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Old 28th August 2010, 22:23   #1
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Default My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala

I'm no good at writing because, I absolutely do not have patience with whatever work I do; though I learned my lessons the hard way on hurry leading to worry, its taking a lot of time to change my behavior on this front. So I didn't want to write a travelogue here for one reason being this - impatience, other being, I don't know when I would get bored of formatting & posting the pics & write-up & then give up updating this thread. However there're 2 factors that made me write this one (not sure how long I can have this spirit to write & urge to complete)
1. Apologies with Thanks to MX6 & Paragsachania; additional thanks to Ampere, Addyhemmige, VMG & Ravi.
2. Contribute something back to the community however tiny it may be

We'd planned, re-planned, tri-planned & what not for a trip to Angadipuram-Udipi-Moogambika-Sringeri-Horanadu-Belu-Halebidu, but finally ended up doing Angadipuram-Sabarimala-Dakshina Moogambika-Guruvayoor-Kalady. Typical way of God to prove that God's presence is felt everywhere.

I'm determined to do that trip at a wink of next opportunity, when I do that, I'll put down the facts like this & dedicate the thread to you guys - MX6 & Paragsachania.

Anyway, jumping into the itinerary, here's it...
21-Aug - Chennai - Muvattupuzha
22-Aug - Pozhakarakaavu temple & shopping at Thodupuzha
23-Aug - Sabarimala
24-Aug - Ettumanur-Panachikaadu-Malliyoor-Kadathuruthy-Vaikom & missed Chotanikara
25-Aug - Muvattupuzha-Kalady-Wadakanchery-Uthraalikaavu
26-Aug - Wadakanchery-Angadipuram-Guruvayoor-Wadakanchery
27-Aug - Ladies in shopping spree in Thrissur
28-Aug - Wadakanchery-Palakkad-Chennai (just back few hours ago)

Since I already mentioned, I'm no good in writing, you cannot expect fancy English or good writing skills; but I bet you can find lots of facts that are boring & MAY be interesting. While I'm getting few pictures formatted, here's a teaser
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Edit - I'm immensely Thankful to TBhp, especially on the travelogue's section. People who contribute to this section really made me feel & enjoy the trip. I can never forget this trip because I always had one thing in mind, take loads of pics to give back to the community & hence I was watching carefully around me (though I missed some of them) not to miss any details.

Last edited by aargee : 28th August 2010 at 22:29.
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Old 28th August 2010, 22:26   #2
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Wow man. Looks pretty impressive collage there. Would love to see bigger versions of these photos and waiting for the story too!
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Old 28th August 2010, 22:37   #3
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I am yet to see all the places mentioned by you. so bring it on
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Old 28th August 2010, 22:55   #4
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Default Day 1 - 21 Aug

Fridays are exceptionally terrible when you've some exciting plans & 20th being no exception. We'd a new project on its way & had loads of meetings & even a question on my vacation. Finally the vacation & leaves were agreed upon. With loads of purchases, several bags of clothes & a full tank on WagonR, we planned to leave home by 4:00 AM sharp.

As usual, when there're Ladies & Children nothing can escape from being tardy. So we'd left by 4:24 precise with ODO at 45980

Reached Ghar Dhaba at Thoppur by 7:55 precise & ODO clocks 46280. Filled up for about 22 litres now (mileage 13.6). Yeah, I was revving it like riding a R15 with A/C.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-004.jpg

After a good breakfast for Rs 265, we started towards Coimbatore. It was quite surprising that none of us took a break in the entire 300 Kms stretch from home to Thoppur. The roads were so nice.

Here're some random pics shot after Salem towards Coimbatore
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-005.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-007.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-009.jpg

Notice the clear instructions ; the board is damaged by some vehicle or some anti social, it reads like this - go up (fly???) for Madurai/Coimbatore, go back for Salem city & go forward for Salem junction. While in reality, it means, go forward for Madurai/Coimbatore, go left for Salem city & go right for Salem junction.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-014.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-022.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-030.jpg

We usually buy a Kg of Milk khoa from Aavin which is a favorite sweet for one of my Uncle. Due to the confusions on Friday, I missed it promptly & was happy to spot this on Salem-Erode-Coimbatore highway around 10:45 AM. This guy sells Peda but not Khoa. He was damn sure that I would not find Khoa anywhere in the locality except Chennai. Guess what? I had to buy the peda finally for Rs 140 half KG!!!
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-032.jpg

Finally we reached Madukarai at 12:51 when my ODO clocks 46501 which is the border of TN-KL. I was force to stop here after missing the Rajabhojanam on the left side & unable to find one on the right side. It was this board that captured my attention.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-040.jpg

Next to the Ghar Dhaba, yes the BP petrol bunk is from Ghar Dhaba, we find this beautiful looking "Fine Dine' restaurant. I'm happy that I found some good place to eat & what more? It carried Krishna Sweets logo & a few moments later there's a surprise...
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-043.jpg

I want to post the toll receipts, but I'm finding it lazy to move from the chair; so I'll scan & post the toll receipts at the end of this thread.

Last edited by aargee : 28th August 2010 at 22:58.
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Old 28th August 2010, 23:23   #5
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Default Day 1 - 21 Aug - continued...

So this beautiful looking restaurant serves unlimited food in form of buffet costing Rs 60 per head. I'm extremely happy with the price & shift my gear to my grumbling stomach.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-053.jpg

I'd about 5 mouthful & then realized I'm eating something that is too much spicy, like Andhra meals. Then I found that the culprit is the potato. Ok, but then I find an odd taste in rasam & then to realize that it has garlic. Well, I don't like garlic. Gave up 2 dishes, moved to Sambar rice.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-057.jpg

By now the owner gets some fries & my Son gets into full swing. He now has rice as side dish for the fries.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-058.jpg

I'm fed up of this food & I stop eating & go to fill gas; I tank up for 18 liter & shoot some photos & confirm this is Ghar Dhaba. Meanwhile, I speak with the incharge over there asking where're the sweets from Sri Krishna? She then says that they've obtained the contract for it, however it would take another 3 months for them to get things rolling as they're just 6 months old. If they are successful, then we can all have a good competition for Rajabhojanam. I strongly feel that Rajabhojanam should be real good as I was able to spot lot of cars, vans & buses parked there with loads of tourists for food. Meanwhile, I also get a good recipe on how to make an instant sweet porridge (payasam) at wink of an eye!!!
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-070.jpg

Here's the pic on sweet porridge
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-055.jpg


Anyway, I move on towards Palakkad at 13:36 & here's the road condition. Ideally this pic should be in Current roads condition to Kerala, but then it would get outdated in no time.
The route that I followed was Madukarai-Palakkad-Thrissur-Mannuthy. It was after this stretch my Mother was really tired & felt she should've not come by car for the first time. Just think about this, all through the morning from 4:00 Am to 13:00 PM she never complained on all 520 Kms, but the last 80 odd Kms were so bad that she started complaining my car & my driving!!!
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-077.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-078.jpg

From Mannuthy, it would be Chalakudy-Angamaly-Perumbavoor-Muvattupuzha. Now this route should ideally not take more than 2.5 hours (watch out the timing when I clock the same route on 25th). Ideally, Palakkad-Thrissur is 2 hours & Thrissur-MVPA another 2 hours, which mean, we should've reached home town by 17:30.

But owing to Onam season, the roads were jammed up real bad, I felt Bangalore & Hyderabad were better. There was traffic jam for entire 100 odd Kms. Seriously worst!!! One more surprising fact is that, there were huge number of cars & may be half or 1/3rd of motorcycles when compared to cars & most of them were sedans.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-081.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-085.jpg

There were few more interesting scenarios, like the cops escorting few cars amidst of the traffic jam, but then Wifey was against in taking pics, hence I gave up.

Finally after reaching Angamaly & taking diversion towards Perumbavoor, I give up my TBhpian status & become a perfect Indian driver to violate all rules as I'm completely devastated. I reach home town finally by 18:30 when ODO clocks 46662 Precise 682 Kms from my home to home town. Last time it was 690 because I forgot about the deviation from Angamaly to Perumbavoor & followed a little NH47 towards Aluva & back.

Last edited by aargee : 28th August 2010 at 23:31.
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Old 29th August 2010, 00:13   #6
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Default Day 2 - Aug 22

We spent some time with family & went to near by temple Puzhakarakaavu Devi temple. Well, I don't know the history, but can assure to find something if anyone is interested. Puzhakara means river bank, kaavu means temple, so literally the meaning is the Goddess at the temple located at the river bank. During monsoons, the temple is flooded with water that the temple cannot be opened. Even the inner sanctum is flooded with river water.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-123.jpg
Here's the prasadam that was offered
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-217.jpg
Onam is festival of flowers & you can see everyone from home, shops & public places has decoration with flower. This is the one at our home town.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-087.jpg
Some of them shot at random at shopping malls.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-241.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-243.jpg

Muvattupuzha (MVPA), my home town, is one of the biggest town in Ernakulam district & is at the border between Ernakulam & Idukki disricts. One of the biggest district in Idukki is Thodupuzha (TDPA) which is 20 Kms away from Muvattupuzha. By noon, I was driving on tracks from MVPA to TDPA as we'd to finish off shopping & return home soon before our daughter wakes up.

Red chilli churidhar materials are something that I found absolutely crazy when it comes to selection. They've a mammoth of collections that you go mad selecting them. The showroom at TDPA has changed from ordinary shop (last year) to retail & distributor ship for entire KL (this year). They were kind enough to offer a 10% discount for us.

Disclaimer - I'm no way related to Red chilli, but for a good customer. Having used their materials for more than an year now, I thought to add a few words on them.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-225.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-226.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-227.jpg

Wifey's shopping time makes everyone go bonkers & we're on shooting spree while my Son is fast asleep
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-229.jpg

Later we visit a Woodland's outlet to check some prices on shoes & only to find that they're at par with Bangalore & Chennai; so we turn back home disappointed.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-233.jpg

But the disappointment doesn't stay for long; wait until my Uncle returns home that evening & we make a plan at wink of an eye. The information I'm going to share, I'm sure that will be very interesting for the readers here.
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Old 29th August 2010, 00:24   #7
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Hmm.
Food looks amazing.
Guess your mother got tired due to a combination of factors. Non stop drive in a small car, traffic jam, last bit of bad roads, over 6 hours of drive in a day.

And that jam looks nasty. real nasty.
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Old 29th August 2010, 00:27   #8
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Default Day 3 - Aug 23

Every time I visit a near by Swami Ayyappan temple, I always pray, if I would ever make to Sabarimalai this year & even if I did, would I be able to walk for that long? I'd been regular since 2000 & started missing since 2007.

My Uncle comes home that evening & we decide to make to Sabarimalai Monday early morning, after all, its just 2 districts (Idukki-Pathanamthitta) away from us & just 130 Kms. So it would be myself, Uncle & 2 of my cousins.

We decide to take my Uncle's WagonR as mine has the trouble on braking that has been posted on the thread on http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...er-change.html (Suggestion Req - WagonR bumper change)

We plan to leave by about 03:00 in the morning & like gentleman's promise, my Uncle rolls the car out of the gate sharp 02:00 in the morning. Though its just 130 Kms, it takes about 3 hours getting there due to the twists & hilly drives.

I didn't take much pics because it was pitch dark outside when we're driving through forests. Here's the route we took Muvattupuzha-Thodupuzha-Muttom-Erattupetta-Kanjirapalli-Erumeli-Pampa.
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Here're one pic that's barely visible to notice
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-264.jpg
Finally we reach the holy river Pampa around 4:30 AM; we take a quick nap for about 30 minutes & all set to walk. I was somehow reminded about MX6's hand held shot on Mahabaleshwar temple??? (not sure)
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-269.jpg

Last edited by aargee : 29th August 2010 at 00:29.
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Old 29th August 2010, 00:46   #9
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Oh man. Please don't blur out faces in the photos. If you are not ok with sharing, then don't put those up. Doesn't feel good at looking at disfigured faces up here.
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Old 29th August 2010, 00:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Wow man. Looks pretty impressive collage there. Would love to see bigger versions of these photos and waiting for the story too!
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
I am yet to see all the places mentioned by you. so bring it on
Thanks Guys; In a way I should Thank you SVB & also SS-Traveller as both of you taught me on how to watch out for things & make little notes. Though I've not been following it avidly, I'm sure I'll remember this trip for long because I've taken efforts to note down details to post here. The only 2 places for which you'll not find much info is Guruvayoor & Mummiyoor as I did not carry camera on account of security violation. Anyway, I'll try penning them down without pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6
Oh man. Please don't blur out faces in the photos. If you are not ok with sharing, then don't put those up. Doesn't feel good at looking at disfigured faces up here.
Err...what do I do as I'm not comfortable exposing their faces on the net but not for sharing the pics. Don't post those pics? Then you'll be missing lots of pics; most of the temples & shops ban me from taking pics as if I'm a terrorist with AK47 hidden inside S5IS. However, when the pic is taken along with one of my friend or relative, they don't question. So most of my shots are shot along with my family members. What do you want me to do? Post or avoid?

Last edited by aargee : 29th August 2010 at 01:02.
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Old 29th August 2010, 01:04   #11
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well, it looks very odd to see photos with all blurred faces. so your call.
We did see another travelogue (one to Pondicherry and Karaikaal) where the member had blanked out the faces too. And it was pointed out by other members due to which he didn't post any!
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Old 29th August 2010, 01:29   #12
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Default Day 3 - Aug 24

We quickly got into one of those so called hotels where the kitchen is thrown in the front; sorry that I couldn't get one of those. Anyway, that was only to safe guard our belongings & then went to Pampa for a quick sink to purify ourselves. Two of my cousins & me are allergic to cold water & hence we only washed our face, hands & legs & then started walking uphill around 5:30-5:45 AM. I didn't take much pics as it was too dark & the pics weren't that good to look with flash.

Last 3 years have changed the hill so much; 99% of the way has been laid with concrete path both for steep walk as well as with steps. The way also has been broadened with hand rails on both the sides. I also came to know that the KL Govt is planning for a helipad facility. So visiting lord Ayyappa would become a child's play going forward.

In the 60's, my Grandfather & great grandfather used to hire 2 cars for the entire family, drive upto Erumeli & keep waiting to look out to drive as company for other cars for several hours as it used to be very dangerous driving through the forest.

With things getting easier, there was no shortage for beggars who were absent during the 2000s. My Uncle was donating liberally to them for which I strongly objected. He calmly told the reason as why he was donating. Reason being that the Sabarimalai Temple is with KL Govt's hand & is using the money for several other purpose along with improving the temple's facilities, while the same Govt doesn't want to take over a single Church or Mosque in KL. This was quite disappointing to hear but still I couldn't justify encouraging beggars.

Here's some pics on the uphill path; look at this pic as the Govt planning to introduce the caging kind of structure like the one in Tirupati except that this is an open cage.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-287.jpg

Typical concrete path
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-291.jpg

Tall trees
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-295.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-308.jpg

Fence to protect the side walk; this was absent during my last visit in 2006
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-299.jpg

Finally we reach the top at around 7:15 AM. Here're some pooja's along with its rate card that can be performed.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-310.jpg

This is the long shed from which the queue used to start atleast a decade back. But this has been proving insufficient for the present crowd & probably that's the reason for caging structures too
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-311.jpg

Horrible guys sticking some meaningless posters on the temple's information board. Again, this wasn't the case several years back.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-314.jpg

This is the large hall where the queue goes up & down fashion before entering into the main way that leads to the holy 18 steps.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-316.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-320.jpg
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Old 29th August 2010, 01:42   #13
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cool. The last I went to Sabari hills was in 1988. And in 22 years, the place looks totally different.
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Old 29th August 2010, 01:49   #14
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Quote:
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Food looks amazing.
Even I got fooled by that

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Guess your mother got tired due to a combination of factors. Non stop drive in a small car, traffic jam, last bit of bad roads, over 6 hours of drive in a day.
Well 6 hours drive? My Mother wasn't tired today; we started at 4:00 AM sharp from Wadakanchery, reached Kalpathy by 5:30; started from Kalpathy by 8:25, reached Thopur by 13:00, left Thoppur by 13:55 & reached Chennai by 17:00. She didn't ask for a single break though we offered to stop. I guess more than the small car, the bad roads mattered a lot.

Quote:
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well, it looks very odd to see photos with all blurred faces. so your call.
We did see another travelogue (one to Pondicherry and Karaikaal) where the member had blanked out the faces too. And it was pointed out by other members due to which he didn't post any!
Well, I think I've right to protect privacy of my friends & relatives; I do not like to get anyone into any sort of trouble by posting their pics on the net just for pleasing few people out there.

To make it look more odd, I could've simply used MS Paint brush & put down a blunt white rectangle around the face which would look more awkward. However I installed PS, carried out the blurring work & then posting to make it look as much good as possible & protecting the privacy at the same time.
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Old 29th August 2010, 02:10   #15
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Well, I told you it's your call. You have all the right over what you post here. It still looks odd.
But how about instead of blurring out, do something creative like below?

My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-229.jpg
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