Wayand , a district in Kerala , which situates near to Sultan Betheri. Never miss the crowning glowry of the rich biological heritage of Wayanad. These are the forests which provided a hideout for Pazhassi Raja during his Guerilla combat against British. In the dense moist deciduous are foound a hetrogenous population of elephants, tiger, jungle cats, civet cats, bison, peacock, wood pecker and other animals and birds. A variety of tribal groups too live on the forest outskirts.
Another place in the district of Wayanad. At a formidable height of 1740 m above sea level, this pictursque bird watching centre , with its steep hills, virgin forests and rivulets is the habitat of number of species of birds. Challenging avenue for those intrested in trekking. A cave beleived to have been used by ancient saints for meditation is a hub of tourist intrest.
A memorable day spend in back waters alleppey recently. we started our journey in a house boat morning 7 am and after 8 pm we came to the shore. From alleppey to kumarakom backwaters, then vembanadu ,champakulam, pulinkunnu etc.. When the time came for us return none of us was willing to. all good things has come and end. but i made a promise to myself that in my next visit i will spend more days....
During my trip in 2004, this was a newly opened 'tourist attraction' in Kerala - a trip to spend time with elephants.
I did this trip through Manos travel, but I'm sure this can be arranged independently too.
Just ask at your hotel reception, or a taxi driver.
The village of Chirakarathazham is the place to head for.
Originally the 18 strong herd were hired out for temple festivals, but their owner realised there was an opening for tourists to enjoy time spent with these creatures.
In the first 2 months of this project over 400 visitors arrived.
This has opened up tourism to the area, bringing in money to the village.
We had the chance to feed the elephants (lots of (Whole bunches of) bananas), then the mahouts introduced us to the elephants, before we were offered the chance for some bare back riding, just a short ride, about 5-10 mins, but you could probably ask for longer ,depending on the group size.
Our guide was very helpful, taking photos, and ensuring we had as long a ride as we wanted. Was a bit daunting at first, being perched on a moving elephant sofa!!! but soon relaxed into it!!!
Then the elephants were bathed,in a small pond. Again, you have the chance to join in!
I was a bit reluctant, as after the banana feast, what goes in, comes out!!!! get my drift? so you were sharing the water with elephant dung!' though the mahouts were adept at tossing the stools onto a pile at the waters edge, to dry out for burning later!!!! A couple of our party were willing to give it a go.
I've since read that Elephants have between 15 - 20 bowel movements a day, after eating for upto 18 hours in 24 hours!!!
By the way - check out the 6 - pack on the mahout ;-)
My trip was combined with a Backwater Cruise and included buffet lunch at Aqua Serena..A good day out - Recommended!
Please visit my Kovalam Must See tip for more info.
Varkala (Varkallai ) is a coastal town which is famous for its ancient Janardhana swamy temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is a pilgrimage centre too for the Hindus who worship at the temple and also pay homage to Sree Narayana Guru, the Kerala's saint and social reformer. It is also a holy beach known as Papanashini..
When u visit karala never miss a chance of enjoying the beauty of Papanasham beach.
It is Situated One hour drive from Trivandrum airport on the National Highway (NH 47).
It is well connected by rail too.
Kathakali is a form. A total theatre art assimilating acting, dancing, music, literature and even the plastic arts like painting and sculpture with a tradition of over a thousand years. It has evolved into its present form undergoing many modifications at the hands of great artistes. The stories enacted are generally from the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. The characters are typified in to six different costumes and makeups. The dancers, musicians and even the makeup man go through a grueling training regime for at least eight to ten years before they participate in a stage performance.
Two singers narrate the story in musical form accompanied by percussion instruments, cymbals and a gong. On the stage, actors interpret the song with their facial gestures, torso and limb movements and virile dancing. The eyes play a very important part in the interpretation.
The most pristegeous institution to learn kathakali is the Famous Kerala Kalamandalam. This institution is started by the famous Late Malayalam Poet called Sri.VALLATHOL NARAYANA MENON. Apart from Kathakali we can learn other art forms like OTTAM THULLAL,MOHINIYATTAM, KOODIYATTAM, BHARATHANATYAM, KATHAKALI SANGEETHAM , etc..too there.
Olden times, KATHAKALI traditionally was performed by only men. Nowadays ladies too do the performance. There is a fully women group existing , at a place called Tripunithura.
Apart from the actors on the stage we can see there are two singers with different instruments called Chengila and Ilathalam (cymbal and gong), 2 percussionist with two different kind of percussion instruments 1) Chenda -the vertical drum2) Madhalam -the horizontal drum.Froth the different makeups we can make out wether the charactor is evil or good. The different types of make ups are called, PACHA, KATHI, MINUKKU,CHUVANNA THADI and VELLA THADI ETC...
Make it a point to see this in a temple in your next visit to kerala. At least one story in full (3hrs).
If you think English Football is the most electrifying event in the world, try Kerala snake Boat races.
Boats manned by four helmsmen, 25 singers and 100 - 125 oarsmen who row in unison to the fast rhythm of the vanchipattu (song of the boatman). Thousands of people crowd the water's edge to cheer the huge black crafts as they slice through the waters to a spectacular finish.....
It's a spectacular event not to miss while you are anywhere close to Kerala..
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar lake - an artificial lake, at Thekkady. The Periyar Widlife sanctuary is spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wiild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors all over the world and is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves.
Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.
In addition to elephant rides, cruises on the lake and treks to the ruined Mangala Devi temple - a beautiful old stone temple situated in the heart of the Thekkady forest, this sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph wild elephants at close quarters.
The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however are the herds of wild elephants that come down to the play in the lake.
Kathakali means story play. It is a classical dance- drama , derived from a form of yoga, that is believed to have its beginnings in the 2nd century BC, with the contempory form dating from the first half of the 17th Century AD.
Many elements of art form are combined into a Kathakali performance.
There are about 30 plays in existance,(originally there were about 100) based on stories from the Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharatha, where common themes of good v evil, weakness & courage, wealth & poverty, War & Peace are dramatised.
Attakatha (the script) is a sanskrit form of Malayalam, vocalised by singers or musicians.
The dancers narrate the story through intricate facial expressions and gestures, with sudden leaps, spins and freeze balances. Each wearing fantastic costumes and elaborate make up.
Dancers usually begin a disciplined training at around age 10 or 12, lasting for about 8 years, where intense physical exercises and instruction in footwork, body movements, eye movements, hand gestures and facial portrayal of emotions are undertaken.
Each dancer learns the different characters parts /make up etc. as he may play a different character at each performance.
See my Kovalam and Cochin pages too for more tips about this fascinating tradition!
Leaving the coconut groves of the lowlands, venturing further inland and to higher grounds, rubber trees abound.
The sap is collected by 'tapping' the tree, cutting grooves past the bark, then the liquid rubber drains into cups.
This is then pressed into squares and hung to dry. It may then be treated with chemicals.
Along the roadside its easy to spot the rubber plantations and these squares of thick rubber hanging to dry..theres quite a distinctive smell too!
The rubber is exported for many uses.
The Keralan rubber industry became very prosperous in recent years, with the increased demand for condoms!!
ONAM- the harvest festival of kerala
Onam the harvest festival of Kerala had started from 20th of aug. Entire kerala is in a festive mood. Most of the people have a floral carpet made infront of their houses. The main roads have been decorated. A trip in the night thru the state is a treat to our eyes. full of colourful lights and many places cultural programmes are going on. The KTDC (kerala State Tourism Dept) give a lot importance to the toruists who visit kerala at this period. The people who love to eat typical kerala veg food this is the time to invite urself in any traditional homes in kerala. whoever comes we are supposed to give food.
The celebrations will go on till 1st of september.
Now Y this Onam-harvest festival sooooo important. There is a mythological story behind it which is mentioned in "MAHABARATHA". It is connected to Lord Vishnu's aim of coming in Vamana Avathar (th Incarnation in Vamana form).as U all know Lord Vishnu had 10 avatharas and each had an aim.
I hope i could create some curiosity..the full story will be following later.
rest in next.
HAPPY ONAM TO ALL
take care and keep smiling.
Ps. This year's (2005) Onam festival will be between Sep 6th ot 18th
Munnar is the main tea growing centre in southern India, set amongst stunning mountain scenery, it's well worth a visit!
The air is cooler here, and the mountains and national parks offer wonderful opportunities for walking.
Eravikulam National Park (16km from Munnar) is home to the Nilgiri tahr (rock goat). These tame creatures can be seen in their natural habitat.
The small town and its bazaar offer a taste of local life.
130km east of Cochin
70km north of Kumily
Regular buses from most of Keralas towns, offer stunning views on your journey to and from Munnar
Please see my Munnar page for more info.
A lot of the spices that you use in your cooking are grown here in Kerala....So it's a good chance to see them in their natural state and learn about how they are grown etc..
Away from the coastal areas, travel out to the area around Periyar, Kumily etc. Here you'll find family run spice gardens/plantations and shops/markets selling packaged spices.
Cardamom is the Queen of spices, Pepper is The King!! Ginger, coriander, cumin, cloves, aniseed, vanilla, nutmeg, turmeric, tamarind, fenugreek, cinnamon and more besides can be seen in their natural environment, and can be bought quite cheaply, and all are excellent quality!
Also herbs such as basil, curry leaves etc.
Please see my Periyar pages for more details
Patayani is a week- long ritual dance, held in Kaali temples on the banks of the Pamba river during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Medam (March - April). The choice theme of the dancers is the slaying of the demon Daarikan by the goddess Kaali. The steps and movements of the dance vary according to each Kolam or character. Thappu is the major percussion instrument accompanied by a few Chendas. Patayani masks are made with the fresh spathe of arecanut palms. Bhairavi (Bhadrakaali), Yakshi, Pakshi (bird) and Kaalari (Siva) are the main characters. Various communities targetted for criticism are represented by jestures. Kadammanitta, Kadalimangalam and Othara in Pathanamthitta district are famous for annual Patayani performances.
This ancient imposing temple is the most impressive land mark in the city. Built in 16th centruy and later renovated by Maharaja of Travancore in 1733, the 7 storey gopuram is an excellent example of dravidian architecture. The presiding deity is Lord Vishnu reclining in Anantha, the thousand headed serpent. The idol is 18 feet long and can be worshiped through three doors. There are innumerable stole pillars with intricate carvigs and covered with gold in the temple corridors. Mural paintings and ornamentation adorn the walls.
Kumarakom North Post, Kumarakom, Kerala, 686 566, India
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