Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An evening at Beypore & Pulimutt

A cloudoscope experience. Photos of Clouds at dusk are nothing more than instant paintings by nature.. see it to believe it!!!!

Beypore - one of the famous ports in Kerala is situated in Calicut. Decided to explore this port town on a lazy sunday evening, but found out that there is a more scenic picnic spot nearby - Pulimutt.

As expected our first target was to visit the port. A 10 km drive westwards from the Calicut Town. A nominal entrance fee has to be paid at the gate

The security told us to get permission from the staff of the ship anchored there, if we want to have a look inside the ships.

The port seems to be very lengthy. There were not many big ships. Almost all of them were medium sized ones.

Saw this ferry carrying people.

On enquiry found out that people from the opposite coast (a place called Chaliyam) has to travel hardly 200metres to reach beypore port in this ferry, which by road would require a travel of about 30 kilometers.

A bridge cannot be constructed here, since it would hamper the movement of ships through this channel.

The light house at Chaliyam was visible from here.

We did not feel like visiting the inside of any of the ships anchored there, hence came out of the beypore port.

There is a ship breaking unit nearby.

Visitors are allowed inside this unit also, where old ships are broken and reusable parts are extracted. Since it was nearing sunset we decided against a visit inside this ship breaking unit and decided to spend time constructively rather than watching something destructive. From here we went to visit a nearby sea bridge. The place was called Pulimutt. Hardly 1km away from Beypore.

We parked our vehicle nearby the sea. From here itself we could see the very lengthy bridge over the sea. The place was heavly crowded but it had a special beauty, aided by the ambience of the setting sun

Moved closer to the bridge. Some were enjoying the beach nearby.

We decided to stroll through the bridge. By this time the clouds had captured my attention. I was not seeing anything but the clouds and the beautiful sky.

Once inside the bridge, I understood the need of this sea bridge. This bridge and the sea bridge at Chaliyam creates a channel in the sea with the bridge offering protection from the big tidal waves. The ships pass through this man made channel towards the beypore port. We can see the chaliyam sea bridge from here

As we moved further into the sea through this bridge the beach was behind us.

The cloud - sea combination was something of a real delight. Each click was capturing the ambience in a different mood. The waves ensured that each click is unique.

If on one side, it is rough sea, the other side represented a different mood altogether.

Another instance of how man has tamed a natural phenomenon to his convenience.

Soon I was testing my camera's optical zoom.

This light house is almost 300m away from us.

Now it was time to test the sports mode when in full zoom. This popular creation of Ratan Tata's brain was zooming through the chaliyam bridge 200m away, when my camera captured a still.

Enough of camera capability test, the sky was changing its color tone almost each second.

The granite laid walls on both sides of the bridge was really a boon to the tourists. Just sit here facing the horizon and be in a world of your own even though there is a pretty heavy crowd behind.

As you can see, the beach is now a fair distance behind us, which means we have now covered a lot of distance through this bridge.

Still we had lot of distance to cover to reach the end of the bridge.

Soon moon emerged from those clouds.

The ferry's starting point at Chaliyam was visible, it is almost 500m away. That is a pretty big ferry. We can see some SUV's waiting to enter the ferry.

The better half - the calm side of the sea

But it is more enjoyable and inspiring to watch the natural side of the sea, where the waves are constantly repeating its job without getting being tired.

The beach is now really far behind

We were being engulfed by a thick set of clouds.

The longevity of the bridge and the color of the ambience was again and again creating an impact on the CCD sensors of my camera and my forefinger was getting a good work out too.

Wonder how the color changes to milky white when the water hits the rock. A natural fountain was on diplay where ever waves were being greeted by the rocks

By this time the light house was switched on and it started rotating

The light is coming to my side

Now it is flashing towards me and I returned the gesture using my cam.

Suddenly we felt the coolness of some drops of water. Since we were not carrying umbrellas and since small kids were with us, rushed back to the parking lot.

It already started raining when we stepped into our car. But I could not resist taking one more picture of the cloud in the back drop of this poor soul. Autumn effect !!

A truly beautiful place, worth a visit in the evenings, if you happen to be in or around Calicut.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One Hour @ Madgaon

This is not a travelogue, but an experience of being at a Railway station on a rainy midnight.

"Arey!! oh bhagwan thu ney meri woh kho dhek lijiey....(Oh God please have look at my sweet heart)". A lean and tall lady dressed up in a messy churidar and a scarf around her head was talking to God. She was in a world of her own. A little later she was dancing and singing a song "Ek dho theen..." She was completely happy. She was living a life, where there are no woes, no worries and in a wonderland of her own. There was nobody to help to her, but she's happy.
In between some porters were trying to make fun of her. She responded by saying "arey thu log bhagwan ko kahim dekha hey, nahim tho idhar dekho, merey sath bhagwan hey. Magar thum tho bura log hey, bura logom ko bhagwan dharshan nahim dhetha...." ("Have you people seen God somewhere, if no, then please look here. God is now with me, But you are all bad people, and God will not make himself visible to bad people").
Words of wisdom, even though uttered by a woman who has lost her true senses. Should we sympathize with her or be happy that she will always be happy though there is no one for her and whatever happening in the surroundings does not bother her. No one will ever know why she became like this, she must have been victim of a tragedy, she must have suffered all the woes one should suffer for a life time and hence god decided that henceforth she will always be happy..
This lady was standing in the Madgaon railway station at 11pm in the night, singing and talking to god, and at times responding to people who were trying to make fun of her.
The rain was lashing hard, real hard. The sound of rain was like a background score to the whole scene but it was acting as a catalyst to the Foul smell which was already being aired. Foul smell can sometimes be quiet irritating and it seemed that the worst smell one could ever find in the world was being emitted here, sure to give a gruelling welcome to all those foreign tourists who usually alight here for their visit to Goa.
Four puppies had taken shelter under a trolley. Three of them looked really healthy and were playing happily. Each one of them trying to make the other fall down and bite each other. The fourth one was unhealthy and lean and could not play with the other three. Interestingly the three puppies were not disturbing the poor one. Suddenly a white tall dog came to the scene and all the puppies including the unhealthy one ran towards her. All four of them were fighting each other to taste the warmth of their mother and was feeding on their mother.
The unhealthy one could even drink his mother's milk. He was seen walking back, his mother licking him warmly. Within 5 minutes the mother was seen running away, the 3 puppies tried to chase her, but to no avail. They came back near the trolley and started their game, but this time more vigourously, as if they got a fresh lease of energy. The unhealthy one continued to sleep and its fate seemed to hang in balance. The way the puppies play is quite similar to the way our kids play, and each one of the passersby seems to enjoy there play akin to the ability of human babies to attract attention. The puppies were in a world of there own, enjoying their play, unaware of the hard life ahead. Their mummy will come every 20 minutes or so and feed them.
One railway staff was walking briskly, who was accompanied by atleast 3 to 4 stray dogs all of whom seem quite loyal to this guy. The sight of a number of stray dogs was a frightening scene, but these puppies and the loyal dogs made this fear run away soon.

One man, who was heavily drunk, appeared in the scene enquiring about where the general compartment was. He has to travel till Trivandrum in the general compartment which people normally use for travelling short distances and travelling in such a compartment for over 20 hours requires energy beyond which any alcohol can provide. He was seen describing his family history, where he is working, why he came to Goa, his friends at Goa and a lot of other things without prompting. Meanwhile I was sympathizing about his impending stint in the general compartment along with a small amount of fear on his intention in getting acquainted with completely unknown passengers.
The puppies were still playing around, their mom visiting them in between, the lean tall lady was still giving out words of wisdom and was in the company of god, the drunk "friend" was continuing his story, the porters were sleeping on top of the luggage in the trolley waiting for the train to come, the foul smell was giving the utmost bad company, when an announcement came - "Passengers Kind attention please, No. 6345 Nethravathi express from Kurla to Thiruvananthapuram is expected to arrive shortly at Platform No 1".
Within minutes it was curtains for the 1 hour drama @ Madgaon railway station as I stepped into the comfort of the sleeper coach.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sabarimala Pilgrimage: Part 3 - A trek via the 'Swami Ayyappan' Road.

Day 2 - Return Trek
Packed our belongings, settled our bills and off we go for the return trek of 5 Kms from Sannidhanam to Pampa.

The initial flat track soon appeared amidst the hills.

Seems to be cloudy day. If rain falls then, we will be drenched for sure.

We were moving along the newly concrete laid track. Could see lot of Dolis carrying pilgrims. The stamina of the Doli carriers is amazing. Wonder how they trek this hilly path almost 4 times a day, meaning 40 kms per day with this load.

The steep descent was approaching after the rather plain roads. We were thinking of going through the same route which we had come. So I was planning to keep my camera inside my baggage sinces there was nothing much to photograph except the concrete laid track and steep steps. There was a good flow of pilgrims too.

But somethng good was in stock, which I never expected. When we reached a small junction there was a road towards the left which one of the shop keepers told that is the "Swami Ayyappan" road, christened after the film "Swami Ayyappan" since this road was made by the producer of this film based on his profit from this film.

The shop keeper warned that this route is pretty rocky, slippery, has leeches and the distance is more than the normal route. Most of the people along with me decided to follow the normal route. I had no confusion on which route I will chose. This is the view I could get from this point itself.

So 6 of us proceeded via the swami Ayyappan Road.

Soon we stumbled upon a big tree fallen across

Jumped up over this

Stopped for a photo shoot here.

Jeep trails, it will be really adventurous to drive a 4 x 4 through this route.

But not permitted for civilians. This track is used to bring essentials to sannidhanam in a tractor.

The atmosphere was simply awesome. Greenery, sound of nature, cool and cloudy, what more should one ask for?

I was really enjoying this trek

At some stretches there were huge rocks, which could become quite slippery if it rains.

Huge trees were present even on the track, but their roots are visible. Soil seems to be eroding out during rains and the fate of this tree is pretty clear.

At some places the rocks laid in this track has been moved out of place due to the heavy rains and is quite difficult to walk. Still it was enjoyable

This dog was seen resting here.

The roads were paved in such a way that a vehicle could climb up. That means there were lot of hair pin bends.

At some points we could even bypass the hairpin bends by climbing down the hill. Little adventurous though

This colourful snail also seems to be climbing down from Sannidhanam.

A view of another hair pin bend on this beautiful road.

Another short cut to bypass a hair pin bend.

We were in a different world altogether. Enjoyed the flora and fauna, we had no idea of the distance covered and were not worried at the distance to cover also.

Still it was very cloudy. This is the view on our sides

Another of those big trees in parallel to the ground

Voila a stream. A stream of cool and clear water.

The roads were becoming plane again with dense greenery on both sides

Suddenly we found that we reached our destination near Pampa. We had completed a distance of 6 kms in 1 hour leisurely trekking through this beautiful route and never felt like we had spend this much time here, just the feeling which we have when we see an interesting film.

We climbed up the final round of steps and reached the Pampa junction where our vehicle was parked.

There was a heavy rush of vehicles here and finding our vehicle was a tough job.

Finally we found our vehicle and started our return journey. Still it was very cloudy. One snap taken near chalakkayam from inside the vehicle.

It was almost 2pm and we had to answer the call of our stomach. Stopped near a road side shop and enjoyed the traditional rice soup and kappa (Tapioca dish), both of them served hot and really spicy.

We were back in our bus proceeding slowly back to our homes.

Passed Nilakkal siva temple, in whose premises we had lunch while on our way up

Reached the picturesque Laha

By 3pm stopped for one more food break. Captured a road side view amongst the rubber plantations.

From there on it was steady progress and reached our homes back at Thiruvananthapuram by 7.00pm.

The trek through the swami ayyappan road brought a different dimension to this trip. The picturesque road is sure to be in our minds for a long time to come. The lack of heavy number of pilgrims in this route also added to the way we could enjoy those prestine environment.

Links to all parts of this Travelogue

Sabarimala Pilgrimage (Part 1): Preparations and Onward Journey

Sabarimala Pilgrimage (Part 2): A morning stroll through Sabarimala forests
Sabarimala Pilgrimage (Part 3): Picturesque Swami Ayyappan Road and the return journey

My travelogues on some beautiful destinations nearby. (Click on the names to view the travelogue)

1. Peruthenaruvi - An unexplored but beautiful rocky location near Erumeli where natures unleashes its water craft in full fury

2. Panchalimedu - The historical place, where Pandavas hid along with Panchali. This unexplored hill station is near Kuttikanam and the Ponnambalamedu is clearly visible from this location

3. Vagamon - Know as The Swiss of Kerala and it does complete justice to its name


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