Saturday, October 31, 2015

Touching a tip of the iceberg called Kerala

Left the residence at Sunday early morning 3.30 AM.

Wifey prepared puliyogare, curd rice, Hot milk. Cranked the beast(Mahindra Scorpio SLE) up and we r ready for the malabar.

The first stop was to be at Dindigal to have their special ginger biryaani. But it was not to be so. We reached dindigal around 9.30 AM. Had puliyogare, curd rice and proceeded towards thekkady.

We were supposed to reach thekkady around 2 pm. But we reached the tiger reserve @ 12.15 pm. This was made possible by the awesome tolled roads. I reached 170 kmph( disclaimer: I am not suggesting anybody to speed up. Please be careful while driving and drive within the speed limits and the capabilities of ur vehicle)

I want make few things clear here. I don't know the exact path taken. I just gave myself up to my MapmyIndia navigator. The distances mentioned are approximate and as per the route suggested by the navigator. Ktdc offers different tariffs based on the calendar. Check their website for tariffs of the month. All ktdc hotels tariff default to room + breakfast + dinner. All ktdc hotels don't care for ur vehicles. There r disclaimers everywhere to put the responsibility of vehicles on the owners

The roads in Kerala, well, no words to describe them. U will be shocked that that the roads u r driving through r national highways. People and vehicles will be moving across the broad a as though they are crossing a city road.  It was very difficult to find a secluded spot on the roads to take a leak. Take sufficient breaks between driving.  All the commercial activities r concentrated on these roads. Various stretches are under video surveillance for over speeding. The limits r a max of 60-70 kmph. I heaved a sigh of relief after entering Karnataka and saw that highways are still highways here. One more thing, A complete catch of fish was sold for INR 2k by a fisherman. But sea food was very costly and on par with Bangalore......

dindigal Ponram Briyani Hotel 10.360274, 77.976013(Lat, Long)

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First Stop: Periyar tiger reserve

At the periyar tiger reserve I stayed at ktdc periyar house
9.584698, 77.179869(Lat, Long),    INR 2700 per night.

Entry to the Hotel/Forest is allowed only during the Day time 7Am to 5:30 PM.
Beyond this time, forest Guards will not allow. On certain conditions(listed below), entry is still allowed beyond 5:30 PM.
1. Watching the Tribal Dance, which is outside the forest. And the event starts after 6 PM.
2. Jungle Night Scout. Starts outside the forest after 7PM.
If we are participating in these events, then the Forest Guards allow the entry after 6PM.


I just basked in the wild by sitting on the benches spread across the hotel. The sounds are totally different and for once you will love the sounds coming out of the forest. More like a lullaby.

The last boat ride is at 3 pm. If the influx of travellers are high then tickets get sold before 12 pm. The boat ride is best at 7.30 AM, the first ride. But, rememberrrr, U have to wear the most awkward life guards. U have to sit in ur seat without moving. The boat moves at a snails pace to help the visitors sight the wild.

Lunch was junk. Don't eat anything chicken, was, I think in the freezer for eternity. Paid coffee is good. The same for complimentary breakfast was nonsense. It is located a good 2km inside the tiger reserve. Gives u a feeling of living exactly in the heart of the jungle. Lots of monkeys. Close all windows at all points. Towels and beds are fresh. Toilets r clean. There is a badminton court for people interest The staff will arrange for safaris and boat rides, no need to stand in the Q.

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Second Stop: Kovalam Beach

tekkady to kovalam 250 Km.

On the way we were suggested to have food at this place, karimpumkala restaurant, 9.531084, 76.512465(Lat, Long). After having food here, I strongly recommend it for anybody wanting to have Kerala cuisine. Service is fast and good. Decide in advance regarding ur choice of food. It will be quicker. It is a decent restaurant in terms of the looks. Dont expect any extravagance.

KTDC Samudra Kovalam 8.400096, 76.973013 INR 5800

U Will be impressed by its location. Constructed on rocks overlooking the beach, this facility is professionally run. It is more in the resort category. Food is good and so is the well maintained outdoor swimming pool, a private beach. Clean rooms, nice breeze, chairs to sit outside coupoutside, hamlocks.

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Third stop: Kumarakom



kovalam to kumarakom 200 km

ktdc waterscapes Kumarakom, Kerala, India INR 6200
9.631815, 76.430437

U Will again be impressed by its location. Kumarakom is the biggest backwater in Kerala. Constructed of only wood, the cottages are constructed on man made canals branching water from the backwaters. Ther r some 40 cottages. The ones opposite the backwaters are the costliest. Professionally run. It is in the resort category. Food is good and so is the breakfast. Well maintained outdoor swimming pool, boat rides organized by the hotel itself, with their own boats. The options r a snail pulled, motor boat ànd an adrenaline pumping speed boat. The speed boat option is the best and the experince is awesome. Clean rooms, nice breeze, chairs to sit outside, hamlocks below the cottages. Bird sanctuary is an added attraction.

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Fourth Stop: Fort Kochi




Time to visit a beach again.
kumarakom to fort kochi 55Km

Stayed at hotel rossitta wood castle 9.966611, 76.241692. Happy to learn that this facility was built 300 years ago. The third generation owner, Mr. Joseph was kind enough to show me around the facility. He has kept it true to its lineage. Parking is a problem. U have to park ur vehicle in the road in front of the hotel. Clean room, bathrooms. For dinner we were recommended to eat at a restaurant whose chef was at rossitta. The food there had a definite twist. The same chef made breakfast and let me be frank, he prepared the best stuffed omelets I had ate to date in flat 10 minutes. Hot water only available on request.

As To the place, no, it is not a regular beach. The beach is full of weeds and u cannot play with the waves. The sunset started well, but clouds took over. The place is rife with foreign visitors to enjoy the visuals of their supremacy at that time as well as today.

Return to Bangalore


The return journey will take a minimum of 12 hours. Be prepared for the return journey because you will pass through the entire hell of path through keral roads before entering into Tamilnadu and Karnataka. Have a plan for the return path to drive through kerala at a minimum.

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Mistake made: After the tiger reserve we should have gone to Kumarakom and then to Kovalam. On Kerala roads this mistake is very costly and you will remember the mistake your entire life.

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