God's Own Country

Enchanting Kerala

God's Own Country

Enchanting Kerala

God's Own Country

Enchanting Kerala

God's Own Country

Enchanting Kerala

God's Own Country

Enchanting Kerala

1 September 2009

Mannin Manam_Ponnona Tharangini

19 August 2009

Onam the festival of Kerala

Onam Festival is celebrated in the beginning of the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kolla Varsham) called Chingam . This month corresponds to August-September in Gregorian Calendar and Bhadrapada or Bhadon in Indian (Hindu) Calendar.
The celebration of Onam as a national festival was taken up on Government initiative in Kerala in 1961.The celebrations start formally on the day of Atham asterism. Onam has certain social aspects. It provides an occasion for the family get-together for the Keralites. The head of the family presents clothes as gift (Onapudava) to the junior members, servants and tenants. DAYS OF ONAM
Atham-------Day One Chithir--------Day Two Chodhi--------Day Three Visakam------Day Four Anizham------Day Five Thriketa------Day Six Moolam-------Day Seven Pooradam --- Day Eight Uthradam ----Day Nine Thiruvonam - Day Ten
Onam carnival continues for ten days, starting from the day of Atham and culminating on Thiru Onam. Atham and Thiru Onam are the most important days for Onam festivities. The day of Atham is decided by the position of stars. Onam festival commences from lunar asterism (a cluster of stars smaller than a constellation) Atham (Hastha) that appears ten days before asterism Onam or Thiru Onam. Atham is regarded as auspicious and holy day by people of Kerala. Thiru Onam corresponds to the Shravan day in the month of August or September, hence it is also called Sravanotsavam.
Onam is the biggest and the most important festival of Kerala. Festivities of Onam continue for ten long days. From atham to thiruvonam.
Rituals for the Atham Day Main feature of this day is that making of Pookalam or the flower carpet starts from this day. Atha Poo is prepared in the front courtyard by girls of the house to welcome the spirit of King Mahabali in whose honour Onam is celebrated. Boys play a supporting role and help in gathering flowers. In the following days, more flowers are added to Pookalam. As a result Pookalam turns out to be of massive size on the final day.
Rituals for the ninth day-Utradam On the Utradamday tenants and depends of Tharawads give presents to Karanavar , the eldest member of the family. These presents are usually the produce of their farms consisting of vegetables, coconut oil, plantains etc. This gift from the villagers to Karanavar on Onam are called 'Onakazhcha' . A sumptuous treat is offered is offered by Karanavar in return for Onakazhcha.
Thiruvonam Kerala appears in its grandiose best on this day. Cultural extravaganza, music and feasts add colours of merriment and joy to the God's Own Country. There are celebrations all around the state and everybody takes active participation in them; Onam has assumed a secular character and is celebrated by people of all religions and communities. On the day of Thiruvonam conical figures in various forms are prepared from sticky clay and are painted red. These are decorated with a paste made of rice-flour and water and are placed in the front court yard and other important places in the house. Some of these clay figures are in the shape of cone and others represent figures of Gods. Those in the shape of a cone are called, 'Trikkakara Appan'. Trikkara is also said to be the capital in the reign of legendary King Maveli.
The Feast - Onasadya After completing the morning rituals, it is time for the family to get ready for the grand meal called Onasadya the meal is served to all present. The elaborate meal consists of 11 to 13 strictly vegetarian dishes and is served on banana leaves. There is a fixed order of serving the meal and a set place to serve the various dishes on the leaf.
Pickles
Pappadam
Plantain Chips
Thoran
Aviyal
Olan
Erissery
Kichady
Pachady
Rice
Parippu
Sambar
Rasam
Pulissery
PayasamUsually a banana leaf is used as the plate. All the curries (pickles through pachadi) are served on the leaf. Then the main dish, rice, is served. The first course is parippu, butter and pappadam. The next course is sambar over rice. Next comes the payasam, which is not mixed with the rice. Rasam and then pulissery over rice follows. The feast is completed with serving the yogurt over the rice. Optionally a banana may also be served with the feast.
Dances and Games After the grand meal, it's time for people to indulge in recreational activities and enjoy the festival. Men of strength and vigour go in for rigorous sports while senior and sober members pass time by playing indoor games like chess and cards. There is a set of traditional games to be played on Onam which are collectively called, Onakalikal . Onam is a festival of total celebration and geity with lots of games a few of them are
ONAM POOKALAM
Pookalam is a colourful arrangement of flowers on the floor. Tradition of decorating Pookalam is extremely popular in Kerala and is followed as a ritual in every household during ten-day-long(Atham to Thiruvonam)Onam celebrations. Various flowers are used on each day as a specific flower is dedicated to each day of Onam. Commonly used flowers include Thumba , Kakka Poovu, Thechipoovu, Mukkutti , Chemparathy , Aripoo or Konginipoo , Hanuman Kireedom and Chethi . Of all these flowers, Thumba flowers are given more importance in Pookalam as they are small in size and glitter in the the soft rays of the sun.
Onam Games (Onakalikal)When the meals are over, members of the family used to participate in the games. There are both in-door and out door games and recreations. The older and more sedate members of the family have a game of chess, dice or cards. The younger and the more robust join in the noisy merry-making outside. The outdoor recreations consist of
Talappanthukali, Kayyankali, Archery or Ambeyyal, Kutukutu, others like Pulikali, Kummattikali, Thumbi Thullal, Kaikotti kali and the Vallam kali etc.
Talappanthukali
The foot-ball or 'Talappanthukali' is par-excellence the game for Onam. Pantukali is the most important out-door game. The ball is made by wrapping up layers of dried-up plantain leaves with some pebbles inside for giving the required weight and the whole thing is tied up with plantain fiber or coconut fiber to the size of a tennis ball.
Combats
Combats are of two kinds, those that are undertaken singly and those held in batches. The first is known as Kayyankali and the second as Attakalam. Kayyankali is a combat and an extremely violent one. Men of strength play it on the occasion of Onam. To play Kayyankali men fight one-to-one without using any weapon and the stronger man wins. Attakalam is the second combat game played on the occasion of Onam. The first being 'Kayyankali'. Attakalam is less dangerous and aggressive of the two. The other difference between the two combats is that while Attakalam is played in batches, Kayyankali is played singly.
Ambeyyal
Archery or Ambeyyal as it is popularly called in Kerala, is one of the many games played on the occasion of Onam. The game tests the skill and patience of a player and is played by men.
Kutukutu
Kutukutu is a popular and entertaing game played during the festival of Onam. It is a fun game and very much like the popular game of Kabaddi played in several parts of India. Though simple in nature, the game is an extremely challenging one as it tests strength, speed, tact and the power of lungs of a player.
Kummattikali A mask dance popular in North Kerala. The dancers go dancing from house to house. The Major Kummati Character is Thalla or Witch while others represent the various deities of the Vedic pantheon. Songs are basically devotional and are normally accompanied by a bow like instrument called Ona-Villu. Spectators generally join in the performances as no training is required in this art. 'Kummattikali' is one of the famous folk dances associated with temples. This mask dance is associated with the Devi temples in Palghat district and is a secular art form. Kummatti dancers wear brightly painted wooden masks and don a costume made of leaves and grass. They go from house to house, singing and dancing, during the Onam festival. Kaikottikalli
Kaikottikali, also known as thiruvathirakali, is a very popular, graceful and symmetric group-dance of the women of Kerala often performed during festive seasons like Thiruvathira and Onam. It is a simple and gentle dance with the lasya element predominating, even though the thandava part is also brought in occasionally, when men also participate as seen in some parts of the Malabar area. Typically dressed in Kerala style with mandu and neriyathu and the hairbun bedecked with jasmine garlands the women dance in gay abandon, singing melodious Thiruvathira songs which are well-reputed for their literary flourish. One of the performers sing the first line of a song while the rest repeat it in chorus, clapping their hands in unison. Moving in a circle, clockwise and at time anticlockwise, at every step they gracefully bend sideways, the arms coming together in beautiful gestures, upwards and downwards and to either side, in order to clap.
Thumbi Thullal
Thumbi Thullal is a folk dance performed by a group of women who sit in the formation of a circle. The lead performer sits inside the circle and initiates the song. Some women also perform the clap dance dressed in their best clothes and ethnic jewelry. While men engage themselves in energetic sports, womenfolk perform Thumbi Thullal and have their share of fun. Wearing their best sarees, stunning jewelery and fragrant gajras, a group of women sit in the formation of circle to play Thumbi Thullal. In the centre of the circle sits the main performer. Lead singer initiates a song in her melodious voice by singing the first couplet which is taken up by other women. The sequence continues song after song with the lead singer initiating the couplet every time followed by a chorus from other women. Joyful clap dance also goes on in rhythm with the singing.
One of the main attractions of Onam, is the 'Vallamkali' or boat races of Karuvatta, Payippad, Aranmula and Kottayam. Hundreds of oarsmen row traditional boats to the rhythm of drums and cymbals. These long graceful Snake Boats called 'Chundans' are named after their exceedingly long hulls and high sterns that resemble the raised hood of a cobra. Then there are 'Odis', the small and swift raiding crafts adorned with gold tasseled silk umbrellas, the 'Churulans' with their elaborately curled prows and sterns, and the 'Veppus', a kind of cook-boat. This traditional village rivalry on watercrafts reminds one of ancient naval warfare. Thousands throng the banks to cheer and watch the breathtaking show of muscle power, rowing skills and rapid rhythm. These boats - all pitted against their own kind - rip through the backwaters of Kerala in a tussle of speed.
To read more about onam and its history pls visit:
http://www.ourkeralatrip.com/festivals/onam

8 August 2009

Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Nehru Trophy Boat Race, the most colourful water sport in Kerala, is conducted at PUNNAMADA LAKE in Alappuzha on the second saturday of every August. This prestigious cultural event of Kerala has been attracting people from all over the world. Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a festival for the people of Alleppey the main attraction of which is the sportive sprits among the participants of the race.

This trophy named as NEHRU TROPHY was donated by the late Prime Minister of INDIA Jawaharlal Nehru to the winners of the first boat race which was an impromptu one conducted in 1952 in honour of Panditji who visited Alappuzha. This aquatic festival fosters a sense of unity and fraternity and sports man spirit event and attaching foreign tourists also.

In the year 1952, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visited the erstwhile Travancore-Cochin. On his way to Alleppey from Kottayam he was given a roaring reception by the people of Alleppey, escorted by the huge snake-boats. Having gone through the tremendous excitement of sailing in a snake-boat popularly known as Chundan, Jawaharlal Nehru donated a rolling trophy to be awarded to the winner.

The trophy is a replica of a snake-boat in silver, placed on wooden abacus on which the following words of Panditji are inscribed above his signature.
In and around Alappuzha , more than ten boat races are held every year . Among them , Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the biggest and the most famous event in its kind. The world renowned Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held at Punnamada lake in Alappuzha on the second saturday of August every year . This year the event falls on 9th August , 2003 . The major attraction of the boat race is the competition of snake boats or chundanvallams. for the Nehru Trophy Boat Race all the 18 snake boats of the state will participate.The race course , having a length of about 1370 mts , is divided into various tracks for the conduct of the competition. When they are advancing through various tracks , it appears like the fast moving snakes . The oarsmen splash the oars in unison with the rhythmic chants and beats of drum. The movement of competing boats are so thrilling that the spectators get in tune with the excited mood of the surrounding uproars.Nehru trophy boat race is the event which draws the largest number of tourists to kerala every year and the government authorities spend huge volumes of money for the conduct of the boat race even then this event is not being given its due share of presence on the internet.So i have set up this website to provide quality information about this magnificient race to all the people who are interested world over.

Other Boat races held in August/September

Aranmula, Uthrattadi Vallamkali.
Champakulam Moolam Boat Race.
Payippad Jalotsavam.
ATDC Boat Race, Alappuzha.
Rajiv Gandhi Boat Race, Pulinkunnu.
Neerettupuram Boat Race.
Kumarakom Boat Race.
Karuvatta Boat Race.
Kavanattinkara Boat Race,
Kumarakom Arpookara Vanitha Jalamela,
Kottayam Mahatma Boat Race, Mannar.
Thazhathangadi Boat Race,Kottayam.
Kottapuram Boat Race,
Kodungallur and Kumaranasan Smaraka Jalotsavam, Pallana.

The Indira Gandhi Boat Race is held on the Ernakulam Lake during the Cochin Carnival in the last week of December.


23 July 2009

Monsoon in Kerala




The Monsoons in Kerala do not take the pattern of incessant rains continuing for weeks. Virtually it rains for a few hours with sunny interludes. Occasionally the rains might stretch on for a few days but the respite of sunshine is never far away. People look forward to seeing the sun peep through the wet palm fronds and rain drenched green. These golden interludes provide an equilibrium to life's natural flow.

Kerala has mainly two rainy seasons. The Southwest Monsoon that arrives in the month of June is called Edavappathy, as it comes in the middle of the month of Edavam on the Malayalam Calendar.

Mid October witnesses the arrival of the Northeast Monsoon. In the Malayalam calendar this month is called Thulam and hence the name Thulavarsham meaning the 'The Rains in Thulam'. Now the gathering rain clouds are from the Bay of Bengal. These bearers of rain hurry to Kerala through the Palakkad Gap in the Western Ghats. The swirling, jostling, billowing dark messenger of life sailing on the wings of northeast winds is a breathtaking sight to behold.

The art forms of Kerala demand the utmost dedication and training. These native art forms require complete control over each nerve of the body. As part of this training the artists undergo ayurvedic therapies. Special herbal oils and medications are applied on the body of the artist during the Monsoon time to ensure muscle flexibility and dexterity of movement.

As nature recoups with the rains, it is rejuvenation time for humans too. According to Ayurveda, Monsoon is the best season for rejuvenation therapies. During the Monsoon season, the atmosphere remains dust-free and cool, opening the pores of the body to the maximum, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy.

12 May 2009

Real Kerala

8 April 2009

Ayurveda In Kerala





Kerala is the spiritual and historical to the healing system called Ayurveda, which in many ways is thr original models for the world's other healing systems such as Western Medicine.

Ayurveda is the science and Art of living life in a manner useful to society. It has for its objects the preservation of health in the healthy and the restoration of health to the diseased. The word Veda in Ayurveda has been taken by all authorities to imply that it is both a part of and addendum to the great Vedas which have also been admitted by all savants of the West as "the oldest literature of the World". At the beginning of the creation, it is said, Brahma, the creator of the world recollected and created the vedas along with Ayurveda in a book form named Brahma Samhita which is not available today extends over a thousand chapters comprising altogether 100,000 slokas. Brahma first of all taught Ayurveda to Prajapati and who taught it to Aswanikumaras, then to Indra, after him there developed two schools of Ayurvedic science- Athreya School of physicians and Dhanwantari School of Surgeons.

Ayurveda originated in
India more than 10,000 years ago and is believed to be the oldest healing science in existence, from which all other systems emerged. It deals elaborately with measures for healthful living during the entire span of life and its various phases. Besides, dealing with principles for maintenance of health, it has also developed a wide range of therapeutic measures to combat illness. These principles of positive health and therapeutic measures relate to physical, mental, social and spiritual welfare of human beings.

Prime Treatments in Ayurveda

Pizhichil
– It is one among the rare and special treatments of Kerala. In this treatment, lukewarm herbal oils are applied all over the body by two to four trained therapists in a special rhythmic way continuously for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 7 to 21 days. This treatment is done in a special table made from a single piece of Strychnos Nuxvomica wood. This treatment is very useful for Rheumatic diseases like arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, paralysis – agitanus, sexual weakness, nervous weakness and nervous disorders etc.
Njavarakizhi – It is a type of sudation process in which the whole body or any specific part there of is made to perspire by the
application of certain medicinal puddings externally in the form of boluses tied up in muslin bag. Two to four masseurs apply this for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 14 days. This treatment is for all types of rheumatism, pain in the joints, emaciation of limbs, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and certain kind of skin diseases.
Sirodhara – Sira – means Head and Dhara means the continuous flow of a liquid. In this process some herbal oils, medicated milk, medicated butter milk etc, are poured on the forehead in a special method of about 40 minutes in a day for a period of 7 to 21 days. This treatment is mainly for insomnia, loss of memory, headaches, mental tension and certain skin diseases.
Vasthi – Otherwise known as Medicated Enema. Vasthi is a Therapeutic procedure in which certain herbal oils, herbal extracts, etc are applied through the rectum daily for a period of 5 to 25 days. This treatment is effective for arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, numbness,
gastric complaints, rheumatism and chronic constipation.
Sirovasthi – Certain lukewarm herbal oils are poured into a cap fitted on the head and held for 15 to 60 minutes per day according to the patient’s conditions for a period of 07 days. This treatment is highly effective for facial paralysis, dryness of nostrils, mouth and throat, severe headaches and other diseases of the head.
Udvarthanam – This treatment is otherwise known as Powder Massage. This is found very effective in the obesity, hemiplegia, paralysis, skin diseases, impaired circulation etc and similar diseases. In this procedure 2 therapists apply certain special Herbal Powders in a peculiar way on the body for about 30 to 40 minutes daily for a
period of 14 to 28 days.
Abhyangam – This is a special type of oil massage in which strokes arte given according to the circulatory channels for 45 minutes per day for 14 days. This treatment is very useful for obesity, loss of skin luster, sleeplessness and fatigue.
Nasyam – Being one among the Panchakarma procedures, Nasyam is a treatment in which herbal juices, medicated oils etc, are applied through nose for 7 to 14 days. This treatment is highly effective for certain kinds of headaches, paralysis mental disorders, some types of skin diseases etc.

Kizhi – Herbal leaves or powders are made in boluses and are applied on the whole body or a part specified after dipping it in warm medicated oils. This is done for 45 minutes daily for a period of 07 to 14 days. This is very effective for osteo arthritis, spondylosis, sports injuries etc.
Sandhi Vatha Chikilsa – Unlike the modern medicine Ayurveda has very effective cures for Arthritic conditions like rheumatoid
arthritis, gout, osteo arthritis, ankylosing spondylosis, cervical spondylosis, osteo porosis etc. This programme includes massage, lepanam, and oil application on affected parts, kizhi, steam bath, snehavasthy, kakshaya vasthy, pizhichil, njavarakizhi, snehapanam and internal medicines.Snehapanam - This word literally means oral intake of medicated oils or ghee preparations. This is done as a therapeutic procedure and also as a preparatory process during the body purification therapy. In this treatement medicated ghee or oils are given internally in proportionally increasing quantity for a period of 08 - 12 days. This treatment is very effective for osteo arthritis, psoriasis chronic constipation, haemorrhoids etc
Dahanyamla Dhara - Warm herbal liquid is poured all over the body in rhythmic way using a special vessel. This is done for 45 minutes to 01 hour daily. this treatment is very effective for hemiplegia, paralysis.
Yoniprakshalanam - Herbal oil and decoction are applied through the vaginal root, this treatment is good for gynecological disorders. It is also a purification process for genital organ.
Kativasthi - In this process specially prepared warm medicated oil is kept over the lower back with herbal paste boundary. This treatment lasts for 45 minutes to 01 hour and it is good for any type of back pain and spinal disorders.
Urovasthi - Like Kativasthi warm medicated oil is kept over the chest for 45 minutes. This is an effective treatment for Asthma, other respiratory problem, heart diseases and muscular chest pain.Ksheeradhoomam - This is a special procedure in
which a mixture for medicinal decoction and cows milk is heated and the steam thus liberated is passed to a tube and applied over the affected area or whole body. This is found very effective for facial palsies, speech disorders, ptosis and various nervous disorders.
Thalam - Special powder mixed with medicated oil is applied on the top of the head for 20 to 45 minutes. This treatment is helpful for curing ENT problems, insomnia, migraine etc.
Lepanam - This is a process in which medicated herbal paste is applied on the affected part, this is useful for various types of inflammatory conditions, skin diseases, arthritis, gout, etc.
Thalapothichil - Various medicinal herbs selected according to dosha predominance is made into a paste and applied to the scalp for 30 to 45 minutes. This treatment is good
for insomnia, premature, greying and other problems to the hair and scalp.
Swasa Kasa Chikilsa - Respiratory diseases like bronchill asthma, prolonged cough, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis etc, can be very effectively treated in Ayurveda. This program includes body massage, urovasti, pizhichil, podikizhi, snehavashti, kashaya vasthy, nasyam and internal Ayurvedic medicines.
Sukhanidra - Ayurveda , the knowledge of the life is not only related with the body, but with the mind and soul also, this particular treatment program is very much helpful for conditions like insomnia (lack of sleep), anxiety and it improves immunity and self confidence. This treatment program includes body massages, shirovasthy, ksheeradhara, thailadhara, thalam, thalapothichil and internal Ayurvedic medicines , yoga and meditation.
Psoriasis Treatment Program ( Sidhma Chikilsa)- Ayurveda forms very effective treatment for all type of psoriasis and various other skin diseases. This special Ayurvedic treatment program last for 21 to 28 days. This program includes special lepanam, abhyangan, snehapanam, pizhichil, medicated steam bath, shirovasty, exclusievely prepared internal herbal medicines along with yoga meditation because, Ayurveda emphasis that most diseases are psychosomatic.

21 February 2009

Kerala - Gods Own Country

29 January 2009

Munnar - The Hillstation of "Gods Own Country"



Thinking about holidaying in Kerala or "Gods Own Country" the best place is Munnar the Hillstation of Kerala. Here one could find the calm and beautiful nature covered with tea plantations, coffee, cardamom, an exotic species of flora and faund and wild sanctuaries.

Munnar is situated at an altitude of 1600 mts to 1800 mts above sea level and is covered with green carpet every where which gives a warm and a special coolness to mind and body. It can also be calle the 'Pearl of Kerala" In this present world full of tensions Munnar is one of the best holiday spots in the world for an outing with your family, friends, relatives, etc.

This wonderful hill station of Idukki istrict in Kerala was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British government in South India. It is believed that the name "Munnar" is derived from two Malayalam (local language of Kerala) words Muunu (three) and Aaru (river). The three rivers are Muthirappuzha, Chanduvarai and Kundali. The famous Anamudi peak is in Munnar, which is the highest peak of peninsular India at 2695 m. Besides it’s tea and cardamom plantations, the old-world charm of Colonial establishments is another point of attraction for the tourists.

Main tourist attractions of Munnar are:

Mattupetty: Situated at a distance of 13 kms. from Munnar main town, this Mattupetty Lake and dam is famous for its highly specialised dairy farm, where more then 100 varieties of high yielding cattle can be seen. The main attraction of the vicinity is its Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala Lake. Boating facilities is also available in the Mattupetty dam.
Pothamedu View Point is one of the magnificent view points, which gives an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in the valley. It is a small village inhabited by the local people. It is also an ideal place for trekking and hiking.
Devikulam Lake: Also called as Sita Devi Lake, situated at about 7 km from Munnar, is famous for its crystal clean water. This famous picnic spot will give you an out-of-the-world experience with its velvet lawns of greenish tea gardens and the cool mountain air. Regarding its name, it is believed that Devi Sita, the wife of Lord Rama bathed in this lake and so it is called as Sita Devi Lake.
Rajamala Park: If you want to see the combination of beautiful meadow and gorgeous exotic valleys, then you should visit Rajamala Park, situated just about 12 km from Munnar main town. This park is very famous for Nilgiri Tahrs (’Varai aadu’-local name), a rare species of mountain goat. It is one of the three species of Tahr and almost half of the world’s population of this rare mountain goat is found here. Here one can enjoy the natural movements of Nilgiri Tahrs in this precious but little-known place. Another reason to visit this virgin beauty is for its Neelakurinji flower; one of the rarest flowers in the world, which is famous for its beauty and medicinal value. This flower blooms once in 12 years and at that time it cover the entire region with a touch of violet carpet.
Pallivasal: Rich in scenic beauty, Pallivasal is situated at a distance of 8 km from Munnar main town; this is the place of first hydropower project in Kerala. It is full of dazzlingly beautiful scenic beauty.
Attukal: Munnar will not discourage the spirit of trekking lovers. Attukal is located just at a distance of about 9 km from Munnar, a vista of glittering waterfalls and rolling hills. It is one of the ideal places for long trekking.
Nyayamakad: When you proceed towards Rajamala, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the land of breathtaking waterfalls at Nyayamakad. Situated at a height of 1600 metres; this spot is ideal for picnic and trekking.
Eravikulam National Park: The home of world famous Nilgiri Tahr, was made to protect the rare and almost extinct species of Nilgiri Tahr. It covers an area of 97 sq kms of high level evergreen forests. In 1975, it was declared as a sanctuary and declared as a National Park in 1978. It can be counted among one of the best mountain ranges found anywhere in India. Though this park is divided in to three parts, like the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area, tourists are allowed only to the tourism area where they can observe the free movements of Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur and Sambar etc.
Chithirapuram: Another destination famous for its tea gardens as well as sleepy little cottages and old playgrounds. It lures the travelers with its irresistible grace and beauty. This is also the home of a hydel project called as Pallivasal Hydel Power Project.
Echo Point: Just at a distance of 15 km, another view point known as Eco point, is situated in the thick forest. Here nature responds to the human calls. As the name suggests, this place is popular for its natural eco phenomenon. This place attracts the young tourists a lot for its lake view and specially to hear the echoes of their friendship calls.
Marayoor: This sandalwood forest is situated just at a short distance from the Munnar town. It is a thick forest with full of sweet religious fragrance of sandalwood. It is on the way to the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary-a tiny reserve forest which is a perfect place to spend a little time with your near and dear ones with its calmness and comfort.
Muniyara Cave is located just at a kilometer’s distance from Marayoor. The most interesting part of this cave is its structure. Made of huge rocky slabs, one can get to enter by seeing its arrangement of slabs. It is believed that this was the ideal place for the ancient sages for meditation.
Rock cave is another cave situated at the distance of 13 kms. from the main town. It is the cave of ancient tribal people of Stone Age.

UNPACKING YOUR LUGGAGE:
Here in Munnar you could find a large number of cottages, resorts, hotels etc for your comfortable stay. There are also a number of budget and luxury hotels and lodges in Munnar. But if you are planning to stay in budget hotel or lodge then first check up the availability of hot water system in the bathrooms, otherwise you may have to suffer.

To enjoy the aesthetic beauty of Munnar, it is better roam in the town by foot or you can even hire a bicycle to explore the place.

For shopping purpose, there are two markets, Old Bazaar and another is New Bazaar. In Old Bazaar you will get all the local handicraft items and to buy all other thing New Bazaar will be a better option.

You can get to Munnar by:
By Rail: The nearest railway station is at Cochin/Kochi. Lots of trains are there to connect Kochi with important cities and tourist destinations in the country like Trivandrum Express, Kerala Express, Trivandrum Rajdhani Express etc.
By Road: Munnar is just a 4 hours journey from Kochi/Cochin by National Highway - 49. The road is very smooth and scenic view is very charming. So, to enjoy the ride to a great extent it is better to take the journey by road. You can hire taxi or can take buses of KSRTC to reach Munnar from Kochi. This place is also well connected by a well developed network of road transport to all major town of south India. It takes 5 hours journey from Kottayam, 6 hours from Madurai and 6 hours to from Coimbatore to reach Munnar.

The best time to visit this beautiful destination is between October to March. Though monsoon brings invigorating beauty to the hill stations, it is better to avoid monsoon season to visit Munnar. And don’t forget to carry woolen cloths and umbrella with you as the weather is unpredictable always.
By Air: The International Airport at Cochin/Kochi (130 km.) is the nearest Airport of Munnar, just 4 hours journey, next nearest is Madurai (142km).

20 January 2009

KERALA BACKWATERS

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