Into "Gods Own Country" - a travelers pride


Would you love to take a drive around????  Just a care-free aimless drive, a one that is free from all these misty city traffics, free from all that pollution, through some speedy highways and scenic hills and through ethnic diversities.
I know you would love too. Then Pack your gear and travel with me, for the next few minutes I will take u through an awesome experience, through a beautiful journey. Travel with me through the western- Ghats, through the hills and into the gods own country
                      Well the route map?? Journey plan?? . Well there isn’t any!!!
       It all started with my school buddy calling up, “Hey are u coming for the Kochi cricket match??”.
              Hmm why not? With destiny fixed up as Kochi we started out. Now who is that “WE”? It’s me and ma friend here Donald Luke Matthew.
                We started in a Saturday morning, with sun well out and reaching mid-sky, from the famous town of Chidambaram. The ride was a “White swift”, with its increased throttle, hard suspension, ABS and some fine tuning it’s all geared up for the long drive.  
                Our first pit stop is ‘TRICHY’ about 150Kms from Chidambaram. The drive to TRICHY is not so pleasing till Veppur, for the Chidambaram-Virduchalam-Veppur road is not that good. From Veppur once we took the Chennai- Trichy highway it’s no turning back.
                Now, the tuned in car with its crazy driver Mathew came into play. It flew off to a max of 173kms per hour. A 99km distance was covered in a span of just 50 minutes. Believe me it’s INDIA and yes it’s no BMW that we drove. Now you can say the car went like “Vroooooooooooooooooooom”.  Vroom Vroom….
                After a quick little stop at ma home in Trichy for a quick mom-made lunch we started off again. Next is Dindugal, another 95 odd kms.  God you wouldn’t believe me here it’s again a four lane. The roads in Tamilnadu have awesomely developed over the span of few years. Its four lanes everywhere u turn around, Chennai- Trichy- Madurai- Thoothukodi, Trichy-Dindugal, Trichy-Tanjore everything is four lane here. Well the credit can be surely given to TR.BALU our ex-transport minister.  
                Well Dindugal was there in another hour or so!!, driving around is such a pleasure here in that broad roads; with literally no traffic out and cruising in an average of 140ks it’s a damn added pleasure. From Dindugal the roads started diverging to Kodaikanal. We took of the road to THENI.
After travelling all this while in free highways, we now travelled through some beautiful villages. The aroma in these areas were entirely different. With paddy sowed around for a while on both sides we kept riding. We went through some real beauty. The people here are far and free from the useless city nerves. They are having their own beauty of a life here.
          From Theni the ride was still more awesome. With the Western Ghats starting to appear the scenic beauty around is inexplicable. But Wait the best is yet to come…
                We took our next Pit stop at Outskirts of Kambam, for a little coffee break. The cultivation around here is mainly grapes. It’s Grape-yard everywhere around. Those freshly plucked grapes and fine brewed grape syrup are definitely not to be missed. For a little information, ‘our annachi’ here told that these grape vines once grown will yield for 15 long years.
                Now the ride started its bisection of Western Ghats. The drive up the HILLS OF KUMILY is an experience of its own. The road is definitely a DREAM to ride. It is “A DRIVERS DREAM” as the crazy driver “LUKE MATTHEW” says. The road with its sharp bends with curvy tracks with a hilly drive up is for sure a “DRIVER’S DREAM”. And ‘LUKE’ is doing 80s here too!!
    I would love to drive on that road. But the man hitting the tracks is better than me and will never want to leave the wheels. So I just got content by sitting and enjoying the ride.
Now then we stopped again for some quick snaps in Kumily. Kumily is a place of its own, a small hill station you can call it. A busy little market with tea, cashews and all that hill-top groceries, good hotels and resorts to stay it has everything it needed there.
Kumily is the border for Tamilnadu- Kerala. Just over a span of ten kms everything changes. The language, people, their dresses everything changes. We can feel that we are into Malayala nation. Even the built of people changes in that little span changes. From brown-skinned beautiful girls it became fair skinned chubby girls while we are into this territory. That’s the specialty of INDIA, I guess. The ethnic and cultural differences are vast and lovable.
          The ride continued on through the hills of Western Ghats, the next destiny is Kottyam. Now passed a sign board saying Thekkadi- 5km. Everything diverges here, just a few more distance through we saw an another board saying Sabarimala 40kms. Kanjirappali the top most spot on the drive came by then. The scenic beauty just kept mesmerizing; there were waterfalls and springs to pass by; and to add on a vary of nice old malayala songs were playing from Luke's collection.                                                            God what a drive it is!!
Now once we started nearing Kottyam, the wealth and richness of kottayam was clamoring out. Kottyam is the rubber center for Kerala. And as we were nearing it we could see lot of big wealthy houses, they were like acres big. With big rubber estates and a nice lonely house at the center...my god, I would love to have a life like that too. These big shot keralites here are called ‘ACHANS’.
the drive

                I took leave from Mr. Donald Luke here, some twenty kms from kottayam I dropped off, as he is headed towards his home town. Now I took on the journey from there to Kottyam by bus. You have to see Kerala buses, it has its typical style, the conductor communicates with driver via a rope from the very end which continues through the bus and has a bell at the other end. He like pulls the rope and the bell rings and the driver starts off..
                Starting the journey like in  10.15 in the morning, I travelled around for 500kms and reached Kottyam by 8.45. Kottayam can be called as mid city-town. It has some good hotels and there are lot of places around to see like the world famous kumarokom, even Trivandrum is not far away from here.
                Now waiting for bus to Ernakulum, I went to have a hot cup of tea. Now again from “anna oru tea”  its cheta oru chai” you can just wonder and admire these. The valakka bhacis have become banana roasts here. Finding the right bus is another job on hand.  ‘Cheta ernakulam bus evada varum, eppo varum?’ The answer is like “????????????? Ivada vara….!!!!!!!!!!!”
 Luckily for me, Ernakulum was written in English. And I took one nice seat by the window pane. The chill breeze that was flowing out was making me float in heaven. I should say about the roads of Kerala here, it’s the worst, the worst I have seen. You can have potholes in between road.But here there are roads in between potholes. For a 60 km drive from Ernakulum it took me nearly two and a half hour and it’s a hell bumpy ride too.
                I reached Ernakulum by 11.30 in the night and it completed a 600km ride. And my friend ‘Hari’ was waiting there to pick me. We started off. Even after hours of travel, as it is a travelers soul or his pride; I will say, I was never tired and was already out to explore.
                Ernakulum is a beauty of a place to explore; the biggest, high-fi city of Kerala got the perfect mixture of everything. Take a little walk in the marine drive or a little cozy drive in the boats and ferry there. Shop at the beautiful streets of M.G.road, or try the ‘Deli’ or ‘Coffee Beanz’‘Indian coffee house’ or even the ‘Barista’ here if you are a coffee lover. 
                Want some perfect Kerala food??  Try these restaurants specially the Malabar plazas here and get a chance to eat the famous puttu and the fish curries, and feel the blend of coconut in everything they cook. Whether its chutney or the oil they cook there is extra bit of coconut in everything. Try the sambars in kerala they add ladyfingers and drumstick in our normal idly sambar!
city lights in ernakulam
                If you are looking for night out take on discs at ‘The Longevity’ or ‘Ava lounch’.  Roam around in the beautiful Oberon mall or pass around the Bay pride.
        We had the pleasure of roaming around in the marine drive at midnight and it was its own kind of an experience crossing in the closed Ferris and jumping in the floating restaurants. There is this romantic couple still sitting there lost in their own world. It is a place to walk around with your girl…oooooo it is romantic.
                There was a bunch of young kids not one more than ten years, they are preparing some kind of ornament which they will sell in the morning for a livelihood. That’s the difference you see around, a busy city with money flowing around and a poor little population trying their best for survival.
                After  having ice-creams and chit chatting with those kids, we departed. We took a ride to the stadium. For those of you who don’t know,” Kochi and Ernakulum is nothing but same”. The stadium was full of color with people selling flags colored hats. It was a festive mood, battalion of policemen were jumping in. Well off course cricket in INDIA  is always a festival of its own kind.
                Sunday all prepared for the match we went out to the stadium only to find it is all wet. And to make it worse it started raining again. And the match was abandoned. Now here everybody around us was wearing blue shirts. We were like two odd aliens out there…only then we found out that it has a concept…BLEED THE BLUE- a theme,to show the unity among diversity, to show the very meaning of INDIA.
ernakulam
                Now that the match is cancelled! But who really cares if it is cancelled!! For the true reason behind this travel is never just cricket. It’s the pleasure of travelling. And as a true traveler the spirit of exploring overwhelmed.
                                Ernakulum has lot more to offer like the cherai beach or the beautiful backwaters of ALLEPPY with its boat houses are definitely to be explored. After a quick coffee at coffee beanz and some fast shopping at M.G road we started off with our GPS and bikes to ‘FORT KOCHI’, a 14km drive from Ernakulum town.
THE BREEZE OF A CULTURAL EPITOME
                                Fort Kochi, I would say is a “mini- Goa”. It is not just a another place. It is saga of its own with a folk-lore of history, with culture handed down over centuries. With Portuguese till 1660s and Dutch till1700s and thereafter British; it has an impeccable blend of cultures.
                                Wonder at the eternal beauty of the sea, run along it shores build your sand houses and fall over it, try fishing or play around with the snake charmers, or just walk along with your loved one on the beautiful shore at a lovely sunset. With the sea breeze kissing your soul walk around exploring the ethnic handicraft shops or take a stop buy some fishes, cook and eat it afresh there.
             
                               The mood here is awesome, wanna have some more of it? Take a walk in the Princess street and the rose street. Tune your eyes to explore the beauty of architecture, the Dutch-Portuguese style. Take a sip of coffee at those splendid shops or take a peek at those beautiful hotels for a nice lunch by the pool.
                Walk around and admire those old houses with different architectural styles. Or even rent a bike and take a drive around. FORT KOCHI is awesome. Don’t forget those Chinese fishnets. And ya the Santa- Cruz ballista, the synagogue, the burial place of ‘Vasco-da-gama’ and the Mattancherry palace.
Don’t forget the SPAS there. FORT KOCHI just grabs your soul. Its too romantic that you will never wanna leave it.
                With our hearts glued there we started our ride back to Ernakulum. And my quick ride to the ‘GOD’S OWN COUNTRY’ is all soon getting over.
After a quick little coffee in Deli, back in ernakulam and some late last minute shopping not forgetting the keralas very own naentherambalam chips and jack fruit chips I started back my journey and it’s a lonely journey back. I took a train from Ernakulum to Trichy. The train journey is another kind of an experience.
Travelling in a unreserverd compartment, standing in like one and half leg with your back- aching and carving for rest ouf that's awesome.
The crowd was just adding up everywhere, in trissur or palakad everywhere more people got in than those who got out. We were like standing in a leg and a half pushing shouting yet laughing around.
Most of the people around were young not more than 35 years old either working or students. And for the surprise lot of college girls are also pushing up through these crowds.
                The crowd aroma inside was splendid; some were fed up from a rain washed match, some guys were holding each other and sleeping around literally standing. Different linguistic conversion was going on its like a mixture of colors like a rangoli in there. 

That is where my country is ….the majority still travels through trains and ya its crowded even now. With cities fast growing, and people getting richer, there is still a population that lives in an entire different situation. What pleasure you get driving around in BMWS or Mercedes take a journey like this with the very own crowd of this nation; it gives you all that pleasure available on heaven too.
Though one thing I noticed there was not one in that crowd didn’t have a cell phone…man this country is growing, growing fast. Once the train reached coimbatore, i could ease my legs for rest and I continued my way back to Trichy carrying only beautiful memories back.
                         WHAT MORE COULD I ASK FOR??
                         I AM IN LOVE WITH HER!!
                         YA, WITH THAT BEAUTIFUL GIRL.
                         SHE IS STILL A VIRGIN, WAITING FOR ME TO EXPLORE,
                         I AM IN LOVE WITH HER, 
                        
                         YA WITH MY BEAUTY CALLED ‘INDIA’
                         WHAT MORE COULD I ASK FOR??
                         GIVE ME ANOTHER HUNDRED LIFE WITH HER!!
                         BUT WILL THAT BE ENOUGH???
                         YA I AM IN LOVE WITH HER>>>>


fort kochi
fort kochi

I will leave you here with some snaps, hope you enjoyed your travel with me, now you go out and plan your carefree drive. TRAVEL just for the sake of travelling, travel for the love of living. Hey and don’t forget to call me for I am there ready always to hope in. 
For the spirit of travelling and for the love of living cheers…………

Comments

  1. its a good pleasure reading this... a pleasant blog I must say!!!... great job!!:)... keep going>>

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  2. tats a cool narration of our superb hangout.... enjoyed both the trip n the travalogue... guess d readers ll b tempted to chill out in thes spots we roamed around

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  4. Viva la Kerala! Exacerbating with sheer exuberance this travelogue marks the coming of age of a new breed of wannabe Romeo! The whole travel excerpts right from the drive startin' off from Chidambaram, spannin' through the nook & corners of GOD's own Country....emanates the vivacious portrayal teeming with the innocence of a first-hand experience of an amateur romeo. The only turn down of this travelogue is what would be ur "RACIAL"
    (brown -fair skin) views on the opposite sex(sic) :-) , jus' when u cross the borders. Rest assured that ur travel account is Flawless ! Bon Voyage ! Au revoir Amigo!

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  6. wow wow wow
    happy to kno u had a good time,jus like me
    all i got to say is...dude this is not the end of it,,there is more to it nd we will go many more times
    njoi
    donald luke

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  7. @ hari sure da they will....what about our year end trip -the bike ride we planned

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  8. @hari oxford ........ dai the comment itself was awesome.........its perfect blend of words....thanks dude......and i didnt mean o sound racial there....was just exaberating the diference in beauty of indian girls....anyway no one can be compared as better to other

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  9. @luke .......sure dude we will have a another rocking ride soon

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  10. My God!! what a travelogue!! just loved it! i am so envious of u... waiting for my chance to go about exploring. try north east india next time, it has been my long time dream too. :-)

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  11. wow..... feels like i had a nice long trip too...!!

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  12. @ prassna /......thanks ya and why to envy you will soon be starting ur trip dont worry.....and ya sure will take north-east next

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  13. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

    Hotels in Trichy

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    Replies
    1. thank you steffi ....rally happpy that u lke it this much

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  14. Superb narration of ur experience to Kerala.We could feel the road journey from ur description.. Most of them would have got the road map to Kerala by now..
    Few things i noticed:
    Kochi and Ernakulam are one and the same - most of us do not know this. nice that u spotted...
    the places u travelled would give clear insights to ppl, as where to visit, when they go to travel..
    athu enna trainla ponnungala pathi eluthirukka...nalla sight adichutte vanthiyo!!!!

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