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Old 24th February 2015, 13:39   #1
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Default Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

A solo conquer and the question mark means that I couldn't conquer. That was mission partly accomplished.


I have do so many solo trips by now that I might be labelled a 'Loner' by my family and friends. I have got the hang of solo travels. NO. My IQ and planning has not improved, but I have gotten used to travelling alone without getting too bored. I can now look at my peers and laugh at them, when they are like 'Travelling alone is so boring.'

I say waiting for someone to travel along is the utmost boring thing. Just use the time in hand and go for it. Alone or in a group. Don't bother.

Now that today's gyaan is dealt with, let me move on.

Kerala is nature's treasure house. I can just go out with a camera and in moments find subjects for good snap. No one would deny that. The irony with me is that I have never traveled much in KL. Mostly because I am not there for most of the time.

When I come to KL, Naveen would arrange a trip. No doubt about it. (naveen.raju is our senior bhpian from Cochin). He needs a special mention because every single time I have come to Cochin, We, a bunch of bhpians would meet. He would lead the planning. We would definitely meet up, drive may be and very rarely have stay and drive meet.

This time I had Vaisakh (vaisakhkr) here. I had to meet him, it had been a while, couple of years. So I and vaisakh (if I am not wrong) pushed an idea to drive to Athirapally, Thrissur. It was not much distance anyways, which was shameful to one day drive. But I was proved wrong.

Say, if you have to travel 120 kms here. You just drive 120 kms. On the other hand in Kerala, you have to drive as well as tackle potholes, animals on the road, deal with incoming traffic. So this is round about 50 kms from Kalady and may be another 100 kms back, but then it feels much more than that.

As per Speed demon (vineeth) this is the scenic route we were going to take. Ok, we are all SLR owners and we love scenery. Not that I am any good at it. The rest two are.

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I am a villager and I woke up 4:30 in the morning and hopped on to the worst driven vehicle in Kerala. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus.
Vaisakh lived on the way to Cochin, and we had to pass by Cochin anyways to meet Aswin.Ajith (Aswin) and pick Naveen up. Naveen was not driving, and that was not usual. So let me fast forward a bit now.

We are already going towards Kalady. That is the place where Speed demon lives. Should I say rules? He is the Stig and everyone knows it. Hence the statement rules won't be an overkill.

So that's it we are off, through the scenic routes of Plantation roads to Athirapally waterfalls.

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The picture probably looks good, but the travel was not. For around 10-15 kms we struggled to find tarmac cos there was no road existing. The Maruti's here suddenly turned into off road machines and I could Vaisakh swearing at Vineeth for every pothole his Michelin hit.

But then there is always a very good to a very bad except in life, right? In life after very bad comes very very bad.

After the forest check post somewhere middle of that road, the roads turned narrow and good. Twisties all over means, more fun. It was hard to catch Vaisakh's 'very sporty' swift.

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Very much over contrasted and it even hurts my eye, but then that's the trend ... is it not?

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No one cared to stop at any scenic place and there were plenty of good places where we could have..err.. taken pics of the rides. That's all we do in a trip. Finally we stop at some places after Vineeth honks and flashes hard and then again

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This pic has been made dark on purpose. He is an ardent fan of darkness. Speed Demon. The name says it all.
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Then there is some spirited driving once we reach the good main road. Some quick downshifts and an Innova missing Aswin by a quarter of an inch. I and Vineeth though that he crashed but then he was good at handling the situation. Innova's are probably driven by people with high ego, they wouldn't like that fact that some small car is going to overtake them. They just wouldn't let you pass easily. But then I am glad Aswin overtook him minutes later. Now, let me think. Was that an Innova or a fiesta? Innova is my best guess.

Okay, going ahead. We parked, we walked, we bought tickets then we walked a lot. On the way discussing about life and other little things like buying a Bugatti Veyron and painting it pink; stuff like that.

Then again, trying to economically use the camera's at least to cover the cost we paid at the counter.

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Photographers lined up one after another.

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Mera dosth, Mera bhai, Mera guru in Photography

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This was all I clicked from the trip, but then Naveen and Vaisakh has more pics and lets hope they share it here as well. Some of the pics that Naveen took are here (Quick mini-meet(s) in Kochi (Cochin)).

Later on we returned back in full pace. We stopped at a bad hotel to have our lunch. It was overpriced and the food was less than avg. We just grabbed what we got and gulped it down. I personally was so dehydrated. You can see it from that pic Naveen shared in Quick meet thread. It was humid more than hot. Anyway, that was the trip to Athirapally. Thanks to my good friends.

So where is the solo trip? This was the warm up... I'll continue with my solo trip soon.

Last edited by voyageur : 2nd March 2015 at 16:35.
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Old 1st March 2015, 15:45   #2
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Default re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

That was a good trip to Athirapally with bhpians. And then again I had good 5-6 days left to go. I had done all that I had intended to during these past days. What next?

Another trip. Where to? I had quite a few places in my mind. But I had to be cost efficient this time, so lot of options got voted out. Including Meghamalai, which was a priority for me.

Then again the place should be less crowded, I can't deal with traffic and I am in mood for that. I am a tired man. It should be bit of an off-beat place, the one not so touristy.

I remembered long time back I and another fellow bhpian called BigBrad had planned a trip to Ellaveezhapoonchira (also Illaveezhapoonchira for some others). It never happened cos I never had a ride. Even today that still remains to be my number one problem. I don't have a ride, since I come to India for no more than 10-20 days in a year. May be it's the other way around, the reason I don't come to India for more than that 10-20 day period. I hate it without a motorcycle (read Bullet). Even if the motorcycle was to be parked simply at home, I would still love to see it there and I would pay up to come and see it more than anything.

Before I go any further, let me introduce you to this weird named place 'Ellaveezhapoonchira'. Let me be a proper malayali and explain this big name to you all. Illa/Ella, is not ila which means no/not. Illa/Ella means leaves (from trees here) veezha means not falling or doesn't fall, poo means flower and poonchira means flowery pond or pond filled with flowers. So summing it all up 'a pond of flowers where leaves don't fall'. Quite a beautiful name and that was one of the reason I wanted to go there. To see that pond. Did I succeed? Read on.

Read about this place here.

So once that was clear that not many options available for me, I mean my ride. I had to check out what to drive to Ellaveezhapoonchira. So I had two options, a Splendor plus which my father uses or a Honda Activa that my father's younger brother has.

Obviously my uncle had kept the Activa in good condition. It was maintained, rear tire replaced and service done. Good.

I hate motorcycles without gears. Oh I just hate it. I avoid driving scooters as much as I can. It has been a long time I haven't got a chance to drive scooters. So I just mentally prepared myself to do this Herculean task on a boring scooter. It will be boring but then I felt like experiencing it. I avoided the Splendor altogether, for which I pay with my sweat and blood later on.

So on a Wednesday morning at sharp 8...9...10...10:30 am I leave. My plan vs actual curve doesn't match at all. But then the idea was to reach a bit before evening. Enjoy till evening and cover most of the distance before sunset. How hard can it be to drive a 100 kms? Then again, plan vs actual.

The thing that I didn't realize was that this is an Activa. A thing that goes no more than 70 kmph and max 80 kmph if you don't value your life. I should have left before 10:30 am.

That thing activa requires me to plan my emergency braking 20 meters before and if I am using my foot as well then 10 meters. No less than that.

How rude am I? It does all that is expected of it. It's just not a good tourer. It's a simple scooter for normal daily use. The 102 cc 7 hp scooter is probably 10 years old.

Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer-untitled.png

So this was the route map. 113 kms to be precise as per Google.

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That is what the initial reading looked like. I start and in 10 mins I am lost. But I get back to the proper road and fill up for 200 rs. The tank was full and it's a pleasant feeling in India. I rode away to Mavelikara and I got lost there. I got back to Chennganur and then Thiruvalla. The roads are bad, I am not even half the way and I have a sore back already. I drive slow at say 40-50 kmph and the engine feels good at that kind of speed.

Once I crossed Thiruvalla, I asked for Manarcaud which is a part of Kottayam district. Now I don't have GPS in my mobile so I resort to the oldest way of getting the directions, known as asking people. Once I was on the way to Thengana, the roads started getting better and towards Manarcaud it was heaven.

I would say Kottayam dist has some of the best roads to offer in the whole of Kerala. Amazing roads.

I stop at one place to rest my sore back. By back I mean the entire back.

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Not one pothole on that rubberized track, oh I was so in love with those beautiful asphalts with amazing and scary twisties.

some greens

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And then lot of greens

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These sort of greenery is everywhere in Kerala. It's not a big deal finding out some good place to take a couple of pics except in the city limits, which is in a state of despair. I was trying not to get down from the ride and making excuses for not clicking. It would be hard to cover distance if I do it often.

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So I drive again and there is no sense of urgency in my driving. 40-50 kms is what I did, the roads were good and I need to make sure that I don't go wrong. I reach Kidangood and then from there Pala. Marvellous roads except for some patches in the city.

I don't stop until I reach Melukavu which is around 25 kms from Pala. Then I cannot control my urge to click. I stop more than 3 times at various places for a break.

I didn't get the exposure right the first time, but later on I get better with it. I have done minimal editing in these road pics, cos they by themselves looked so good.

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I drive again just to stop in another 5 kms. Melukavu is a beautiful place. There is no way I can forget this place.

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Another empty place and another snap session.

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After this I see the board to Ellaveezhapoonchira (written as Illaveezhapoonchira). It's 9 kms to the place, and I try to cover it, and I realize it's much more than 9 kms. I had to leave the Activa half the way because I smell oil and I smoke the scooter all over. That's the first time I smoked a motorcycle and I felt like a cool guy. The pics of that I'll add in the next post.

After the first 5 kms there is no roads. Simply none. There is just steep climb on a 4x4 territory. The Activa could have managed it at the expense of 1 liter petrol extra and some smoke but then I don't like that. Petrol is gold in India. I park it there and leave my helmet on the it and start walking.

Here is where I wished I had taken a motorcycle with gear. There were motorcycle with gear doing this feat easily. I was walking that steep climb with 0 hp left in me.

I somehow put my camera in sketch mode, and I didn't realize. The end result was this

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Then I walk and click

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I walk walk and finally reach a point where I have to climb another 10 kms to see the view point. This is the point where I decide, I will come back with torquey Bullet and raid the hell out this place but for now it's already 5:15 and I have to cover more than half of my way before the light goes out.

Somehow on the way back I find this small temple. I click a couple of pics there before I put my camera to rest and walk back.

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I walk back to see my Activa and helmet safe and sound, waiting for me like an obedient school kid.

Last edited by voyageur : 2nd March 2015 at 16:43.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 01:36   #3
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Default re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

These are my mobile clicks, when I got lazy with camera.

Non existent roads

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Sunset

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From where I was, this is the top view point. There is 10 kms or so to this.

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On the return, I gave a good run for the money. At 70-80 kmph, I had couple of places where I had panics but then experience (read luck) helped me handle those situation. I was on the way to Manarcad when I lost the light and not one street light was working as expected.

I reached Thengana and I had a pillion half way towards my route, who helped me figure out another route. The distance might have been the same but helped to gun the Activa to glory.


Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer-tn_imag0191.jpg

So highlights of this trip,

Start from home : 10:30 AM
Food from KTDC 7 kms away from Pala at 2:30 PM
Reach Ilaveezhapoonchira 4:15 PM
Trek up and return back 5:30 PM
Start the scooter for return leg 5:35PM
Reach home 9:05 PM

Total kms : 249 kms

Total fuel : 350 rs (with half a tank remaining)

So that was scary and unpredictable journey, successfully completed with some incomplete portions. I am satisfied as I didn't spend much manhours planning the trip. The trip could have been much better and so must I get better in planning a trip well.

So when is Meghamalai happening?

Last edited by voyageur : 2nd March 2015 at 14:51.
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Old 3rd March 2015, 11:09   #4
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Default re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks sharing.
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Old 3rd March 2015, 12:30   #5
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Default re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

That's some nice roads in Pala and some lush greenery which is rare in Kerala.
Is that the same 'Melukavu' which features in a film song?
Thanks for the info on Ilaveezhapoonchira. Is it possible to reach the summit in a SUV?
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Old 3rd March 2015, 17:17   #6
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Honestly did not expect a write up on the Athirapilly trip. That was a spirited and fun trip. Except for an Innova which nearly ruined it
Nice pics man !! I really like the way you guys do the post processing stuff. Makes them look really cool.
Glad you took the trip to Ilaveezhapoonchira. I could have joined you enroute but then I guess that would have ruined your choice for this thread title
Until next time....

Cheers !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhar's View Post
That's some nice roads in Pala and some lush greenery which is rare in Kerala.
Is that the same 'Melukavu' which features in a film song?
Thanks for the info on Ilaveezhapoonchira. Is it possible to reach the summit in a SUV?
Yes that's exactly the place from the Srinivasan starrer. Very scenic and beautiful.
I am not sure about that. I think its possible although that route is mainly taken by 4*4 jeeps.

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Last edited by Rudra Sen : 13th September 2015 at 13:39.
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Old 3rd March 2015, 23:19   #7
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Default re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhar's View Post
That's some nice roads in Pala and some lush greenery which is rare in Kerala.
Is that the same 'Melukavu' which features in a film song?
Thanks for the info on Ilaveezhapoonchira. Is it possible to reach the summit in a SUV?
Hello Dhar,
The roads in Pala are top class. No other word to describe it. The place Melukavu is the same as in the movie.

You can do it with a SUV any day. It shouldn't be a problem at all.

Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aswin ajith View Post
Honestly did not expect a write up on the Athirapilly trip. That was a spirited and fun trip. Except for an Innova which nearly ruined it
Nice pics man !! I really like the way you guys do the post processing stuff. Makes them look really cool.
Glad you took the trip to Ilaveezhapoonchira. I could have joined you enroute but then I guess that would have ruined your choice for this thread title
Until next time....

Cheers !!!
Hello Aswin,

You could have joined but I went on a weekday, and hence I think you were busy with your stuff. Actually I would have changed the title if I had a company.

I asked Vineeth but he had some other stuff to do as well.

I think you guys can plan a one day trip and it would be fun.

Cheers!
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Old 4th March 2015, 11:14   #8
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Default Re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

Seeing those snaps, I'm really regretting that I wasn't able to join you.

I agree with you, the roads at and around Kottayam are my favourite in all of Kerala.

Beautiful weather, lush scenery, and smooth roads- what more can one ask for?

By the way, thanks for the report on the Athirapilly drive. Boy, did we have some fun that day!
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Old 4th March 2015, 15:56   #9
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Default Re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

Really loved your snaps. Glad to see that your camera is not biting dust and thanks for those kind words. I am always glad in planning a drive/meet every time.

Do let us know when you are coming down next. A 2 day meet is always on the cards.
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Old 4th March 2015, 18:43   #10
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Default Re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

That's a good write up voyageur. My grandparents live nearby and I am a frequent visitor of this place and I've trekked to the top numerous times. You should've trekked till the top point and from the looks I think you were 1.5km away from the Top point. You will get good views of malankara reservoir and on days with great climate views of Alappuzha beach too.
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Old 4th March 2015, 23:07   #11
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Default Re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhar's View Post
That's some nice roads in Pala and some lush greenery which is rare in Kerala.
Is that the same 'Melukavu' which features in a film song?
Thanks for the info on Ilaveezhapoonchira. Is it possible to reach the summit in a SUV?
I had visited the place 4 years back and i had taken a jeep to the top.The roads were practically non existent, and i think only those jeeps will make it to the top.There was a hotel with 3 or 4 rooms at the top, which was taken on lease from ktdc by some people, and maintenance was being done,i dont know what is the current status of that.There was a police wireless centre too there at the top.The route i took was from thodupuzha and i think it was a 20-25 km distance from there.If you are in thodupuzha for some other matter, then i think it would be worthwhile to make the trip.
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Old 6th March 2015, 20:40   #12
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Default Re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed.Demon View Post
Seeing those snaps, I'm really regretting that I wasn't able to join you.

I agree with you, the roads at and around Kottayam are my favourite in all of Kerala.

Beautiful weather, lush scenery, and smooth roads- what more can one ask for?

By the way, thanks for the report on the Athirapilly drive. Boy, did we have some fun that day!
I though you were busy. We could have taken the RE classic at your home for a leisure ride.

I am glad that we were all safe while we had all the fun. That's all what matters.

Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by naveen.raju View Post
Really loved your snaps. Glad to see that your camera is not biting dust and thanks for those kind words. I am always glad in planning a drive/meet every time.

Do let us know when you are coming down next. A 2 day meet is always on the cards.
Once I enter professional territory, it bites dust. Thankful that you guys keep my cam alive in Kerala. We can do a 2 day drive, if we have some good attendance. A leave this year looks doubtful though.

I think you should post your pics here. I sadly took very little number of pics, and posted even less.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ1991 View Post
That's a good write up voyageur. My grandparents live nearby and I am a frequent visitor of this place and I've trekked to the top numerous times. You should've trekked till the top point and from the looks I think you were 1.5km away from the Top point. You will get good views of malankara reservoir and on days with great climate views of Alappuzha beach too.
Hello,

I think I missed it but then there is always a next time. I can do the whole route one way in 3 hrs the next time since I know the roads now.

I will definitely go visit the place with a better ride.

Cheers!
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Old 19th March 2015, 03:13   #13
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Default Re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

Good to see the writeup. Although i knew about it, I just got time now to read the post. Ilaveezhapoonchira is called so because of the hills without trees. Since there are no trees, no leaves fall and hence the name (a pool where leave do not fall).

another lesser know fact is that you are able to see as much as 4 districts on a clear day from the summit (top point).

You visited the place during dry season and the place would not be much to talk about. Go there in August and the place is all green and misty. Do visit during that time.

Also avoid visiting the place during the rains during the retreating monsoons (Thulavarsham) because this place sees a high rate or lightning strikes during that time.

Top also provides view of the malankara dam reservoir and catchment area. Its a beautiful sight.
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Old 3rd September 2015, 18:59   #14
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Default Re: Voyage: Ellaveezhapoonchira, Kerala - A Solo Conquer

Nice write-up and good photos. Thanks for the information figo_mba
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