Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 22nd October 2011, 15:37   #1
BHPian
 
Mysticeyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Trivandrum
Posts: 369
Thanked: 347 Times
Cool Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

“Oh noooo..not again”, “here we go again, thumbs up”. No marks for identifying which words were from our better-halves and which words were from the nomads in us. No wonder that all the ladies pooled together and got all of us t-shirts which read as “take your troubles like a man, blame them on your wife (another trouble!!!)”. The lure of the haunted bungalow at Bonacaud (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/107986-search-haunted-bungalow-bonacaud-trivandrum.html) refused to fade off even after a month and once we were on the road with 2 minutes notice time, determined to find the bungalow. During the customary tea-break at the Junction, where there road splits into two – one leading to the Trivandrum – Shenkottai road (TS Road/ SH 45) and the other leading to Bonacaud, one of us had a casual glance at the day’s newspaper hanging by.

“Pssstt..look at this news”and all heads turned to the paper where a small headline read as “Elephants on the rampage”. Suddenly, the scent of the pachyderm’s dropping which we encountered during the previous visit to Bonacaud and the subsequent gracious retreat from finding the haunted bungalow returned to our mind. “errr...should we?”, (1) “we should” (2) some other time when the pachyderm’s siesta season. “ok, let’s toss”.

Heads – we turn left to the TS Road/ SH 45. Tails – we turn right and continue to Bonacaud and ultimately, left was right. A song went through our mind. ‘Roads Less Taken’ is a catchword which we tend to follow while selecting the routes for the unplanned travel. But there was an exception for one road and it is the ‘Road Often Taken’ or the TS Road. Even though, it is mentioned as the TS road, the road by its character extends beyond Shenkottai and its one’s own discretion to define the exact boundary since the experience cannot be confined..may be it would stretch to Thirunelveli or may be, it would stretch to a quaint village called Panakkudi near Valliyoor on the NH 7. Many a times, we wondered why the coin returned ‘Heads’ most times and finally reached conclusion that it was indeed the ‘curse of the traveller’. But when such ‘curses’ takes one through diverse experiences, one does ask for more curse to befall.

inviting roads always tempted us - a section of the TS Road

Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-132505_160184204026635_100001051681089_317470_1270745_o.jpg

There have always been an unexplainable ‘something’ to the road trips on the TS road. Often, the discussion in the car would be in the lines of “how do we feel so fresh despite having travelled for so long..why do we feel that we haven’t travelled much..why didn’t we see what we discovered now in the last trip?” and so on.

May be the answer lies in the fact that the smooth curvy road hid many things in its curves, leaving a fraction unhidden for us to explore. It had everything..the plantations from Palode to Kulathupuzha, the forest ranges from Kulathupuzha to Aryankavu, the fertile plains from Puliyara to Shenkottai and beyond..well then, where did the vast mountain ranges or the many rivers or the Themala- Shenkottai section of the historical Kollam – Madurai meter-gauge rail line or the innumerable narrow trails all along the route go and most importantly, the lives of the people who were overshadowed by the variety of the entire route? I’d say that they remain hidden, making its presence felt in a subtle manner only, making one explore the hidden spots or coaxing the reluctant people to open up their mind. No wonder that despite having travelled many times, the route still remain fresh and gives a feeling of having seen nothing.

the mystic play of light
Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-287240_261545790557142_100001051681089_798955_353895165_o.jpg

a lesser know spot near thenmala
Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-332678_261319533913101_100001051681089_797945_408117183_o.jpg

On the Themala- Shenkottai rail route stretch (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/105395-romancing-british-raj-legacies-punalur-shenkottai-meter-gauge-rail-trail.html), there are still souls trying to come into the fact that the rail route won’t be same from now on..From the 10 year old boy for whom the train was a toy to the old-timers who saw through the changes, the void was so huge to be filled. Life and stories were interwoven for the lonely caretaker at the Thenmala station to a strange looking old man, whom we found resting by the railings atop the 13 pillar Kannara Bridge. During an earlier visit, the old man promised that he would tell us many things when he visit him next at his home which was near the bridge..the home was tiny, but well kept then. We searched around for the old man during the last visit..he was nowhere to be found and the old man’s home had been deserted and partially collapsed. Similarly, the caretaker was also not seen around the Thenmala station, where the tracks had been taken off and the old station was waiting to be demolished. A huge tree with brilliant green leaves stood overlooking the Thenmala station and we were told that the tree was as old as the station – nearly 110 years. Pretty soon, the station would be gone, but the tree represents the memories people have about this route – evergreen.

atop the Kannara Bridge
Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-334441_261320147246373_100001051681089_797949_366215412_o.jpg

we found him managing goats near the tunnel above the Kannara bridge. at first, he asked us if we were there to take away the tracks to which our reply was that we wanted to keep the memories through the photos. that was when his face turned sad and sitting poignant, he opened his mind about how he missed his friend - the 'cute li'l train' whose melody used to touch every aspect of his life. be it the waking up listening to the horn or the walk to the school waving to the passing train or how its horn signaled the end of his school time.we said that few years down the line, the big brother of the cute li'l train would roll down the track. but that wasn't enough..like us, he wanted the 'cute li'l train' to which his heart had bonded

Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-332728_261758407202547_100001051681089_799579_879172292_o.jpg

Amidst the discussion to trek along the rail route, one tends to overlook the winding ghat roads until a lookout point is reached after the Forest checkpost at Aryankavu. A glance to the right throws up the changing landscape. The fertile plain seems to be spread out like a lush green carpet and in the horizon, the rugged mountains of Mahendragiri (near Nagercoil) and the outlines of the windmills at Valliyoor can be seen on a clear day. Descending the slope, the road straighten out and amidst the field on either sides, you reach Bhagavathipuram and Puliyara, where the characters define the landscape.

first glimpse after Aryankavu
Name:  45757_133424310035958_100001051681089_189500_6115373_n.jpg
Views: 2806
Size:  101.1 KB

At Bhagavathipuram, we met a lady in her late 50s, who was noble enough to take us through her 8 acre farm. She was a Keralite who had settled at Bhagavathipuram with her husband almost 30 years back. “The soil and nature had been good to us” – she said as she took us around their property and recounted the experiences from the time of settling there. Their kids were settled in Bangalore and during summer, they would stay with kids till the temperature dips at Bhagavathipuram. Listening to the way in which she described how they turned the barren land into a fertile haven, one could only stand in admiration of the hard work done by the and the passion which came out when she showed us a coconut tree and asked us to take its photo since it was the very first sapling/ tree planted by them. Everyone had a story to tell.

Muniswami was the key person at Puliyara and walked with a constant grin, showing off his red teeth due to constant beetle chewing. Following him, we took position at the bank of a field, where he would soon be tilling the soil for the launch of a new agriculture season. The constant ghat wind parted open the leaves and branches through which we could see & hear Muniswami yell at the cattles while tilling. The ladies followed him, planting on the tilled areas in a rhythmic pattern. Once a while, Muniswami would join us, narrating stories – mainly about his ‘Kadavul’ – the stocky ol’ one legged ‘Gounder’ (landlord) who turned the entire land to ‘green-gold’ with his toil.

mr. muniswami
Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-259271_208248255886896_100001051681089_617407_8278507_o.jpg

as the leaves parted in the strong wind, it opened a scenery for us. where traditions are preserved and where, the love for soil is not hypocritical..sitting beneath the tree, we were taken back to the past
Name:  57075_151568431554879_100001051681089_275504_374476_o(1).jpg
Views: 2211
Size:  94.0 KB

The ghat winds and the scenes from past made us continue the drive. Passing Shenkottai and Thenkasi and pushing even further, we discussed about the freshness of the drive once again. Question aroused whether we should return and explore more on the route so far. That was when we remembered Muniswami’s weather prediction - “push down further in this road, get till Ambasamudram and wait there if you want to see what real rain means”. But nature didn’t want to make us wait and soon, Muniswami proved right and it started raining so heavily. Pity that we call the drizzle over South Kerala as rain these days. May be, they ought to take few lessons from the ghat rain.

Rain had mellowed down as we were almost 20km before Ambasamudram, but the cloud was catching up at the point we were in. It was as simple as a long arrow straight road with a small curve towards the end which seemed to be at the horizon near a mountain, it was as simple as having both sides of the road being lined by trees swaying in wind and as simple as the endless paddy fields on either side. We pulled up to a safe spot by the edge of the road and waited for someone to turn up. Once again, the silence was broken by a Tamil folk song and we could see an outline of one or two ladies walking towards us from a distance.

Name:  45680_135119556533100_100001051681089_198141_2315763_n.jpg
Views: 2118
Size:  45.5 KB

That was when we decided to take a long break. That was also the ‘tip of an iceberg’ as to what lay ahead. The next leg of trip can wait.

lost in tranquility or stunned? this is where I should belong to, out there, far from the crazy fast paced world
Name:  41175_133631676681888_100001051681089_190373_2924557_n.jpg
Views: 2082
Size:  53.1 KB

Last edited by Mysticeyes : 22nd October 2011 at 15:38.
Mysticeyes is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd October 2011, 15:40   #2
BHPian
 
maheshramaling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Bangalore or Bengaluru!!
Posts: 277
Thanked: 151 Times
Default Re: Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

Short but a good one. Pictures are great but few more pictures of these amazing roads/ rail bridge, greenery would be great.
maheshramaling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd October 2011, 22:20   #3
BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Kollam, Kerala
Posts: 233
Thanked: 107 Times
Default Re: Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mysticeyes View Post
“Oh noooo..not again”, “here we go again, thumbs up”. .. all the ladies pooled together and got all of us t-shirts which read as “take your troubles like a man, blame them on your wife (another trouble!!!)”
Ah! The ladies are at it. How pleasant to accept responsibility gracefully. Another trip and another well written story. Thanks for making the day for me.
basky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd October 2011, 23:47   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
navan49's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: CHENNAI
Posts: 998
Thanked: 68 Times
Default Re: Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

Beautiful write up. The photos are great support for your travelogue. I did travel in this route in 1990. After seeing this I would like to visit again and see the Bagavathi puram also. I remember there was a kind of little falls on the way from Trivandrum to Shengkottai.The Topioca farming covered the hills into green.
navan49 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2011, 08:03   #5
BHPian
 
Mysticeyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Trivandrum
Posts: 369
Thanked: 347 Times
Default Re: Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by maheshramaling View Post
few more pictures of these amazing roads/ rail bridge, greenery would be great.
mahesh, the rail line is covered in another thread in detail (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ail-trail.html (Romancing the British Raj Legacies - Punalur - Shenkottai Meter Gauge Rail Trail)). please feel free to go through the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by navan49 View Post
I did travel in this route in 1990. After seeing this I would like to visi again and see the Bagavathi puram also. I remember there was a kind of little falls on the way from Trivandrum to Shengkottai.The Topioca farming covered the hills into green.
Navan, the road has become excellent now, except for a minor stretch in the Kulathupuzha area. Some parts of the fields by the road side near Puliyara has been filled up (may be the Kerala influence). The Bhagavathipuram station, which reminded of the station in 'Malgudi Days' has been torn down, the trees cut off and the old world charm gone The fall you are referring to might be the Palaruvi, which is still scenic.

Bhagavathipuram station as on 09/07/11. We were told that this got razed down in September
Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-dsc_0128.jpg

not a soul in sight other than the nuts in car who broke the emptiness of the road and its silence.. that was when we were treated to abstracts by nature - another rain drive and another scene that made us hang on forever and ever. the wind was slowly building up and the rain had just started.
Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-325646_263349893710065_100001051681089_803671_1389787539_o.jpg

smile smile li'l kids, for you are to inherit what lies beyond. unpretentious and full of curiosity for why we were clicking around, they asked us the reason for why we took photos. they had an unbelievable expression when they heard our answer
Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-54085_152771801434542_100001051681089_280403_1770443_o.jpg

home sweet home..
Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-202164_189248561120199_100001051681089_499177_6449330_o.jpg

should we reach where the light leads us or the steps? one of the many mystic steps
Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road-330282_265677696810618_100001051681089_811932_1594653233_o.jpg

the feel off fresh air
Name:  44410_133973913314331_100001051681089_191654_2698698_n.jpg
Views: 1694
Size:  251.0 KB
Mysticeyes is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2011, 08:44   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Chennai
Posts: 633
Thanked: 624 Times
Default Re: Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

Mysticeyes, those were awesome pics; lots of life in each one of them, especially the last pic is breath taking. Please keep them coming!
CliffHanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2011, 08:46   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
hvkumar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 7,369
Thanked: 3,354 Times
Default Re: Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

Good to know that the TS road is in good condition!
Did you get photos of the famous "S" curve just before the ghat ends?
Can you climb up from the road to the track at the Kannara Bridge? (looks like you took the photo from the rail track itself)
How did you complete the circuit - via Ambasamudram, Kalakkad & Nagercoil? Any info on that part of the drive?
Is this route best taken early morning to avoid the traffic congestion around TVM-Nedumangad-Palode?
Traffic jams at the Aryankavu check post?
hvkumar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2011, 09:10   #8
BHPian
 
subbarp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 237
Thanked: 80 Times
Default Re: Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

if you look at the picture titled Kannara bridge, the rail tracks look interesting (not two rails but multiple). Is this a steep incline and does this track have a special train running here? Any more pictures/ with a train ?
subbarp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2011, 09:18   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
hvkumar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 7,369
Thanked: 3,354 Times
Default Re: Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by subbarp View Post
if you look at the picture titled Kannara bridge, the rail tracks look interesting (not two rails but multiple). Is this a steep incline and does this track have a special train running here? Any more pictures/ with a train ?
The track is being widened from meter gauge to broad gauge, currently closed to all trains.
hvkumar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2011, 10:00   #10
BHPian
 
Mysticeyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Trivandrum
Posts: 369
Thanked: 347 Times
Default Re: Revisiting the Evergreen Route - Experiences Along the Trivandrum-Shenkottai Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by CliffHanger View Post
lots of life in each one of them, especially the last pic is breath taking. Please keep them coming!
Cliffy, you would automatically feel a sense of liberation as you look at the vastness around you in this route

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Good to know that the TS road is in good condition!
Did you get photos of the famous "S" curve just before the ghat ends?
Can you climb up from the road to the track at the Kannara Bridge? (looks like you took the photo from the rail track itself)
How did you complete the circuit - via Ambasamudram, Kalakkad & Nagercoil? Any info on that part of the drive?
Is this route best taken early morning to avoid the traffic congestion around TVM-Nedumangad-Palode?
Traffic jams at the Aryankavu check post?
1. S Curve - I tried ad failed to capture it in totality. Guess I need another wide angle lens to take it in fully.
2. Climbing up the Kannara Bridge - You got 2 options - either walk through the track from Thenmala station, or take a rocky path near the pillar itself. we took the second option.
3. This travelogue is a result of multiple trips through (a) TVM-Nagercoil-Panakudi-Kalakkad-Ambasamudram-Shenkottai-TVM and (b) TVM-Nedumangad-Palode-Kulathupuzha-Thenmala-Shenkottai-Ambasamudram routes. The Ambasamudram-Panakkudi stretch is yet to be documented. Its been raining here and too lazy to type

4. Route (a) mentioned above may ideally be taken early mornings (say start from TVM at 5AM) to cover the hopeless TVM-Marthandam-Nagercoil stretch without traffic. Still, traffic is less once you pass Marthandam. Route (b) is smooth at any time (bit of traffic in TVM-Nedumangad stretch), but you can find more magic by early morning rays if you travel early

5. No traffic jam at Aryankavu checkpost. the road is wide enough for 3 lane traffic and the trucks got separate lane for checking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subbarp View Post
if you look at the picture titled Kannara bridge, the rail tracks look interesting (not two rails but multiple). Is this a steep incline and does this track have a special train running here? Any more pictures/ with a train ?
The route has been cose for gauge conversion as HV had said earlier. More pics of the rail trail can be found at http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...l-trail-4.html (Romancing the British Raj Legacies - Punalur - Shenkottai Meter Gauge Rail Trail)
Mysticeyes is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Rustic Tamilnadu - Shenkottai-Thenkasi-Kalladakurichi-Ambasamudram-Kalakkad Mysticeyes Travelogues 65 8th May 2013 15:26
Evergreen Mudumalai- A Week's Getaway from Bangalore DrVjy Travelogues 7 19th June 2012 12:59
Romancing the British Raj Legacies - Punalur - Shenkottai Meter Gauge Rail Trail Mysticeyes Travelogues 47 6th September 2011 12:51


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 16:46.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks