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Old 26th November 2009, 18:57   #31
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Hi Majic,

Nice way of narration and your pictures are fine.

I am a little tied up with piling work and so just about log in to check.

Do add a little about the car and its performance too.
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Old 26th November 2009, 19:59   #32
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Hey Majic. Nice start to your travelogue. More pics please...
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Old 28th November 2009, 09:45   #33
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trrk, dreamdiesel, dieseladdikt, Thanks for the encourgement, will try posting more photograph, please continue logging on this thread more coming on way.
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Old 28th November 2009, 14:45   #34
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Default Destination Thekakdy

Destination: Thekkady
It has been 19 long years since my last visit to Thekkady, back then I had completed my tenth and was spending my holidays at home. All through my schooling was in a boarding school and so actually this was my first outing and with no parents accompanying and in the company of friends it was really a worthwhile experience. One thing as I turned from Kumily town which surprised me was the change that time had brought.
With lots of tourist coming to Thekkady, the route to the lake is peppered with massage parlours, spice shops, gift shops and also new restaurants. Most of the shops enroute had been closed, I think this is because that there aren’t much tourists coming there after the boat tragedy. We proceeded further when we were stopped by the guard who was asking for an entrance fee. Though earlier I didn’t pay and fee then I thought he was pulling a fast one so I asked him how much, Rs.25 per adult and Rs.50 for the vehicle. I felt something fishy and I asked him will they give me receipt for it, yes he will. I alight from the vehicle and proceed to pay the amount and I give him the money and through the glass I see him making entries into a computer (now that was really a surprise) and he comes back giving me a receipt for the amount.
He informs me that there aren’t much tourists around and so I am advised to proceed with extra caution and avoid sounding the horn. As soon as I walk back to the car, a person comes and asks me, Saar, You want room? No , I am not staying. Then he starts speaking in Malayalam , Saar , good room with AC ( wondering why? Its cool in Kumily), No please, then he comes out with the ultimate trump card, at half the cost and also with beautiful company!!!!!. I told him that I have come with family and asked him scamp off before I create a commotion. Soorrry Saar!. I spot the same guy sitting and discussing with another of his prospective customer on my return to the same place. ( Sorry mods, I just wanted to show a touch of reality that is seen at most tourist locations)
Well the drive thorough the forest was wonderful, sad that we missed the camera. I was driving very slowly on the lookout for any animals, when my wife suddenly shouted, Buffalo! Wild Buffalo, I immediately applied breaks and looked. Yes there were a couple near the water but I was really sad to see that they were domesticated ones. Wrong call.
I drove down to the area of lake. I was really surprised to see virtually no tourists there except for a forest guard , an innova and jeep. As I alight from the vehicle along with my family to move towards the lake, wifey informs me that its nappy changing time for the kid and asks me to open the boot to take his bag. I open the boot and lift the bag when I felt something on one side of the bag, I thought she must have stuffed something in the bag. I opened it to find out that its my second camera which was left in the bag after we had stopped using it when the new one, the SLR version was purchased, infact it was lost. There were signs of cheer and I checked the power of the cells, low bat, not even switching on. I knew that there were a couple of batteries in the car which I had purchased for changing for the TV remote, which I kept forgetting. Found them and changed them , wow it works, opened the same and took a couple of pictures and its working fine. I am happy atleast something is always better than something.
As I move around and stretch myself, I look around and find that I am not alone and I look I see a whole gang on monkeys of different sizes coming. The forest guard rushes to inform me asking me to raise the glass and lock the vehicle and also not to take any food materials incase if your planning on having something. I knew that when someone informs something like this it is for the good. Believe me it was good, I rushed up and closed the windows, very soon the monkeys surrounded the car and were looking at us with a very distant look. I moved away to my family who were now walking towards the lake. I turned back to see that the monkeys had entered into the Innova of another family who had come in before us, the driver must have been new, before I could warn the driver or shoo the monkey, they scramped away with plastic bag, it had all the goodies, and there followed a troop behind the smart thief.
The forest guard informed nothing can be done as the driver was told earlier itself. He says that off late there are no tourists here and at times if someone is eating something in front of the monkey the monkey would snatch it from them and also bite and scratch. The root cause of this is tourists who don’t abide by the rules written around, to not to feed the monkey.


MODS please delete the previous posting was not able to edit it after the posting was done.Thank you!

Last edited by DerAlte : 29th November 2009 at 12:34.
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Old 28th November 2009, 14:59   #35
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Have they started providing life jackets now after the boat tragedy?
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Old 28th November 2009, 15:52   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canonguy View Post
Have they started providing life jackets now after the boat tragedy?
Sorry canonguy, forget about the life jackets, the boat rides itself is pending approval as there were lots of scam associated with the purchase of the boats. So no boating is happening, but safari from the hotels and resorts are still happening
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Old 28th November 2009, 19:44   #37
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Hey Majic, nice start. Waiting for the photos.

No matter how many boards are kept asking people not to feed monkeys, there will always be the so called 'animal lovers', who will continue to feed them. They will learn their lesson only when they get bitten and contract rabies or any other horrible infection!

We saw some scary scenes in Kodai. Monkeys were chasing a kid for his corn!!
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Old 30th November 2009, 10:19   #38
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Hey CL , will post the remaining of the thread today with the photographs.
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Old 30th November 2009, 15:04   #39
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Default Thekkady Lake

Eeriness of the lake
As we walk towards the lake, I was really surprised by the changes that had taken place. There were a couple of boats which were anchored to the shores. The waters were in stand still. It was all quiet. A thought of the memory of the tragedy had me praying for the rest of their souls. I feel sorry for what had happened, but who is to be blamed like all news sensation they just die down in the memory of everyone except for those who have lost their loved ones, makes me hold my little one more closer to me.

We spent some time around the lake and then walked back to where the vehicle was parked. There were lots of huge trees which were a real fascination to watch. I was suddenly reminded that during the last visit there was an elephant ride through the forest. Now nothing was there. Back 1990, I had walked all the way back to Kumily town, now it would be a different story.
Soon we are back in the car and we have whole bunch of monkeys surrounding the car, we move out from there and head towards the entrance of Kumiliy where there is a hotel by name of Ambady, I had heard that the food over there is really good. We entered the place, neat and clean looks good. Well we settled down with Kerala meals, food was excellent, taste still lingers on my tounge. After feeding the child and taking a good break we left for Lower camp, Gudalur.


We soon crossed the border, as soon as I crossed over I felt there is a marked difference between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. On the side of Kerala , you see innumerable concrete buildings shops and bakeries selling goodies of Kerala, like Chips Halwa etc. In stark reality across the Tamil Nadu sides there are only small eateries which are selling Iddily, Coffee & Tea Both these places are hardly ten meters apart. I think the area of the check post would be the property of TN Govt , so these small time traders are in makeshift establishments.
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Old 30th November 2009, 16:51   #40
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Default Cambam Town

A word of Acknowledgement needs to be mentioned to HV Kumar sir, who had helped me with informing about the road condition after Kumily being bad. Sir, I really appreciate the information shared and thank you very much.
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0364.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0365.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0366.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0367.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0368.jpg
As mentioned, the roads from Kumily were quite bad in shape, but something that can be managed. Hardly 3 Kms down the line we hear a loud roar of water fall and we start searching for it. On the next turning is this beautiful waterfall where there is a big crowd of Ayappa Swamies taking bath. We spend about a minute trying to take photos but the force of the fall is so strong that the water is being sprayed on to the road making it difficult for the taking of the pictures, but we were able to manage and capture one.
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0370.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0371.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0372.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0373.jpg
The ride along with my uncle
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0374.jpg
After a couple off turnings there was huge penstock pipes taking water to the Periyar Power House. All along the view of the plains down is really worthwhile watching. Even before I realized it I was on the plains and good roads which were really inviting. Once reaching the plains was really awestruck by the beauty of the plains, on both sides the greenery of agriculture. Slowly the speed increases, but soon I start getting complaints from the back by my aunt asking me to go a bit slow, and so I do, keeping it at 70-80 for some time.

After some time we came across a grape plantation, my wife was seeing one for the first time and we stopped to take pictures and also see, but the sad part was that it was all surrounded by fence. When we start taking the pictures the camera starts acting funny, low bat. Since I was using a non alkaline battery the power was being drained at a rapid pace, I thought with many more things to come on the way we will save the remaining power till we reach Madurai , where we could get Duracell or get rechargeable batteries.

Soon we left from there, there were a lots of people lifting and showing grapes, I take it that they are trying to sell it. We thought rather we would but some on our way back when we would be having more time.
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Old 1st December 2009, 15:06   #41
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Hey anyone reading this or is it that i just write, may be it would take time. I think i should have made something more catchy enough for the title. Probably a next time if there is.
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Old 1st December 2009, 15:26   #42
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Hey Majic, very nice pics. The pic of the fog is especially nice. Do continue.
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Old 1st December 2009, 15:31   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevy_lover View Post
Hey Majic, very nice pics. The pic of the fog is especially nice. Do continue.
Thanks CL, i appreciate that you liked the pictures, i just have to remind you that these were taken on a mobile phone.
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Old 1st December 2009, 16:08   #44
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Default Cumbam

Cumbum: A Crowded Town.
Cumbum, had come quite quick with more and more traffic, what was more irritating was pedestrians who are walking on the road caring for none and least bothered about the traffic. I believe they donít stop for any cars but for the buses they would. I had on several occasions apply the brakes suddenly to avoid hitting them.
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0377.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0378.jpg

Once in town I was really surprised by the number of people on the roads, it was crowded. In middle of the town there was a banner showing a picture of young man and a young woman in the center and pictures of so many politician surrounding it. Since my wife speaks and reads Tamil I asked her what is the story, she informs that they are going to be wed soon and these politicians are wishing them.

Very soon I see the same couple with another set of politicians ( these banners are really huge in the size of billboards). Soon I lost count of the number of banners. I was later informed that the couple were children of two politicians and the marriage was going to be conducted in a grand manner that all the big politicians were expected to attend the marriage on the next day. On the way we saw many erections welcoming the politicians to this town. Something really caught me was that tomorrow if there was going to be a bigger crowd our return journey would be effected. I told my wife if something like that is going to happen we would have to find an alternate route. My uncle who had seen many of these functions assured us that most of it takes place in the mornings as an evening function is not entertained in the rural Tamil Nadu, though it is fast happening.
I was remarking to my wife that people spent so much money for publicity, canít they spend this amount for buying food for the poor. Mmmm, she agrees with me. Speaking of food, my wife immediately asks me for a promise of buying something for her, I say ok as I too would be a part taker of it. She wanted something called Kothu porotta ( its actually minced paratha, sautť in accompaniment of chicken, egg, onions and gravy), I readily agreed for this, we once had experimented this in Interior Tamil Nadu , where the bus broke down and the only the decent looking eatery provided this which we relished to the fullest extent. I didnít have to be asked twice for the delivery of her promise.

In between we saw this Auto loaded to the brim, i have taken a picture of this also
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0383.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0384.jpg






Chinmannur, Andipatti, Uslampatti
Soon after leaving the Cumbum town I was asked to watch out for pot hole which is quite deep and when your driving in good speed your car is hit under it quite badly. A friend of mine traveling on a Palio had a bad hit, that vehicle was badly damaged and had to be towed back to Madurai. So I was on the look out for this but thankfully, I didnít have to face this.
Leaving Cumbum the rains started playing hide and seek. The roads were fantastic on one side of the roads are paddy field and on the other side Coconut plantations. Coming from kerala, I was really surprised to see plantations of this extent, really beautiful. I think there is more cultivation of coconuts here in Tamil Nadu than in kerala. Keralites no offence meant here as now I see more rubber trees than Coconuts, not to be left out is me who has more rubber cultivation than coconut.
Soon I was increasing my speed as our host were getting worried that we had started quite early and we hadnít reached. There were some rituals going to be conducted in the night and so I had to be there as soon as possible. That was all the excuse that I needed to assure my aunt that we would have to reach early and uncle and wife joined in and then the speedometer, started seeing figures of 90, 100 and 110 that was the maximum I didnít want to push it further not to forget that there were occasional rains also.
Two rainbows and Theni
Enroute to Theni we came across something that was remarkably brilliant proportion, the marvel of god in canvas. I saw the most beautiful rainbow and the most brightest one, I was really thrilled seeing such a beautiful rainbow that I couldnít avoid taking a photo of it even though it was raining. Took pictures of a couple of them.
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0380.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0381.jpg
Trip to Thekkady- Theni, Madurai with photos-image0382.jpg
As we were nearing a Theni, it was getting brighter and brighter. I was commenting that there is a saying that at the end of every rainbow there is a treasure. She says in this case there would be two treasures, look there is a second rainbow. It was really spectacular, it was for the first time that I was seeing two rainbows at one go. I remember seeing a picture posted in Tbhp forum, if I remember correctly it must be in TSK1979 log on Leh. I just had to stop the vehicle and enjoy this for a moment, for me this was a rare sighting. Tried capturing the same on camera, though it was done, nothing better than that of being seen through the naked eye.

The roads were excellent all the way and was having a nice time driving through but for the exception of small villages coming in between where you have children playing near the road.

At Usilampatti , we stopped for having tea, though nothing compared to what we had at Vandiperiyar this too was good. One thing I notice was the use to two tumblers, one was a set of glass tumblers and another steel tumblers. I for sure had my options ready, disposable cups. Attached to this small way side eatery was a lady dishing out some Bhaji, Vada and Bonda. Temptations, they always have their way with me and very soon, I was buying a variety of every palpable snack that she had. Accompanied with the chutney, I tasted really delicious. It might be because of being freshly prepared that it tasted so good. Cash paid, I asked the tea maker, how far to Madurai, he said 40Kms, you can reach there in 30 minutes. So finally we are close to our destination.
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Old 1st December 2009, 18:38   #45
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Hi,

Nice photographs, Sir.

With most of the photographs uploaded here by me are taken from an HTC P3400i mobile phone and that too at 1 MP resolution, I would not worry about the photos being taken from a mobile phone.

For all practical purposes, they do pretty well for normal use.

And your writing is good too!

If you can be satisfied with a veg dish, someting similar to Kothu Parotta is available in the Aryaas type of hotels as Chilly Parotta. Of course they won't hold a candle to the ones available in Tamil Nadu, but will do for an occasional buy.

Most of the items that we use these days for our daily use comes from Tamil Nadu. They grow coconuts and even tapioca in plenty.
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