December 28, 2013

Sun rise at Vagamon

Vagamon also known as the 'Scotland of Asia', was discovered by the British who found the place ideal for tea plantations. National Geographic Traveler has listed Vagamon on their directory of the '50 most attractive places to visit in India’. Vagamon is an ideal hideout for honeymooners and people who long for a relaxation.

December 24, 2013

A day at the Vagamon

Have you ever thought like resting a couple of days, doing nothing; Vagamon is a place for such hide outs. Rightly called, Vagamon is the Scotland of Asia which offers a temperate climate at 1100 metres above the sea level. The place is located towards the Edukki boarder of Kottayam district.

Majority of the hills are occupied by tea plantations giving a cool view all around the year. If you could manage to stay at any of the farm houses, like us; it would be an amazing experience especially for people who appreciate the nature.

Scenic valleys, beautiful green meadows, enchanting pine forests, mists, fogs, tea estates, Kurisumala, waterfalls with the overall greenery is really striking. Pine forest is another place you find lot of people hang out with families. You could watch a movie shoot going on there 70% of the time.

At times there would be assisted adventure tourism initiatives like Paragliding and Mountain hiking you could keep track of such events if you an adventure person. Cycling or Biking around the place would be very interesting too. The whole place is very scenic and it would be an ever lasting

We spend lot of our time in the resort facing the hills. Kids enjoyed the place a lot, they ran around the facility, climbed over the rocks, joined trekking the hills and chased cows around the place.

We caught amazing scenes from the sunset and sun rise in Vagamon, which I never thought would be this beautiful.


This place is not senior citizen friendly. 
Avoid visiting during the peek summer time.
Fill your gas/petrol before you start up the hill, as it is very difficult to find gas station on the way up/down the hill.
Take caution in the bends while driving, as most of the driveways are hidden.

Awards :

National Geographic : 50 Most attractive places to visit in India

Other key tourist centers near Vagamon are Thekkady, Peermade and Kulamavu.

December 11, 2013

Cherai Beach - Paravoor near Kochi

Place famous for number of Resorts throughout its coastal line, Cherai attracts a big percentage of visitors to Kochi.

November 22, 2013

Athirappilly Falls - The most beautiful Waterfall in Kerala

Rightly called the "Niagara of India" Athirappilly (Athirapally) Falls is located around 75 km north east of Kochi. The 145 km Chalakkudy river originating in the Anamudi mountain of the Western Ghats and flows through the Vazhachal forest towards Arabian Sea. At Athirappilly falls water surges around big rocks and cascades in 3 separate plumes. You will start feeling the green environment and forest the moment you take turn to the Athirapally road from Chalakkudy on National Highway 47.

The falls and the surrounding are are natural, its one of its kind riparian ecosystems in kerala and is the second most bio diverse area in the state. The only artificial creation in the area is the stone pavings for trekking towards the falls.
On the way to Athirappilly from Chalakkudi

 water falls Athirapally
First sight of the Falls from the road

Walk around 10 mins from the Entrance you reach the river flowing past the rocks and trees. You find little children playing in the river and a few steps ahead the water goes down more than 80 ft. Trek another 20 minutes down the hill you reach under the falls. Its quite a long descent to the foot of the falls, but certainly worth the effort. If you have difficulty in walking and climbing or if you have toddlers, you better avoid the second part. Its more likely that you will end up carrying your kids back while climbing back. Its a sure bet that any effort you put for it will surely pay back. No wonder the sight has been a favourite location for so many movies in various languages in India.

A better view of the falls near the ticket counter and Information center

If one is on a holiday to Kerala a Visit to the Athirapally Falls is a must watch for all those who love the magnificence of nature. Ideal season for visiting the falls is during Monsoon (June - Sep), try to avoid those crazy raining and land sliding days. Monsoon is the only time you see the complete stretch of Falls with water falling down. There are many treks around the hill area to explore the falls. During monsoon the trek turns slippery and filled with little frogs jumping here and there.

athirappilly waterfalls photo
 View from the top of the falls

near athirappilly waterfalls, best view
View from the bottom of the falls

It takes only less than a day to cover the falls, but if you really want to immerse fully into it stay at a resort, preferably a place where you can hear the sound of the fall to fill your soul with freshness. As the visiting time to the falls is only from 9:00 Am to 5:00 PM, the only chance to view the falls during Sunset and sunrise would be from a resort or from a trek path.

athirappilly waterfalls, niagara of india, best view
Sun rise at the falls

Visiting Season : Jun - Sep
Visiting time : 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Nearest Major Railway Station : Thrissur (60 Kms)
Nearest Airport : Cochin International Airport (50 Km)

November 19, 2013

An early morning view of Athirappilly (Athirapally) Waterfalls

athirappilly, athirapally water falls kerala
A view worth Million Dollars: Combined with natural greenery this view infuses freshness into your soul.

November 14, 2013

How a Harthal can destroy your vacation in Kerala

Read here to understand what a Harthal is.

This must be a common question for many of the tourists visiting Kerala. There is no one word answer for this. The issues you might face depends on the situation on which the Harthal is being declared and the place where the trigger for the harthal had evolved. There are mainly 2 types of Harthals, first being called for the complete state and other being for a District or a Locality or City. In the State Harthals it will be very difficult for you to enter or travel through the State.

Harthals are usually declared just one or 2 days prior, which will make it very difficult for you to arrange alternatives. So do either of these, 1) Make sure you reach the place the prior day night of Harthal and check in or 2) push your arrival after 6:00 PM on Harthal day.

Most of the cases you will witness a total stand still, which will be a Fun Killer for you. If you are commuting you will surely face trouble finding Restaurants or shopping of any kind on the route. Only facilities working that day will be the Police and Hospitals. You will be better of not on the roads that time period. Just stay wherever you were staying the previous day night.

This will also depend on the type of vacation you are into. If you are spending time in a resort or a package tour where there will be zero commute involved, then its most likely that you are not impacted.

November 6, 2013

Pulikali @ Thrissur during Onam

Pulikali (Play of Tigers) is a colorful recreational folk art evolved in the state of Kerala. Pulikali processions happen during Onam celebrations across various parts of the state. The most famous of it happens in Thrissure City on the fourth Onam day which attracts more than 30000 viewers every year.

pulikali onam thrissur

The performers painted like tigers & hunters dance to the beats of traditional instruments like Udukku & Thakil revolve around the theme of tiger hunting. The striking feature of this art is the colorful appearance of the performers. It takes 7-8 hours to prepare each performer. A combination of tempera powder and varnish or enamel will be used to make the paint. Highly skilled artists will work continuously to prepare each performer in each group to perfection. Along with tigers there will be few hunters also present. All of the art works feel so lively that kids might get scared by seeing them perform hunting.

Watch the events calender for the next Pulikali Event.

November 5, 2013

French Toast Panampilli nagar Kochi

While roaming around the streets of Panampilly nagar, we accidentally came across this cafe on Cross Road 7 just 1 block from the main road. The foodies inside us just wanted to run inside and try some of their specials.

The place is a house converted cafeteria serving Sandwiches, Pastries, cookies, toasts and variety of drinks. We wanted to try each one of the items in their menu, but how much 2 + 1 Kid could eat at 12:30 after a late heavy Breakfast. We finally settled with below items in our bill.

french toast panampilly nagar kochi1) French Omlet with Chicken Sausage & Cheese
2) Herbs Bread Chicken Sandwich with Dried tomatoes
3) Signature Black Forest
4) Ginger Fizz
5) Eclair & Macron for the Little one.

Except that the item 2 had a pinch of salt extra, all the others exceeded our expectations.

We paid Rs 780/- for 1 serving of all the above items, which I felt was not at all costly for the difficulties they must be going through to get good ingredients.

This is not a paid/sponsored review.

October 28, 2013

Amazing view of Kerala Backwaters

This is an amazing photo shoot for promoting Kerala backwaters. Please check for more.

kerala backwaters
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© Copyright 2013 |

October 25, 2013

Vadakkunnathan Shiva Temple Thrissur

Vadakkunnathan temple is an ancient Hindu temple built more than 1000 years back which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple situated at the city of Thrissur is a classic example of the architectural style of Kerala. Vadakkunnathan is when literally translated into English the 'Lord of the North', which is Himalayas.

Mural paintings depcting various episodes from Mahabharata can be seen inside the temple. There are four Gopurams (gates) each facing North, South, East and West. In older days Paramekkavu Bhagavathi was also inside the Vadkkunnatha temple, which was later moved outside.

When Sakthan Thampuran (1751 - 1805) was ruling the Kingdom of Cochin, he changed its Capital from Thripunithura to Thrissur as the king has personal relationship with the temple. He later introduced the world famous Thrissur Pooram in the premises of the temple, which will be celebrated in the malayalam month of Medam (Mid April - Mid May) every year.

The temple is situated at the center of Swaraj round of Thrissur.
Temple remain open from 03:00 AM - 10:30 AM and 05:00 PM - 08:30 PM
Non Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple.

Photo: Anil T Prabhakar

October 22, 2013

Koder House & Menorah Restaurant, Fort Kochi

Koder house is a Jewish Heritage hotel very near to the Fort Kochi beach. Belonged to the most illustrious Jewish family in Kochi until recently, this house had been host to The Presidents, Prime Ministers, Viceroys, Ambassadors & many other dignitaries.

You can witness many foreigners and tourists visiting this place every day. The Koder house has 5 Delux luxury suites with all mordern amenities, Ela World Spa and a multi cuisine restaurant Menorah. It serves Continental, Authentic Kerala, Jewish, Indian and Chinees cuisines. It has the rare distinction of the only restaurant in India to serve authentic Jewish food.

On our first visit to the Menorah I decided to try new and rare varieties and got a plate of Chicken Stroganoff after finishing a delicious creme of tomato soup. Both of them were the best of it I ever had in my life. Ending with a Jewish Pudding made the perfect finish.

Address: Tower Road, Fort Cochin, Cochin, Kerala, 682001, Kochi, KL 682001, India

October 17, 2013

Misty Munnar; A travelogue

Munnar is one of the famous hill stations in Kerala. This mystical place is a part of the Western Ghats
situated in Idukki district. The name Munnar means moonu aaru’(three rivers), where Madhurapuzha,
Nallathanni and Kundaly rivers flow together.

It was a weekend (Saturday, July 27th 2013) and I was sitting near the window enjoying the monsoon rain. I
always enjoyed driving long trips during rain. So I decided for a weekend trip. Hill stations are always beautiful during monsoon season. One of the best hill station in Kerala is Munnar. I
picked up my phone, called my best buddies and here we are all set for our next trip. Since it was a one day
trip, we decided Top Station as our final destination.

A one day trip to Munnar from Kochi

Sunday July 28th 2013 we started our journey from Ernakulam around 8:00 AM. Inspite of the heavy rains,
the roads were in good condition. When we were about to reach Thalakode, we could feel the climate
changing. The joy of high range drive started when we reached Neriamangalam. Climate changes every
other minute, sometimes it rains and then suddenly mist covers the whole route.

Almost after 1 ½ hours of ride we reached Valara water falls around 10:00 AM. It was a beautiful one and I
believe it was the monsoon that made her look prettier. We almost spend 10-15 minutes there. There was a
small restaurant nearby the falls. We had coffee, bought some bottles of water from there kept it in our
backpack and continued our journey.

Around 12’o clock we reached Munnar. Somewhere between Iruttukanam and Kallar Vattiyar, we had a
wonderful view of mist covering the forest. Usually you could get such surprise views from nature during
monsoon season. On the way to Top Station from Munnar there are lots of places to stop by. There are
viewpoints where you will get beautiful sight of tea estates on either sides. Mattupetty Dam is nearly 10km
drive from Munnar town. You can get a beautiful panoramic view of hills and clouds from top of the dam.
We reached there by 1:15 PM. Also there are boat rides available, which is really enjoyable.

The next spot was a scenic place called Echo Point (15km from Munnar) which got its name from the natural
echo phenomenon there. We reached there by 1:45 PM. Here the tourists will scream and shout aloud to
hear back their own voice. Pedal boat ride is also a good time pass here. You can find lots of shops around
here. We had a cup of coffee and some Chilli Bajji. We bought some home-made chocolates which is the
speciality of Munnar, and had it till our next spot.

Our next spot was Kundala Lake (25 kms from Munnar). We reached there by 3:00 PM. On the way there are many spots where you could get into tea plantations and get some photographs with the scenic beauty of
the nature. A small pine forest is situated near to this lake. Horse rides and pedal boats are available there.
You could get this pedal boat and can drive into the beautiful calm lake for long time. Since it was monsoon
season there was less number of tourists so no one will compel you to hurry.

Our next point was the final destination, Top Station (35 kms from Munnar) which is just 10 kms from
Kundala. We reached there by around 4:00 PM. Tourists have to walk nearly 600m to reach the View Point.

While we walk towards the View Point we could experience the hill become smaller and smaller. One could
see the plain land of Tamil Nadu while reaching the extreme end. View Point offers a panoramic view of the
majestic Western Ghats and the valley of Theni and Bodinaykanur. There were couple of shops available at
Top Station where you could get tea/coffee and snacks. Beautiful view of mountains touched by rain clouds
will always catch your eyes throughout this route.

We started our journey back by around 5:15 PM. On the way back, we had a really surprising view of a
family of elephants roaming over a valley eating grass. It is the first time that I am seeing something of that
sort. So we enjoyed it until the heard headed back to the forest. The night drive through forest was really
fantastic. We stopped in between to enjoy the forest in its full extend.

We reached back Ernakulam by 10:30 PM. We drove around 330 kms that day. Coming back to my room,
lying on my cosy bed I felt this was the best trip I had in a while, a trip that we could never forget.

Main attractions: Eravikulam National Park, Anamudi, Devikulam, Photo Point, Attukal Waterfalls,
Nyayamakad, Muniyara Dolmens, Pothemadu Point, Echo Point, Mattupetty Dam, Tea Estate. There are lot
of viewpoints on the route.

Season for visiting: Munnar experiences a moderate climate throughout the year. Best time to visit is
between September and May.

Accommodation: Various range of hotels, cottages, home stay are available

Accessibility: Kochi International Airport is located 105 km from Munnar. Ernakulam Junction at 130 kms is the closest railway station.

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October 15, 2013

What are the attractions at Fort Kochi

We started off looking at our empty calendar for a Saturday. We surely didn't want to kill the day sitting idle looking at the greenery outside the balcony window. We finally got settled down for a day (half day) at Fort Kochi which became the single most favorite place for us in Kochi.

An area small enough to cover on foot or a bicycle, glimpses of Kochi's variegated history greet you at almost every turn in Fort Kochi. Fort Kochi (and Mattanchery) are connected to the modern Kochi (Cochin) via a complex system of ferries. You can also take the road route which goes over many bridges on your way.

More details on the history of the place can be found in Wiki.

Below are the attractions you don't want to miss

1) China fishing nets

You will not miss the China fishing nets installed over a long stretch of the water body. Its very much fun watching how he fishermen install the net and catch fish and sell in front of you live. These fishing nets are probably the most familiar element in any panoramic scenery of Kochi. They are suspended from arched poles and balanced by weights at multiple locations, requires 4-5 skilled operators to operate.

2) St Francis Church

3) Santa Cruz basilica

4) Koder House Restaurant

5) Fresh Sea Breeze along the Beach

October 11, 2013

Dhe Puttu @ Kochi for interesting varieties of Puttu

You hardly see a Keralites who don't love Puttu, the authentic Kerala breakfast known for ages. Puttu is authentically prepared by steam cooking rice or wheat powder in layers separated by shredded coconut. There are other special verities of puttu prepared with raagi, corn flour, oats etc also using various layer separators like meat, vegetables, fruits etc.

Puttu was recognized as one of the healthiest breakfasts in the world. As it is stream cooked can be used by any person, kids, fat watchers etc.

The place where you can easily find this authentic Kerala break fast all day is the Dhe Puttu restaurant near Edappally Junction. You can find interesting varieties of Puttu like Erachi puttu (Meat Puttu), Chocolate Puttu, Corn Puttu, Marble Puttu, Fish Puttu etc.

The restaurant is owned by famous Malayalam Actor Dileep and his friend Nadirsha (Actor). You can also see few dishes named after Dileep's Movies. Meesha Madhavan, Chandu Puttu, Maya Mohini are few amoung them.

Dhe Puttu will start at 11 AM in the morning and will be open till 11 PM

July 16, 2013

Marine Drive - Place to spend Evenings at Kochi

Marine Drive, a place equally interesting for all age groups which provides a panoramic view of the setting sun and cool breeze from the Vembanad Lake has made Marine Drive an important tourist destination in Kochi. The walkway at Marine drive is a man made popular hangout for the locales as well as visitors were no vehicles are allowed.


This is also famous for the posh verticals of 20+ floors mostly occupied by celebrities. There are shopping opportunities along the walk way and across the road were Broad way, Market Road and Convent Junctions provides plenty of shopping opportunity especially for the ladies among you.

The walkway starts from the High court Junction (which will be extended till Goshree Bridge soon) and continues till the Rajendra Maidan for about 2.5 km once completed. In between you can see 2 contemporary structured bridges, The Rainbow bridge and The Chinese Fishing Net bridge, GCDA Shopping complex, Many Apartment complexes and Children's Park.

There are plenty of Private and Govt operated Ferry Tours available along the Walk way which takes you around the Lake for half - one hour rounds. If you are planning to spend your evening at Marine drive take a ride around Sunset which will be the perfect choice. To make your ride happier and safer choose a bigger ferry f available as it provides a lively atmosphere with all the noise and fun at the same time a better balance over the water so that you can move around on the boat floor. Smaller boats restrict this once you get seated for better safety.

Enjoy the Skyline of Kochi from the Ferry, take a better glimpse at the Rainbow bridge and the Chinese fish net bridge and the wide angle view of tall apartment buildings lining the Marin Drive. You can also capture the Cargo container terminal, Willington Island, Bolgaty Island and Palace from the Ferry.

No doubt you will be returning home with a fresher and relaxed Mind.

Parking : Paid Parking Available at various points.
Kids Friendly : Yes
Senior Citizen Friendly : Yes plenty of seats to take rest when you are tired of walking.

June 22, 2013

Mainland China Restaurant in Dream Hotel Kochi

Mainland China restaurant in the Dream Hotel Kochi is the best place for an Exotic Chinese cuisine. The ambiance of the whole place was fantastic and the waiters gave best experiences explaining various dishes.

We surely wanted to try only some authentic Chinees dishes in order to evaluate the originality. We were very satisfied would surely try again in the future.

All the dishes were spicy so our daughter could not enjoy them much, so we ended up ordering  Potato fries for her.

Wok tossed Hakka Noodles - Fantastic
Fried rice - Average
Potato fries - Overpriced

May 1, 2013

Kovalam Open for Surfing - Spice Coast Open Competition, India's first Surfing Event


The God’s own country, Kerala is home to some of the best beaches in India. Kovalam beach in Kerala with golden sands and vast stretch of water is one of the best beaches in Kerala, Around May, Just before the onset of monsoons, is the best time of the year to hold surfing competition and other surfing related events. Hence, Surfing Federation of India will be holding it's first official surfing and SUP competition.

Jonty Rhodes our surfing ambassador will be attending Spice Coast Open.

  • All participants are requested to bring their original ID documents (Passport, Ration Card, Voters ID) to the event to be verified by SFI officials.
  • Holders of PIO or OCI cards are not eligible to participate under local categories and are limited to open categories only.
  • Rs. 500 is the registration fee for each category participation for all surfers who are registering for Spice Coast Open. Under 16 category is excluded from paying the registration fee.
  • SFI is providing food and free accommodation for Registered participants, starting from 2nd of May till 5th of May.
  • Registration ends on 25th of April.
  • All categories will require a minimum of 5 participants, otherwise that particular category will be cancelled.  

Venue Kovalam beach, Trivandrum,
Kerala, India
Phone: +919980845767, +919663141146

Schedule Friday, 3 May 2013 to Sunday, 5 May 2013

More details here

January 23, 2013

Kochi Muziris Biennale @ Fort Kochi

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art being held in Kochi, Kerala From 12/12/12 till 16/03/13. The exhibition will be set in spaces across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands were Indian and international artists will exhibit artworks and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures.
Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012 2013 Fort Kochi Vivek Vilasini Last Supper Gaza
Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012 2013 Fort Kochi