October 28, 2013

Amazing view of Kerala Backwaters

This is an amazing photo shoot for promoting Kerala backwaters. Please check http://greatbackwaters.com/ for more.

kerala backwaters
This photo is a property of keralatourism.org
© Copyright 2013 | KeralaTourism.org

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