mr. leo likes this rock & tree near ponmudi very much
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entering the forbidden territory near the deity near Bonacaud. this point is the official 'Anatharu' (elephant trail)

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why do some butterflies always fly around in belly everytime we reach the same curve??
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Last edited by GTO : 22nd December 2011 at 13:47. Reason: Please do not use more than 2 smileys per post. Thanks
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Old 20th December 2011, 10:44   #47
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Default Re: In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum

Mysticeyes either you and your pals have loads of Guts (Which I suppose) or all of you have decided to push your Luck too far. Either ways man, its "Living on the Edge" kind of Travel-log.

Me and my friends were once charged by a Lone elephant enroute Madumalai forest and we never even got out of our cars. But that Trumpet at the end which sounded like its dissappointment of not getting a hold of us, gave us nightmares for many months.
The last 2 pics bro, just brought back all those memories man. Butterflies, Birds, Bats, you name it, all of them fly about in my belly to this date, everytime I pass the Madumalai stretch.
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Old 21st December 2011, 17:15   #48
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Default Re: In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum

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Mysticeyes either you and your pals have loads of Guts (Which I suppose) or all of you have decided to push your Luck too far. Either ways man, its "Living on the Edge" kind of Travel-log.

Me and my friends were once charged by a Lone elephant enroute Madumalai forest and we never even got out of our cars. But that Trumpet at the end which sounded like its dissappointment of not getting a hold of us, gave us nightmares for many months.
The last 2 pics bro, just brought back all those memories man. Butterflies, Birds, Bats, you name it, all of them fly about in my belly to this date, everytime I pass the Madumalai stretch.
Vik, I don't think that we've much guts rather its the curiosity that drives us to push on further. A Mudumalai trip is on the cards, probably during the 2nd week of January. May be the loner would let us through

I remember the trumpet once we had experienced on the way back from Top Station to Mattupetty. It was bit past 6.15pm, low visibility due to fog and luckily, the loner was on a small hill which could be reached after crossing a rivulet. That gave us enough time to stop by and admire.

Our 'Guru' sharing some 'D-I-Y' knowledge on how to tackle if elephants show up. This posture is meant for staying cool signalling them that we are not for encroaching their territory.
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Guru's tip became useful on the run from catchment area. Circumstances sure does make one learn fast, especially the obstacle course.
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'Route marking' - identifying landmarks in case of emergency
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Last edited by Amartya : 22nd December 2011 at 06:17. Reason: 2 smileys per post limit. Thanks.
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Old 21st December 2011, 20:51   #49
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Default Re: In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum

Guys, I am really sorry to say this, the beauty of this place is coming to an end.

The Kerala Government has decided to relocate the Trivandrum city garbage treatment plant from Vilappilsala to Bonacaud within 3 months. The government owns 150 acres of land here in Bonacaud so they can do this without acquiring privately-owned land.

Believe me, its true!

Source in Malayalam:
Kerala Kaumudi Online
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Old 22nd December 2011, 11:58   #50
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Default Re: In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum

Beautifull!! These places have this eerie silence to them. And your photographs and your narration has bought out the essence of this trip very nicely!!!

Regards
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Old 22nd December 2011, 12:08   #51
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Default Re: In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum

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Vik, I don't think that we've much guts rather its the curiosity that drives us to push on further. A Mudumalai trip is on the cards, probably during the 2nd week of January. May be the loner would let us through

I remember the trumpet once we had experienced on the way back from Top Station to Mattupetty. It was bit past 6.15pm, low visibility due to fog and luckily, the loner was on a small hill which could be reached after crossing a rivulet. That gave us enough time to stop by and admire.
Frankly Mysticeyes, the ones among us who were in the right sense, did not really have guts either.
There were couple of guys however, who thought about challenging this Loner with a Digital Camera and I guess the He wasn't Amused.
None of us will ever forget the chain of events that led to that Charge bro. It was very dramatic. All of this as a result of some brain less moron behind the wheels of a CRV who honked so loudly that we humans were startled. The Loner channeled his discomfort at us since we had almost stopped to snap some quickies.

All the Very best with your Madumalai drive. Just remember one Golden Rule while observing pachyderms from a vehicle:

"NEVER TURN OFF THE ENGINE" !!
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Old 22nd December 2011, 16:50   #52
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Default Re: In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum

Wonderful place and some astonishing pictures. Loved the picture of the single tree shot in B&W and of course the close up war shot. Absolutely stunning & loved the narration. Hope the suspension is still in place.

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Old 7th February 2012, 23:43   #53
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Beautifull!! These places have this eerie silence to them.
Definitely. The silence that is broken by the sound of distant waterfall or a state transport bus which climbs up once a while. There's a [articular rhythm in the way the driver shifts gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728;2618810All the Very best with your Madumalai drive. Just remember one Golden Rule while observing pachyderms from a vehicle:

"[B
NEVER TURN OFF THE ENGINE[/b]" !!
The Mudumalai trip didn't materialize. Another trip being planned as compensation. Just 2 weeks back, we found out another rule while observing pachyderms - Never ever use Perfumes/ deos while on forest trails. Pachys are really allergic . And this particular loner, being so benevolent, gave us the escape route through a swamp crawling with poisonous snakes. It was a scary escape

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Wonderful place and some astonishing pictures. Loved the picture of the single tree shot in B&W and of course the close up war shot. Absolutely stunning & loved the narration. Hope the suspension is still in place.
Yes, the suspension proved itself and is willing to take more tests.

Guess this pic conveys everything about Bonacaud - mystically dark, partially revealing, green & inviting
In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum-dsc01528-copy.jpg
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Old 14th March 2012, 17:43   #54
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Definitely. The silence that is broken by the sound of distant waterfall or a state transport bus which climbs up once a while. There's a [articular rhythm in the way the driver shifts gear
Hey Mysticeyes, you got me itching to do the trip again.. And i got the 80k service scheduled for tomorrow, but the tires are aging with almost no visible threads on the surface, but still, it should be ok given that the summer is here.

Hope i can make it to the haunted Bungalow!!!
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Old 14th March 2012, 17:52   #55
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Hey Mysticeyes, you got me itching to do the trip again.. And i got the 80k service scheduled for tomorrow, but the tires are aging with almost no visible threads on the surface, but still, it should be ok given that the summer is here.

Hope i can make it to the haunted Bungalow!!!
glidealong, we had a trek to Vazhvanthol falls (9km downstream of Bonacaud) on last sunday and finally, the pachyderm made its grand appearance in front of us. We were within 50ft mark. There were 2 big ones and 2 calves. Guess the presence of calves made them more protective. Can't describe the feel when they sensed our presence and let out the violent trumpeting which continued on for about 3-4 minutes till they crossed the path and the river In one word, we went bloodless. I would post the pic of the crossing later-on as its not in this system now.

Its raining in the hilly areas of late and I guess, the green has returned a bit now in Bonacaud. Test your tires
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Old 15th March 2012, 10:11   #56
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...and finally, the pachyderm made its grand appearance in front of us. We were within 50ft mark. There were 2 big ones and 2 calves. Guess the presence of calves made them more protective. Can't describe the feel when they sensed our presence and let out the violent trumpeting which continued on for about 3-4 minutes till they crossed the path and the river In one word, we went bloodless. I would post the pic of the crossing later-on as its not in this system now.
Awesome..
I had done the vazhvanthol trek couple of times and both times we got the strong smell of elephants midway, where you see lot of elephant droppings on the left-hand-side and a large pool on the right-hand-side. We guessed that it should be an elephant crossing zone and we were right, from your experience. I think it's the same place you had the encounter.

Good that you have no bad memories, just an adrenaline rush.

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Its raining in the hilly areas of late and I guess, the green has returned a bit now in Bonacaud. Test your tires
Yeah, its starting to drizzle in here too.. so i guess it must be raining quite heavily in the hills, and with my 40K old yokos, i guess it might be best to leave the haunted bungalow on its own.

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Old 16th March 2012, 13:24   #57
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Awesome..
I had done the vazhvanthol trek couple of times and both times we got the strong smell of elephants midway, where you see lot of elephant droppings on the left-hand-side and a large pool on the right-hand-side. We guessed that it should be an elephant crossing zone and we were right, from your experience. I think it's the same place you had the encounter.Good that you have no bad memories, just an adrenaline rush.
Yes, it was the midway in which we started to come across the dungs and we were expecting to be around. But didn't expect this close Loved the natural way in which two huge rocks closed off the trekking path for the elephants after that point. The vertical rock wall on either side of the path also makes it impossible to elephants to come further beyond the mid-way. However, an alarming news has been the spotting of female tigress (lactating one) in the Athirumala range which is somewhere around. Guess it got off from the Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (MTR) which borders the Agasthya mountain from Ambasamudram. This means that we've to be extra careful and the tiger population is set to increase. So far this is the 1st tiger spotting in this range and the tigress got clicked in a cam which was placed by a research guy at Athirumala.

Here's the pachyderm crossing pic. This pic was taken by Susanth Kumar who had the sense to change lens inbetween the commotion and click
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Vazhvanthol Falls - 2nd step
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Old 19th March 2012, 15:38   #58
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.. an alarming news has been the spotting of female tigress (lactating one) in the Athirumala range which is somewhere around. Guess it got off from the Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (MTR) which borders the Agasthya mountain from Ambasamudram. This means that we've to be extra careful and the tiger population is set to increase. So far this is the 1st tiger spotting in this range and the tigress got clicked in a cam which was placed by a research guy at Athirumala.

Here's the pachyderm crossing pic. This pic was taken by Susanth Kumar who had the sense to change lens inbetween the commotion and click
Attachment 903472
No words... just spellbound.. Man, you are lucky and blessed... I would count this as one of the unforgettable moments!!!
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Old 28th May 2012, 13:20   #59
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No words... just spellbound.. Man, you are lucky and blessed... I would count this as one of the unforgettable moments!!!
Luck played its part too. Having said about 'luck', the same old team came together two weeks back to track down the Bungalow. An unexpected harthal (bandh) came up on 5th May and we came to know about it only around 7Am. After some frantic phone calls, we decided to leave for Bonacaud. The Fiesta who was under heavy suspension test on last two occasions had a wide grin on its face as we had a Scorpio. But then, the problem was due to bandh, no fuel pumps were functioning and yet, the thrill of exploring Bonacaud made us wander to different directions in Trivandrum in search of an open pump. Alas, we had a glow in our face when we spotted an open pump and a long que. Filled up the Scorpio with diesel worth Rs. 1000 and started the journey to Bonacaud around 11.30 Am.

But, around 16kms before Bonacaud, we ran into a road block made by the bandh supporters. But, we were determined to make it to Bonacaud and decided to drive back and and take deviation through a narrow road so that we could bypass the roadblock and get further up. But, rain-gods had other ideas as the remaining journey was under heavy rain, yet we pushed on on the hope that rain would subside. The rain had made the climb up the Bonacaud road heavily mist laden and this delayed us further.

Bonacaud - the place was green again thanks to the heavy summer showers which lasted for around 2 weeks. We didn't halt at the base as we were already late and the road up was tricky due to rain. Rain began to weaken slowly and yet the wind and fog was immense. Finally, we reached the point where we had stopped last time and found nothing much had changed.

3.45 Pm - The place had an eerie silence even-though sounds of the dripping rain water from leaves, wind, the sound from distant waterfall, birds and sound of wood-cracking were there. Wood-cracking sound had two probabilities - either some old twigs breaking up in wind or - the presence of Mr. Pachyderm somewhere further up the hill.

The ruins of the staff quarters were around us and we decided to explore the staff quarters further. It presented the sorry picture of once glorious past. The view from certain windows could be 'million dollar view', which those who lived there long back could enjoy everyday for free, whereas people like us had to pay through the nose at some resorts to see half the beauty for 24 hours. All of us were looking out through windows, rather staring to the past, imagining how life could have been there in the glory days. once a while, we were stirred back to reality by the wood-cracking sound that appeared to be nearing and the unmistakable sign that we were uninvited guests in Pachyderm's area.

Sky darkened again and this time, mist blew in through the open doors and windows. Around 4.30 Pm, the local tea-shop owner down the base rang into one of our mobile asking us to get down to base and the signs were impending for heavy rain and low visibility could be a problem. Better to heed to the words of a knowledgeable guy, we thought. The real 'Bungalow' can wait for next time. As we walked down to the Scorpio, a faint scent of Pachyderm waded through the still air. The light was so dim that it resembled 7pm.

9 months &4 attempts and we are yet to reach the Bungalow. I'm asking myself - is it worth to push on next time? Few placed had invited us over and over like Bonacaud and despite the fact that each time we had to withdraw due to inclement weather, something keeps luring us back. Who knows?

My every move is detected
By the voices of the night
Every path I follow
Is like the path before
A road to nowhere
And nothing in store
A sinister evil
Is on the prowl
His arms like the vines
Of the great tree
Reaching for me
- Anon
In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum-462945_351277374917316_100001051681089_1034598_1381158236_o.jpg

an evening amongst the ruins of the erstwhile staff quarters
In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum-477818_378541955524191_100001051681089_1113648_358277667_o.jpg

Opening out the window, those who used to live here were treated to sights & sounds unimaginable to people like us. On a full moon day, they must've watched the glittering water in the catchment of the Peppara dam many miles downstream. They must've the music of the jungle at nights with the sound crickets, howling wind atop the mountain especially on rainy nights, trumpets of pachyderms, mixed with the distant growl of elusive leopard from the dense forest further up the mountain..and they were all cloaked in the mist. Mornings were different, as the mist lifted, the window used to give soothing sights of the clear streams, waterfalls, lush green tea plantations and the sounds were different too - sounds of birds, whirring of machines from the tea-factory down the mountain, sound of the lone transport bus going up and down once a while. Sights & sounds still exists, except the whirring of machines got occasional and the music of jungle is present even during daytime..but, no one to look out from this window
In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum-474917_378627942182259_1315528554_o.jpg

Winding up the trek late into the evening, we got back to the base and was having tea as night crawled in. That was when we saw the fallen tree with Witches Arms somewhere up the path.
In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum-460095_377970292248024_1987697185_o.jpg

errr..this is my area folks
In Search of the Haunted Bungalow at Bonacaud, Trivandrum-412817_380314688680251_100001051681089_1117119_487342819_o.jpg

Last edited by Mysticeyes : 28th May 2012 at 13:26.
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Old 28th May 2012, 18:45   #60
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Absolutely fantastic photography and writing ! The landscape is truly breathtaking ! Great job ! Thanks so much for this refreshing post !

How about getting SUVs along this route ? Would it be too narrow for them, or can I manage to bring one along ?
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