Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kottakkunnu Amusement Park, Small but worth every rupee spent


For a quick summary of this park please scroll down to the end of this post

Kerala had a real dearth of water theme parks a decade back and the only place where Keralites got a taste of the excitement of water theme parks was the Black thunder situ loacted at Ooty main road, Mettupalayam.

The advent of stabilizer major, V-guard industries into this business saw the launch of Veegaland in the industrial capital of Kerala - Kochi. No wonder, Veegaland became kind of a buzz word for the kiddies and every vacation seemed to be incomplete without a visit to Veegaland. Slowly but steadily lot of water theme parks began to spring up, "Silver storm" and "Dream world" in the route to famous Athirappally water falls, another one very close to Trivandrum - the happy land and the latest addition being the one in Kannur - The vismaya.

Water theme parks are the place to be in, if one wants to spend some quality time with friends/relatives enjoying the rides, the adventure part keeps the adrenalin rush, the cool clean water quenches the fatigue, and most importantly the bond between the visiting family/friends will surely strengthen, thanks to the effect called team spirit. Discussions on daily chores and difficulties in daily life has no space in such parks.

We had one saturday at our perusal for a fun trip with family and being at Kozhikkode the closest which we could chose was the Vismaya water theme park. Called up Vismaya and the lady over phone was quite polite in explaining the activities, rates and the route. Everything fixed and we planned to start our journey at about 9 am so that we could reach the water theme park, situated near Govt Engineering College Kannur by 11am.

It was the day of the famous Attukal Pongala, an event where lakhs of ladies make offerings in the form of payasams to the famous Attukal Devi the main diety of Attukal Devi Temple which is situated in Thiruvananthapuram. Since we were at Kozhikkode, the lady folks decided to offer ponkala by making payasam outside the house, just like the way it is done near the temple. This event got delayed so much that the preparation was complete only at 12pm, by which time the plan for visiting the Vismaya park was dropped. But my kids were not relenting as they were dreaming of visiting the water theme park. The mindset of adults were not too different either, only that they knew to suppress there feeling. So we had to search for alternatives.

My wife's sister suggested a place called Kottakkunnu about which she had seen some advertisement in paper. I googled, only to find that no detailed information is available, but got the location details which happens to be around 45kms away from Kozhikkode. Soon an 8 member gang was zooming towards Malappuram, a distance of about 45 kms from Kozhikkode.

The route we took was

Kozhikkode -> Ramanattukara -> Manjeri -> Malappuram.

Once we reach Malappuram town, go straight to the heart of the town and just before the KSRTC bus station take a left turn. This is a steep upward climb at the end of which is the Kottakkunnu water theme park. Our anxienty only increased as we had reached an unknown destination for none of us knew what is in store for us inside. The entrance was a traditional sort of construction.


There was absolutely zero crowds, which raised doubts in our minds on whether we chose a wrong destination. Neverthless We parked our vehicle in the nearby parking lot which also looked deserted. Through the centre of the wide open area there was a series of steps leading to the top where the Kottakkunnu Ground is situated. Decided to climb up the steps later in the day when the scorching sun will reduce its intensity.


It was 12pm and we were in a dilemma on whether to have lunch now or later. We decided to talk with the staff inside and then decide on where to have lunch. Got inside and saw a simple guy standing inside. On enquiry he told about the rides inside. We were happy to hear that there are 4 big water rides, dashing cars and many dry rides for children. We were surprised to experience his honesty when he told that the food that we get inside the park is not of high quality and if we are really hungry it will be better to have it from outside.

After thanking him we again went to the town and found out a neat little restaurant and had a good lunch mainly comprising of the malabar biriyani which was quite yummy yummy.

Within no time we were at the ticket counter. We were in for more surprise when we found that the ticket rates are just Rs.200 and the total cost of ticket was equivalent to a single ticket in Wonderla, Bangalore (But this and wonderla are leagues apart).

The changing rooms were neat and there was locker facility too to store our belongings. A quick look from here and we could see a big pool at a distance with some rides. Quickly we moved towards the pool in the centre. On the way found out a real small pool meant for children.

The pool was spacious and shallow, with water depths ranging from 2 feet to 3 feet only. Two snake like water rides were on one side


There were two small rides on the other side too giving it a really colorful appearance.

What followed soon was splish splashing, swimming, drowning, spraying water around, getting a feel of the soothing shower, enjoying the pull provided by the powerful horizontal water spray, jumping around and whatever we can do with the water body, all this under the scorching sun, completely defeating the heat waves.


In between the pool fun we found ourselves climbing up the steps of rides with the inflated riding boat, only to come down at breathneck speeds, swinging and swaying, feeling the weightlessness and that special feeling on the stomach, which ends with a terrible splash in the water.


Once a ride is over, the addiction simply takes over and reignites another walk up the steps eventhough the climb up really drains our energies, the exhilration and the excitement which the downward journey offers making us repeat this feat.

While climbing up, I had a careful introspection of the rides which ensembled real huge blue snakes coming down from the skies.


The ride is completely held together by a single pipe, from which the support frames are originating. I hope that all the safety regulations are taken care and preventive maintenance checks are done routinely. Any damage to the centre pole can prove catastrophic.


The view from the top point where the ride starts also is quite good, for it gives a panaromic vision of the surroundings.
Lot of the lush greenery all around with a series of mountains at the backdrop touching the skies, a typical Kerala ambience adorns the western side.


The parking lot can be seen at the bottom of the above pic.

The steps which extends up to the ground on top is also visible. There is a cultural mueseum too just after this watertheme park on the way up.


Another interesting spot which caught my attention was the top of a mosque which seemed to be precauriously perched on top of a really long pipe akin to a watch tower. This happens to be the tallest building around. Interestingly there are steps to climb up too. Wonder how it will feel like to be on top of that tower.


For almost 3 hours we spent time in this pool and the two rides. It was almost 5pm when the thought stuck us that the water rides will stop functioning from 6pm onwards. Before that we need to test out other water rides too. We quickly moved ahead to the closest one.


This is the ride which starts from the tallest point in this park. The rider can slide down the slippery track, in a surf board. Another of those common rides which eventhough present in all the water theme parks, but none of us were bored in taking this ride again and again. The low turn out of this park ensured that we could use it like a private water theme park and repeat doing all the rides until we feel the urge to move to the next one.


Only one more water ride was pending which was the splash. We will be taken up in a 6 seater vehicle running in rails only to come down in a free fall mode straight into a water body, sending the water soaring high up in the air, only to fall back on our body after a few seconds like a strong shower, enough to drench the whole body. The weightlessness feeling, the real thud effect when the vehicle hits the water and the heavy shower when we least expects it are the Unique selling point of this ride.


After enjoying the four major water rides, it was time to move on to the dry rides. There were 5 major dry rides here.

The free fall ride in which we will be taken up, all the while rotating against this pole.


Once we are up, the downward journey is almost at the same speed as that of jumping down and the height is almost the same as that of four storeyed building.

The merry go around with the chairs hanging on long chains makes us feel as if rising above after each rotation and we have to hold on to our dear life for fear of being thrown out at any moment.


Next up was the giant wheel, which was a relatively slow paced ride and helped us relax enjoying the beautiful view around.


Time now for some kids rides and there were lots of them around.




By this time sun had set and the whole of park was illuminated with coloured lights. We took to the next ride, the break dance ride.


The rapidly changing colors of the sky was giving a fresh look to the giant wheel and needless to say the frame was captured immediately


The plan to visit Kottakkunnu ground was dropped, thanks to being completely engrossed in the water theme park activities. Still one more ride was pending and that was the dashing car. In busy water theme parks like Veega land, there used to be long queues for getting in one, but here the case was different.

The dashing car's house was well illuminated too.


Soon the fun again started and we lost count of how many times we enjoyed ride in the car and it was all a family affair.


The guidance guy at the dashing car house was a really nice fellow and he volunteered to guide us around the park after the ride. He showed us the various theme based houses like the ghost house, a revolving bridge etc which we missed out during this trip for by the time we finished the dashing car business it was almost 8pm. We have no complaints too as the objective of coming here was fullfilled. Ofcourse it would have been fullfilled even if there was just one pool with a single ride coz when in company of such a lovely family hellbound on enjoying the fun, the location seldom matters.

So it was a great find, a place so close to Kozhikkode and in the heart of Malappuram town. This park has been developed by the Malappuram Corporation and not by any private party. Kudos to them for creating this, which in by no means is a very big one, but one which serves the purpose and a very good value for money too.


Quick Summary 

Name of the Park: Kottakkunnu Amusement and Water Theme Park

Location : Malappuram town. (Right next to the KSRTC Bus Stand)

Entry fee: Rs 200 (as on March 2011)
Time: 10:00am to 8:00pm (water rides only upto 6:00pm)

Rides:
Kids pool,
main pool with 2 slides, showers, small slides for kids (depth of pool 2 to 3feet)
ride for surfing down,
Water splash
Giant wheel, merry go round, free fall, dashing car, break dance (another merry go round)

Other attractions: A cultural mueseum, Kottakkunnu ground which is an excellent viewpoint.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My story published in Royal enfield site!!

Felt goosebumps to see my story - "Missed the train, Bank on the bullet", in the Royal Enfield website.
This is about one of my real trip stories which happened last year.

"Missed the train, Bank on the bullet
I could hear some sound very faintly, but the colorful world in front of my eyes was never allowing me to identify that sound. I was enjoying every moment of the beautiful sight and the place I was roaming around with my loved ones. But all that's good never ends well. The entire mood was spoilt in a split second when I felt a vigorous shaking of my body, thanks to my better half, which soon changed my status from "dead sleep" to wide awake. I could not take my eyes of the big clock hanging on the bedroom wall, its hands in a perfect vertical position with the elegance of a figure skater, showing 6.00am.


An irony that I woke up at the exact time my train for today's journey was scheduled to start its journey. It was one of the moments when I wished to have one of those wonderful gadgets of Doremon which will help me disappear immediately and appear at the railway station. ......"

To continue reading, visit this link in Royal enfield site: http://www.royalenfield.com/community/trip/missedthetrainbankonthebullet.aspx 

Thanks for the encouragement and support from all my blog readers. Please do keep visiting my blog for exclusive coverage of more beautiful locations 

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