Showing posts with label Kerala. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kerala. Show all posts

Birds of Kerala

Some birds spotted in Kerala around Thekkady and Thattekad.

Dark-fronted Babbler from the Western-ghats
Blue Winged Parakeet AKA Malabar Parakeet
Dark-fronted Babbler from the Western-ghats
White Bellied Tree Pie
Rufus TreePie
White Bellied Tree Pie
Racket-tailed Drongo
Jungle Babbler
Racket-tailed Drongo
Yellow Browed Bulbul
Indian Fairy Blue Bird
Southern Hill Myna
Spotted Owl Juvenile
White Throated Kingfisher
White Throated Kingfisher
Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Common Sandpiper
Red-wattled lapwing
Pied Kingfisher
Ashy Wood Shallow
Malabar White Headed Starling and Ashy wood Shallow
Jungle Myna
Ashy Wood Shallow

Great Ear Nighjar

Frogmouth

Green Parrot
Malabar Hornbill
Malabar Hornbill
Yellow Browed Bulbul
Orange Minivet - Female
Orange Minivet - Male

Kerala 2018 Thekkady and Thattekad

Just back from a week-long trip of Kerala. We left on a Monday quite unusual day to start a trip, always there is something new to do. We left home at 4:10 AM and b'cos of that we had almost zero traffic in crossing Bangalore city and every toll both we did had any queue and by 7:30 we reached Salem and stopped for Breakfast. Post breakfast we had to cross Salem and by 12ish we are in the border of Tamil Nadu & Kerala. We had to drive through Thani, Cumbummettu as direct road to Thekkady via Gudalur was closed from recent rain and flood of Kerala.

Just before our journey, there was a RED alert for a new cyclone which was later withdrawn but we did get rains first 2 days b'cos of that.

We stayed in Club Mahindra Thekkady for 3 nights. We did not do any homework before this trip and overreaching there realized all forest walks were off limit for Aarush as he is not yet 12 years old.
I did one jungle walk the next day (Tuesday) with one guide alone as there no other guests but it was in a way good as he dedicated all his time to spot birds for me. Post that we drove all way to Vagamon (I ran an 80KM Ultra this year) so wanted to show Pamela and Aaarush the scenic Suicide Point. While driving we crossed many tea garden and coffee estate and spice gardens. Evening we saw a Kathakali performance.

1500KM Round Trip
Wednesday Morning, we as a family did the boat ride in Periyar and saw many more birds. But October is not the best season as the best season starts from November to February when many migratory birds also come there. Around noon we drove till Gavi point, but we were the only tourist there so could not do much. That evening for the first time it did not rain :)

Thursday, we started from Thekkady in the early morning and headed for Munnar to witness Neelakurinji. These wildflowers only come once in 12 years but due to heavy rain the picture perfect moment was not there. But we had to drive again and headed to Thattekad (Salim Ali bird sanctuary). We did a night walk with our guide and spotted Great-eared Nightjar.

Friday, we did we moring bird watch but rain from the beginning of the week was not helpful as even though the weather was better we could not spot many birds.

Post birding we decided to move back to Bangalore and started from there around 12 Noon.

After 3 stops along the route, we reached home post-midnight, traffic within Bangalore was not a welcoming one as it took almost an hour to cross (in)famous Madiwala junction.

South Trip

Our trip to South  was one for which we hardly planned meticulously. Moreover, my son got fractured elbow but then also our spirit was on high although bit dampened that whether we will enjoy or not; kind of excitement mixed with anxiety, hope and happiness. I still remember the moment we sat in the car and started for the trip which was going to be one of the longest drive with Aarush.

We  left Bangalore on 11th December 2010. As nothing much planned we packed some fruits and snacks which could be of help in desperate times and of course a camera to capture the moments.

Our route-

Bangalore -> Madurai(via Salem) -> Rameshwaram -> Kanyakumari -> Kovalam –> Kumarakom -> Malampuzha (via Palghat) -> Bangalore.



View Road Trip December 2010 in a larger map

Although the principle best followed in the case of accommodation is – ‘To each to his own’. In this trip no prior booking was done as we didn’t knew which night where we will be. It was on-spot which Santanu liked most. Well the trip was a great one on our Indica as we sold the car within 3 weeks after returning to Bangalore. It was a sad separation but too much hassle to keep her with change of registration and etc. And now after almost two years all the travel-logs are now published.

Backwater:Kumarakom

Around 10 we started for our next destination to Kottayam which was around 140K M away. From Varkala we started following the road signs for Kochi but once we almost approached Kottayam/ Kumarakom we got little bit lost but soon found our way towards Kottayam. Roads were good except last part near GK Riverview home stay (Rough Guide recommendation). The owner of the homestay tried his best to discourage from coming with a small kid which infact made us more determined to stay with him. We were to stay here for 2 nights.



It is situated on the bank of river Meenachil in Aymanam. Right in front of house had backwater canal where you can take ride on country boats and watch people. They have only 4 rooms and facing the paddy field with hammocks and swing. Worth staying here if you don’t like TV in room and want to be close to nature and far from all noise of urban life. We spotted many birds there.

When we reached here, it was almost 3.30-4 00pm and were hungry. They offered us with some sandwich as we told we would like to have early dinner at night; traditional Keralite home cooked food was prepared & served at night along with other guests (foreigners). While dining we planned our next day itinerary with our host (he offered us with choices).


Next day our host walked with us and dropped us to respective ferry junction where from we took ride to huge Vembanad Lake along with other localities. From here, we went to Alappuzha (Alleppey) to hire house boat and took an 2hr. ride on lake with scenic beauty. We spotted many birds, house boats and could see the every-day life of common village folks. In between, the boat stopped for a tender coconut break where there was a pet eagle whose picture you see with Aarush. It was easy for him to hold the bird on his hand as it was with cast. After that we had lunch at Alleppey.

And came back to Kottayam railway station by another normal ferry, where auto was waiting to take us back to homestay (sent by GK only).

We preferred to avoid any night stay at houseboats being December they were exorbitantly pricey. But we thoroughly experienced boat rides whole day. In total, we spent almost 6/7 hours on boats. And as we traveled in public boats it gave a real glimpse of day-to-day life from children going to school, people coming back from town to village with their rations.

At night, had dinner and went to bed early so that we can leave the place as early as possible. Every food GK provided was excellent a perfect host.

Kovalam and Varkala beach

Drive from Kanyankumari was smooth, Aarush took a small nap. The road was undivided two lanes so the speed was limited but the lush green from paddy field , coconut grove and plantation leaves was pleasant for eyes. We reached Kovalam as per our plan, saw sunset which was magnificient. It was great to watch perfect sunrise and sunset on a same day. Public Beach was next to Taj and Leela hotels where large part belongs to them for their private beach. Now we started to search for hotel and ended up with Blue Sea. Did not find anything special but food was definitely good and the property looks like going down the hill as two brother split on the same.



Next morning we went geared up towards light house beach which we found to be much more serene compared to earlier one. It has long stretch to take a stroll. Had our breakfast at one of the sea facing restaurant; there were some reasonable price hotels with a view need to explore sometime later. Aarush and Santanu went inside the water to take a dip. Aarush with his plaster initially was reluctant but once he got used to the waves wanted to spend more time there.

At afternoon, came back to our room had lunch and some rest then went to Thiruvananthapuram to visit “Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple”. Drive from Kovalam to city was was not long but full of traffic. One of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India displays a supreme blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. The temple has strict order where only Hindus are allowed and male must enter bare chest and wear dhoti. Even for Aarsush they had a dhoti to rent. From there we went in search of place within Thiruvananthapuram to see Kathakali and martial arts but in turn ended up seeing Napier Museum, Oriental Research Institute & Manuscripts Library and other old heritage buildings which was worth passing by but we failed to capture them in moving car. Unfortunately, these all are on main roads where you cannot stop unless you park your car properly. One thing definitely caught our eyes was the number of jewelry/Gold shops. Around 8 PM we returned to our room so that we can have early dinner and head off early morning to next spot Varkala beach. Settled the bills with hotel for a early start.

Left Kovalam at 6AM and crossed Thiruvananthapuram city without any traffic jam this time. Varkala is also famous for the 2,000-year old Janardana Swami Temple considered as Dakshin Kashi. But we skipped and headed straight towards beach around 7am it felt like heaven. Really worth it would be staying over there. Since we have already booked for that night at Kumarakom we could not make it. The views of the sunset sunrise are worth lingering over. The cliff and the beach house a lot of resorts, restaurants and other shops. The cliff has a long stretch of small shops which goes on for over a kilometer where we took a walk and had breakfast in one of the restaurant there. Looked like Varkala is more famous with foreigners. The breakfast was great as we had some European breakfast.