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Old 16th August 2009, 21:37   #1
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Default God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...

VTU exams are some of the most torturous exams a student can face in his life time. Question paper patterns/syllabus change with the blink of an eye, if one expects 90/100 you are sure to end up with just passing in the subject & if you are sure of not passing, don't be surprised if you top the class in that subject. Its like the unfolding of a mystery movie. You never know till its over. Now that the torture is over (for the time being) you look forward to the better things in life. Like a holiday!

Nothing in life is a co-incidence. Its just meant to be. A friend calls up and says "Want to come to Trivandrum tonight"? I don't need an excuse to travel, I am a hard core travel bug. One must be wondering, Rahul is lying. Yeti (aka Sam Kapasi) is the real travel bug. NO! Yeti is just a wanderingsoulpartyingwhileonworknomad. So a few hours later I am off. No, not to Trivandrum (not yet). Pack my bags, my camera and head off to meet my TBHP friends who I haven't met in over two weeks. The drive to Nandi Hills is super fun, our hideout is the best weekend getaway one could imagine of. High up in the hills, fog everywhere, visibility of less than 5 feet, freezing cold wind blowing across your face, creepy sounds from insects & amazing friends who share the same passion for cars as I do. Its better than getting drunk in a pub on a Saturday night.

I left home @ 10pm and the clock is ticking close to 2am now. I have a friend waiting for me near my place, ready to begin our sojourn to God's Own Country. Yet here I am biding every second I could to prolong that dreadful moment I will have to leave Nandi Hills. So eventually (as the married men figure out they might have to starve the whole of tomorrow and face the wrath of their better half), we start our journey back. A few minutes later, I bid adieu to Tadu, KB100, raj.barcode, Satya, brraj, hellstar, shyamcrdi and begin my journey to my favourite holiday destination in South India. KERALA!

Each time I go to Kerala, the places leaves me wanting for more. One never gets bored of the beautiful scenery this state has on offer. The farthest I have been is to Cochin, I have always wanted to go to the Southern most tip of India, Kanyakumari. I had never been to Trivandrum before, the prospect of meeting up with my long lost twin Sankar was something I was looking forward to. He had met with an accident a few months back and was bed ridden and I hadn't been able to make time to visit him. Here is a pic from the Kuttikanam meet taken back in 2008.

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I am fortunate to have a lot of friends, some of which I have never met in person, all over the country. Its something TBHP has given all of us. I had even missed JKDas' wedding and it was time to wish him in person. Its always an amazing feeling to catch up with some old friends you have lost touch with. So off we go.

After a lot of arguments @ Nandi Hills regarding the route to take, it was finally decided that we would take the less trafficked Salem-Karur-Dindugal-Madurai-Thirumangalam-Tenkasi-Pudur-Kulathapuzha-Palode-Nedumangad-TVM route. Thanks to Hellstar for suggesting this route. The journey was a pain, literally. Imagine a 19 yr old kid who has a Kicker Solobaric sub and thinks its cool to turn up the bass control completely. The low frequencies are drowning out the vocals (I bet I didn't hear one word). And this is supposedly, the IN music amongst the youth of today (I am 24 and I am made to sound like I am a 50 yr old). I love a SQ setup, neat & tight bass, clean vocals. I have a severe head ache and little did I know there would be more headaches to worry about as the journey progresses. I'll cut the story short, because most of these details are a story for another thread.

So I threaten to throw the subwoofer out of the car, at which point my frustration is clearly seen and request complied with . The journey is pretty nice otherwise, roads are mostly free with little traffic (fortunately). MapmyIndia isn't as bad as people make it out to be. We missed a few turns under flyovers, but the lady in question was quick to sing out loudly "Pls make a legal U turn". We got to Nedumangad and boy! The greenery just makes you feel like you are in a different world all together. A world where there is no pollution, noise, corruption, tensions. Its just you, the car and mother nature. Kerala beckons us with open arms. Its the beginning of a holiday, a holiday I had been looking forward to, over the last few weeks.

Trying my hand at some abstract photography.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_56451ed7.jpg

Ain't these roads inviting?
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_56761ed5.jpg

What every guy living in a big city craves for. Some space, actually lots of space to drive our cars!
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_56701ed6.jpg

to be continued......
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Old 16th August 2009, 21:52   #2
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Nice grin grin all over . Post more pics , even if not log .
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Old 16th August 2009, 22:01   #3
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yea never get tired of people hating VTU
well im also from MSR(heard you're from msr too).
but yet to spot your car there.
I drive a Red palio.
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Old 16th August 2009, 22:57   #4
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We reach Trivandrum around 2ish. Freshen up, make a few calls to JK and by evening I meet up with him to go visit Sankar at the hospital. I am shocked to see the state he is in, but as I got to spend some time getting to know what happened, his condition over the past few months, seeing his recovery I was very glad. He could finally get his leg and hand to move. We caught up on some old memories, discussed about various things. I was so happy to see that Sankar was making tremendous progress. One doesn't know how time passes by. In the end JK and myself were kicked out by the hospital by the physio .

The next few days goes in attending to friends personal work. Trivandrum is a very quiet city, things move at snails pace here. No one seems to be in a hurry. Its a welcome change for someone coming from the hustle and bustle of Bangalore. People are extremely friendly. And always smiling. The only downside for a tourist like me is, I don't understand the language.

CCD, supposedly the coolest hang out place in TVM is downright disappointing. All you get is a huge of bunch of wannabe's racing up & down the streets, putting their lives and that of others at risk.

But one thing I must admit, passion for cars & bikes runs through their blood. Specially the passion for RD350's. Here, the bikes sell for as high as 1.5-2L for a well maintained RD. We meet up with a friend who has 4 RD's. He works on all of them by himself. Some pics of his RD's.

God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_5712.jpg

God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_5713.jpg

The downside of my whole trip was that my friend is a veggie. And I love trying out different cuisine's. Kerala food is distinctively different from the rest of the country. Everything is coconut based, coconut oil, coconut milk, grated coconut. I won't be surprised if there is a single dish without coconut in it.

We spend the next few days eating from road side joints, tasting everything from Kerala parotha with green peas to chicken curry, dosas with eggs (sunny side up) on them, avial and what not. I must say this place called Arul Jyoti is quite fabulous. You get traditional Kerala meals, don't ask me the name of the dishes, I hardly can pronounce them. But, Kerala rice, champa as its popularly called is not as bad as people made it out to be. Infact, throughout my stay I preferred champa to the normal rice.

I put a word to JK, that I would love to meet up with some TBHPians and JK promises me to organize a meet. So accordingly we all meet up at Shangumugham beach. Sorry guys, but no pics from the meet. Jk, jitudigitized, clevermax, xinome, srijit, greenhorn came to the meet. One never gets tired of interacting with TBHPians. And on finding out that I had literally been living on vegetables and grass since I arrived at TVM, JK and co promise to treat me to some tasty non-veg food.

I am awaiting to see what I am served anxiously as these guys have already built up quite a hype, we go through the busy market area, through some by lanes and land up at this place called Rehmaniah? Its a pretty small joint with long tables. You don't need a menu here, you are served unlimited meals, literally. What happens next is something I shall never forget all my life.

The unforgettable incident
:
The waiter comes and spreads out banana leaves. Serves us some lime juice. Then come the small sized chapathi's (what we normally call phulka's). Now I am waiting for some assortment of curries to be placed in small katori's. But NO! Here comes a man with a huge vessel full of what seems like tender pepper chicken. He has these medium sized plate, he fills it up with the pieces, well more like a mountain and dumps the whole thing on my leaf. I am known for eating a lot, but this by my standards is like A LOT. Now I have a huge mountain of pepper chicken and I am kind of embarrassed to look around wondering what people must be thinking. In the meantime, I see JK trying to signal to the others to take a pic . If you guys were to see it, I bet all your stomachs would have been full just by looking at the quantity on my leaf. JK says, don't feel shy, just dig in. I must admit the chicken is so tender, it just melts in your mouth. The lime juice is to cut the spice, but I am used to eating very spicy food back home. So I am actually enjoying this meal (to heck with all the embarrassment) and I eat upto my neck. This is some awesome stuff I had been treated to. A big shout out to all of you who treated me to such tasty food. Being the complete foodie that I am, I look forward to more such experiences in my long stay in Kerala.

The next day I visit Jerish666. We have a lengthy discussion ranging from Pete's to other cars. Then Jerish says "Rahul, would you like to check out my Fiesta S"? I have heard a lot about this car, now I got a chance to see it in person. Jerish, thrusts the keys into my hand and says have a go at it. It comes as a shock to me what a forum like TBHP can do. I have never met this guy before, all he knows about me is that I love fast cars through my threads on my baleno, some infamous tbhp drive videos and my various stints at track days. Yet, I must admit, bravely gives me the keys to his car and asks me to push her. Its like the confidence one shows on someone you have known for a long time and you trust their driving abilities eyes closed. And I have been quite fortunate that many people have been willing to entrust their rides with me to get some feedback, some really quick rides I must add. I must say his Fiesta is one of the best handling cars I have driven till date and I have driven my share of good handling cars.

Here I am, supposed to be on a holiday. A holiday for most, is to relax and not worry about a thing in life. Yet holidays for a few of us are much more than just relaxing. Eventually, car talks become a part of our holiday. Cars are like our shadows, inseparable.
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Old 16th August 2009, 23:16   #5
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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.
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Old 16th August 2009, 23:25   #6
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Rahul, glad that you enjoyed the stay here in Thiruvananthapuram. Put up more pics if you have.
How was the chicken? Btw that's a very old old joint famous for what's called "Ketal's chicken".
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Old 16th August 2009, 23:30   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinaydas View Post
yea never get tired of people hating VTU
well im also from MSR(heard you're from msr too).
but yet to spot your car there.
I drive a Red palio.
Hey Vinay! I study at Atria. Not MSR. Though my college is pretty close by. Do drop by to some of the meets we have over the weekends.
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.
Thanks Anup!
Quote:
but Rahul do post all the pictures of the places you have covered.
That is some really nice, detailed info Anup! Pity I couldn't check out these places in detail, as you know who was in a hurry to get to TVM . Shall be posting quiet a lot pics. Watch this space.
Quote:
Rahul, glad that you enjoyed the stay here in Thiruvananthapuram. Put up more pics if you have.
How was the chicken? Btw that's a very old old joint famous for what's called "Ketal's chicken".
Sankar, I am sorry I couldn't make time to visit again. Had told JK I wanted to pay you another visit so that I could click some pics so that everyone could see your recovery but got held up with issues and had to leave TVM at a very short notice. More like run for my life .

The chicken was.... Well. Yumm and filling. Next time I come to TVM, I shall make it a point to visit the place again with you all.

Last edited by mclaren1885 : 16th August 2009 at 23:35.
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Old 17th August 2009, 00:07   #8
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aha!! so you started the travelogue.Good to know that you enjoyed the food and the stay here in tvm.

Do tell the story of sam kapasiyaaa in suits.hehe
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Old 17th August 2009, 01:34   #9
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We then decide to go sightseeing to a few places nearby. I have no clue whats being planned or where we are going. All I know is, the drive looks beautiful. We are going to a place with lots and lots of greenery. We reach our destination. It is called Peppara Dam. The guards don't let us in. After a few tea coffee's and trying to convince them that a friend has come all the way from Bangalore they allow us inside the dam premises.

So we walk to the other end of the dam and start to explore some nice scenic spots where we could sit down and spend some time.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_55851.jpg

I must admit this place is really wonderfully scenic. One can sit for hours together just admiring the natural beauty. I started getting strange ideas of finding out if they allow camping here. Its a wonderful place to hoist up tents and spend a few days.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_55911edit.jpg

The lake is pristine. Its such a wonderful sight. If only you have the company of your gf/wife/fiancee the place would be that much more special.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_56071.jpg

We spot something in the far distance, something black. Initially we couldn't make out what it was. So couple of these guys decided to go check it out. Voila, its a flock of birds. On seeing humans approach them they fly into the horizon.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_56091.jpg

Here are the boys who decided to take a rather long walk to explore the territory.
God's Own Country! Kerala, the perfect getaway! TBHPians make it more memorable...-img_56131.jpg

The drive back is quite uneventful. All in all I had a lovely day at Peppara Dam. Its the sort of place I wanted to go to. Beautiful, quiet, away from all the noise and pollution. This is what holidays are all about.

Last edited by mclaren1885 : 17th August 2009 at 01:41.
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Old 17th August 2009, 06:38   #10
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Hi,
The pics are just awesome. Which camera have you used.
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Old 17th August 2009, 06:50   #11
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Great pics of a great place. The only thing that I find very challenging there is the humidity. I can just about cope with Goa - the one time I was in Tvm in a September, I was a bucket of sweat all the time. Would Dec/Jan be a little better on that count?
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Old 17th August 2009, 08:37   #12
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The humidity is extreme all year round. It never goes below 100%. The winter months are slightly more comfortable because of lowered temperatures.
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Old 17th August 2009, 08:40   #13
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Sweating is good. I could never understand the need for using a moisturizer until i went out of kerala

Is entry into peppara dam restricted now ? So far we've had issues only with sneaking in cameras. People were okay

Last edited by greenhorn : 17th August 2009 at 08:42.
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Old 17th August 2009, 08:46   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmortalZ View Post
The humidity is extreme all year round. It never goes below 100%. The winter months are slightly more comfortable because of lowered temperatures.
Strange - Goa can be quite tolerable/pleasant in winter, except for midmorning to early afternoon. Maybe this year I will take the coast road all the way down in winter instead of stopping there. Hear it is a very good drive for the most part, that road.
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Old 17th August 2009, 13:24   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
I must say this place called Arul Jyoti is quite fabulous.
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.
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