Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Catty Corner !!!

I have something interesting to share this time! I was in the process of looking out for a house to stay at Kilpauk, Chennai. I was in a house and looking through a window from in there. I was amazed to see two endearing cats sleeping in a box-like thermo coal tightly cuddled. It appeared to me as if, they were sleeping with all romance at heart and I woke them up banging the window. I have a couple of photos of the catties. Do have a look.

I was surprised to see at least 5 cats in the same area all sleeping in individual thermo coal boxes, the couch for them. I was instantaneously taken by the cute catty couple and felt like taking the house for rent at any cost.
I would like to share another picture of a cat that seemed to pose close to my house. The surrounding appeared appealing to me, that I clicked my camera to capture the cutie catty.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

101 Things To Do Before I Die

  1. Find the reason for my birth
  2. Make a library of all my favorite collections.
  3. Read the complete dictionary
  4. Write a best seller.
  5. Create a fictional character that all kids would love.
  6. Travel along to a city in a foreign land, where I have never been before.
  7. Get to the tallest buildings and reach the highest point there.
  8. Fall asleep on a bed in a furniture store.
  9. Express my emotions with a song.
  10. Write the story of my life
  11. Be a teacher for one day at the school I studied in.
  12. Break a computer monitor to pieces.
  13. Walk alone in a cemetery at midnight.
  14. Be the best daughter to my parents.
  15. Trek a mountain of my choice.
  16. Spend a night by the waterfall with my love.
  17. Stay in the costliest resort for one night.
  18. Build my own organization.
  19. Make a huge Barbie doll collection in my showcase.
  20. Stay for a night in a really scary and haunted house.
  21. Build my dream house.
  22. Get wet in the rain on a hill top.
  23. Compose a melodious piece of music.
  24. Try and capture as many rainbows as possible on my camera.
  25. Wake up late in the night, when everyone is asleep, and go out, ride my car.
  26. Spend a month in a lone island.
  27. Stay in an Igloo.
  28. Learn a new language and put that to use.
  29. Watch sunrise and sunset.
  30. Smile at say, 100 strangers.
  31. Maintain the diary for a whole year.
  32. Write to my favorite novelist.
  33. Donate one lunch of mine to the poor.
  34. Stay in silence for a week.
  35. Switch off my mobile for a week.
  36. Sleep on the terrace watching the sky.
  37. Build a tree house.
  38. Wander around in a deep forest for a week.
  39. Paint my dreams on canvas.
  40. Go snow skiing.
  41. Record my expenditure everyday.
  42. Learn to play a piano.
  43. Meet someone with a name which spells as my own.
  44. Trip the world’s coldest areas (?)
  45. See the aurora borealis.
  46. See an erupting volcano.
  47. Milk a cow.
  48. Conquer my fears.
  49. Build a temple.
  50. Watch the top 100 films listed on IMDB.
  51. Drive my car to the hill top.
  52. Win a lottery (:D)
  53. Land on the moon.
  54. See a space shuttle launch.
  55. Study astronomy.
  56. See the complete solar and lunar eclipse.
  57. Own a useless collection of useless stuff.
  58. Discover something that would help my growth.
  59. Do my Masters in a university of my choice.
  60. Clean my place and put things in order.
  61. Stay overnight in a luxurious boat house.
  62. Visit the fantasy 360 degree Leti, located in the heart of Uttaranchal, India.
  63. Ride a camel.
  64. Shelter at least one poor family.
  65. Spend on educating an orphan.
  66. Design my home interiors.
  67. Live in a hut for at least 48 hours.
  68. Conduct training sessions for my juniors at college.
  69. Look into the close rooms of the Taj Mahal.
  70. Cry out loud for silly reasons.
  71. Present my soul mate with something unexpected on a special day!
  72. Stay calm even when I am the most stressed out.
  73. Learn a lot of patience.
  74. Understand motherhood.
  75. Make a to-do list for everyday.
  76. Learn to say NO without saying ‘No!’
  77. Visit temples whenever I find time.
  78. Understand stock market.
  79. Consciously cut my skin (say, 2 cm long) and learn what pain it causes!
  80. See the new 7 wonders of the world
  81. Jump with a parachute.
  82. Help save one’s life.
  83. Turn vegetarian for a month.
  84. Make a hoax phone call.
  85. Make a code language and use it to converse with my friends.
  86. Become nocturnal for a month.
  87. Learn to take control of my dreams.
  88. Eat fruits from the tree I planted.
  89. Throw tomatoes at the person you hate.
  90. Experience getting struck in a traffic jam for more than 6 hours.
  91. Visit Stonehenge.
  92. See the Grand Canyon.
  93. See my grandchildren.
  94. Trace my family tree.
  95. Visit the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt.
  96. Have enough financial strength to manage accomplishing stuff mentioned.
  97. Visit the Twelve Apostles, Rock Formation.
  98. See a ghost.
  99. Learn the psychology behind suicide.
  100. Visit all famous temples in India.
  101. Love my life and live it to the fullest!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spots we missed at Wayanad

Though we saw all the important spots at Wayanad, we missed a few fantastic sights. ‘Edakkal Caves’ was one of the most important spots to trek at Wayanad. We could not visit the caves because, the month we went, the place was closed for maintenance. We could not help it. One other spots, which my friends suggested as quite interesting, is the ‘Sunrise Valley’. ‘Chembra Peak’ is another spot we missed. I am now giving a short description about those places here.

Edakkal Caves:
Edakkal literally translates into 'a stone in between' in Malayalam. The two Edakkal caves are not caves in strictest of sense since there is merely a 96 feet long and 22 feet wide split in the rock. The caves, that stand on Ambukutty mala (a mountain) at a height of 1000 m, were discovered quiet accidently by the F. Fawcett, the then superintendent of police. The caves preserves prehistoric rock engravings including a human figure with headgear, a human figure on wheeled cart, images of a tribal king & queen, a deer and an elephant. The caves are situated at a distance of 12 kms from Sultan Bathery and can be reached by bit of effort. You can take your own vehicle only for the first kilometre. From there, a jeep has to be hired and then a trek of one kilometre will take you to the caves. Apart from the engravings, the views from atop is also splendid.
Etchings found on the walls of these caves have drawn the serious attention of archeologists and historians worldwide. It is assumed that the Edakkal had been inhabited at various stages in history. A telescope installed a panoramic view of the surrounding country is another attraction.

Chembra Peak:
To reach Chembra peak, we need to first reach a place called Meppadi, that is around 17 kms from Kalpetta. From Meppadi we can see the Chembra estate direction board. Once we reach the Chembra Estate Entrance, we need to get the pass. To reach the peak's bottom we need to walk 7kms and from the bottom, the peak is around 3kms. If we walk through the estates, it takes around 2 hours to reach the bottom of the peak. Alternatively, a vehicle can be arranged. The walk is really energizing with the greenery around us.

From there the trekking uphill begins. It will be a difficult climb, people say. It takes around forty five minutes to reach the top. There lies a small lake at the top of the mountain, which is the most beautiful at that spot. Again, more trekking is required to reach the top. The trek to this peak is told to be the most exhausting of all, as it takes a long time to reach the bottom of the peak and then start the trekking.

Sunrise Valley:
This is located 20 km south of Sulthan Bathery at Kadasseri. Sunrise valley is a great place to watch the rising and setting sun amidst dramatic mountain scenery. It also offers a panoramic view of the valley beneath. We need to reach the place early, climb up the hill. From the hill top, we can see the valley.

The sun seems to rise from beneath the valley. That’s the whole point in visiting this place. We can see sun’s rays spread around the place distinctly. How beautiful it should be! We missed it terribly.

I feel I ve missed some important places of interest at Wayanad, and one day in my life, I will make a trip back to the Green Paradise. :)

Hope you have developed some interest in visiting Wayanad now. So, What are you waiting for?! Gear up!!

Trip to Wayanad, The Green Paradise - Day 4

We were so enthusiastic to reach the place intended for the day then. It was to the Soochipara Falls.

The Tea Plantations:
On our way to the falls, we visited the tea plantations, which was peculiar to most of the hilly regions (I presume). The tea plantation all our way through, was a splendid location to miss.
They are most visually appealing; they sprawl over the hills in a thick green carpet, with thin silveroak trees scattered in between in an indifferent manner - and best of all the women at work in the plantations, carefully plucking the tea leaves, heads protected by plastic against any sudden downpours.

We stopped by the woods and tried getting a glimpse of the tea plantations. We moved in the midst of them, trying to experience the greenery of the region. How fresh and how green they were! How peaceful the place was! I just didn’t feel like walking out of the greenery there.

The whole place was so green and striking. Green is the most charismatic color ever J -that was what ran through my mind then! We then resumed our journey towards the Soochipara Falls.

Soochipara Falls:
We reached the spot, alighted from the drive, took a walk through the dense forests and reached the falls. Nature is at its thundering best at this place. The falls is 200-300 feet in height. It is pleasing to the eyes.

We planned to dip in the water. To reach the falls, and touch water there was a heroic task indeed. We were scared of the rocks and the water beneath it. We were warned that the rocks are quite slippery. We made our way to the falls and dipped in the falling water. Ah! What a pleasing moment it was! I just cannot forget! The water was so cold and we were the only people there. We had a relaxed shower and then walked back to the rocks. We were feeling thrilled at this momentous occasion. I had longed for a trip like this, and finally enjoyed one.
From there, we walked down to the 'Suicide Point' where it is said, depressed folks try and commit suicide. It was deep down and we had to walk a distance. We had a look at the spot and walked back, because of lack of time.

And now, came the sad moment with all refreshing memories to preserve forever and some people to miss forever. We went back to our rooms, dressed up, packed our bags, returned the keys at the reception and made our way to catch a bus to Calicut. Our train to Goa from Calicut was scheduled at 7:00 pm. We started around 3:00 pm to Calicut, reached there by 6:00 pm, had some light snacks, and reached the railway station, boarded the train and sat there relaxed. While we just boarded the bus to Calicut, we called up Aunty and bid a ‘bye’ to her. She wished us a ‘Happy Journey’. ‘Cheta’ was filled with tears, as he had become one with us in these 4 days of trip. He took care of us like his own sisters. Hats off to ‘cheta’.

We reached Goa the next morning fresh with all memories to preserve for our lifetime. It was an awesome trip, to be short!

Trip to Wayanad, The Green Paradise - Day 3

We had our minds clear and set for the visit to the Tirunelly Temple in the morning. We started off by 6:00 am in the morning. We had to travel for 2 full hours to reach the temple. We had fun on our way playing songs and moving through the thick vegetation so peculiar to the place.

Jain Temple:
On our way to the temple, we happened to see another ancient remains of the Jain presence at Kerala. It is located at Puliyarmala, an old temple dedicated to Ananthanatha Swami, one of the most revered Jain Saint. The entrance doors of the temple are beautifully carved, which holds three panels. The outer entrance has a carved granite pillar in front of the gate. The stupa, constructed in the traditional Dravidian style of architecture, has colorfully painted ornate carvings going up in a pyramid shape and at the top, there is a carving of Mahavir.

We were attracted by the enchanted remains of this age old temple. We spent about half an hour in this place, digesting the fact that the temple has become one with nature because of its age.

Thirunelly Temple and Papanasini:
Thirunelly Temple also known as ‘ThekkanKashi/Dakshina Kashi’ (Kasi of the south) is located at 32 kms from Mananthavady and is 3000 years old. Nestled in the midst of mountains and rivers, this ancient temple is an excellent example of classical Kerala Temple Architecture. Legend says that the temple was dedicated by the Creator, Lord Brahma to the Preserver, Lord Vishnu. The clear water of the Papanasini River adds to the enchantment of this place. There is an aqueduct from the Papanashini to the temple to have Papanashini water for the temple use right in its precincts.

On the southern side of the temple there is a pond called Panchatheertha where five rivers used to meet in the past. In the summer the pond is waterless. Usually the pond is covered by dense undergrowth. A mound is seen in the centre of the pond on which a stone slab with the imprint of Vishnu’s feet is also seen. The imprint is called Vishnupad.
A short walk from the Temple leads us to the clear mountain spring of the Papanasini. It is believed that a ritual dip in this river washes away all our worldly sins.

We reached the temple around 9:00 am. We were dressed appropriately for the temple. We visited the temple and waited for the ‘pooja’ to end, had the ‘swamy darshan’. The sounds of the drums and the typical Keralite music that was played captured our hearts. We had the opportunity to walk along the aqueduct that brought water from the Papanasini to the temple. The place was nature’s splendid decoration.
We moved through the dense undergrowth with rocks in between which added to the beauty of the place to reach Papanasini river. We took a dip in the river as per ritual and then moved to the place where there is the Vishupad. When we walked further south, we could see a small temple of Lord Shiva carved in the rock. We had to look into it through a small door, and it usually remains closed except for the times when ‘pooja’ is conducted.

We had a good time at this sacred place for about 2 hours and then started to move towards Karapuzha Dam.

Karapuzha Dam:
We took our way towards Karapuzha Dam, the large irrigation based dam site. This is set amongst picturesque surroundings. A fine venue for picnics, we took a speed boat ride, six of us together. I happened to meet a couple (the guy working for Tejas Networks, Bangalore) on the speed boat.

When we just stepped into the boat, it started raining. So we had to wait till the rains stopped. We then started off again. And!! It once again started showering while we were riding.
The couple was so sweet; we had a nice chat with them. Took some snaps of the picturesque area and came back after 40 minutes. That was the most interesting speed boat ride ever in my life.

We then made our way to Pookot Lake, though it was late in the evening.

Pookot Lake:
This is a natural fresh water lake surrounded by evergreen forests and rolling hills. A fresh water aquarium with large variety of fish is an added attraction to this beauty of nature. The lake I knew was fresh water, and was so eager to make a boat ride there. The climate was cold and we got something hot and spicy to manage the temperature. We then asked for tickets for the boat ride, thinking of the way we would move through as we boat there.

But, the timing was restricted and we had to skip boating then. If we had been to boating, I could imagine that we would have been in the midst of the evergreen forest, and we would have got a feeling that we are in a strange land where no way to the outside was possible. And now, we proceeded to the viewpoint, which was a marvelous tourist attraction. It had a stretch of hills with a deep pit beneath.

The Lakkidi Viewpoint:
This is amongst the tallest point in the Wayanad region and has a height of 700 m above the sea level. It is a perfect place where you can capture the beauty of Kerala in your camera. The towering mountain peaks, the rushing stream, verdant vegetation and a deep valley add to the attraction of this place. Lakkidi is just 5 km from Vythiri.
We went to Lakkidi having a look at the Chain Tree on our way. We were amazed by the beauty of this spot. At first, I envisioned this place to be similar to the viewpoint at Kodaikanal. But this was something unimaginable. It was much more than what I presumed it to be. We walked along the road, that covered the viewpoint. We reached the spot at the right time, so we didn’t miss the view. Around fifteen minutes, the view was breathtaking. Only a short while later, we could see that the mist was jamming our view. Even that view of mist covering the huge area was awe-inspiring. We stood there dumbstruck for half an hour. We then had ice-creams and made our way back home.

That evening, we had an invitation from Aunty to her place. So, we drove there and again, her house was located in a place which was silent, surrounded by all thick trees and hills. From very close to her place, we could see the Edakkal Caves (we missed it because, that month the place was under maintenance).

At Aunty's House:

Aunty had made some sweets from fresh plantains and gave us a hot cup of coffee to get rid of the cold. Her house was situated in one magnificient location, we just failed to imagine. How happy and peaceful her life would be, staying at that kind of a location! I wish I had a house for myself at that location, all silent and peaceful. We started back to our place by 9:30 pm at night. That day, we had to shift from the Cottage we stayed in, and move to Isaac Regency.

We had booked 2 rooms there, even before we reached Wayanad. The Isaac Regency was an interesting space to stay in the night. The people there were so caring and helpful, that we made friends with them quite easily. We had fun watching TV, playing games, and chit-chatting. We had to leave the next day from Wayanad back to Goa. We had a fantastic feeling about the trip till that day. We were eagerly awaiting the next day to dawn.

Rest in the next post !!

Trip to Wayanad, The Green Paradise - Day 2

We started early about 6:00 am with full of expectations and excitement. I was too excited to explain what I was doing then. The place where we stayed had beautiful gardens with attractive flora. We spent all our time there admiring the beauty of nature. I was too impressed about the place for the first time in all my life. We set out singing and playing all the time.

Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary:
Our next adventure was the jungle safari through Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. The unique feature of this place is that it is linked to Mudhumalai Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu and Bandipur National Park of Karnataka. This place is rich in bio-diversity with rich fauna and flora. The vegetation is predominantly deciduous with small stretches of swamps, teak forests, bamboo and tall grass. This region also grows varied medicinal herbs and plants. Elephants, jungle cats, panthers, civet cat, monkeys, wild dogs, deers, spotted bears, bisons, peacock, owls, woodpeckers, cuckoos, etc.

The above being the description of Muthanga Sanctuary, let me now explain how we had fun there. We used our jeep for the safari in the forest. We were warned that the elephants are dangerous and therefore we had to keep distance from them in case we spot them. This time, it was not just ‘cheta’ who accompanied us, but also a forest guide. He took us through the areas where elephants quench their thrist.

We spotted many deers which I felt was the most common among all. We saw a bison and some strange birds there. We were feeling refreshed when we saw small streams. We stopped every now and then to enjoy the refreshing forest atmosphere. The forest was a place that can never know pollution or traffic or sounds of vehicles and crowded streets as in towns and cities. It was the most peaceful spot we could find. What we missed and were eagerly expecting till we reached the exit of the forest were the elephants which seemed to have no manners to come and greet the guests (i.e., we) of its home. Disappointed, we left the forest and moved towards a small stream close by.

The Stream:
The stream was another attraction to our thirsty souls. I felt my whole body refreshing when my feet touched the stream. Its exotic beauty attracted all of us that we were not willing to leave the spot.

No one usually visits the stream close by because that is little known by the tourists. But I would say, that was something really attractive to the eyes and soul.

Our next step in the day’s adventure was to move to Kuruva Islands. This island is 950 acres of evergreen forests on the tributaries of river Kabani. This place is also away from the disturbances of city life. This island is uninhabited. It shelters rare species of birds, orchids and herbs. This place is 40km north west of Sulthan Bathery from where we started.
On our way to this beautiful place, we could see a lot of bamboo trees with the worst of the beetles on the ground. The bamboos were attractive and so we didn’t care to step down from the jeep and majestically pose for the snap. The place reminded me of the Tamil Song ‘Moongil Kadugale’ from the movie ‘Samurai’.
Further through the route to the island, we could see lilies grow on a land where there was nothing but dry leaves. The site was too impressive that we stopped by to enjoy the wonder of nature. I would love to have spent a few more minutes there, but we had to proceed for lack of time.

Finally we were there at Kuruva, the exciting place ever. I loved the entire greenery around. There were fields through which we had to walk to reach the entrance of Kuruva. We then had to cross the river using a raft, which was interesting to do. We then walked over a small wooden bridge and reached the dweep (island). We walked through the tough and thick bamboo trees reaching the river side of the place.

We could see rocks which we had to use to cross the river. We did a small adventure crossing the rocks and finally reached the waters. We knew very early that the waters there are dangerous and we might slip any moment. Still we managed to play with the water and had a lot of fun. We spent around 2 hours in the place and then returned to the entrance. It was quite a lot of fun for a place where only Nature was dominating, unlike the cities.

We then made our way to Banasura Sagar Dam located close to Karlad Lake. It was getting dark in the evening.

Banasura Sagar Dam:
This dam is considered to be the largest earth dam in India. This dam is an excellent base to start off a trekking expedition to the Banasura Peak. Located in the midst of lovely, mist-clad hills with a wildlife sanctuary and park full of flowering trees, this spot of enchantment has no parallel elsewhere. With its placid crystal clear waters Banasura is a wonderful picnic spot.

It was dark by the time we reached there. We had food packed from a restaurant close by and planned to have it there. The scene there was so picturesque that we just could not take our eyes off the place. We were dumbstruck atleast for ten minutes. We had a great time chatting with each other then. It was kind of cold at that time in the evening. We just could not manage the temperature then. We had our dinner, hot and spicy and finally made our way back to the town, Sulthan Bathery.

Jain Temple at Sulthan Bathery:
We winded up for the day with a visit to the Jain temple at Sulthan Bathery. This is generally known as the Tippu’s fort. Tippu Sulthan used this place for his ammunition store (Battery). And hence the town got the name ‘Sulthan’s Battery’ derived finally as Sulthan Bathery. This temple is one of the most important historic remnants of the strong presence of Jains in this region.

We reached this place around 6 pm after which we were too tired to continue. So we went back to our nests and slept tight for the night.The third day fun follows in the next post.