10 Places to visit in Kodaikanal

I always remember Kodaikanal from childhood films and books. Usually if hero and heroine get married and discuss about the prospect of honeymoon, they would invariably mention Ooty or Kodaikanal or both. Kodaikanal was not just famous, it was almost the one of the very few options available back then.

 

        Times have changed. Now not just affluent, even upper-middle class families prefer foreign trips over local. That does not mean the popularity has come down; Kodaikanal is still popular as a honeymoon destination and a relaxed getaway.

       I am not sure whether I have stated before, but hill-stations are more of an experience than sightseeing. If you go with expectations of seeing “SOMETHING”—you will be disappointed. ( I have few friends who complained that they found nothing). Hill Stations are for enjoying the weather where you have to hug yourself (or the other person), enjoying the sights from a great dome of hill overlooking an amphitheatre of rich and desolate sunsets or golden sunrises. Here is the list of places from Kodaikanal where you can enjoy the above poetically mentioned things.

(This is not an order of preference.)

 

  1. Dolphin’s nose : A valley where the a rock projection shaped like dolphin nose. You have to walk a bit in Dangerously monkey infested area to reach this.


  2. Kodaikanal lake – Beautiful man made lake. Offers a relaxing walk or tiring boat rides.

  3. Pillar rocks : I would consider them to be kinda iconic of Kodaikanal

  4. Suicide point : It was some cruel person who named this awesome view point as suicide point. It was given a delightful name as Silent valley view point.

    Is not it delightful?


  5. Guna caves: Got its name after the Tamil movie Guna was shot here. This place many small scale food vendors who serve steaming, spicy food in that awesome, chilly weather. Stay safe from our dear monkey friends.

  6. Silver cascade waterfalls: This was the first thing which greeted us on entering Kodaikanal. As it was summer, the falls was not in its full potential. Still, a lovely watch.

     

    It was summer, so falls were slim


  7. Bryant Park: It is more of botanical garden almost at the heart of city. It has a beautiful flower garden. You can even buy plants.

  8. Croaker’s walk: This is located at the ridge of a vast valley offering mind blowing views. Buy some snacks and enjoy the walk.

  9. Berijam Lake: This is situated in Berijam forest and you need special permission for it. I am planning to write an entire post about the visit.


  10. Chettiyar park: We spent way too much time in Kodaikanal, visiting the same places again and again. After multiple visits to each place, we started exploring other options and found this lovely park.

  11. Kurinji Adayar Temple: It doesn’t matter whether you are religious or nonreligious person, this temple is going to please you: with its breathtaking location.

  12. This and that: Kodaikanal is a beautiful, cozy town. If you get time to stroll around those sloppy streets, you get to see many colorful structures. We had chance to roam around and visit this particularly beautiful locality with lovely houses. We spent an entire hour walking up and down the streets.

A dose of adventure @ SAAHAS

I am exceptionally lazy person.  Since childhood I  have been  considering myself utterly intellectual type and this made me to ignore any sports. Leave being adventurous. These days my adventurous journey  ends at  arguing with  manic patient at the closed (psychiatric) ward. ( Mind you, even that is an adventure). After  almost a month of near sedentary life sinking neck deep into studies, patients and projects, we decided to have a break though all we could get was a single day. We had to look for a single day activity or a short trip and came up with this brilliant idea of paying a visit to SAAHAS.

This place had been luring me since the announcement by Ramoji film city as it was first of its kind in Hyderabad. The website description is

“Sahas – Ramoji Adventure Land brings multiple adventure experiences to this part of the world.We bring to life, mesmerizing and awe-inspiring experiences to escape from the mundane and the boring. ”

It is located inside the Ramoji film city( A film studio holding the world record for being largest & also a well known tourist destination as RFC  in Hyderabad)

The grand entrance to Ramoji Film City (RFC)
The grand entrance to Ramoji Film City (RFC)

SAAHAS

It is an action world filled with various options to engage your day in activities of different levels ( and the night with annoying body pains). They have bunch of exciting activities from High roap course, net course to ATV raids. There are various packages with the least starting from 900 bucks. There are options for SAAHAS alone or SAAHAS+ RFC trip. We chose the former as we had visited RFC 6 times already. ( Yes, 6 times)

From the entrance we are taken to  SAAHAS in a separate vehicle where we are given multiple options of activities to chose from. We chose three activities first as we were not sure how much our energy would let us. My excitement started creeping slowly till it reeched my head and I started hopping.

The first activity itself drained me, it was a Net course which looked childishly simple but proved devilishly difficult.  We crawled like lizards, swung like Tarzan and spider man ( or woman) and did many UN-describable things for 40 mins.  It was a long and difficult and nearly killed my sportswoman ship and  adventure spirit.

Just the begining
Just the beginning
The spider Man
The spider Man
Mini tarzan hurdle ( I named it)
Mini tarzan hurdle ( I named it)

SAAHAS

Shaky logs..
Shaky logs..

SAAHAS………………Never ending hurdles

One leg goes that way, one leg this way...
One leg goes that way, one leg this way…

SAAHASSAAHAS

Next was this high rope  course and was a two storey high and  had many more storey fun.

All set for rope course
All set for rope course

SAAHASSAAHASSAAHAS

Later i SAAHASwent to this Bungee ejection which was one was the most dangerous ones I have ever been to. We did other activities too..like Zip line, Sumo fights and ATV ride but did not click pictures ( with exhaustion, my husband warned me he would rather push me off the rope course rather than clicking a single photo more).

I would have preferred a bright but shady but ended up with a hot day and was out in the sun from 10 in the morning to 4 in the evening and by that time we were stinking in sweat like pigs. For next two days, I walked like a robot with sore and stiff muscles and swore not to try anything like that in future. Once my body was in condition started making plans for future trips to SAAHAS. I enjoyed the place thoroughly and recommend it to everyone.

TIPS

  1. Carry as many bottles of water as possible.
  2. Better to be in a activity allowing dress.
  3. Best to go in shoes, even if you don’t have they would give you. But only you have to wear some old stinking shoes.
  4. Apply loads & loads of sunscreen.
Always wanted by meee
Always wanted by meee adventure, film city, hyderabad

 

A ride to remember: Pykara lake, Ooty Photo essay

Hello friends!!! I t has been so soooo exhaustively long, i never expected this would make a month long ‘off blog’ time. Initially it was my hosting company issues later academic pressure  followed by ill health terminated in to severe, oppressive laziness. I  almost choked to death by that laziness.

 

If you have read few of my old posts, you have an idea that I like to go on bike rides and explore the surrounding places everywhere I go. I found this particular place called “Pykara lake” near Ooty and I had to see it.

One small lake en route
One small lake en route

Like most of the hill stations, to Ooty, you go to enjoy the weather rather than to see any particular tourist spot. Throughout our stay, Ooty experienced rains. It was more of a soft drizzle, the kind of rain that makes wish to stay outdoors to enjoy it. It was softer even for a drizzle, it was as if God is spraying water on Earth with a huge sprayer. That temperature and weather made sure that I never become tired, no matter how much we roamed, hopped and drove.

Pykara
The Ghat road was bright green, how soothing green color is..

Pykara

This beautiful hill with fascinating valley view
This beautiful hill with fascinating valley view
The model tribal hut on hill top
The model tribal hut on hill top
Plenty of small bridges...
Plenty of small bridges…
We were lost in forest and found this tiny two storey temple
We were lost in forest and found this tiny two storey temple, God has an awesome view I believe
Inside the forest, plenty of privacy
Inside the forest, plenty of privacy

Pykara

So a bike journey appeared to be a perfect way to enjoy Ooty. I was not sure whether we would be able to get a bike for rent. So we asked our hotel people and they arranged for not only a bike but also an extra helmet for me.

We started early after breakfast to  The Pykara lake and falls which was located at around 20km from Ooty on Ooty – Mysore road. There are  some other places to visit en route which I will mention in other post.

As we drove lazily and halted at few places, it took us more than two hours to reach this place. Pykara lake and falls are located at two different locations. Pykara lake was in some dense forest. The location was soooo peaceful. The entrance for Pykara lake is 5rs. There is boating option available but we did not go as we thought it was too costly. We drank some fresh carrot juice which was surprisingly tasty. After spending 2 hrs there, we started back. We wanted to come back early as  it would dark early there.

The lake...blue palette
The lake…blue palette

Pykara

We went to Pykara falls on our way back, but were disappointed find there was no falls, only a very small canal kind of thing.

No falls only Pykara canal
No falls only Pykara canal

Some points to remember if you are planning to visit Pykara lake….

  1. There are no proper instructions or sign boards to guide you.
  2. As it was a forest area it is difficult to get signal, do not much rely on Google maps.
  3. There are no proper restaurants in the vicinity, The near by village has small hotels.
  4. Toilets are at the lake only, it is next to impossible to find them anywhere else.
  5. Ooty can experience rain at any time, it is good if you are prepared.

Hope you enjoyed the post, now I promise to be regular.

Only at Hill stations we get to see Vehicles parked on terraces
Only at Hill stations we get to see Vehicles parked on terraces

A walk through culture- Heritage town, Pondicherry

I was visiting my a town for my friend’s  wedding this week. The bus journey took me through many tiny villages which I used to see through the bus window as a kid. I started to realize that they changed as it happens to any place with time. Many new built houses which lost the ‘Telangana village house’ touch, youth wearing all the modern attire, shops with modern names written in abused Telugu. There were old people with wrinkled faces still wearing traditional Telangana attire and jewellery like those few old houses which almost looked hunched.

It is not bad to get along with the world, I am not against it. Learning new things,  following trends and imitating others is inevitable in this time. But my only worry is that once these old faces fade away, bodies with the traditional attire die and the house are demolished,  there won’t be any difference between the Telangana Village or some random village in North India or some place in western world ( except  the faces) .  The whole heritage will be lost in time. Traveling won’t be an experience any more. It would just be a task. You just go to this particular place, take pictures and come back. I really am not sure whether  thinking this way is proper, but I simply dislike Globalization.

Talking about heritage takes to me to the Heritage town, Pondicherry. When I was a preparing a list of places to be seen in Pondicherry, I came across walking/ cycle tours through heritage town, Pondicherry. Which made me wonder. As it happens our hotel was located in the heritage town itself. So one evening we wanted to explore the area by foot.

Those colorful french houses...
Those colorful french houses…

Heritage townHeritage town

Pondicherry used to be a french colony. Heritage town, Pondicherry is a kind of colony with planned and structured streets. There are many perpendicular and parallel roads and it is pretty easy to get lost. You can wander for hours in the streets without getting to your destination, if you are lost. The houses have this typical french or traditional tamilnadu building styles. Those buildings are now used as residential complexes, schools, offices and even heritage hotels. This is also a prominent shopping area where all major brand stores are located. You get various options for street food.

Early Tamilian houses , this one is used as a school now
Early Tamilian houses , this one is used as a school now
These kids stopped us and asked us to take a snap and posed
These kids stopped , asked us to take a snap and posed
I have spotted many 'mini towers'like this in Pondi
I have spotted many ‘mini towers’ like this in Pondi
I have never seen Police in any other city with this attire and a cap/ hat like this one.
I have never seen Police in any other city with this attire and a cap/ hat like this one.

As we got lost multiple times, a 1 km to the beach  walk took  more than 40 mins for us. But this was a worthy effort as we could see these beautiful buildings en route.

Gandhi memorial at beach
Gandhi memorial at beach
PROMENADE BEACH @ sundown
PROMENADE BEACH @ sundown

As I was emphasizing earlier, If you have a special heritage, it is crime not to preserve it properly. INTACH is doing that job in Pondicherry. Kudos to their efforts.

INTACH, Pondicherry
INTACH heritage center, Pondicherry

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Shore temple; Mahabalipuram

It is not just the temple, not just the architecture; It is the location, it is the background  music of the tide hitting the rocks, it is the breeze which lifts the spirit, it is the  view of  deep blue water merging with sky at some distant point which make you fall in love with the temple. The shore temple, Mahabalipuram is part of monuments which were recognized by UNESCO as world heritage site.

Shore temple
temple Late afternoon
Me at shore temple. This was in the compound garden outside the temple complex.
Me at shore temple. This was in the compound garden outside the temple complex.
He at the temple, Inside the compound. The one behind had Shiva and the one showing has Vishnu
He at the temple, Inside the compound. The one behind had Shiva and the one showing has Vishnu

This temple was probably used as a landmark for navigation for ships.  I do not want to go into too much  details  of history or  architecture as you can simply find them in Wiki. This is a  three temple complex located on the shore of Bay of Benagal  in Mahabalipuram, making it the shore temple. This shore temple  was built by  Pallava dynasty in 8th century AD.  A pair of temples were on the same platform. The one facing east is the temple of Shiva and behind there is temple of Reclining Vishnu. The temples are pyramidal in shape. Other interesting things are the miniature shrine in the complex and the Monolithic lion. There were numerous Nandi statues on the compound wall.  You don’t need much time to visit the temple but you can enjoy sitting on the rocks behind the temple overlooking sea.

Temple of Lord Shiva
Temple of Lord Shiva

Shore temple

Vishnu in reclining pose which is very uncommon to find in temples.
Vishnu in reclining pose which is very uncommon to find in temples.

You can also spend some time in the beach, but you need to walk a long way to reach the beach which is actually lying next to the temple as they blocked the  direct gates from temple to the beach.

Shore templeMonolithic lion

Nandiiii
Nandiiii

Shore templeShore temple

The beach had a small shopping area where you can buy some hand made sea shell things. In beach you can enjoy raw mangoes cut and sprinkled with chilli powder and salt, go on a horse ride or just enjoy a bath.

Mahabalipuram hosts dance festivals every year at this temple . There was one when we went but we had to go back to Pondicherry by evening. This  shore temple along with other monuments makes Mahabalipuram an awesome place to visit.

For more places and monuments from Mahabalipuram and many more posts.. stay tuned. Like my Facebook page, follow me on Insta. Subscribe for regular updates.

The child in me@ Rail museum, Mysore.

The Rail Museum, Mysore is the 2nd of such kind in India. Later almost  in every major city, they started them. However, Rail museum in Hyderabad has nothing much to offer. So we decided to visit this when we were left with few hours before train and almost finished every possible place in Mysore, we decided to visit this place.

The exhibits of railcar and Maharani’s carriage were the most interesting things which lured me.

It was a busy Monday morning. As it turns out, we were the only visitors and the place looked neglected by tourists. We were received gladly and were allowed to do whatever we wanted with the exhibits. As usual we played like kids and clicked lot of pictures.

 

A locomotive model
The austin rail car, which looks like a car from front and some carrier auto from behind
his ‘daku pose’
Rail museum, Mysore
Me in the bollywood style pose… This was the back of the inspection car which is now used as a ticket counter.
Wagon carrying coal.. My hands went black after this photo
Wagon carrying coal.. My hands went black after this photo
Bus car, it has only one coach with seats.. Driver and conductor will be there. You can ask the driver to stop wherever you want. Heard these are still running in some parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Bus car, it has only one coach with seats.. Driver and conductor will be there. You can ask the driver to stop wherever you want. Heard these are still running in some parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Maharani's couch..It has a kitchen with attached bathroom, writing table, wardrobe and dressing table; a maid's room and kitchen. Sad they did not allow anyone inside.
Maharani’s couch..It has a kitchen with attached bathroom, writing table, wardrobe and dressing table; a maid’s room and kitchen. Sad they did not allow anyone inside.
Don't touch me
Don’t touch me
Rail mUseum, Mysore
First railway line photo

Rail mUseum, MysoreBadges from various Railways

Photo: First ever railway line of India
That proud moment, Photo: First ever railway line of India

 

 

I traveled on this wonderful line..
I traveled on this wonderful line.. Read the full story here .

There is also a small children play area in the museum. No canteen or anything related to food. Kids will love this place. (I can assure you as I am one and I am living with one).

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wp-1469341875465.jpg

9 things to do in your Papikondalu trip

Hello friends!!!! This post is most probably my last post from the Papikondalu series…When i was reading the previous posts. I realized that I did not mention few things that we did. So, I wanted to compile things which you should not forget to do, if you are going to visit Papikondalu.

1.Eat Bamboo chicken

Papikondalu tripCredit

Bamboo chicken got its name from the process of making it. The  raw flesh of chicken, is pushed into the hollow parts  bamboo sticks after all the ingredients are applied to it. Then the bamboo sticks are cooked on burning coals.  I can not comment on taste as I am a vegetarian. But, They say the whole process gives it a wonderful and special taste.

2. Get religious:

The trips to Papikondalu are either from Bhadrachalam or from Rajamandry. Either way you can plan a visit to the temple in Bhadrachalam. There is a very famous temple for Lord Sri Rama in Bhadrachalam. There is also  an interesting story associated with the temple. Visit the temple and learn the story.

3. Learn Mythology

Papikondalu tripCredit

There is a place near Bhadrachalam called Parnashala where the episodes of Ramayana are depicted through colorful sculptures. They replicated few of the scenes from Ramayana. You can get  autos easily to get to this place.

4. Take a holy dip.

River Godavari is considered as one of the holy rivers in India.  Enjoy your dip here. Forget about holiness, you can simply have fun while taking bath in river.

5. Enjoy ‘River food’

You get various special types of fresh water fishes and other things cooked with a tribal touch.

6. Forget everything.

Put your head in your lap and simply relax. World will not stop working, if you stop thinking for two days.

7. Leave social media to others.

Life has become sooo meaningless without facebook and waatsapp. Go to this place, You will never get a damn signal, even if you want to post a selfie diving into the water.

8. Learn to live basic

You won’t get fast food, even soft drinks are rarely available. Forget about A.C, you won’t get a fan here in the accommodation. ( Read my experience here). Once in a while it is needed to learn to live with basics.

9. Buy Handicrafts and encourage them

Tribal  people here make  beautiful handmade things with bamboo. They are pretty cheap. Buy them at least to help those people.

Read my other posts about Papikondalu here, here and here.

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OOTD: Let’s jump in to the wilderness:Jump suit madness.

Few outfits are like that, they are very good and cool to look at. But wearing and managing could be trouble some. Like jump suits. They are super cool, cute, edgy, stylish but they cause lot of inconvenience. Especially to people like me, who take loads and loads of fluids.( I think you understand, it is very difficult to pee when you are in a jumpsuit)

wp-1467560984691.jpgJump suit

Meeeee and heeee
Meeeee and heeee

I have 3-4 jumpsuits and in spite of my love for them, I couldn’t wear them often for the same reason. Take this as an example. This jumpsuit was very comfy one ( I could literally jump freely), the material was soft. But then, the discomfort to pull the the dress all the way down every time you pee made me almost tearful.

This dress I have chosen for a mini safari in Kodaikanal. The day was chilly, so had to layer it up with my favorite denim jacket. I chose feathery earrings  and animal print sling bag to match the jungle theme. These tan sandals were comfy for walk in the forest. I kept my printed scarf with me as I usually do.

Dress:  Lifestyle

Sling bag and sandals: Streetstylestore

Ear rings: Ninteen

Bracelet: Forever 21

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Wagah border, A special memory

Those who attended the  will know how “Once in a life” kind of experience that will give you goosebumps when you  witness the ceremony. I went to Wagah border while i was in my MBBS.

For those who know very little about it, Wagah is a village in the  road border crossing and goods transit terminal between  India and Pakisthan, located about 30km distance of Amritsar.

This place is known for the Wagah border ceremony which takes place everyday at the border gate, organized by military of both the countries.

Also known as beating retreat border ceremony, Wagah border ceremony takes place daily before sunset. There will be a parade by soldiers on both sides of iron gates. With the sunset, the iron gates separating both countries open and flags are lowered. Soldiers of both sides then shake hands with each other.

I really have no idea why but watching Wagah border ceremony is so exciting kinda experience. May be because of the seriousness of the issues between the two countries. We south Indians do not have the idea, how it feels to be in a border state.  We imagine the border villages to be  near battle fields (that might be the truth, of course).

Since childhood we were grown imagining Pakisthan a special country. The thought  that the other side also people sooo simple like you and me live made my heart fill with a warm feeling. ( I was just 19 then).

I could accumulate some special moments at the Wagah border ceremony. Just before the ceremony begins, soldiers encourage small kids ( say below 10yrs) to parade  with a flag in hands to the gate. Kids usually jump at this kind of opportunity. I was sitting with my friends and was watching all this. Suddenly a soldier looked at us and called some one . We got confused and started looking at each other. He then pointed at me and called again. I went closer and was shocked when I realized that he was asking me to join a bunch of kids. I was very thin and short then ( short now also) , I was dressed in a red top  with black  3/4 leggings. My friend playfully tied my hair into two pleats. I was exactly looking like an oversized 10 yr old (rather then an undersized medical student). My friends started cheering up for me. So, I joined the parade with a glee, went near the gate, waved at people sitting on the other side.

My friends clicked lot of pictures but unfortunately, I could not get them. Still trying to get some pictures.. Very happy to share my memory with you guys..

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10 Benefits of couple traveling

Get  intimate :

Cool breeze,caressing waves,  showering moon light. You can get endless possible  romantic situations which you share with your partner while traveling. Traveling together will invariably increase intimacy and strengthens the relationship.  Especially couple coming from arranged marriages. It is very odd to spend time with strangers. Honeymoons help them to come closer. I think that is the honeymoon is meant for.

It improves understanding.

Time spent together without others interference will help you understand each other better. You might never realize that your husband is a good photographer  or your wife is good in history otherwise.

Improves organizing skills:

You two are going to organize  your lives with each other. Start from planning a trip. It is not sooo simple. Work together, be a team.

Attachment..

couple traveling

Great time spent together will help for great bonding and attachment.

Manufacturing memories

It is not about just having fun, it  is about manufacturing new memories. Get them out of your memory box and enjoy for life.

Helps forget household worries and relax.

You might be waiting for promotion very long, you might have loads of loans to pay, you might have a torturing boss or maid. Take a trip and forget about everything for few days. You have your whole life with deal with issues.

Saves money.

Traveling together can save  a lot of money on transportation ( when you are using a private transport), on accommodation and others (like guide charges)

Personal photographer

all my good photos are taken by my husband
all my good photos are taken by my husband

Even  though very famous, selfies are not possible everywhere. If they are they might not look that good also. If you are two, you can take pics for each other. All my good pics were taken by my husband only.

Safety ( for female travelers)

We are advancing in so many things, but I still am not comfortable in traveling alone. It is not like my husband is a Bruce lee or something. Being with a man can keep troublesome people at a bay.

Handy at emergencies

You never know when you might fall sick or get into some accident. It is always better to have some one close to help us.

 

These are my top reasons to travel as a couple. If you have more or if you have other ideas, let me know.

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