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Old 28th July 2010, 08:31   #31
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Default the trip continues..

The entire Melattur-Karuvarakkundu-Kalikave-Nilambur stretch is dominated by Rubber plantations. There are some fairly large estates like the Aspinwalls, apart from a lot of smaller properties. The trip along those rubber plantations was quite nostalgic. All of these towns have shops collecting rubber sheets from planters.I didnt see a lot of activity around those as it was peak of rainy season and usually off-time for rubber tapping ( at least those days - I hear now that more sophisticated methods allow problem-free tapping even during monsoon - I have lost touch, someone more familiar with rubber plantations may be able to comment ).

Some pictures:

The road from Karuvarakundu to Kalikavu - some old-style houses that blend in well with the surroundings..
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-162.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-163.jpg

Rubber plantations everywhere
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-168.jpg

My camera went crazy trying to focus this snap - I had to do it in manual finally.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-173.jpg

Nandu is enjoying the trip. It isnt as cold as he makes it look
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-174.jpg

more rubber, lovely curves, smooth tarmac
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-175.jpg

A bridge on the way - at a place called Kallaamoola.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-183.jpg

The route map - Karuvarakundu - Pookotumpadam
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The place I lived as a small kid ( 3-4 years ) was near a small place called Pookottumpadam. We had a nice two-storeyed house on a small hill overlooking paddy fields in front and with rubber trees in the background. A strong memory associated with that place was the walk we had in the evenings across the paddy fields, past some rubber plantations, and to a small river with clear water and pebbles all over, where we kids had endless amount of fun. I wanted to check out this river and see how this place looked now.

As I approached Pookottumpadam, I realized that it was not going to be easy. The changes around the entire stretch were so much that I had been having difficulty in understanding where I was. The paddy fields which was quite spread out in the area were completely gone- it was replaced by houses or other crops like banana plantations, arecanut, rubber etc. Overall a confusing and depressing sight. I could however pick out the last 90 degree right turn before the road enters Pookottumpadam . If my memory served right, there awas a small pathway across the paddy fields from somewhere at this point to reach out to the river. I wasnt very hopeful, but I suddenly saw an unpaved road turning out in that general direction. OK, let me try this, I thought.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-190.jpg

Last edited by Bigzero : 28th July 2010 at 08:40.
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Old 28th July 2010, 09:46   #32
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I forgot to mention the distances and timings for the two stretches covered already.

Ottappalam-Karuvarakundu
Start: 7.10 am,
Finish: 8.50 am
Time taken - 1hr 40 min.

Distance - 56km
Avg Speed - 33kmph
Max Speed - 63kmph

Karuvarakundu - Pookotumpadam
Start - 9.01 am
Finish: 9.45 am
Time taken: 44 min

Distance - 19km
Avg speed - 26kmph
Max speed - 48kmph

A relaxed drive, it was!

Last edited by Bigzero : 28th July 2010 at 09:54.
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Old 28th July 2010, 20:02   #33
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As I moved on, I realized that this is the same route which was once the access to the river from the main road. There were a few houses on both sides of the road, and very quickly we saw Rubber trees on one side and banana trees on the other. And then the road dropped down directly into the river. I didnt want to descend into the river as the road looked very dodgy from that point - So I parked the car alongside the road and ventured out into the river.

And yes, it was the same place! memories started flooding in. Those trips with my family, cousins etc. I didnt waste time, and started clicking pictures.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-196.jpg

Nandu was thrilled , but he didnt want to get into the water.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-197.jpg

With this slightly wider road, access has obviously improved for vehicles upto the river. The downside is that this has probably become a favourite spot for washing vehicles. Like this auto.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-192.jpg

As you can also see in the picture above, a bridge is being builta few meters downstream, but no sign of any activity. Looks more like a pedestrian bridge..

The water is crystal clear. One can walk for a few meters into the water where it is only ankle deep. Beyond it however, the water looked reasonably deep and fast-flowing.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-205.jpg

The same pebbles perhaps, and the same feet, albeit many decades older and ... hairy too.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-204.jpg

Meanwhile Nandu found something interesting to do - fling pebbles into the river!
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-210.jpg

This river is called Kuthirappuzha ( horse river, literal translation ) and it eventually flows into the Chaliyar river a few km downstream of Nilambur. So much for GK.

Time to go on. As we walked back to the car, we spotted this fellow.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-211.jpg

And as I was about to get into the car, someone called me. I turned to find two men sitting among the banana trees. They wanted me to click their picture, which I happily obliged.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-214.jpg

That done, I retraced my way back to the main road.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-215.jpg
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Old 29th July 2010, 10:05   #34
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Ok, now for the next segment:
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Soon we were on the way to Nilambur. I wanted to have at least a glimpse of our old house near Pookotumpadam, but the whole place had changed so drastically that I completely missed it - I realized my mistake when I entered Pookottumpadam town. Maybe next time, I told myself, and moved on.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-219.jpg

We soon crossed the Nilambur Road Railway station ( I had taken a few snaps of this place in an earlier thread of mine (Photos from Nilambur ). ) .
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-223.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-224.jpg
This station was in the news recently - its still an ongoing development - when the train that stays at Nilambur overnight for its return trip to Shoranur was sabotaged by someone. The brake pipes were cut at around 20 places. The investigation is going on.

A few minutes later, we hit the T-junction ahead - right turn takes you to Gudalur-Ooty etc, that is where I am supposed to go. Left turn takes you to Nilambur town and Manjeri, Perinthalmanna, Calicut etc. I had to make a quick call, and I decided I had couple of more places to go to, before eventually moving towards Mysore.

Now Nilambur is the place I grew up. I have spent around 15 years of my life here and eventually left the place in 1991. Though I visited the place last May, there was once place I didnt touch - that was the school I studied. At least one of them. I decided to drop in at Govt. Manavedan High School, where I did my 8th, 9th, and 10th.

I guess the School was started in 1940. My father, uncles and lots of relatives were students of this school as this was the only high school in Nilambur. The school, when I studied there in 1981-1984, had a massive success rate of 20% in the board exams. Dont know how it is now! However, I remember the school having excellent teachers, I mean teachers with real solid knowledge. However, students were by-and-large happy go lucky in nature, and there were only a handful of them who took their studies seriously. The school is right next to Chaliyar, and with a rubber plantation on one side, it was picture pefrect. I did well in school and I have always believed that it was the students ( being a Govt school it was open to all, and had massive capacity as well) that let the school down. When I was studying, there were not many decent options apart from this in the area. Nowadays there are a number of good schools in Nilambur and around, and that could only mean that the general standard or interest of students attending this school may have dropped further.

Classes were going on and I didnt wish to make a spectacle of myself, going around the school premises and clicking away to glory. So I quickly clicked a few snaps from the front of the school, and retreated.
The school, when I studied there, had no compound wall, and was accessible from all sides. One major change I observed was that there was a proper wall all around, and a gate too in front. But from where I stood, the buildings looked exactly like they were in 1984.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-228.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-231.jpg

I desperately wanted to walk over to the class where I did my 10th ( visible from where I stood ), and just sit there and absorb the goings on. I had a feeling that it was not likely to be appreciated, so I didnt take any chance with that.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-232.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-233.jpg

The School is bang next to the river. Here is a view of the river from near the school.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-236.jpg

From then , I moved on and visited a couple of relatives. On the way, I came across a couple of landmarks very strong in my memory.

The "Club", around half a km from the school towards the direction of my home at that time - A place where menfolk used to come in the evening and play cards, which possibly had other indoor games as well, and a small open area for football, volleyball etc. This building too is bang on the riverside.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-243.jpg

The "tractor workshop" as we used to call it. It was another landmark on the way to school, and it continues to function exactly the way it was! no change at all!
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-246.jpg

Anyway, I caught up with some relatives, and then eventually started off for Gudalur. Not before visiting the local temple:
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-250.jpg

Some statistics of the Pookotumpadam-Nilambur segment:

Start: 9.57 am
End : 10.21 am
Time taken -24 min
Distance - 10.3 km ( to the T junction btw. To proper Nbr its another 2 km)
Avg speed - 25kmph
Max speed - 57kmph.

Last edited by Bigzero : 29th July 2010 at 10:15.
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Old 29th July 2010, 10:06   #35
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I am completely swept off my feet by these pictures. Absolutely nostalgic. A mixture of pleasure and pain. In spite of the changes in landscape over time, the place still looks amazingly beautiful. I'd give anything to be able to take a dip in that pebbly river right now! I want to take a few days off from work, head to these places, take a cheap acco in a nearby town for the nights, and wander about all through the day, not looking like a tourist but like a local. Just walk along the odd pathways, among the rubber plantations, up the hills, take a dip in the river, have puttu, kadala and tea from a shack, take a bus and then get down again after a few kilometres to explore a new locality.

Heck, I am losing all interest in work.

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Old 29th July 2010, 13:05   #36
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Lovely pictures and absorbing narration.Your school looks lovely indeed,look at schools in the cities where the kids dont even know what a playground is!!!Nilambur station always intrigued me
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Old 29th July 2010, 13:35   #37
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some of the things, can't beat Kerala. that old school, the old temple, old style houses (these ones are fast disappearing and replaced by some bright coloured boxes). excellent pictures.
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Old 30th July 2010, 22:30   #38
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Hi Bigzero,

Well, it's only with some diffidence that I could I address you thus! Anyways, congratulations for the photos.

The photos brought back memories of my travel with wife to Kerala last year. I drove through almost all those places you visited, barring those of Nilambur etc. One surprising thing that I noticed was that the roads were so good, albeit tortuous. The surface held even after such heavy rains. I was told that many roads are "rubbarized." Pity, they are death traps too. Blame it on buses, mostly.

"We stopped at a local tea shop to have some nice "podi"tea." Wife for the first time saw tea being made in one such teashop. She was so fascinated by the long pour of the tea--approximately one meter--(I believe a practice only seen in Kerala) that she had three glasses in one go!

There were hilarious moments too. She almost shrieked when a gentleman walking towards us in a white dhoti pulled his dhoti up to tuck it up in the form of mini skirt that most men in Kerala do when wearing dhoti!
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Old 31st July 2010, 00:09   #39
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Thanks everyone for the comments.

Well, I am not finished with the pictures yet - Let me add a few from the next leg: From Nilambur to somewhere just before Gudalur.
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The road from Nilambur all the way to Gudalur is quite good.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-256.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-257.jpg

Vazhikkadavu is the last town before the Nadugani ghat begins.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-260.jpg

By the way, I was warned by some cousins in Nilambur that a couple of wild elephants were roaming around in Nadugani ghats for the last 3-4 days or so - possibly strayed away from their usual route and struggling to find a way back. I was told to be careful as one elephant had killed someone a couple of days ago. That was not very encouraging news, and I had no clear idea on what to do if I eventually come face to face with those elephants ( who could be a bit edgy, going by what I heard ). The advice I got was to stop the car as far away as you can and not try to go past them. And be prepared to reverse some distance back quickly. Great.

Anyway, I didnt come across them - the story did however bring an element of adventure into the drive.

The Nadugani ghat is very different from the Wayanad ghat, which is the default route I had been taking over the last 6-7 years. For starters, the traffic is much less. The road condition is very very good. And most importantly, this one is a much easier drive than the Wayanad one, primarily because there are not many hairpins. Both roads poass through lush greenery, however the Nadugani ghat doesnt offer the excellent viewpoints like ones at the top of the Wayanad ghat.

Some pictures from the Nadugani ghat.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-262.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-264.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-268.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-273.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-277.jpg

Once the ghat section is done, you are a few km away from Gudalur, and you pass through some tea estates and some small settlements.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-278.jpg

Strange color, those tree trunks..
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-282.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-284.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-286.jpg

The place I stopped for lunch is also within a tea estate. In fact the restaurant is bang next to the tea factory and actually sold their tea in packets.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-299.jpg
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-288.jpg


We had an okayish lunch there. The view from there was quite good.
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-289.jpg

"The plate is hot!"
Photos - a very short trip to Kerala - 22-24th Jul 2010-kerala_jul2010-296.jpg

I could observe that a number of people were purchasing tea packets from the restaurant counter, and I did too eventually. ( once back home, I made some black tea ( I usually have black tea ) , and it was quite good, with a very fresh aroma ).

Lunch over, we moved on.

Some data for this leg:

Started: 11.03am
Reached: 12:33 am
Time taken: 1 hr 30 min

Distance 40.5km
Avg speed: 27kmph
Max speed: 63kmph

Last edited by Bigzero : 31st July 2010 at 00:17.
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Old 31st July 2010, 07:53   #40
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Ah Nilambur station! What memories it brings! Absolutely mesmerizing.
Also as you mentione Melatoor/Nilambur/Gudalur section is awesome, both in road quality and in scenery.
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Old 31st July 2010, 08:58   #41
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[quote=Bigzero;1998412]Before I move on to the Mavoor-Ottapalam stretch, a couple of pictures from the earlier section:

From where did you switch to your car. That AP Santro is yours; Is'nt it?
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Old 31st July 2010, 09:14   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjay_in View Post
I'd give anything to be able to take a dip in that pebbly river right now! I want to take a few days off from work, head to these places, take a cheap acco in a nearby town for the nights, and wander about all through the day, not looking like a tourist but like a local. Just walk along the odd pathways, among the rubber plantations, up the hills, take a dip in the river, have puttu, kadala and tea from a shack, take a bus and then get down again after a few kilometres to explore a new locality.
Me too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
Lovely pictures and absorbing narration.Your school looks lovely indeed,look at schools in the cities where the kids dont even know what a playground is!!!Nilambur station always intrigued me
Thanks, and I agree. Our school had acres and acres of space for kids. 2-3 large open areas to play with, the riverbed nearby, and the rubber plantation on the other side if you wanted to explore further!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kutlee View Post
some of the things, can't beat Kerala. that old school, the old temple, old style houses (these ones are fast disappearing and replaced by some bright coloured boxes). excellent pictures.
Yeah, and the route I went to had a lot of those bright coloured boxes, just that I didnt bother to put their photos up in this thread..

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejhoom View Post
Hi Bigzero,

Well, it's only with some diffidence that I could I address you thus! Anyways, congratulations for the photos.

Thanks! but why the diffidence?

"We stopped at a local tea shop to have some nice "podi"tea." Wife for the first time saw tea being made in one such teashop. She was so fascinated by the long pour of the tea--approximately one meter--(I believe a practice only seen in Kerala) that she had three glasses in one go!

that was neat!

There were hilarious moments too. She almost shrieked when a gentleman walking towards us in a white dhoti pulled his dhoti up to tuck it up in the form of mini skirt that most men in Kerala do when wearing dhoti!

Ah, those are some pleasures we have, but rarely get a chance to do in cities!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Ah Nilambur station! What memories it brings! Absolutely mesmerizing.
Also as you mentione Melatoor/Nilambur/Gudalur section is awesome, both in road quality and in scenery.
Yes I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
From where did you switch to your car. That AP Santro is yours; Is'nt it?
The car was in Kerala for a couple of months. The trip was primarily to bring it back. I had been using the i20 in Hyderabad.

Btw the Santro has already done 75000 km, and though it was a seven year car, it still retains the freshness as far as driving it is concerned. And the interiors too havent degraded much, in spite of the kids being all over it.

This is one car I really admire ( I have said this earlier too ). God knows how many horrible stretches I put her through in her service so far. She has taken everything in her side.

She will be doing strictly city duties from now on, her main job now to drop kids at school, visit the supermarkets, etc etc. till I decide to sell her off ( which is quite tough! I dont know how I will bring myself to sell her- I had originally wanted to sell her in June, but am giving her another year, though it puts some stress on my finances..)

Last edited by Bigzero : 31st July 2010 at 09:17.
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Old 31st July 2010, 20:14   #43
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Great snaps of the school! Nothing like, going back to have a view to the place where it all started.

I studied in a chain of govt schools. After about a gap of about 7-8 years I went back to one of them.
The admin guys were starring at me. But then there came the school principal, who in my times was the maths teacher.
He swept me off my feat, showed me the whole school, and all the guys were aghast as to who was I,
being a given a VIP treatment! We had tea and then since he had class and other meetings, I had to leave.
But nothing like that feeling!

Apart from the school, coming back to the greenery, I discovered this gateway to Kerala because of
@Blackstallion's GVR visit TL. And I must admit, this route is my favourite.

Last edited by ampere : 31st July 2010 at 20:16.
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Old 1st August 2010, 12:41   #44
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Bigzer,

You have narrated this TL in such a good manner that I got so nostalgic after watching your School photos even though I have never been to Nilambur. The school reminded me of my school days in a small town in Rajasthan called Nasirabad. What a contrast, but the emotions remain the same. Thanks for sharing the awesome pics and narration, which made me feel that I was travelling with you.
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Old 10th August 2010, 13:39   #45
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How did I miss this thread?

Fantastic pictures and an off-beat route. You are not a Bigzero - but a sure 100%.

Anyway, thanks to Ampere, I could enjoy (your) trip. Looks like you traveled down by bus and returned by car? And, the rain gods spared you on the return. Wayanad in rains is tricky. Tempted to try your route..

PS - the road roller reminded me of a Mohanlal's movie. (I think Priyadarshan has remade it in Hindi). The machine is broken down and Mohanlal has to repair it. He calls the mechanic - Kudiravattom Pappu. KP gets going on the repair, and Mohanlal is anxious to get it done fast. Two lines from this scene always brings a smile to our faces -

KP to Mohanlal - "Aa cheriya screwdriver edutho" (Give me the small screwdriver!). KP requires the smallest of the small screwdriver to repair the road roller....

Mohanlal to KP - "Mazhakkalam mumbu cheri avoo" (Will it be ready before the rains?). Need I say anything more?
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