Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kerala Backwater Tours from IRCTC

7 hour backwater cruise through villages of Kerala

Daily Tour - Starts from Main Boat jetty, Ernakulam 8:30 hours and comes back at 17:30 hours (on a house boat and country boat with ethnic Kerala lunch. Pickup from hotel arranged)

Tour organised by
- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd

Programe - 30 minutes journey by coach/car to a nearby village. Four hours backwater cruise on a houseboat through wide canals and lagoons and 3 hours village cruise on country boat through the little canals of various villages,

Itinerary - See Traditional coir making, A rare chance to see medicinal plants. 30 minutes walk around the villages under the cool shady coconut palms. Hear and watch kingfishers and coromorants

Food - Ethnic kerala meals

About the village - the village lies 20 kms south-east of Cochin. Since there are no industries in the area, the village is free from sound/air pollution. The main occupation of teh villagers is rope making from the coconut fibre, straw mat weaving using pinepapple leaves, collecting sand from teh river bed, fishing and farming.

About the boats - The house boat converted from Kettuvalllam is made with the hardwood "Anjili" and is about 70 feet long and 13 feet wide. It has a spacious double room with a modern toilet and an open pavilion.

Price - Rs 550 per person which includes 7 hours backwater cruise, lunch and transportation.Free hotel pickup is also priovided

For reservatin contact
Regional Office
#40/1984, Salih Arcade
Convent Road,
Kochi 682035
Tel: 91 484 2382991

Thiruvanthapyuram - 9447191846
Kottayam - 9495237383
Kochi - 9446579474
Aleppey - 9446513972
Mangalore - 9964318278
Coimbatore - 9952338653
Kozhikide - 9446539292

Kathakali Dance Programme in Alleppey, Kerala

Kerala Arts

Daily Programme at 7 pm
Ticket Rs 200 per head

For ticket booking contact

Temple View Arts and Kathakali Centre
Opp Uduppi Sreekrishna Temple,
Thondankulangra Ward,

Phone: 3294466, 3294477, 9895136412


Mass Holidays and Resorts
Akkarakkalam Buildings,
Jetty Road

Phone: 914773294466/3294477

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Paulson Park Hotel and Restaurant in Ernakulam (Cochin), Kerala

Paulson Park Hotel - 2 Star Classified

Location: Carrier Station Road
Ernakulam South
Cochin 682 016

Phone: 0484-2378240-49 (10 lines)
Fax: 91-484-2375072



- Centrally located at the heart of the city
- Adjacent to Ernakulam South Raileay Satsation
- Very close to Business and Shopping Centres
- 28 kms to International Airport at Nedumbassery

- TV in all rooms with attached bath - hot and cold running water
- Fridge in AC rooms and suites
- Direct local call dialing facility
- STD calls at nominal extra charge
- Homely delicious food
- Photocopying
- Medical care on request
- Laundry service
- Travel assisstance
- Parking facility


7-11 : The Coffee Shop
Garden COurt : Hut Restaurant serves Indian, Chinese, Tandoori and Kerala cuisine
Le Papillon : Multi cuisine AC restaurant

Kerala Travel Facilitator (Tour Guide)

Tour Guide in Alleppey, Kerala

Mr Kichu
Mobile: 91 98473 47229

- Alleppey-Quilon Backwater Cruise
- Houseboats
--- Alleppey to Alleppey
--- Alleppey to Quilon
--- Alleppey to Kumarakom
- Travel Desk
- Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Theraphy
- Motobikes and Cars on rent
- Air Ticket Booking
- Money Exchange
- Spices Plantation Visit
- Elephant Ride
- Tour Packages

Praveen Tours and Travels in Munnar, Kerala

Travel Agent in Munnar

Praveen Tours and Travels
Hill Top Tower
Matupetty Junction
Munnar 685 612

Mobile: 94472 19305
Office: 04865 208596

- Hotel Reservation
- Daily Sight Seeing
- Honey Moon Trips
- House Boat Booking
- Package Tours
- Tourist Vehicles for rent

- Daily trip Munnar to Chennai and Bangalore

Vasanth Raj Paradise - Deluxe Lodge, Bangalore

Budget Lodging Facilities near Bangalore City Railway Station

Location :

The lodge is located in Cottonpet, just a 5 minute drive from the Bangalore City Railway Station.

Vasanth Raj Paradise
No 60, Cottonpet Main Road,
Bangalore 560 053

Phone: 0980 41223135, 26703259

Rooms are clean. Hot water supplied in the morning. Cable TV in room.

Athirappally and Vazachal Waterfalls, Kerala

Athirappally Waterfalls is located around 80 kms from Cochin at the entrance to the Sholayar ranges. The Athirapally waterfall joins the Chalakkudy River after plummeting a drop of over 80 feet.

The Vazhachal waterfall is a scenic and popular waterfall also on the edge of the Sholayar forest range in Kerala. The misty waters cascade down the rocky terrain with the thick green forest in the backdrop. This is more of a layered waterfall cascading horizontally.

Both thes waterfalls are a part of the Chalakudy river and are around 5 km apart on the road to Valparai Tea estate.

The forests area around Athirappally and Vazachal have been found to be characterised by the presence of typical riparian species of plants, in addition to evergreen and semi-evergreen species.

The Chalakudy River is known for its bio-diversity and has around 85 species of fresh water fishes. We spotted some fishes in the shallow waters of Athirappally.

To the east of Athirappally is the enchanting but lesser known Charpa falls which plunges on to the road during monsoon.

The Kerala State Electricity Board has plans to build a 23m high dam across the Chalakudy river ar vazachal, 5.5 kms upstreasm from Athirapally. This project will issue a death warrant of the water falls, the riparian forets and the rich flora and fauna of this region.

The Chalakudy Protection Forum has set up Satyagraha Pandals to convey this news to the nature lovers and people visiting the falls.

Their address

Chalakudy Protection Forum
Phone: 9249898773, 9895977769, 9495226861


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ashtamudi Homestay in Alleppey (Allapuzha)

Ashtamudi Homestay

Located around 2 kms from the Alleppey Railway station is the Ashtamudi Homestay.
There are around 17 rooms - 7 normal rooms on the ground floor and 6 bamboo type rooms on the first floor. Four rooms are at a nearby location. These rooms were new and were being furnished when we were in Alleppey.

The rooms are well maintained. We stayed in the Bamboo type room. It had an attached bath. Hot water is provided on request.

The staff is good and can provide travel assistance.
Internet connection is available at the homestay.

Other services/facilities

Cable TV
Motorbike and cycles for rent
Ayurvedic Massage
Backwater cruise arrangements
Travel Desk

Contact Person : Mr R Subhash or Mr Shaan
Address : West of SDV Central School,
Zilla Court Ward.
Alappuzha (Alleppey)

Phone : 99470 34999, 94471 61592
Landline : 91 - 477 - 52254212, 6540216


Hotel Triveni In Kanyakumari

There are numerous eateries dotting the road from the Kanya Kumari railway station to the beach. Most of the eateries serve South Indian dishes. Some claim to serve Tandoori roti, naan etc. But once you are seated in the restarurat they will tell you that Tandoori items are not being served that day.

We had normal meals at Hotel Triveni. Not bad.

Hotel Triveni
Main Road
Phone: 246328

Travel in and around Kanya Kumari

Kanya Kumari, the Land's end, is the southern most tip of India. The Bay of Bengal meets the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea here. It is said that during the full moon in April one can see the Sunset and Moonrise simultaneously from here.

Places to see in and around KanyaKumari

Vivekanada Rock Memorial - It is situated on a rocky island around 200 metres from the shore. Regular ferry services carry the passsengers to and back from the island. The Vivekananda Rock measures approx 534’ x 426’ at the water level and has a spacious level top at an altitude of 55 feet. The total area is about 4 acres (16,200 sq.m.). The Memorial consists of two main structures - the Vivekanada Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam.

The Shripada Mandapam, Vivekananda Mandapam, and the statue have been so designed that the vision of Swami Vivekanads is seen directed towards the Shripadam.

The Wandering Monk - is an exhibition made up of fibre glass visuals by Raghunath Goswami. It depicts the journey of Swami Vivekanda through India. Short descriotive narration accompanies each visual. There are some rare old Photographs on display.

Entry fee is Rs 2 per person and photography is not allowed inside the Exhibition.
Timings: 8 am - 12 pm and from 4 pm - 8 pm

Tiruvalavur Statue - The 7000 ton statue of Tamil poet, Tiruvalavur stands tall atop a rocky island at a distance of 220 feet from the Rock Memorial. The 95 feet statue stands on a 38 feet pedestal which is surrounded by a mandapam with ten stone elephants. The height of the pedestal (38 feet) is equivalent to the number of chapters in the first part of the Tiru Kural. The height of the statue (95 feet) is equivalent to the number of chapters in the second and third parts of the Tiru Kural.

Triveni Sangam - The point where the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea meet. It is said that a dip in the waters at this point washes away ones sins. Not sure about this, but the view is lovely from here. A vantage point to view the sunrise or sunset.

Gandhi Memorial - The ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were kept here before it was immersed in the tri seas. It is said that on 2nd October the sun's rays fall at the particular spot where the urn with the ashes was kept.

Kumari Amman Temple - Located near the sea shore, this temple is devoted to Goddess Kumari Devi. The idol of the Goddess has a diamond studded nose ring which is said to be visible even from the seas.

VattaKottai Fort and Beach - Vattakotai (Circular Fort) is a granite fort situated around 6 kms from Kanya Kumari. It was built under the supervision of Captain Eustachius De Lannoy during the reign of King Marthanda. A part of this fort extends into the sea.

The fort offers a view of the sea on one side and the Western Ghats on the other.

Where to stay:

There are lot of lodging/boarding facilities in Kanyakumari suitable to all budget ranges. Since we had to board the early morning train to Trivandrum, we opted to stay in the Railway Retiring Rooms at the Railway Station.

The rooms were well maintained and good.

Hot water is supplied - solar water geyser is used. So, if it is a cloudy day, you will end up bathing with cold water.

There is small eatery at the Railway station which opens at 4:30 am and closes at 6:00pm. They serve tea and snacks.

For lunch/dinner you will have to head out of the railway station.

Where to Eat:

There are numerous eateries dotting the road from the railway station to the beach. Most of the eateries serve South Indian dishes. Some claim to serve Tandoori roti, naan etc. But once you are seated in the restarurat they will tell you that Tandoori items are not being served that day.

Look out for some hotels near the ticket counter to the Rock Memorial. They claim to serve Gujarati and Marvadi thalis. We did not go here, so I cannot verify if they do actually serve what they claim to.

We had our meals at

Hotel Triveni
Main Road
Phone: 246328

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hampi - Places to see and useful information

How to reach Hampi from Hyderabad

Rayalaseema Express
Train No: 7416 for Hyderabad to Hospet
Train No:7429 for Hospet to Hyderabad

Hospet > Hampi Local by Bus : Rs 15
Hospet > Hampi by Autorickshaw : Rs 100-150
Hospet > Hampi by Autorickshaw (shared) : Rs 20-25 per head.

Bicycle & Moped rental in Hampi
Bicycle : Rs 30-40 per day
Moped/Bike : Rs 150-300 per day ( petrol a little higher than the current rates)

Archeological Museum (entry fee) : Rs 5
Open from 10AM to 5 PM. Closed on Fridays.

Guide fee: Rs 50 to Rs 600 - depends on how many monuments you want to see and the time the guide spends with you.

Monuments to see in Hampi

1. Archeological Musuem
2. Pattabhi Rama Temple
3. Vittala Temple
4. King's Balance
5. Hanuman Temple
6. Sugreeva's Cave
7. Riverside Ruins
8. Varaha Temple
9. Monolithic Bull
10. Achuyta Raya Temple
11. Hampi Bazaar
12. Sasivekalu Ganesha
13. Kadelakalu Ganesha
14. Granaries
15. Hazara Rama Temple
16. Elephant Stables
17. Queen's Bath
18. Octagonal Bath
19. Zanana Enclosure
20. Stepped Tank
21. Underground Shiva Temple
22. Badavalinga Temple
23. Virupaksha Temple
24. Hemakuta Temple
25. Jain Temples
26. Lotus Mahal
27. Watch Tower
28. Horse's Stables
29. Mahanavami Dibba
30. Bhojanasala

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ooty-Gudalur-Mudumalai Travelog

Journey through Ooty, Gudalur and Mudumalai Wildlife Reserve

We reached Coimbatore by the Sabari Express. From the railway station we took an autorickshaw to the Interstate Bus Depot. The fare was round 20 rupees. There are frequent buses from Coimbatore to Ooty. We boarded one of those State Road Transport
buses. It was a 4 hours journey and the bus fare was only 15 or 20 rupees.

Alternately you can hire a cab from Coimbatore to Ooty. The cab drivers were asking for 1200 for the cab - If you are many people, you can share the fare.

We reacherd Ooty and stayed at Hotel Darshan. Have given the contact details of the hotel in another blog post. Serach for it on the blog. A lovely place just on the edges of the Ooty lake. Very easy to go boating.

We stayed in Ooty for 2 days. Visited the Botanical Garden, the Thread Garden, went boating on the OOty lake, shopped for tea, essential oils and spices. The weather was pleasant with a slight drizzle.

We then hired an autorickshaw to take us from Ooty to Mudumali Wildlife Sanctuary. We planned to make Gudalur our base camp and visit Mudumalai.

The auto drive from Ooty to Mudumalai via Gudalur was the best part of the journey. The auto driver took us to less visited scenic spots. We trekked to a view point that looked dangerous and lonely...But it was fun...

We visited the 9th Mile, Pykara
waterfalls, Kamarajsagar Dam, Pine forests, Eucalyptus forests, Golf Course and a few scenic view points. The best being the Frog Hill view point.

At Gudalur we put up at Jungle Home. It is on the edge of the Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary and was a nice place. They had goose, fowl, rabbits, pigeons, turkeys and some other exotic birds on the premises.

You can contact them at the following address to make your reservations

Jungle Home
12, Evergreen Street,
1st Main
Behind Shiva Temple
Udayanagar, Bangalore
Ph: +91 80 2851 6050
Mob: + 91 9448485160

The Jungle Home owner arranged for a night safari where we spotted - bison, elephants, spotted deer and sambhar deer.

The next morning we went for a jungle safari. There are bus saafris conducted by the Wildlife Department. Bus frequeny - every half an hour. The ride is for about 45 minutes or so... spotted some animals again. There is an Elephant camp in the jungle. We saw some elephants from a very close range there.

There are some jungle huts within the Jungle, for which prior booking has to be done with the Wildlife departnent of Mudumalai.

The Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary is contigous with the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka and the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. Our return journey was from Mudumalai to Bangalore by bus - the route is through the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary and we spotted a lot of animals on this route too.

Tourist places in and around Ooty

Distance from Ooty to Ooty lake, Botanical Garden, Wendlock Downs, Kamarajsagar Dam, Pykara Waterfalls, Segur waterfalls, Avalanchi and Doddabetta peak. The Botanical Garden is especially a very lovely and enjoyable place. The waterfalls are also a very frequently visited attraction.

Tourist Places around Gudalur

Places to see in and around Gudalur. Gudalur is the nearest place to Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary

Naduvattam Mountain Range near Ooty

Places to see in the Naduvattam Mountain Range

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chamunda Mataji (Devi) Temple in Jodhpur

The Chamunda Mataji Temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan is located in the southern end of the Mehrangarh Fort. Chamunda Mataji was the much loved goddess of Rao Jodha. In 1460, he brought her idol from the old capital of Mandore in 1460. Then, it was installed in the Mehrangarh Fort. Till date, the goddess remains the Isht Devi (the adopted goddess) of Maharajas and the Royal Family.

During Dussehra celebrations, the Mehrangarh Fort is thronged by ardent devotees to get a glimpse of Goddess Chamunda Devi.

More recently the temple has been in news because of the stampede during Dusshera celebrations when nearly 140+ people lost their lives.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nehru Zoological Park (Zoo Park), Hyderabad

Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad was opened to the public on 6 Oct 1963. The park extends over 380 acres, and is a sought after recreation spot in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

There are separate zones for different sets of animals/birds

Birds of Prey
Nocturnal Animals
Reptile House
Otter House

There are 5 types of safaris conducted in the zoo

Lion Safari
Tiger Safari
Bear Safari
Bison Safari
Butterfly Safari



Nehru Zoological Park,
Hyderabad- 500 264

Phone: 040-24477355

Bus numbers to reach the Nehru Zoological Park

From Bus Route Nos.
Secunderabad Railway Station 1Z, 7Z and 8Z.
Nampally Railway Station Reach Afzalgunj in Bus Route Nos 8M, 8R, 8U, 9, 9D, 9F, 9K, 9L, 9M,
9N, 9Q, 9R, 9X, 9Y/F, 65M and 65S. From Afzalgunj board bus route Nos is
7Z, 8Z, 94, 94K, 94R, 94U, 95A, 95L, 95M, 95P and 95R.
Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station 1Z, 2Z 7Z, 94, 94K, 94R, 94U, 95A, 95L, 95M, 95P and 95R.
Jubilee Bus Station Reach Afzalgunj in Bus Route No. 8R. From Afzalgunj bus route no .is
1Z, 7Z and 8Z.

Overall, a fun place to spend the entire day. Kids will love it as well as the adults.

You might like to view some pictures from the ZSL London Zoo as well - The Aquarium at the ZSL London is the first aquarium to be established and opened in the whole world. It has an amazing collection of aquatic life.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Botanical Garden in Ooty

The Botanical Garden in Ooty, spread over a sprawling 22 hectares had a very humble beginning. It began in the early 1840s as a small plot of land where vegetables were grown for the residents of Ooty. The then Governor of Madras Residency converted it into a public garden and the services of WG McIvor from the Royal Botanical Garden of Kew was enlisted. He was the one to plant the first mulberry tree in the garden.

Over the years a multitude of species of flowering herbs and shrubs from across the globe have been planted in the garden. The garden is one of the oldest heritage botanical gardens in the world. It lies on the lower slopes of the Doddabetta peak and has a terraced layout.

A lovely well maintained lawn greets you as you enter the park. The tall graceful trees seen here have been introduced from different countries. Right next to the lawn is the Italian garden consisting of crescent lily pond with colorful flower beds. You can access the conservatory and top garden from here.

Some of the attractions in the garden are the - 20 million year old fossilized tree and the monkey puzzle tree (so named because the monkeys cannot climb this tree).

The Monkey Tree

An annual flower show along with an exhibition of rare plant species is held in the month of May at the Botanical garden.

A must visit while in Ooty.

Some quick facts
Garden started in - 1848 AD
Average Annual Rainfall - 140cm
Maximum Temperature - 28 deg cel
Minimum Temperature - 0 deg cel
Altitude - 2250 meters
Area of the garden - 22 hectares

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sri Venkatadri Lodge, Bangalore

Sri Venkatadri Lodge is located right within the Satellite bus stand in Bangalore making it very convenient for tourists who have to take a connecting bus to someplace else.

The rooms are decent enough and there is a restaurant too. A bit noisy though because of its location as buses keep arriving and departing from the bus stand. But full marks in terms of convenience.

Sri Venkatadri Lodge A/C
Satelltite Bus Stand
Mysore Road
Bangalore - 26

Phone: 080-26753703

Hotel Darshan, Ooty

Hotel Darshan
(Lodging and Boarding - Veg)

- Overlooking the OOTY lake
- Just 1 km from the railway station and bus stand
- Nearest airport at Coimbatore - 90 kms

Types of Rooms

- Prince Honeymoon Suite - Carpeted
- Super Deluxe Rooms - Carpeted
- Deluxe Suites - Carpeted
- Deluxe Economy Rooms
- Group Accomodation


- Running Hot and Cold Water
- Room Service
- Room telephone
- Colour TV with Cable Connection
- Laundry
- Doctor on call
- Travel Counter
- Car Parking


Near Ooty lake boat house
Niligiris - 643001

Phone: 0423 - 2443378, 2443807, 2452288, 3299696

In Calicut you can contact - 0495 - 2766007