Fujiyama, Japan

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Alappuzha

Google Maps: Alappuzha, Kerala, India
Trip: Kodaikanal > Munnar > Periyar > Alappuzha > Kovalam

We reached Alappuzha by afternoon through a road which flaunted large green fields on both sides. Alappuzha or Alleppey is famous for backwaters. As a city that runs on tourism, Alappuzha is a decent place to stay for a couple of days. We stayed in. The evening was dedicated to a boat-ride to the lovely backwaters. The boat spends some 2-3 hours completing a round. The houseboats were extremely costly, priced at close to 10k per night, as December was the peak tourist season.

Backwaters Ride, Alleppey

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Periyar

Google Maps: Periyar, Kerala, India

  • Periyar is famous for swimming elephants and that is what you should aim for as there is nothing else.
  • The river safari is difficult to book during peak season in a communist state where price is low and everyone is equal.
  • Night safari is overhyped and nothing is exciting about it. Classic dancing events are organized which may be worth watching.

We reached Periyar in the noon and could feel the heat and humidity even at the end of December. The cool weather of Munnar and Kodaikanal had seeped in. We stayed in a hotel which was close to the Bus Stand and hence could move around at ease. We first went to Periyar Wildlife Reserve to ask if a safari was possible. There was one night petrol being offered and we booked for three. A part of the evening was spent at Hotel Ambadi which is at the centre. The hotel served beer with food which was more than we expected.

Periyar River


Monday, 24 December 2007

Munnar

Google Maps: Munnar, Kerala, India
Trip: Kodaikanal > Munnar > Periyar > Alappuzha > Kovalam

We moved to Munnar after a day stay in Kodaikanal. To reach Munnar in itself is an unforgettable experience. Atleast 20 Km before the place, large estates of tea, coffee and cardamom are visible and as the road meanders through these lush gardens, one has a feeling of sailing in an endless green sea. We stayed in Munnar for three days.

Tea Estates @ Munnar

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Kodaikanal

Google Maps: Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India
Trip: Kodaikanal > Munnar > Periyar > Alappuzha > Kovalam

Kerala trip was a bit more than what the three of us had expected from it. Manish and Vikash were with me. We started with  Kodaikanal which is in Tamil Nadu by taking Tuticorin Express from Bangalore to  Kodaikanal Road. There we took a bus and in another couple of hours we were inside the hill station. Thanks to online hotel booking on www.cleartrip.com, we quickly settled in our hotel which was just in front of the bus stand.

Coaker's Park, Kodaikanal

The first thing we did was a stroll at Cocker's Park. It is a half a kilometer stretch at the very edge of hill on which Kodaikanal is located. We then booked a cab for a fixed trip of the town for the afternoon. The lake and suicide point were regular features of a hill station. There was a Guna Caves famous for a Rajnikanth movie shoot. 

Silent Valley, Kodaikanal

We were particularly impressed with the Silent Valley where we sat for an hour listening to the rumbling of waterfalls and watching the movement of clouds. A nearby waterfall which was completely isolated was invaded by us for the evening. We spent the twilight paddling a boat in the lake. The view of twilight from the middle of the lake was a wallpaper stuff.

Kodai Lake

The next morning we had a sumptuous breakfast at one of the North Indian restaurants. Another excursion took us to Three Pillar viewpoint which is set of massive cliffs. There was not much for us tourists but  Kodaikanal  is an ideal hill station for people seeking peaceful leisure. We decided to move to Munnar the same day and hence hired a car to cover the 80 miles.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Taj Mahal

Google Maps: Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Trip: Delhi > Agra >  Fatehpur Sikri > Delhi

My friends who had come from UK were insisting for The Taj. Hence we started early morning in August at 5.30 AM for Agra. Shaun and Nicola were the ones I was giving company. The highway is pretty smooth but the key to trip to Taj Mahal is starting early. We reached Mathura by 8 AM. There is a McD on the highway where we had our breakfast. 

Taj Mahal @ Agra

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Stonehenge

Google Maps: Stonehenge, UK
Trip: LondonStonehenge > London

We took the early morning train from Sheffield for Salisbury. There is bus at regular interval from Salisbury to Stonehenge. By the time we reached there it was noon. It was nice to see so many people together at an isolated place in UK. Stonehenge is big crowd-puller.

Stonehenge near Salisbury

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Windsor

Google Maps: Windsor, UK
It was one of those weekend trips in UK. This time we planned for Windsor Castle. The Castle of Windsor is the winter residence of the Queen. The place is well connected with London. We started from Sheffield at 8 and were in Windsor by 12. We started of with lunch near the station. Being a weekend, there was a good crowd there.


The trip within the castle is well set and the crowd moves in a sequence. There are points within the castle from where the outside is visible and one can see the large spread of area in which the castle is built. There are a lot of royal stuffs kept there but the most captivating article we found was the armour of The Great Tipu Sultan. It was huge.


We came out of the other end of the palace and wanted to buy some souvenirs but they were costly. Instead we decided to spend the money on a ferris wheel which was located just outside the gate. From the top of it not only we had a top view of the castle but the entire Windsor city.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

London

Google Maps: London, UK
Although the first time I was in London was in the first week of April, it was only by the end of June that I feel I truly explored the city. That was a weekend when Raghunath mama took me around the city on his new Volvo.


We started early morning for Tower of London. It is where the famous Kohinoor diamond is kept among other articles that the Britishers collected during their colonial reign. The establishment and its surrounding is charming enough at the bank of the river Thames. The London Bridge is adjacent to the Tower. We spent the afternoon eating light and sauntering around the place.


Started in the noon, we reached Trafalger Square in no time. The place was suppose to open up with a large ground in from of the British National Library. Instead there was a giant structure temporarily built resembling the Jagannath Temple of Puri, India. Free food was being served to an enormous crowd, mostly Indians, gathered at the Square.


We ate Indian food quite delightfully and then moved on to a nearby park. Later on we visited Buckingham Palace and clicked few photographs.