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Old 12th September 2009, 21:05   #31
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Highly enjoyable travelogue accompanied by some great pictures - congratulations dear friend. Eagerly waiting for more from you.
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Old 12th September 2009, 23:51   #32
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Amazing photographs!! very wonderfully taken!!
Please pour all of your collection here .Kerala is a real beauty in monsoons.
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Old 13th September 2009, 16:01   #33
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superb photographs mate, please do post more from kerela's as it has much more to offer and one just wish to look as more and more.Keep it coming.
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Old 13th September 2009, 16:33   #34
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Beautiful pictures! Especially loved those resorts on the waterfront.
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Old 13th September 2009, 19:31   #35
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Kumarakom had mesmerized with its beauty and calm. It was being So close to nature! After the breakfast at Coconut Lagoon, we were good to go - Thekkady. It was to be a smooth 3 hour drive, through ghat sections and tea plantations
The road to be followed (ACI map helped) was towards Kumily. Except for a very few below-average strips, it was a dream drive. I've driven a LOT across India, but for me this had to be one of the best drives ever. There were rubber and tea plantations, waterfalls all around (and a couple of Huge ones) right next to the highway, drive through clouds and some sexy hairpins on a very smooth tarmac. There was a time when, for some 10 mins, there was zero-visibility and we were forced to take a break. But then, it was truly beyond words to describe the feeling then - Kerala is definitely God's own country! Sooner than we knew, we had reached our destination, and soon found our resort too - Elephant Court.
Again, despite having travelled around atleast a couple of dozen countries, I feel that the resorts in Kerala have the finest architecture and greatest food! This room here for us had a private plunge pool, decorated with candles around and rose petals (YES!) in the pool...very inviting.

The evening was spent walking around the town, shopping a bit for handicraft goods, spices and other local stuff. There were a lot of foreign tourists, and we were informed that they stay here for months together - im not surprised!

The next day, we drove down to a spice plantation place and took a took around. The guide was a smart girl, and she explained to us in a very detailed and interesting fashoin, the plants, their medical importance and other properties. There was a tree house that served fresh coffee - nice experience. Again, we shopped around in their local shop for spices. After 2 hours of walking around, we headed towards Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It was a nice drive through hilly roads, and as we entered the gates of the Sanctuary, we passed through a pretty thick forest to reach the Periyar Lake. There were regular govt operated boat cruises that cruised through the huge lake, and if lucky, a few beasts could be sighted. This being monsoon, there was a thin chance to spot any wildlife. We bought upperdeck tickets, and started with the cruise.

The boat-ride itself is an amazing experience in itself here. The weather was perfect and it wasnt too crowded. The pictures wouldnt do justice to the scenery. We spotted a few Gazelles and wild elephants, among other animals. I just loved soaking up the breeze and staring down the wilderness. Like all good things, this came to an end in 90 mins.

I had heard a lot about the great food at Elephant Court, and so it was time to gorge on some more local food, because we knew its not gonna last forever!
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Old 15th September 2009, 14:50   #36
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Why stopped?
Nice pics and good travelogue. Keep it coming please.
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Old 15th September 2009, 15:12   #37
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wow...nice pictures especially Kerala
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Old 15th September 2009, 15:47   #38
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mathranik, wonderful! You just made me feel that Kerala is really very beautiful through your frames, its just like that you are in a place not realising the beauty it has unless someone pens about it. KUDOS! to you. Keep the good work going!
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Old 15th September 2009, 17:26   #39
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Finishing up a Heavy lunch, we quickly packed up our luggage, as we had a long drive ahead of us. The plan was to drive to Kalady (around 220 kms) and pay a visit to Adi Shankaracharya's birth place (temple), built on the banks of Poorna river. From there, I had planned to drive up to Kannur, which was a further 200+ kms from there. It was already 3pm when we started from Thekkady. It was almost painful to realize that we would soon be exiting Kerala :(

All those thoughts soon vanished, as we started our drive down the hill. If the route from Kumarakom to Thekkady was scenic and beautiful, this one was pure magic! As many waterfalls as you could count, clouds kissing the hilltops, nice curvy roads and no traffic at all! I was having a tough time keeping my eyes on the road, as the sorroundings were too serene to miss. We stopped at a road-side kiosk to buy some pure honey, and clicked a few pictures. Further on the way, we stopped at a dam (can't recollect the name for some reason), which also made for an amazing backdrop. After some 100 kms or so, the roads did become a bit patchy, but not miserable. In around 5 hours, we reached Kalady - a small, sleepy town. After asking for directions, we reached the temple and spent an hour or so there. Very peaceful! I have always wanted to go there, and I was happy we were able to! I bought a few books from its extensive library-cum-bookstore and we left. It was time for dinner, before a drive through the night to Kannur. Though Guruvayur would've been on our way, it was unfortunate that we had to pass by it in the middle of the night. The traffic on the highways in Kerala goes crazy at night, with trucks and buses setting up their own rules! It was tedious driving now, with her sleeping away to glory after another heavy dinner. I had music to my assistance, and a couple of cans of Red Bull! A 225 km drive from Kalady to Kannur took me 7 hours, with a small break... tiring indeed. We checked into a hotel (not pre-booked) and I had to catch 2-3 hours of sleep before we started for Goa again! Oh man...
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Old 18th September 2009, 11:47   #40
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I got a rude shock woken up by the alarm in 3 hours flat...and that we had to leave for Goa asap. A quick shower and a light breakfast was quickly taken care of, and before I knew, we were in the car hitting the highway. Kannur to Panjim would ideally take around 10 hours, but there were stranger things in store for us.
There was a huge traffic jam on the outskirts of Mangalore. Trucks and buses parked haphazardly on the highway, autos and bikes coming from the wrong side of the road, dust flowing all over the place thanks to the road-widening.... we lost around 2 hours!! And the worst part was that there were no restaurants around the point we were stuck, or else we couldve used it as a pit-stop. Anyways, we proceeded towards our destination, this time with more vengeance . This means, every time I got an empty stretch of road, I went pedal-to-metal (almost!) to make up some time, and then the roads weren't too bad. We, in Gujarat, are used to some amazing tarmac all across the state, and everything else seems a compromise. But then, we dont get everything, do we?! The coastal highway before/after Karwar is beautiful, and all the roads we drove on in the past one week were absolutely scenic down to the core.
We entered Goa border at around 9.30 pm. But, we didnt have to go to Panjim this time. There's a resort called Wildernest which is 60 kms from Panjim , on the Goa-Karnataka border. It was pouring now, and there weren't many people to help us with the way. My GPS refused to assist me too! All I knew was that we had to go through village called Honda (yep - Honda!) and towards Belgaum. Deserted roads, very narrow ones too, absolutely no houses around, heavy rain and tired me! After a lot of struggle through ghost villages and some help from absolutely drunk cops, we got to the ghats where the resort is situated. I had heard a lot about this place - its located at an altitutde of 1000 mts, with great eco-diversity.
What made the matters worse now was zero visibility. We were driving through the ghats in pitch darkness, and all that my headlights helped me see was fog and clouds, with not a soul around. I literally had to walk out and take slow steps to know where the road was! I could hear waterfalls on the highway, and some falling down the hills too. And it was COLD! About 40 mins of adversity later ( on the ghats ) , I saw a wooden sign , saying "wildernest", and we both were really grinning ear to ear! We both didn't let the other know we were scared!
As we parked the car, a guy came out with a couple of torches to help us in. It isnt your regular 4-5 Star resort. Yes, it's luxurious and everything, but you have to go through an unpaved, kuccha trek to reach your 'eco-cottage'...and the cottage itself is a marvel.

While walking, we could hear very loud gush of water, and in between, loud thud sounds. Upon enquiry, he informed us that there are two giant waterfalls right behind and the thud-thud noise is coming from the huge boulders that fall... oh, ok! We were led to our dim-lit cottage, very cozy and so beautiful. There was dinner ready for us, served in the room in earthen pots and brass plates. Cool enough! But the Konkani cuisine was at its best here, and being hungry out of travel, there wasn't much left in the plates... We could hear a lot of insects and some birds (and a couple of animals) in the darkness, but the cottage ofcourse was coccooned for safety. There was a balcony on the other side, but I wouldn't dare dwell out at this hour. Sleep time....
__________________________________________________ ____________

The next morning was one of the most beautiful morning of my life. Not much of sunlight, but it was like waking up sleeping on clouds. She was still in deep sleep, and I walked out to the balcony. The waterfalls' sound made more sense now, but they were still not visible because of the cloud cover. It was a wooden floor, and a balcony made of wooden planks. Some very nice touches too in the bathroom...one has to experience it!

We took our own lazy time to get started with getting ready, and then breakfast followed...nice one too! We were then taken in their own off-road jeep to the fun area ... it had a beautiful swimming pool, that looked more like a natural pond. And it had an infinite edge, that revealed a 1000 ft cliff from there...the whole thing was worth the tough drive the previous night. The day was clearing up a bit, and the majestic waterfalls made their way out of the clouds. Here are the pictures...
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