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Old 10th August 2011, 15:50   #31
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Default Re: Vesta tours and travels: Reboot life - Kerala - Kanyakumari - Kodaikanal Couple t

Kodai Kanal - Day 10

Being wiser from our previous experiences, we first headed to Tourist Information Center after breakfast, to decide on day’s activities. The TIC at Kodai kanal is pretty well equipped with maps of almost all tourist sections of Tamil Nadu. We took opted for the English maps (there were some in regional languages too). Also we had a local tourist company’s day tour list. I find such day tour itineraries very helpful. Usually you can cover a full day taxi tour in a half day by private vehicle. Besides, as these tours are mostly linear, that is on tour covers points on one side of the town and doesn’t go crisscross; you can cover all the famous tourist spots properly.

The tour plan in Kodai kanal seemed pretty linear. There were countless taxis going to one direction only, evidently on a day tour. We followed them, and reached to the first stop, Telescope house. But it was closed on account of Sunday. There was hardly anything to watch either, because of fog. And a gang of monkeys was following us, so I didn’t dare to take out the camera. Running after a monkey shouting for my camera was not part of today’s itinerary.

After the view point, next stop is Fairy falls. The road to this water falls goes through an ungodly steep road. After climbing down a lot, you finally come to this waterfall. Surprisingly this had fair amount of water in it. Just after the monsoon, it would be grand, but then it would have a lot of competition from its neighbouring waterfalls.

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The taxis were seen returning from this point, but when we checked the map, it showed an Apple Research Center just ahead. Seeing it market on the tourist map, we guessed it would be open to tourists, and headed that way. A big closed gate stopped us. Seeing that there was no guard, we quietly opened the gate, and entered. Some distance inside, there are lots of green houses, with various plants. These are seemingly not commercial ones, but government research ones, so cleanliness was not a point high on agenda. But the collection of plants was good. The atmosphere was so eerie in the green house with some twisted looking plants, that Nandinee refused to enter more than a step’s distance inside it.<br /> <br /> <img src=
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Old 11th August 2011, 16:20   #32
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Lesson of a lifetime - Day 11

Like good tourists, we decided to do the ‘activities’ of the town before leaving for next halt. Or at least some of them. Kodaikanal is a hill station built by Americans, the only one set up by them here. It it is mainly a supporting town for Kodaikanal International School. But I think it was before it gained tourists attraction. Because we spotted much more number of tourists than the KIS students, contrary to what the guide book was suggesting. Almost all town seemed to live on tourist income, which is understandable for a hill station.

There are many bicycle hire shops spread around in town. Some are from locals, some seem unionized, and some even from companies like Hero and Atlas. You get a wide variety of good quality cycles from them to roam around. Roaming around is a term very loosely used here, because all town is a roller coaster ride with steep inclines and declines. Unless someone is in pristine shape and is regularly cycling, I would suggest against the thorough cycle-sight-seeing. You would go very merrily on the downward slopes, but climbing upwards seemed very difficult for non-cycling folks like ourselves.

But the thought of cycling through the beautiful town is irresistible. So we hired a two-seater cycle to have a go around the lake. The road was flat, still the ride was exhausting but at the same time very involving. On motorcycle, you have this machine between you and the world, which you can rely to keep distance from others if needed. On cycle, you are a part of the world! The speed is not that high, you can’t put too much distance from anyone, and don’t have to worry about right gear or engine knocking. When your heart starts knocking, you know it’s time to slow down!

From 14 odd Braking Horse Power to 2 Human Power:

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Later, we went for boating in the lake. There was hardly any crowd, because the off season and the fact that it was already 12 noon. The boat ride seemed very heavy when we were dragging by the shorelines, but once we went inside the lake, suddenly the resistance of water seemed very less, and we could peddle fast. <br /> <br /> <img src=
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Old 26th August 2011, 16:50   #33
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Munnar - Day 12

As had become our protocol now, the first thing we would visit in a tourist town was to visit the Tourist Information Center. Bought a map from the TIC, and found these helpful routes painted on the outer wall of the same building.

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Old 6th September 2011, 11:35   #34
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Default Re: Vesta tours and travels: Reboot life - Kerala - Kanyakumari - Kodaikanal Couple t

ani_meher - Being a Keralite, I am ashamed I never did such a trip . When I read Couple Tour in your title, never thought you were doing it in a bike. Congrats to both of you for taking such a enthu step, I'm sure this will be a most memorable trip in your life.

Moreover I was planning a Kodai trip this October and this TL is a good starter. Happy blogging!
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Old 6th September 2011, 15:55   #35
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Default Re: Vesta tours and travels: Reboot life - Kerala - Kanyakumari - Kodaikanal Couple t

As usual a 5 * thread. Hence the rating from my side. And I regret not meeting two of the members when I was in Pune. One is you and the other is CN (Chevylover).
It is high time you upgrade to a DSLR.
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Old 13th September 2011, 12:01   #36
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Back to the lands - Day 13

Today we would return to the flat lands, to hot weather. For about past 7 days, we were roaming around in the hills enjoying the coolness. We were near the end of our trip, and these days were not too crowded. When we modified the itinerary for visiting Kollam and dropped Athirapally, we rescheduled our later days, which enabled us to have two days each at Periyar, Kodaikanal and Munnar. Two days of visit seemed perfect to these spots. This also gave us one extra day, which we decided to spend on Kalady – Adi Shankaracharya's birth place, and Kodanad, where elephants are trained for safari.

Climbing down from Munnar

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Old 13th September 2011, 12:07   #37
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Kodanad - Kalady – Ernakulam - Day 14

We woke up hurriedly in morning, because we were visiting Kodanad as well as Kalady at the same visit, and thus had to be bathed and all before going to temples. The roads were wonderfully vacant at morning, and I could cover good distance in short time. At 7.45 A.M. we reached Kodanad Elephant Training Center and Zoo. We saw a very small elephant, about waist-high, getting royal bath from a worker of the zoo. The kid was clearly enjoying the cool water, seeing how it danced around and stretched itself to allow the worker to reach hard spots.

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Unfortunately the guard had not come yet, and the workers did not know any language other than Malyalam. They were also answering us in loud scolding type of way, which at first startled us. But when we saw them later handling the elephants, we realized this is the way they talk to elephants, and thus are habituated to do so all the time.<br /> <br />
At about 8, slowly the elephants started moving outwards. We were wondering where the bathing takes place. At that time, the guard had arrived. He said ‘follow the elephants!’ and so we did. The huge animals walk their own pace, and so we had to stop again and again, for not missing them en route. After a 5 minute walk, they turned left to approach the river flowing besides the town. Surprisingly a large number of people, 90% of them foreigners, were already gathered there. Seems this spot is more famous with foreigners than with Indians. I don’t remember Kodanad being on any tourist agency’s itinerary. <br /> <br /> <img src=

Last edited by ani_meher : 13th September 2011 at 12:33.
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Old 13th September 2011, 12:35   #38
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Cochin - Day 15

You get some really good hotels in big towns, and in Ernakulam, we ate our breakfast in a hotel that served giants. We were so full, that lunch was no more on the day’s agenda. MG Road leads to Fort Kochi after a myriad turns. It turned out to be – well, disappointment will be too harsh a word, but – something of a too touristy thing. Maybe after drinking the beauty of Kerala and some of Tamilnadu, Fort Kochi simply didn’t have anything that could top it. There are few text book spots. One is a church where in past some Spanish sailors were buried, and now the tombstones from those graves are placed on walls! I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty weird and scary to see the stones decorating a church wall, that once covered the dead.

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Old 13th September 2011, 12:35   #39
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Travelling back to home - Day 16

In the wee hours of the morning, the helpful hotel attendant fetched a rickshaw for us to travel to station. Though we were hardly few hundred meters from the station, the luggage made sure we would need a rickshaw. We reached the train, half expecting Vesta to be standing outside the parcel van. To our surprise, the bike was already loaded in the train, and the luggage bogie sealed. The train guard confirmed the safe loading of the bike, and informed that this was the only luggage in the bogie today! Seemed that like us, Vesta too would be traveling leisurely on her journey back.

As expected, this train did not have any pantry car. It is really questionable, that many of the long distance and non Garib-rath trains do not have pantry car. I thought pantry car increased the revenue of railways only, so what’s the harm in attaching them to trains that travel for more than 24 hours?

But now the travelers as well as the agents in trains are too used to this. We got timely breakfasts and meals from a gentleman travelling in the same train, who was actually an agent who arranges such things regularly. Breakfast consisted of hot idlis, but the lunch and dinners were of rice only. Being in Kerala for past two weeks, we already had too much of rice, and were longing to eat chapattis and other Maharashtrian meals. This is a superfast train, taking a handful of halts. Without any problem, we reached Pune on the next morning. Taking down the bike at Pune station is always a grand function, and this time was no different. The railway porters were nowhere to be seen. So I pushed the bike myself to the parcel office to get it released, paid the customary tip to the station police who clears the bike for taking it away. Poured the petrol that we carried from Ernakulam, and headed home. By 7 A.M., we were at home, our professional lives awaiting us. There would be a lot of work pending from these 18 days away from it. House to be dusted, projects to be completed, files to be updated, but now we were fully charged to take anything head on. Till the next tour!
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Old 13th September 2011, 12:36   #40
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Thoughts on the tour

We had modified the itinerary on the go, because of hectic rides. The final itinerary that we followed is this:

Day 1 - Ernakulam – Alapuzha
Day 2 -Alapuzha - Kollam
Day 3 - Kollam - Kanyakumari
Day 4 – Kanyakumari
Day 5 - Kanyakumari - Trivendrum - Veli - Shangumugham beach
Day 6 - Pazhavangadi Ganapathy - Padmabhaswamy temple - Trivendrum - Kumarakom
Day 7 – Kumarakom - Vagamon - Periyar
Day 8 - Periyar Sight seeing
Day 9 - Thekkady - Kodaikanal
Day 10 - Kodaikanal Sight seeing
Day 11 - Kodaikanal - Munnar
Day 12 - Munnar Sight seeing
Day 13 – Munnar – Kalady - Angamaly
Day 14 - Angamaly - Ernakulam
Day 15 - Ernakulam sight seeing
Day 16 - Catch morning train to Pune

As the Athirapally waterfalls were most probably dried out, the above itinerary suited us best. It even allowed us to add two off beat locations that are not usually on any travel companies itineraries; the beautiful Kollam and the elephant training center in Kodanad.

We toured the states Kerala and bits of Tamilnadu without any worry. Not knowing the language was a hindrance, but not so much as to take the fun away. A small state in this huge country, Kerala is making great progress. It has its share of industry, but it hasn’t lost its touch of nature. As mentioned before, the use of river as travelling option is something that should be learnt by other states, especially Maharashtra. A land of hard workers, with highest literacy rate in India, Kerala is not the perfect tourist state in India, but is taking great steps towards becoming one.

There are few negatives too. Anything with the word ‘tourist’ comes with a price tag of twice of more than what it is actually worth. Language barrier can be looked at as funny, but is a real pain in tight situations. The boards on roads written in local language do not aid to the image of tourist state. Some spots like Aleppy are already too much exploited and are fast losing their image of natural beauty, because of increasing numbers of boats in the small canals and the large infestation of water hyacinths. The rickshaw wallas needed to be humanized a lot, both for driving as well as for attitude.

But the positives overwhelm the negatives. The people are nice, and there is a tendency to attend the visitor well. The land itself, so fertile and beautiful, is very welcoming. We did not feel unsafe anywhere. When we visit Kerala again, may be after 5-10 years, it would have surely developed a lot. We only hope that the development doesn’t occur on the cost of nature, the way it had happened in Mumbai and is happening in Pune. In future, such spots will become rarer, and I really hope Kerala will still be there at the top of the list of ‘must visit places’.
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Old 13th September 2011, 12:39   #41
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I would appreciate your suggestions and comments on above travelogue. It gives me great pleasure as a writer to share my views with everyone, and every little advice and comment helps.
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Old 13th September 2011, 12:50   #42
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Superb account Aniruddha. I do enjoy reading all your travelogues! And hats off to your partner for being as enthusiastic about biking trips as you are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
‘How is this saree looking, Aniruddha? Good na?’
‘I think it will rain early this year.’
‘I thought so too… please pack this. Eww, look at the color of this! What do you think?’
‘Sine theta by cos theta equals tan theta’.
‘Absolutely. Who could wear this?!’
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Old 13th September 2011, 13:28   #43
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As always fantastic account of your trip Aniruddha! As sajo has mentioned hats off to your partner for her enthusiasm and efforts.

Just one suggestion from my side: it would be great if you could include the word 'bike' or '2 wheeler' (or equivalent) in the title so that fellow bhpians and readers know this is a long trip done by bike.

Also,
- maybe OT here, but any update/ progress on your Jazz prospects?
- do you want to bring Vesta tours to Kaas this Saturday?
- you mentioned a Rajasthan trip. Did you do this by bike and do you have an existing account here on tbhp?

Last edited by selfdrive : 13th September 2011 at 13:29.
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:09   #44
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Thanks sajo and selfdrive!

The Rajasthan trip log can be read on
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...rajasthan.html (Vesta Tours and Travels: Package for adventurous couples - Explore Rajasthan!)

About Jazz, bit budget constraints as well as ever hopeful mind for mini xylo are two things that are holding me back. Still a few months away, I think :(

Saturday @ Kaas sounds good. Are you planning a trip or a get together? I was planning for a Satara ride this saturday, maybe we can meet there.

I will try whether I can edit the post title for adding 'motorcycle trip'. Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 13th September 2011, 14:26   #45
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Default Re: Vesta tours and travels: Reboot life - Kerala - Kanyakumari - Kodaikanal Couple t

@ani_meher,
its wonderful travelogue,
i must quote that after long time, T-bhp got a proper travelogue.[ 5* from me]

Its me and my wife wishing to have the bike tour like yours since long time but d-day has not arrived yet.

We all would like to meet you enthusiastic couple at kaas coming Saturday.

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 13th September 2011 at 14:44.
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