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Old 17th August 2009, 13:32   #16
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Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
Next time you are there, do try the special paper roast (don't remember the exact name). Its a large (very large) dosa which is almost longer than the tables there and served in 2 plates laid out end-to-end.
Ah! I did try out the ghee roast quite a few times. It was yummy!
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Old 17th August 2009, 14:02   #17
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Originally Posted by hellstar View Post
Past this is aplace called kulathupuzha ,thisplace has a training institute for the Forest Department.
It is located in Arippa, a place in between Kulathupuzha and Madathara.

Great work, Mc.

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Old 17th August 2009, 14:42   #18
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Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
It is located in Arippa, a place in between Kulathupuzha and Madathara.

Great work, Mc.
Arippa is also famous for the endemic tree called Chenkurinji (Gluta travancorica) which is found nowhere else in the world, as well as the Myristica swamp forests. A good place for bird watching and trekking too.
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Old 17th August 2009, 15:38   #19
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Arippa is also famous for the endemic tree called Chenkurinji (Gluta travancorica) which is found nowhere else in the world, as well as the Myristica swamp forests. A good place for bird watching and trekking too.
Is it similar to the Neelakurinji flowers you find near Munnar? Bird watching, swamp forests, trekking sounds really cool. Next time should note this down while I am traveling that side.
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Old 17th August 2009, 15:44   #20
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Hey, I deserve at least one piece of chicken fry for recommending the place .

Pity I couldn't actually wait till dinnertime :(
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Old 17th August 2009, 16:12   #21
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The next couple of days are pretty uneventful. Meet up with some new friends, hang out at CCD, go out shopping, the usual stuff.

In the meantime, I figure out that Sam is having a party (his work is party actually, but he pretends well to deny its not) at Cochin and TBHPians are invited. So we head off to Cochin.

I took this pic with a towel on my head to cover the camera. People on the road were laughing I suppose, but what the heck!
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_56271ed8.jpg

I reach Hotel Dream, a couple of quick calls to Anup, he directs me to the bar. I enter and see about 10 bhpians all sitting around Sam and listening to his stories. Sam is pleasantly (I hope) surprised to see me at Cochin. He introduces me as Stumpy (thanks to guman for that nick) to all. Its so nice to see him after a very long time. I must admit, Sam is a lot more entertaining in person than any of his threads can come close to. So we spend the next hour or so listening to Sam's story telling and almost all are holding their stomachs and laughing. A few decide to head back home to prevent getting caned from their wife. We head down to the restaurant for dinner.

Asvin (giving that weird look to Sam), ripper, haroun, jayd
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yours truly & Yeti (trying hard not to look at Asvin)
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After a yummy dinner, the guys decide to call it quits and I head back to my friends place to crash up for the night. Not before I run into a swarm of cockroaches in his apartment lift. The next day, we check out a few Fiesta's as a friend wanted to pick up one. By late that evening we head back to Trivandrum. The drive once again is uneventful.

All in all it was wonderful to meet up with a lot of people like Sam, Asvin, mansidea, Anup who I haven't met in a long time and also to meet new people like Jayd, ripper etc I have not met in person, but have interacted with online. I wish I could have spent more time with the Cochin boys, but little did I know what destiny had in mind.

We were sitting at one these coffee shops @ Cochin and I am introduced to a few passionate car guys. Apparently they knew Jayd and he was supposed to join us. Now Jayd is surprised to see me hanging out with his friends. The world indeed is small. We spend a few hours chit chatting, decide to go for a small drive and we come across Nikkibike's swift. I have heard a lot about this swift, but today I got to see it in action. And that LPG-AD07 shod swift can move. More on this car & Nikki a little later.

We start from Cochin around 10:30 pm & reach TVM by 2am.
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Old 17th August 2009, 22:20   #22
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We start from Cochin around 10:30 pm & reach TVM by 2am.
Pretty hard to get on to the highway from the city. My sympathies.
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Old 18th August 2009, 00:11   #23
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Sam Kapasi and Co were to return to TVM in a couple of days for the Panasonic launch. I reached the Taj, only to find out that no one else had reached. Even Sam was nowhere to be seen. A few minutes later, a flock of TBHPians appear.

Yeti, is hiding somewhere. The show is about to begin. The door to the banquet hall opens. People are stunned by the sight. No no, it is not because people are wondering who this foreigner is. It is because Sam, for the first time I (and to the amazement of others) have seen IS PROPERLY DRESSED UP! I am not kidding! Usually, we all have seen him in bright orange/pink shorts and equally flashy T's. Accompanying him is the none other than Jenny. A quick intro's later, Sam starts the presentation. The presentation is quite boring. Sam is cracking jokes no one but the TBHPians can understand. And then some local distributor starts speaking and he introduces Sam as Sam KapasiYA! Every TBHPian sitting at the table bursts out laughing. Sam can hear us, Sam knows its us. This continues and Sam can hear us burst out each time he is referred to as KapasiYA.

What happened after that is a bit censored due to TBHP's latest policies. Lets just say everyone had a great time. Specially Sam, who by now is dancing with a DUDE! This is surely a TBHP first. Jenny, JK are desperately trying to capture a video of Sam dancing with another man hand in hand. Jk tries to shoot a video with his crappy cellphone, Sam notices this, runs towards JK and threatens to kill him. We are warned, actually Sam tried to bribe us into never putting up that video on TBHP. If it wasn't for JK's crappy cellphone, this video would have been the most popular TBHP video, a complete laugh riot.

The concierge is downright pathetic at the Taj! Xinome and myself had to wait for 15mins, for the plates to arrive. We had dinner and stepped out for a bit to bid goodbye to Jenny. Jenny, it was wonderful meeting you. And to my surprise, Jenny actually remembered that she had seen me somewhere before this. It was my Goa travelogue.

It was wonderful spending time with the TBHPians. JK drops me to my friends place and that would be the last time I meet most of my dear friends from TVM.

The gang! Btw, that is not Sam. Its an imposter. Notice how the camera is disturbed seeing the Yeti in a suit...
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-tajparty.jpg


The next few days, I spent surfing TBHP and just relaxing in general at my friends place. Truth be told, I didn't find the humidity as bad as people were saying it was. I wanted to go visit Kanyakumari, but the plans didn't materialize. So instead we decided to go to Ponmudi. Initially, I expected the place to be beautiful, every place is in God's Own Country. The drive was awesome, the scenery in the horizon was breathtaking. Clouds covering the hills, greenery everywhere, slight drizzle. Its the perfect time to visit a hill station.

That is the KTDC guest house in the foreground.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_57041ed1.jpg

Don't be fooled by these roads! You have maniacs riding/driving on these roads.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_56891ed3.jpg

Its time for the baleno to pose now. Fisheye?
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_57021ed4.jpg

The race to the top! Actually neither of the cars crossed the finish line .
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_56861ed2.jpg

The view that greeted us.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_58071.jpg

Ponmudi was distinctly different from the other hill stations I had visited in Kerala. Munnar, Thekkady, Kuttikanam, were mostly filled with tea estates. Ponmudi looked like just another hill station, but as beautiful as a hill station can get in South India.

Last edited by mclaren1885 : 18th August 2009 at 00:15.
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Old 18th August 2009, 10:08   #24
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@mclaren - nice travelogue & some nice pics although really sad you people missed the video of Yeti's dance with the local guy Hope we can meet the next time you come to Trivandrum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellstar View Post
glad that you enjoyed the route, this is the mpost no- nonsense route to Trivandrum if your are driving in the daytime. This route also takes you past some very scenic sections of the Kollam-tenkasi metre guague rail road. Then you pass Palode which has a one of the biggest tropical botanical gardens in the world, where you can find rarities like the victoria regia ( which is the largest single leaf in the world),most of the time you are in kerala the road will be running parallel to a river, if the waters are not muddy its very refreshing and safe ,but check with local before taking a dip the area is notorious fro flash floods.

Then you cross a bridge infront of the Thenmala Dam , this bridge was submerged in the flood of the early nineties where in the water ovefflowed from the thenmala dam because the shutter operator was drunk and did not notice the increase in the water levels. There is also teh first ecotourism site developed by the KTDC where you can take a walk though the canopy of the tropical forest through the wodden walkway.

Past this is aplace called kulathupuzha ,thisplace has a training institute for the Forest Department, accomodations is available here , getting there is a task in itself but once there is a animal lovers paradise ,animals literally have the run of the place.I have been there once and was greatly impressed by the setup they even had equipment to cater to the food requirments of about 1500pax.

Then you hit nedumangad this where you turn off to reach ponmudi ..sorry to hijaking the thread , but Rahul do post all the pictures of the places you have covered.
@hellstar - when coming from Thenmala side, you don't need to go to Nedumangadu to go to Ponmudi. You can turn from Chullimanoor to go to Vithura & then Ponmudi.

Ranjith
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Old 18th August 2009, 12:09   #25
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Lovely photographs mcl. Specially loved the pano shots of the dam. Would you mind sharing more about the place? Name, route etc.
Nicely worded travelogue too.
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Old 18th August 2009, 12:28   #26
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Enroute.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_57151.jpg

We climbed this tiny waterfall like place, only to realize later on how lucky we were.
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Another shot of the KTDC guest house.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_57641.jpg

The view from the top.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_5732.jpg

And some more. The weather is really pleasant, the sun is playing hide and seek with the clouds.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_57441.jpg

Notice how the shadows form on the hills from the moving clouds.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_5754.jpg

Notice carefully, you will see the route we took to reach the top.
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Panorama from the KTDC restaurant. The food is pretty decent here actually.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_57691.jpg

Shot this HDR enroute.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-copy-pon11.jpg

My favourite pic of the trip.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_57111ed9.jpg
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Old 18th August 2009, 13:07   #27
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indeed beautiful.pictures are especially worth gazing on and on.
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Old 18th August 2009, 13:21   #28
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Damn! Pics didnt get uploaded. Sorry guys, let me try reposting again.

Last edited by mclaren1885 : 18th August 2009 at 13:24.
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Old 18th August 2009, 13:28   #29
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What happened on the way to Ponmudi wasn't that pleasant, I was hoping to thoroughly enjoy this place. A friend crashed the car and mostly we traveled to the place over the next 3 days to complete the formalities at the Police station. Hardly had the time or the patience to get out and click some snaps. Suddenly, my holiday was turning into a nightmare. This isn't what I had come here for. Here is what I could manage in the little time frame I had.

The entrance to the restaurant.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_57931.jpg

This is the front lawn to the KTDC guest house.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_58001.jpg

These are under construction, should be open to public in about 3 months time.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_58081.jpg

Another view from the balcony of the restaurant.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_58481.jpg


On the second day, we decided to get a little adventurous given that the cops were all out on duty as Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam Azad had come down for a function. There is this small trek behind the police station. It takes you down a flight of steps to a small water fall. 3 of them struggled to get into the water and walk across to the edge of the cliff. Normally, I am always game for such antics, but that day I wasn't in the mood to get wet (thank god for that). So I sit by a rock, watching the guys get adventurous. All I can hear is the guys laughing at a distance, I cant see them. The birds start panicking as if there is a predator around. I am worried, not because the cops have told us there have been tiger spottings around this area (not sure how far this is true), but because I left my camera back in the car . Last thing I would want to do is, miss an opportunity to capture some wild life. So I start to intently listen to where the sounds are coming from, I have a friend standing by my side to whom I narrate why the forest has suddenly gone so noisy and within a few seconds there is eerie of silence. He starts panicking. He yells out to the boys to get back. The boys get back, hilariously slipping and falling on the slippery stones, hurting themselves. Its a laugh riot.

So we head back onto the main land, I notice something on my left foot. Its a bloody leech. Its just gotten onto my leg, so i just flick it with one finger and luckily it drops to the ground. I am a complete wild life guy, but there is something creepy about these leeches. It makes me feel sick, though I know its good for health as leeches suck out the bad blood. So I start to frantically search myself to see if I have got more leeches on my clothes. Luckily I don't. My friends think I am joking all this while.

Aneesh, finally notices something dripping down his leg. He pulls up his pant to find there are 4 leeches sucking on his blood . These guys are in complete shock. No one knows what to do. I am frantically searching my pockets. I find the lighter, immediately give the leeches the warmth they require. They start dropping off one by one. Aneesh is relieved.

Now the others are even scared to search themselves, because they think 5 leeches and you could die. I was rotflmao. By then Karthik notices a leech on his sandal. He takes a twig and gets rid of it. But straight onto MY leg. So here I am, with a leech on my jeans. I am holding my pant (at the knee) away from my leg so that I don't make it easier for the leech to get onto my skin. I love my blood, even if its not pure inside. I shall not willingly let this slimy creature suck my blood. I ask Karthik to take the lighter and heat it up a little, but he is too scared to come that close to the leech, what if it jumps onto his hand? Blody *#$%^&* So instead he tries to get rid of it with a twig.

Here I am all helpless, with both my hands holding my jeans. I can see the leech making its way through the jeans onto my skin. And there is nothing I can do. Half the leech has disappeared into my jeans. The hungry leech's mouth must be grinning that its found its prey. I am thinking of taking my pants off now. If I let go of my jeans to unbuckle my pants the leech will find its way onto my skin in no time. Its like a mm away, all that it needs to do is wriggle its tail out of jeans and leap onto me to get some tasty blood. I don't know how, but Karthik finally manages to get the leech off my pant. We all decide its best to search ourselves thoroughly. Aneesh had about 5 leeches on him, Rajesh had two, Karthik was lucky not to have any, I realized a little too late that in all that panic a leech had actually sucked some blood of my right foot and had quietly disappeared before I murdered it.

We wait and wait for the cops, finally we start heading back. No not alone, but two more constables decide to hitch a free ride. They are fat, we are packed into the zen and then Rajesh suddenly yells out. He has another leech on his thigh. We stop the car, he gets out, gets rid of it and gets back into the car. The journey back was hilarious. Every second, somebody felt like there was a leech stuck to their skin.

Got back to TVM and crashed out. It was a long, leechy day.

Last edited by mclaren1885 : 18th August 2009 at 13:29.
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Old 18th August 2009, 13:42   #30
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hey did you guys just stop at the KTDC , place or did you continue up to the top where you have the deer park ( is that still there?) and the Kerala Police Wireless Monitiring and Repeater station ?

Sad but this place now has a bad tag due to some incidents which happened here some years back giving the place the nasty distinction of being haunted by the souls of the victims. There is a walkway which leads down to a stream beside the KTDC restaurant. If you walk a bit further from the stream you will come to a very isloated , beautiful yet dangerous place . The view here is awesome but thread there with extreme caution as due to the rocks to water they are super slippery and if you slip you will have a free fall of atleast a couple of hundreds of feet !

The entire place becomes like a lovers paradise on working days ... as it is just about 60 kms from Trivandrum city i would find it similar to Nandi Hills in bangalore but with more area minus the "infrastructure" and the lots of hideaways put up by tipu !


its not a good idea to wrestle off a leech , coz if you do , they sometimes leave some of thier teeth inside you , which will make the wound take longer to heal and that too with a scar , they would fall away themselves at the slightest hint of heat or salt. But off topic getting bitten by leeches once in s while is good , if you were in the US you wud have ended up paying big money for getting leeches to suck out your bad blood !

Last edited by hellstar : 18th August 2009 at 13:49. Reason: more detail!
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