Monday, February 1, 2010

Mysterious Mysty Mountains at Kuttikkanam - The upward trail


Four families, all travel freaks and having a similar composition (guy + gal + 2kids) decided to make the maximum out of the long weekend - the third one of January 2010, by having a joint fun outing. The destination chosen based on googling and email discussions, was Mysty Mountains at Kuttikkanam in Kottayam District of central Kerala.

The trip party of 16 people necessitated a 17 seater mini bus, a decision which hit hard on my driving aspirations through the twisty - curling roads of the beautiful western ghats. But all such worries were laid to rest, the moment we embarked the bus, thanks to the fun loving and friendly crowd, which was enough to reliven the magic moments akin to a college trip.

The excitement of the trip was pretty evident when the scheduled start time was adhered to by all the families irrespective of a pretty early start.

Let me guide you through the journey and reveal the exciting road side scenes on the upward trail, the "mysterious" package at mysty mountains and the surprise find of an unheralded destination which took us all by awe.

The route chosen was

Trivandrum - Kazhakkoottam - Pothencode (via the new bypass)  - Kilimanoor  - Kottarakkara   - Adoor  -  Chengannur  - Thiruvalla  - Changanacherry  - Ponkunnam  -   Mundakayam  -  Kuttikkanam.

The introduction of the travellers one by one, (eventhough we knew each other) was the first game to start with inside the bus, where it was mandatory for the each of the listener to ask atleast one question to the speaker. The questions and the answers ranged from college life, interests and conflicts of family life, the work life balance and a host of others and this set the tone for the further part of journey and any kind of apprehension about each other was completely wiped out. All couples had more than nine years + experience of married life in their kitty and the questioning resulted in an introspection of sorts, amidst the funny and thought provoking session.

Breakfast break came sooner than expected as we reached kottarakkara in the midst of the introductory session which was quite noisy.

The journey started again. We passed Adoor, Chengannur, Thiruvalla, Changanacherry while the introductory session was still going on inside the bus.

The session was gruelling and quiet involved too, as a result of which my camera was swung into action only once, to capture a shot from a bridge in Adoor.

The swinging and swaying action of the bus ensured that travel sickness was not to be missed by the passengers and soon we have to stop for a small break caused by the desire of one of the passengers to send the breakfast out through the same way it was send in.

Breaks like this should not spoil our mood and indeed, it did not, thanks to the spirit of the seasoned travellers.
There was a small road near the place where we stopped. Target found and I began shooting.


Walked up this road to find some rocky terrain


Wanted to walk beyond this point, but I heard a call from the fellow travellers to come back. Came back near the bus only to find that the place we stopped also formed a nice frame.


Again the journey started, but this time I sat in the front seat along with  my kiddo who was having trouble sitting in the back seat. But this presented me an oppurtunity to shoot down all kinds of greenery around.

The roads were neat, but not so wide and there were undulations, but the rich flora and fauna on both sides are a treat to watch.


This tree is a common sight in this route and the red color flower could easily be distinguished even from long range. 


Another biggie on the way and I am all warmed up for some serious shooting. 


This sign board shows that we are 89 km away from Thekkady, that means we are 69 km away from our destination. 


Another break followed soon, just to have a relief from the motion sick experience & I was clicking my way to glory with big trees forming the boudaries of my frame.


Each tree was having a beauty of its own, some have huge presence, some of them unique by its color, some even though smaller had a grace or a symmetry just to attract attention, like this pappaya tree


The trail started again and so did my shoot from the moving carriage


Many of us had to answer the nature's call, but thanks to the road side hotels, none was having a clean rest room. Finally one bold lady of the pack decided to approach a house. (Did anyone say that necessity is the mother of boldness) Surprisingly the house owner played an excellent host to a completely alien crowd and we were really grateful for his nice gesture. We hit the road again after the rest room break.

The rubber plantations even with their leaves shredded off was a treat to watch.


Ponkunnam town is approaching. Two of the old daddies on road, the premier padmini and the national car of india - the ambassador.


These big KSRTC buses is a looker in the backdrop of greenery. This being a state highway the sign boards are present atleast every 5 km.


Our driver had a tough time in getting ahead of this beautiful Zen, thanks to the zen driver for chosing the middle most part of road and travelling at snails pace, a member of the brand of drivers found in this part of country who has got ownership rights of all the roads which they drive.


Another stop soon followed suite. This time some portfolio sessions were held amidst the scenic rubber plantations on one side of the road


On the other side of the road we could see some mountains at a distance.


Suddenly a gentle breeze whizzed past and leaves began to fall off from the rubber trees. It was a real treat to watch with the sound providing the right background score and we stood there enjoying the autumn experience in the woods.

I couldn't capture the falling leaves, thanks to my photography skills

Time to move on and we are onboard the bus again crusing through the hilly terrain with a grass blanket cover and the rubber plantations.


A cruiser with contrasting color could not escape from being captured alive on my cam.


Some two or three twisties ahead, we could see a mountain far away.


We reached Mundakkayam town from where the climb up hill will start.


The climb starts. The roads became pretty good too. The scenary on this stretch is nothing short of awesome.



As we climb further up, rocky terrains start to appear on one side of the road.


The altitude is increasing as we go further ahead, and there were steep inclines on one side of the road. Soon the scenary visible through the window changed its dimension.

It is a wonderful sight to watch mountains as we will start to feel smaller and smaller.


Against expectations, motion sickness was not being felt, thanks to the wonderful scenary outside keeping all of us busy enjoying the visual treat.
Approaching a forest check post at Pulluppara. The increase in density of the tree population is quite evident in this shot.


A viewpoint was in sight and we stopped to enjoy the view. The sky was creating beautiful designs and I cherished capturing objects in this background.
Our carriage


An inseparable companion of viewpoints in Kerala, are the ice cream vendors in their three wheeled vehicle cum shop and this place was no different. Again the cloud pattern was keeping me excited.


Time to click a view from the viewpoint.


A zoomed in view of the same mountain, it is really huge and enormous


We could see some buildings on the top of the mountain in the direction of our travel, it might be our destination. 


Spotted a narrow hilly road amidst the trees, wish to have a ride through those roads.


We were back in carriage and the next sign board showed that we are just 3 kms away from the destination.
A funky looking santro !!


Another view point, or more precisely a bath point, but the shops nearby are closed, since tourists do not stop here at this time of the year, since no water is gushing down these rocks.


Toyota's recent introduction to the Indian roads - the Fortuner SUV, zoomed past us, but again it cannot escape from my cam

I kept on clicking from the moving bus and this movement ensured that I am not assured of the frame being caught unless it is captured. Two shots fired in a span of 2 minutes presented two contrasting mountains.


One looks like the shaved version of the other.

The roads continue to be beautiful.


After the above turn is made, we could see a big gate with many coloured flags and a board reading - "Mysty Mountain Resort". 


So our upward trail comes to an end here. The road side scenes were enough to pump up our excitement and we all were not quite sure of what to expect from this resort. Neverthless we had laid only very low expectations, since we can have fun even if the ambience is not so exqusite.

But the saying is "Expect the Unexpected" ....

Continued in Part 2 - "Unfolding the Mysty Mountains"


Sujith Bhakthan T R said...

hi, very interesting blog. i like the way of writing and ur photographs.

hav a look at the blog also.

Oman's Collective Intelligence said...

Hi, nice blog and nice places you visit. Enjoy!

chitra said...

what a co- incidence. Yesterday only I got some photos of Kuttikanam sent by BIL on his recent visit to that place. he described them as 'Himalayas without snow.' said...

hey sujith bhakthan. thanks for ur nice words. Well you are doing a good job for KSRTC. said...

"Oman's collective Intelligence" thanks for dropping in :) said...

Chitra.. it is green blanket covered himalayas, I am yet to post kuttikkanam photos. Took loads of photos, so wondering which ones to put. Picture selection is a pain when you feel like each of the photos has a story to tell !!

N J said...

dey ..nice...gr8 fotos...thanx to Sony :))...just jokin those where awsome...recently i saw this place in a programme in manorama tv....there is a place called naadukani did u visited that place...from there u are able to see lot of places...anyway keep writign and posting

Anya said...

Wonderful post
many unique pictures :-)

(@^.^@) said...

@ NJ Thanks for ur comments, Nadukani is in the Idukki - kulamavu route. Photos of Nadukani is posted here taken during my ride to idukki - kulamavu said...

@ Anya - Thank you

magiceye said...

lovely captures! said...


Biker BT said...

Great snaps Subu ! Is it with an SLR ?

BT said...

@bikerbt. thanks BT. No itz not an SLR. it is a sony 9MP camera. all images taken in 4MP and manual settings (trying to learn what is aperture and ISO and what difference it can make in an image)

George said...

Yes the Most beautiful Place in Kerala

custom essay papers writing service said...

That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information here.

manima said...

Come to Kolli Hills- A hidden hill station in South India.
We are proud to host you.

Happy Kitten said...

You have such a lovely blog.. and made more lovelier since you blogged about the place that I grew up... beautiful Kuttikanam and Peerumade.. a heaven on earth it is..

Thank you!


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