Archive for the ‘Kerala’ Category

Elephant Festival unrolls an expression of Celebration in Kerala

Posted on January 14th, 2013 by admin  |  Comments Off

Being the most celebrated festival of Kerala, Elephant Festival has registered itself among the top Indian Fairs and Festivals. The Thrissur ‘Pooram’ festival adds the delightful memories to your Kerala tour.

With a desire to become a part of Indian festivals, I booked my tour accordingly. My husband gathered all the India Festivals Information to ensure a smooth tour.

Every season brings along new festivals. The popular Indian fairs and festivals include Pushkar Fair, Goa Carnival, Desert Festival, Nagaur Fair, Good Friday, Baisakhi, Teej, Onam, Dussehra, Diwali, Pongal, Lohri and many others. And that is not all. Even the festivals on the name of Indian God and Goddess are also celebrated with great enthusiasm in India.

Elephant Festival KeralaElephant Festival Kerala

I, along with my husband was on Kerala tour where the popular Elephant Festival is celebrated. It takes place annually in the month of Medam according to the Malayalam Calender at Trissur in Kerala, which falls in Mid April -Mid-May.

Visualising the charm of Indian Fairs Festivals, we landed in the wonderful state of Kerala. Soon we were at the place where the grand “Elephant Festival” was being celebrated. It is among the remarkable plays of light and sound. ‘Thissur Pooram’ is a 36-hours long affair, dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It is among the biggest elephant festivals of the state.

We both were very excited to become a part of Elephant Festival Kerala, held at the Thekkinkadu Maidan outside the Vadakkunnathan Temple. Beautifully decorated elephants in two processions symbolizing the Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu temples, were creating an imposing spectacle. My husband was busy in clicking photographs, while I was simply enjoying the extravaganza.

The celebration befalls in the dawn and extends till the break of the next day. Every group is permitted to perform with around 15 elephants. I observed that extraordinary efforts were being made by every group to ensure the best elephants of the place. It seemed to me one of the best Fairs and Festivals of India that I could attend.

It was a treat for eyes to see the colourful cloaks, raised on the elephants. The assigning of elephants and canopy is done while maintaining complete privacy by each group to surpass the other. Be it Fairs in India or Festivals in India, the charm is exceptional. The mammoths adorned with gold ornaments, each driven with three priests, are a spectacular scene.

We were at the maidan and watching the magnificent look of elephants. Soon a remarkable work of fireplay mesmerised us and it seemed as various cylindrical drums were sounding together.

Then, the amazing procession started, which simply fascinated us. The parade of the Thiruvambadi Pooram to the grounds of Vadakkunnathan Temple and back was worth witnessing.

The sweet melody of the ‘Panchavadyam’ added to the spectacle. It was produced with a blend of five percussion and wind instruments. The jollity persists all night with the Vadakkunathan Temple, acting as a backdrop.

The festival added as an indelible chapter to our Festival Tours of India and we left happily for our destination.

Explore the Wonders of South Zone

Posted on November 18th, 2011 by manish  |  Comments Off

Meenakshi Temple Sri Meenakshi Temple

In Madurai, we came across the beautiful Meenakshi Temple. This huge temple complex houses the statues exploring different human emotions. Its exquisitely carved towers represent the finest examples of Dravidian architecture.

After the Madurai sightseeing tour, we headed towards Kanyakumari. It is known as the land’s end where you can see the horizon. The Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean seems to meet here. We all were excited to see the sunrise view and the thought did not let us sleep. Well, we had no regret of it after seeing the beautiful view of sunrise. Believe me, it was breathtaking.

Kovalam, this wonderful place was our next destination. As the name suggests, Kovalam was truly blessed with groves of coconut trees along the beaches. The palm fringed bays organized in coconut groves, offer a relaxed stay. The seamless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and far-spread white sands washed away by surf makes the beach a heaven. Visiting the beach was really relaxing and refreshing.

We were feeling ourselves fortunate enough being in the wonderful land of Kerala. The palm-fringed beaches, enchanting backwaters, exotic wildlife and Ayurveda therapies, what else you could ask for!
We headed towards Periyar wildlife sanctuary which is home for the varieties of animals and birds. The creatures we could see there were nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, cormorants, king cobra, python and many more.

While exploring the South Indian Cities, we also came across the city of Alleppey, which is also known as Alappuzha. It was once a busy port that serves as the entrance point of Kerala. Visiting Alappuzha beach is one of its kind experience. The beach was clean and has all the facilities to enjoy interesting water sports activities.

The days were passing with excitement to see new destination. When we visited Fort Cochin, we got flabbergasted to see the fascinating beauty of the fort. The colonial charisma and several exotic cultures still can be seen there. Jewish Signage is another popular attraction of the place. Exploring different
historic attractions in the morning, we also witnessed Kathakali dance show in a theater in the evening.

After a drive of 280 km, we reached the beautiful land of Ooty where we checked-in hotel for taking rest. Enjoying the world-class amenities of the hotel, we went for enjoying the full-day sightseeing of Ooty and Coonoor. The exotic mountain ranges of Himalayas, the salubrious weather and the gurgling streams make Ooty a destination worth to visit.

Next day, we were in the temple city of Mysore. A city which boasts of gardens, palaces, shady avenues and much more. We explored Somnathpur Temple and in the afternoon, we visited Srirangapatnam. It was a great experience altogether.

While driving to Banglore, we also visited Sravanbelgola on the way. The afternoon sightseeing tour of the city made us cheerful. Next day, we were transferred to Mumbai from where we left for home.

The 18 days which were spent with my family at different destinations are a lifetime experience for me. The beautiful memories of the tour still fills my heart with great joy.

In Madurai, we came across the beautiful Meenakshi Temple. This huge temple complex houses the statues exploring different human emotions. Its exquisitely carved towers represent the finest examples of Dravidian architecture.

 

After the Madurai sightseeing tour, we headed towards Kanyakumari. It is known as the land’s end where you can see the horizon. The Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean seems to meet here. We all were excited to see the sunrise view and the thought did not let us sleep. Well, we had no regret of it after seeing the beautiful view of sunrise. Believe me, it was breathtaking.

 

Kovalam, this wonderful place was our next destination. As the name suggests, Kovalam was truly blessed with groves of coconut trees along the beaches. The palm fringed bays organized in coconut groves, offer a relaxed stay. The seamless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and far-spread white sands washed away by surf makes the beach a heaven. Visiting the beach was really relaxing and refreshing.

 

We were feeling ourselves fortunate enough being in the wonderful land of Kerala. The palm-fringed beaches, enchanting backwaters, exotic wildlife and Ayurveda therapies, what else you could ask for!

We headed towards Periyar wildlife sanctuary which is home for the varieties of animals and birds. The creatures we could see there were nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, cormorants, king cobra, python and many more.

 

While exploring the South Indian Cities, we also came across the city of Alleppey, which is also known as Alappuzha. It was once a busy port that serves as the entrance point of Kerala. Visiting Alappuzha beach is one of its kind experience. The beach was clean and has all the facilities to enjoy interesting water sports activities.

 

The days were passing with excitement to see new destination. When we visited Fort Cochin, we got flabbergasted to see the fascinating beauty of the fort. The colonial charisma and several exotic cultures still can be seen there. Jewish Signage is another popular attraction of the place. Exploring different

historic attractions in the morning, we also witnessed Kathakali dance show in a theater in the evening.

 

After a drive of 280 km, we reached the beautiful land of Ooty where we checked-in hotel for taking rest. Enjoying the world-class amenities of the hotel, we went for enjoying the full-day sightseeing of Ooty and Coonoor. The exotic mountain ranges of Himalayas, the salubrious weather and the gurgling streams make Ooty a destination worth to visit.

 

Next day, we were in the temple city of Mysore. A city which boasts of gardens, palaces, shady avenues and much more. We explored Somnathpur Temple and in the afternoon, we visited Srirangapatnam. It was a great experience altogether.

 

While driving to Banglore, we also visited Sravanbelgola on the way. The afternoon sightseeing tour of the city made us cheerful. Next day, we were transferred to Mumbai from where we left for home.

 

The 18 days which were spent with my family at different destinations are a lifetime experience for me. The beautiful memories of the tour still fills my heart with great joy.

 

Honeymoon in Goa-A Cherishable Affair–Part 1

Posted on October 27th, 2011 by admin  |  Comments Off

Goa is the destination that became very special for me as I opted the place for celebrating my honeymoon. After browsing a lot on Internet, we finally selected a renowned tour operator to plan our honeymoon trip as the Goa honeymoon package offered by them was well-planned and suited our preference.

We left from Delhi and reached Goa by flight. As I have already heard a lot about this beautiful place and on being reached there, I could see why it is called a perfect honeymoon destination. The exotic aura of beaches and the serene natural ambiance seem magical. We enjoyed our dinner and stayed overnight at hotel.

Our entire day was dedicated to full day sightseeing of Goa. We visited Old Goa and some famous Cathedrals and Churches there. These include Se-Cathedral, St. Catherine’s Church, Church of St. Francis Xavier and Arch of Vice Roy of Goa.

Then, we headed for Miramar beach, which is the only beach near any city. It offers a wonderful view of the river Mandovi flowing into the sea. We decided to discover the scattered beauty of nature with river cruise. It is structured at the long Mandovi River. The cruise was fun-filled and exciting that made me nervous initially but later on I enjoyed it. During the river cruise, we could also admire the astonishing sunrise and sunset.

We also got an opportunity to visit Dona Paula, a small fishing village, which was located at the tip of Panji. After coming back, we stayed overnight at hotel.

Next day, we simply enjoyed at leisure and spent time with each other. We too enjoyed the amenities of the resort. That was a complete relaxing day for us and we made the most of it by enjoying each other’s company in the beautiful resort.

The moments that we spend on Goa Beaches were really magical for us. We visited Condolim Beach, Baga Beach, Arambol Beach, Vagator Beach, Benaulim Beach, Palolem Beach, Agonda Beach, Mobor Beach and Cavelossim Beach. Basking in the sun, taking pleasure in the fun-filled water sports like parasailing, waterskiing & river rafting and enjoying the natural beauty with your partner is truly a blessing.

Next day, after spending the morning at leisure, we were transferred to airport for flight to Mumbai. On being arrived at Mumbai, we met their representative and afterwards, checked in into the hotel for staying overnight there.

To be continued……

Fairs and Festivals of India Reflect its Rich Cultural Heritage

Posted on April 14th, 2011 by admin  |  Comments Off

The incredible country like India can be best described by the phrase ‘Unity in Diversity’. India is a land of rich cultural heritage which beautifully reflects in its various attractions. The various states of India have their own unique culture. Although there is so much diversity in culture of India but still there is unity among Indians. Fairs and festivals are among the most colorful part of Indian culture. They are also the perfect means of getting acquainted with the culture of India.

It would be no exaggeration to say that India is a land of fairs and festivals as its calender is full of various fairs and festivals commemorating various occasions. Fairs and festivals of India attract tourists from across the globe.

Some of the most famous fairs and festivals of India are:

Diwali
It is the festival of lights which is celebrated with great flavor

DiwaliDiwali

throughout India. Symbolizing the victory of good over evil, this festival commemorates Lord Rama’s return to his kingdom after 14 years of exile. On this festival people illuminate their houses with earthen lamps and lights, distribute sweets, burn crackers and worship Goddess Lakshmi. This festival falls in the month of October or November.

Navratri
This festival is celebrated for nine days in honour of the goddess. The goddess symbolizes power. During these nine days nine forms of the goddess are worshipped and devotees observe fast for nine days. The goddess is known by several names like Durga, Laxmi, Bhavani, Kali, chandika, Maha gauri, Ashtabhuja and Siddhiratri. All the nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with.

Holi

It is a festival of colours which is celebrated with great enthusiasm

HoliHOli

especiallyin North India. During this festival people play with powdered colours and water. Huge bonfires are lit on the evening of Holi. This festival also symbolizes the victory of good over evil. There is an interesting legend associated with it.

Pushkar Fair
It is the largest cattle fair in the world. Held in Pushkar City of Rajasthan it is marked with several cultural activities like dance, music, competitions and many more. It is celebrated in October/November.

Pongal
It is an important festival of South India which is celebrated for four days. It is a harvest festival. During the festival cattle, Sun god and Rain god are worshiped.

Eid-ul-Fittr
It is an important festival of Muslims which marks the end of Ramzan, the Muslim month of fasting. During the festival people exchange greeting and sweets and offer prayer in mosques. Feasting is the main feature of this festival.

Desert Festival
This is a famous festival of Rajasthan which is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the city of Jaisalmer. During the celebration the desert comes alive with cultural activities. Folk dance, puppet shows, turban-tying competition, camel race etc are the main highlights of the festival.

Day I: Kerala Tour: Give in to the sweet seduction of Kovalam Beaches!

Posted on July 1st, 2010 by Pooja Chaudhary  |  Comments Off

 Kovalam Beach Kovalam Beach

Drudgery of daily life’. Sounds familiar na! This is something which everybody experiences but magic lies in creating some moments of happiness, punctuating the monotony. For me happiness is synonymous with traveling. And whenever I think of traveling two names bounce around in my mind; Monika and Anand as they are also absorbed in the wonder of traveling. We have been friends since college days and over the time we have also become travel comrades. Out of the three of us, Anand is the most fortunate soul when it comes to taking leave from office. History repeats itself; this time also he got leave quite easily. We asked him what spell he casts on his boss! He smiled and said, “simple, I work hard and you girls hardly work, this is the reason”. Again, as usual, he without missing the opportunity started pulling us and also gave us some funny tips on how to handle a difficult boss.

Monika and I had a hard time getting a seven day’s leave. Hold on; the worst part of the story is that we work in the same organization, which makes it all the more difficult. Jittery and hyper, we were waiting for the acceptance of our leave. Gosh! Sometimes these bosses act like a nagging mother-in-law. Finally our big boss approved our leave, but only for 4 days.

Taking glee in our victory we set out on our much-awaited journey to Kovalam. We flew down to Thiruvananthapuram airport in Kerala and after covering a distance of 16 km by car reached the mesmerizing Kovalam, the beach town. Affectionately dubbed as the ‘Land of coconut groves’, Kovalam is among the most fascinating attractions of Kerala, God’s Own Country. After refreshing ourselves we headed towards the Lighthouse beach of Kovalam.

I have always been in love with Kerala and have traveled to this place several times. It was as enchanting as ever. Every visit to this destination becomes a special memory for me. Anand hails from Kerala but because of his professional carrier he and his parents stay in Delhi. He was so happy to be here and I could clearly see it on his face glowing with joy. As we were talking how wonderful we were feeling to be here, Monika said, “ what greater delight is there than to feel in rhythm with nature, to leave behind the nagging bosses and rat-race of urban life and feel like a free bird”. With a grin, I said, “I completely agree with you sweetheart”.

Once a traditional fishing village Kovalam is one of the most fascinating destinations of Kerala which is famous for its beaches. Its vegetation, natural beauty, salubrious climate, peaceful environment, mesmerizing blue water of Arabian sea, white sand and swaying palm trees leave tourists spell bound. There are three beaches in Kovalam: the Lighthouse beach, the Hawah beach and the Samudra beach. The lighthouse beach is the largest and the most popular one and is named so because of the presence of a lighthouse here. All the three beaches are separated by rocky headlands. We reached the top of the lighthouse and enjoyed the breathtaking view of the beach and the town. The experience was simply overwhelming.

Kovalam was one of the most prominent tourist spots in India during the hippy era. To add more adventure to our visit to the beach we indulged in parasailing and the pleasure was unlimited. Next was the swimming session. Being a non-swimmer I decided to stay back while Anand and Monika went for swimming.  I could see them enjoying like kids. Sitting on the shore I was enjoying the views of extensive stretch of sand, lashing waves and limitless sky. And the cool breeze was blowing a melody into my ears. I can’t express in words what a wonderful feeling it was! A feeling which was feeding my soul with peace and joy. I also collected some sea shells to take back home as a memory of this place.

Next we went to the nearby restaurant to pamper our taste buds with some amazing south Indian dishes. After gorging on the dishes we again went to the beach to capture the beauty of sunset as the day was drawing to a close. And the sunset view was breathtaking, mind-blowing and enchanting. The rays of the sun had cloaked the sea in golden hue and the birds were freely soaring in the sky. The unfathomable waves had taken a different look altogether and the moon was slowly making its presence felt. And the ‘wow’ factor had completely taken over…

We came back walking to our hotel as it was located near the beach. Post dinner we again went to the beach for a walk. The view of the beach in moonlight was completely different. We sat there and chatted for an hour while enjoying the charm of the sea. This was the end of our beauty and adventure packed day. The next day we were slated to go for blissful Ayurvedic massage at Somatheeram ayurvedic resort which is the oldest Ayurvedic resort in the world.

I had already started dreaming with open eyes! And ended my day with a short poem dedicated to Kerala:

How heavenly Kerala is! a paradise on earth!

Epitome of natural beauty, this land transports you to the world of rapture

Relishing its glory, drunk on its beauty

Offering heartfelt thanks, I bow before almighty who festooned this land with natural wonders.o

My Kerala Houseboat Tour

Posted on February 25th, 2010 by admin  |  Comments Off

Of all my school memories, what I miss most? My answer to this, without any second thought, would be ‘Summer Vacations’. Being a wanderer and an explorer, I often feel like a caged creature after joining the corporate world. But I am really grateful to my brother who planned a relaxing

Kerala Houseboat Tour
Kerala Houseboat Tour

trip to Kerala. I applied for leave in my office and contacted a reputed Indian travel agent. While going through the Kerala travel guide, we decided to opt for a Kerala houseboat tour.

We arrived at the Cochin Airport and booked in a nearby hotel. Post lunch, a travel assistant escorted us to the Cochin Harbour. We hired a houseboat (traditional Kettuvallom) there at economical rates. The houseboat, consisting a bedroom, living area, deck and kitchen, was no less than a luxurious room in a star-rated hotel. Our first halt was Fort Cochin, a renowned ancient structure. We also paid short visits to the Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church and Chinese Fishing nets the same day. The evening was spent at leisure, and we enjoyed awesome sea-food in dinner on our boat.

Next morning, we headed for Munnar – the famous place for Cardamom hills & green tea plantations. That entire day was devoted for trekking, so we enjoyed the best of nature walks amidst aromatic plantations there. For night stay, we were booked in an economical hotel. Next morning, we started our exploration with Eravikulam National Park. While roaming in the dense greens I clicked a few mountain goats (locally called the Nilgiri Tahr), and visited the Mattupetty Dam & Dairy Farm, Old Munnar Town, and the town market also.

Day four was completely dedicated to Alleppey – the Venice of the East! While cruising across the serene backwaters there, I had a closer look to the local villagers and their lifestyle. What I enjoyed most was the sunset. Similarly, our next destination, Kovalam was also spell-binding. The Ayurvedic resorts dotting the coastline in Kovalam add to the beauty of the place.

Lastly we preceded for Thiruvanthapuram, where we covered the Museum complex, Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Science & Technology museum, Veli tourist village, Aakulam boat club and Shangmugham Beach. So, this week-long trip in Kerala was actually a remarkable experience. I was amazed that spending days on waters could be such a unique and unforgettable experience.

Hampi Tour – A Visit To The Glorious Era

Posted on September 7th, 2009 by Pooja Chaudhary  |  Comments Off

Hampi Virupaksha Temple

What do you have to say about Hampi which is dotted with enchanting
architectural ruins, which take you back in time?. Well my friend Divya had a lot to rave about this historic site and even showed me some of the photographs, which were simply mind-blowing. After seeing the pictures, on the spur of the moment I decided to visit this World Heritage Site.

I flew down to Bangalore, the nearest airport to Hampi. Bangalore is around 350 km from Hampi. From there I took a train to Hospet which is only 20 km from Hampi. After taking rest for some time I feasted on South Indian cuisine and got ready to explore the heritage monuments and temples. Finally I reached the Hampi ruins and was overwhelmed at the sight of the ruins, which really made me feel that I had stepped into a different world altogether. Being a World Heritage Site, Hampi attracts tourists from far and wide.

Our first halt was the Queen’s bath where the royal queen used to take bath. It is a huge and wonderful structure. The next attraction was the underground Shiva Temple . Its location was interesting but it was very dark inside. From here we headed for the famous Virupaksha temple (located in Hampi bazaar), which is the tallest structure in Hampi. It is an eleven storied structure which is truly an architectural wonder. Dotted with many beautiful pillars, the temple is a treat to the eyes. Each pillar is amazingly carved. The Hampi bazaar is lined with shops and restaurants.

Our next destination was the picturesque Hemakuta hill, which offers breathtaking sunset views. As the day was drawing to a close I managed to shoot some great pictures. I and my guide sat there for half an hour and then made our way to the Ganesha statue located between an array of pillars, which is lit up beautifully.

Hampi is not only famous for its heritage monuments and temples but also take pride in its picturesque sunrise and sunset views.

The next day I explored other marvels of Hampi like Vithala temple, the King’s balance, Lotus Mahal and Pattabhirama Temple. All I had to say at the end of my Hampi trip was ‘ wow’.