Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kadalundi - Birds, Mangroves and much more !!

The sign boards of Kerala Tourism placed alongside the highways of the state, apart from doing their regular duty of giving distance information, gives the road traveller an introduction to the names of the tourist spots in the vicinity.

Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary was introduced to me by the sign boards near to the Kozhikkode in the NH 17 section. I always had many doubts about a bird santuary. Will there be a caged section where birds will be housed, or will it be a natural vegetation where birds will flock. Whenever I enquired about this place to some one at Kozhikkode, they always told me not to visit this place as it is not worthwhile and it contains nothing. But then why is it promoted as a tourist spot.

The urge to visit this place was reignited during the fag end of my 6 hour early morning drive from Trivandrum to Kozhikkode, when I again saw this name to appear in the sign boards as I approached Kozhikkode.

I made up mind to visit this place that day evening itself. Luckily it happened and here I present before you the "Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary"

Kadalundi Bird Santuary is around 20 Kilometers from Kozhikkode. From NH17 one has to take an westward turn towards Feroke after 8 km from Kozhikkode. The roads are typical narrow village roads with moderate traffic. As we approached Feroke there is one interesting bridge, which added some optical special effects while travelling, due to the enormous amount of trusses it contain.

Jeeps are the main mode of public transportation in this part of the state and the filled to brim statement is completely justified by the way people are packed into it and sometimes I wonder whether this 5 seater vehicle carries more passengers than an 20 seater minibus, with most of the passengers hanging outside.

This kind of travel poses great danger to the life of the people travelling in it. The vehicle is travelling completely offbalance, but the attitude of law enforcers to check such irregularities, only after a mishap occurs and that too for just a month or so, helps these kind of highly dangerous practices to continue.

After passing Feroke amidst the mad honking of those dangerously driven private buses, and Chaliyam, a quiet town, we reached Kadalundi. As no sign boards were seen, we asked the local people for the route and surprisingly before telling us the route they were asking whether we came to see the bird santuary or to visit a home. If it is the bird sanctuary then there is nothing to see was the advice. Is it a case of local people not finding there own place interesting. I got this answer all the three times I asked the route. But all of them explained the route in detail and in a very polite manner too, typical of the people in this part.

We had to travel through the side of the Kadalundi Railway Station through a narrow but beautiful road, which gives an impression of travelling through a forest.

Again there were no sign boards. Doubts lingered on whether we are inside the bird santuary and this is all that we can see. Got out and asked a person who was passing by. He also gave us an amused look as if we did a serious mistake. Based on his instruction we stopped the vehicle nearby a huge bunch of vegetation which were actually propped up from the Kadalundi river.

These were nothing but the Mangroves. Mangroves are medium sized trees that grown in saline conditions and are mostly in the news because of hue and cry raised by the environmentalists for their protection because of their ability to protect against soil erosion.

The density of these mangroves were blocking the view of the Kadalundi river on the other side. We walked through narrow path way and reached a wide open space, the sprawling kadalundi river was on view. On one side there was a railway bridge and on eastern side there was another bridge under which we could see the lashing sea waves. Yes it was an estuary and a beautiful one too. The mangrove population on the banks of the river has given the required mix of greenery to the already glorified ambience.

Watch the wonderful panoramic view here.

Bird sanctuary or no sanctuary this location is really wonderful, the calmness is so soothing, just sit here and mix with nature, feel dwarfed by the hugeness of the river.

The railway bridge itself looked really beautiful in these environmental settings.

The road bridge on top of the estuary also needs to be visited soon for I was sure that the view to both sides will be really wonderful. But for the time being, we decided to relax and look out what is happening around.

If one makes a quick visit here, then he is sure to be disappointed since, on a quick look you are sure not to spot any birds. Slowly but steadily we began to spot some of the birds.

Looking up we could see a lot of majestic Eagles (Sreekrishna Parunthu) circling around.

Their white upper part is contrasting to their darkbrown body color and the way they just spread their wings and glide through the air with minimal movement of their wings reminds us of the graceful way one must approach in doing things.

A lean tall white crane with black beaks was seen landing on a rock on the river.

Once it perched on top of the rock, it stood their still as if it is a statue. His legs were also black in color and are so lean that at times it was felt as if this guy is suspended in air.

On scanning the entire area, found out another crane near to the opposite bank. This was different from the one earlier spotted coz it was having a different color for its beak and seemed a little bit more bulky like a pelican.

My knowledge about the names of these birds is really great, hence I am not specifying the names. Soon the diversity of the bird population was on view. We got to see single birds calmly sitting on the tree trunks protruding from the river as well as a flock of birds who came from nowhere and quickly occupied their position on the other side of the river.

We were in for a visual treat soon as the flock of birds began to move around in unison creating a lot of different patterns. Their underbody color was contrasting to the upper body color. This resulted in creation of a different coloured patterns when they turned, twisted, hovered around just above the water. It was as if we watching a laser show. Only the music was absent. But sometimes calmness itself is music as the even the lightest of breeze can be heard.

I could not capture the patterns created by the birds, thanks to my ability in clicking moving objects in low light conditions, but the image of that pattern dancing still lingers on my mind.

Meanwhile a short beautiful object came and perched on top of another wooden trunk very close to us. His sitting posture was really majestic, no wonder he is christened as "King"fisher.

When we were analysing the kingfisher, in a quick swift action, this guy nosedived to water and came back up as if nothing had happened. But on a closer look I could see that he had something in his long beak.

He had an aim in his mind while sitting calm and was completely focussed at the movements of targed under water and waited for the right moment. When the moment came he acted quickly and emerged victorious. Surely a lesson for all.

Another little golden colored fellow was walking through the shallow waters occassionally dipping its beak under water. The setting sun had created a golden color pattern on the smallish waves on the river and this elegant little creature seemed to be a part of the color scheme.

This fellow was a workhorse as it was walking all the time constantly dipping its beak in search of food, unlike the kingfisher thingy which waited for the right moment and grabbed the opportunity.

All this time we could see some small white structures at a distance in between the tree trunks on the river. We had thought of them as some construction. I zoomed my camera and took a shot of those white structures, only to realize that they were another flock of birds sitting there with minimal movement.

As we were sitting there watching these little wonders amidst the colorful settings we noticed that there were lot of thin stick like objects protruding out of the wetlands close to the dense mangrove population.

Those were roots of the mangroves and the discussion was shifted on how these roots help mangroves breathe air in low oxygen conditions due to the salinity of water. Wonder how nature devices mechanisms for adapting life in varying environments.

The calm atmosphere was suddenly broke by the sound of an approaching train. Even though trains in this part of the world are not the most beautiful ones around, the ambience around made it look beautiful when it passed through the rail overbridge.

It was not long ago when a train got derailed over this very bridge and fell into the Kadalundi river.

Time just flew past as we kept on observing the life at this bird sanctuary and we found that Sun has already gone down the horizon. The sky color was getting really beautiful and with it the total look of the surroundings too changed.

We decided to move out of this place and get on top of the bridge on top of the estuary to have a view of the sea and the river. While walking back got to see two boards detailing the birds found in this area. The boards were already in a very unclean condition and it seems like the concerned department has lost interest in promoting this as a tourism spot.

Neverthless it is a beautiful spot and if there was a boating facility we could have explored a lot more. As we walked through the dense mangroves we noted some jelly like substance on the river banks near these mangroves. Could not make out what it is. But the shape being that of a fish, my son began telling that it is a fish.

By the time we started our journey back through the road near to the railway station dusk had already set in, but the road and the beautiful trees still had not lost its glory and it was a pleasure to glide through this narrow lane.

Again asked for directions and reached near the bridge on top of the estuary which was named as Kadalundi Kadavu bridge. This seems to be a recently constructed bridge.

Our vehicle got on top of the bridge. When we rolled the windows down, we got hit by a gush of fresh air. Instinctively all of us got out of the vehicle and as expected the scenery was fantastic to add to the refreshing and energizing wind blowing across from the sea.

Watch the color of the sky and the sea. We all seem to be part of a live painting. A painting which was changing its colors in every passing second.

A look towards the sea yielded this scene.

Had we got more time, we could have ventured into those rocks and just sit there for a long time. The view towards the river was equally interesting and we could see the place where we sat a little while ago and also could get a complete picture of the lengthy railway overbridge over the river. Watch this image closely and you can see a complete train in this single frame.

It was full moon day and I was tempted to take a close shot of the beautiful white thingy which seemed to be present just entertain us.

It was getting dark very fast, but the color of sea just above horizon was getting more and more intense with each passing moment and I was not able to go, even though my spouse was asking me to make a return.

I have seen this umpteen times, but the color of sky at dusk is something which turns me on and I cannot stop gazing at the colors and normally takes a lot of shots just to see how the color pattern was changing.

On the other side the full moon seemed to light up the entire area and the reflection it created on the river was superb.

All my co travelers got inside the vehicle barring me. I was busy capturing all the things around even though the light condition was not good, the color scheme was good. Tried to capture my carriage in the backdrop of this exemplerary settings.

Soon I got inside the vehicle, but we stayed there some more time just enjoying the sea breeze and discussing about this beautiful place. Another superb destination in God's own country, which is not a popular tourist destination and devoid of any tourist activity resulting it remaining a virgin without any commercialisation at all. Before I cranked the engine I took one more photo of the colorful sky in the back drop of the protective railing of the bridge which seemed to say Goodbye and see you again.

Sure I will be visiting this place again and will be exploring the beach side a little more and if possible will like to have a long walk through the banks of the river. Thanks to the road side sign board which made me probe about this place and make a visit.

Hope you too got a glimpse of what this place - "Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary" is all about. This is Subu signing off until we meet again with another complete photo coverage of a beautiful destination. 

Other nearby destinations worth a visit
 1. Parapally - A rocking beach @ Quilandy
2. NC Gardens & beach resort @ Parappanangadi
3. Gotheswaram @ Beypore
4. Beypore port
5. Mananchira - Kozhikode's Heart is here
6. Thiruvachira Temple - A calming influence

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Childrens Park @ Calicut Beach - A quick visit

Calicut Beach is always bustling with activity. Just like the never ending tides, the crowds also seems to be never ending. Eventhough heavily crowded, this beach has some speciality which does not make any visitor uneasy because of the crowds. Don't expect this to be a beach where you can have a sunbath or a bath in swimming costume. Sometime back I had blogged about the life at Calicut Beach.(Click here to see the different colors of Calicut Beach)

Even though I had been to this beach many times, only recently did I see a childrens park adjacent to the beach. It is not a bad set up at all. The evening sun ensured that every single object in the park is looking more beautiful. Surprisingly there was no entry fee for this park.

The entry pole signified that this park has been donated by Lions Club, Calicut.

The beach view was quite good, thanks to the Sun who was playing hide and seek with the clouds.

One more look into the beach and I was amazed by the number of kites flying in the sky. Even now I love to make kites by myself and the sense of achievement when I see those flying high up is something which I can't express in words. 

One of the kites was really standing out because of its novel design.

The kite vendor's business seems to be thriving well as more and more kids were seen demanding their parents to buy one for them. They cannot be blamed as it is quite exciting to fly one.

The park has got some nice, but basic equipment to keep the kids entertained. The equipment in the park seems to be unique because of the creativity associated with the design of each one of them. The slider resting on the jumping fish's tail seems to be creatively designed, eventhough it is not maintained well. 

Here is another rocket cage.

From this angle it seems to be a watch tower kind of a thing. This also is a slider and kids were queuing up for a climb up. 

In this era of amusement parks where there are lot of innovative and exciting rides, these kids are equally satisified and happy in using these traditional equipment and were seen queuing up again and again for a ride, until their parents forcefully take them out of the park underlying the fact that satisfaction is not something which only money can buy.

This park also housed lot of thick vegetation, which helped in hiding the huge crowds inside.

This cactus tree attracted my attention since normal cactus trees which we see in this part of the world don't have this kind of a stem. 

The sun had by now transformed into a red glowing ball and I began to place it near to all kind of objects around and started capturing frames.

Meanwhile my son was enjoying, having a fight with the lion king.

The sponsors of this park had ensured that their logo is everywhere.

There seems to be a dearth of such parks in this part of the state for the crowd present here was enormous. Even though not well maintained, the ambience was quite attractive. The cool soothing breeze from the sea ensured that children are kept cool amongst their busy acitivities. Watching the kids hoping around in joyfull mood is a sight to watch and this alone is sufficient to make our day.
Hope the authorities will take good care such beautiful weekend getaways for the town dwellers, coz some high rise building are fast coming up on the other side of the road. Wonder when these small but useful utilities which serves amusement for the local kids give way for high risers like this.

Other beautiful Locations nearby
 1. Parapally - A rocking beach @ Quilandy
2. NC Gardens & beach resort @ Parappanangadi
3. Gotheswaram @ Beypore
4. Beypore port
5. Mananchira - Kozhikode's Heart is here
6. Thiruvachira Temple - A calming influence


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