Kinsfolk journey: the once in a lifetime traverse together

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Most of us are very often family bound people but we do not always have enough time to spend together. And that is probably one reason that we always look out on the requirement of setting off on a journey where you finally get to spend some quality time with them. My look out on this had finally become true where I could make my way to my hometown at Kerala and could take my family and siblings off on a journey to Pathanamthitta which we had been looking forward too since a pretty long time. Since I had been short in time to plan all by myself, I decided to give that job to Go Geo Holidays who basically did everything we were supposed to do and on reaching to my residence, I and my family packed our tiny baggage from Cochin and made way to the less famous destination, but incredibly beautiful destination of Pathanamthitta in Kerala. The Tour packages included an extra comfortable vehicle which rode us all the way to the destination where a travel duration of 4 hours was required.
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The road journey is often the best with the family where you can be as comfortable as ever and talk to each other and enjoy it all the way without getting bored. We took refreshments stop in between and finally when we reached, the location was Konni. The speciality of the destination is that you get to be at a destination where the mammals, Elephants get trained in this place where the wild ones from the forests are being trained. It was undoubtedly amidst the forests where we could be at the original residence of the being. We walked in to find the Aanakoodu or rather the wooden house-like structure that had been made in order to house them. There were a number of them who were of varied sizes. The guide took us around where the main task he had been looking out for was feeding us with information while all that I had been looking out was the sort of comfort the animals had been having residing at Konni. We walked as the guide took us in and that way we just got to be together with the elephants who had been listening to the instructions. Both I and my sister decided to be on an elephant safari as this is a one time experience. We climbed up as per the instructions and was pretty astonished at how different everything looked from the top of the mammal. We went on a short ride and after some point, both of us got down. After feeding them with some food, we decided to get started to the next destination.
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We had lunch on the midway to the next spot which was to Aruvikuzhy Waterfalls. The gem of a place had a number of streams that made the water flow forming a small waterfall. We walked through the stream,s for some time and sat on the rocks talking to each other and holding on to mother and she had a constant feeling of slipping and falling. We were totally indulged in the power that nature had in making all of us blink at its marvel. We walked all the back to the driver where the driver took us to the Aranmula Temple next. The way from Aruvikuzhy had been filled with rubber plantations which indeed added beauty to the place where we could be on a smooth ride with a view.  We were pure vegetarians and so we took the advantage of always remaining pure to enter a temple. After seeking the blessings of Lord Parthasarathy we were driven to the place where we would be having our night stay which was at Gavi. The place has been forever famous after a movie was released with the location of Gavi while we had always been in look out of the place for a long time even before the movie released.
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We reached where the sun had already set. The booking for a homestay had been made where we walked into the rooms that were nature-friendly. The best had been the beautiful dinner amidst nature where they had made a space for us with a huge wooden umbrella shade.  The coolness of nature was more like air conditioners. We were served with good hot food that made a good way to the stomach and the soul at the same time. We sat and spoke to the couple who had been running the homestay. They said that we could go on a nature walk in case we get up early in the morning. We rose up and wore our sweaters to take the walk. The owner then took us on a walk where almost all kinds of plants and trees had been by our sides. Each house had a small poultry as well. The best that we got to see is that the owner stopped at a house for milk where they had been instant getting it out of the cow and giving it. How much freshness could you have gained more than the places like these, I wondered.   The whole family had breakfast after coming back and thanked them for the wonderful stay they offered. Voting was on our cards next where we decided to go to the Reservoir located close by in Gavi itself. We felt even more blissful with the whole family when we had pedalled around the waters and got back where the rain started to sprinkle. The drive back began as we had come a long way into the woods.
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A memorable journey had hence been made where we were more than happy of having been together with the whole family after a pretty long time. the family is often the strongest pillar that stays along with you through the thick and thin and how can there be better companions to travel when they are waiting for you. And that was the whole Holiday packages Kerala where I and my family got back to Kochi by 10 in the night.My return from Kerala was bound tomorrow and  I could not have thanked the team enough for taking us all safe and getting us back home in the same way. To plan another trip would be a hard job where all 5 of us will have to find time from our respective job life.
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Kerala a paradise for family holidays to the south

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Family time is something very important in this developing world, where no one has enough time to spare. One of the best ways to spend time with family is by tripping to some beautiful destination filled with natural beauty and peacefulness. Kerala to the southernmost tip of India is one such destination which is considered as the best for family holidays by traveler from around the world. One of the main reasons for the families to love touring in Kerala is due to the fact that the place holds in a number of destinations with gleaming beauty and peacefulness that would be refreshing and entirely different from that in business cities like Bangalore. The state is one of the best family tourist destinations to the south houses a number of tour operators like Gogeo holidays which offers attractive and Fascinating tour packages exclusively for families. Most of the tourist destinations in Kerala fascinate families with its natural beauty and adventurous destinations that children would love. The climatic condition persisting in most of the tourist destination of the land adds up to the facts that attract the travelers to the land. Some of the most prominent destinations in Kerala visited and explored by families are listed below.

Munnar

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Located to the Western Ghats the misty hills of Munnar is one of the best and most visited destinations in Kerala. Most of the families visit the place to enjoy the climatic condition of the place which is mostly cold at daytime and freezing as night falls. Apart from the climatic condition of the place, the scenic destinations of the misty hills are one thing that would attract travelers mainly families to the land. The mist hills being one of the best tourist destination in the land houses a number of hotels, resorts, villas and home stays which offers the best-facilitated and safe stay that adds up to the reasons that attract families to the land.

Best destinations: Known as one of the well-known tourist destination the place houses a number of attractive and fascinating tourist destinations in the land. Some of the must visit tourist destinations in the land includes Top Station, Eco-Point, Chinnakanal, Anayirangal dam, Marayoor, Eravikulam National Park, Lakkom Waterfalls, Anamudi Peak and much more.

Activities: As a most visited hill station to the Western Ghats the place offers a number of adventurous activities which is one main thing that attracts travelers and families to the land. Some of the best activities offered in the hills include Hiking, Trekking, and Boating, Mountain Climbing, Rock Climbing, Horse riding and more.

Thekkady

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Being one of the most beautiful wildlife destinations, Thekkady is mostly explored by families. Unlike the hill stations, in Kerala, the wildlife destinations in the land are blessed with a wide verity of plant and animal forms. Most of the families visit the place to enjoy a jungle holiday in the lap of nature and vegetation. One of the main elements that attract the travelers to the land is the wide verity of animals in the land. Travelers from around the world visit Thekkady to explore its rich wilderness. Families visiting the place mostly chose to stay in the tree houses which would provide you with the best view of the forest, you could also spot wild animal from a safe distance.

Best destinations: The place being one of the best wildlife destinations to the south houses a number of well-known tourist attractions like the Periyar National Park, Thekkady or Periyar Lake, Mangla Devi temple, Chellar Kovil and many more. One of the most visited destinations in Thekkady is the Periyar National Park which fascinated the travelers and families visiting the place.

Activities: Thekkady is a destination which is known for its wilderness, being a destination known for its vegetation and the wild the place offers a number of adventure activities to entertain the travelers. Some such activities offered in the land include river rafting, bamboo rafting, boating, trekking, hiking, nature walk and much more. Families mainly visit the place to enjoy a night stay in the forest.

 Alleppey

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One of the most beautiful backwater destinations, Alleppey is visited and explored mostly by families. One of the main elements that attract the families to the place is the houseboat services provided in the land. Apart from the houseboat the place also offers a lot more to the travelers visiting the land. The cuisine of the place is very famous for its flavours and taste among the travelers from around the world. Alleppey being a destination with the most complex backwaters stretches facilitates the growth of Ayurvedic herbs and plants of medicinal quality this makes the place one of the best spots for Ayurvedic tourism. The high mineral content of the soil in the waters promote and facilitate the growth of rare plants and herbs in the place. Most of the families visiting the place make use of this Ayurvedic heritage of the land.

Best destinations: Alleppey being a place known for its backwater stretches has a number of destinations other than the complex waters. Some of such destinations in the land which are mostly visited by families are Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Alleppey beach, Vembanad Lake, Pallippuram, Krishnapuram Palace, Bay Island Driftwood Museum, Kuttanad Lake, Chettikulangara Devi Temple and more.

Activities: Being one of the best and well-known backwater destinations the place offers a number of entertainment activities to the travelers visiting the land. Some of such activities are boat rides, houseboat stays, boat race, Ayurvedic treatments and much more.

With all these destinations and more Kerala is now one of the most visited destinations to the south by families. It is mostly the beauty and the natural elements of the state that attracts families to the land. With an aim to promote family tourism, the Kerala tourism department is now introducing attractive and entertaining Holiday packages to Kerala. For travelers and families who wish to explore the richness of vegetation and natural beauty, Kerala to the south of the country is one of the best and most prominent destinations.

Redefining faith and dependence in the spiritual centres of Kerala

Two major places that are most sorted for pilgrim traveling in the south zone of India is Kerala and Chennai. Innumerable temples, churches and mosques are located in the state of Kerala where the believers come in search of peace and tranquility. The inhabitants of Tamil Nadu often visit the pilgrim sites in Kerala which are famous for the beliefs that reside in the pilgrim. A lot of families also follow it on a tradition basis that happens to be the customs of both the places. Hence most of the families residing in Chennai visit the sites in Kerala where they get to enhance their faith in the mythical stories relating to the temples. A Kerala family tour package would let the people move on a journey that lets them walk through traditions that are similar to those that are being followed by them.

Guruvayoor Temple

Location: Thrissur

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Guruvayoor

Guruvayoor temple, which is situated at Thrissur is a place of worship for believers. The deity here is Lord Krishna who is referred to as Guruvayoorappan. A number of rituals are followed here and thousands of people visit the temple to do the rituals on a daily basis. The Prasadam which is provided to the people in the temple in the form of Payasam and Butter are also famous to the people. The believers who visit Kerala during the Sabarimala season visit Guruvayoor as it is a tradition followed by the people to visit maximum temples on their route to Sabari Mala. The temple which is 5000 years old also has a dress code which is to be followed by the believers to enter the temple.

Aanakotta is also located in the temple premises where the elephants that belong to the temple are taken care of. 

Malayatoor Church

Location: Ernakulam

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Malayatoor Church

Malayatoor Church which is located at Ernakulam is a major place of visit by the believers of Christianity.

It is situated on a hilltop where the pilgrims reach to heal themselves through the environment in the place.

It is a Catholic church and the footprints of St Thomas can be found on the hills. A statue of St Thomas is also there on the premises of the church. Malayatoor Perunal which is the church festival is celebrated during the months of March and April. The cultural bond between Chennai and Kerala is prevalent here where the families travelling to the destination also visit Kurisumudy at Tamil Nadu when visiting Malayatoor church. The believers visiting the church are also fond of the architecture of the Church.

Cheramaan Juma Masjid

 Location: Kodungallur

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Cheraman Juma Masjid

Famous as the first mosque built in India, Cheramaan Juma Masjid has a lot of religious significance as the King of Kodungallur, Cheraman Perumal, who was from the Cheras Dynasty who is believed to have travelled to Madina in order to meet the Prophet. but on his way back, he passed away. His travel companions came back to Kodungallur where the mosque was built in his name. As it is the first place where the significance of Islam started n India, a lot of people travel to the destination from various parts of the world. Even though the mosque has been renovated, the hall and internal structure have been preserved in its natural form.

Cheraman Parambu, where the Palace of the Cheras Dynasty is located is also often visited by the people reaching to the mosque. 

Believers also come here from places like Chennai where they visit several other mosques located in Kerala but only men from the families enter as women are denied entrance into the Masjid.

Sabarimala

Location: Pathanamthitta

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Sabarimala Temple

One of the most visited temples in Kerala, the major deity of Sabarimala is Lord Ayyappa. 50 million pilgrims visit the temple every month where the significance of the temple becomes evident.

The pilgrims have to climb up the hills barefoot to reach the temple. The believers travelling to the temple have to take a Vritham of 41 days.

Certain pilgrims walk all the way from their residence to the temple, barefoot.  The temple opens during the Mandalapooja, the first 5 days of every month in the Malayalam calendar, Maha Vishuva Sankranti and on Makara Vilaku which is when the believers can visit the temple. Women who are aged between 10-50 cannot visit the temple as per the rules and regulations of the temple. People come in lakhs all the way from Chennai to visit this temple which is located in the mountain ranges of Western Ghats.   Makara Vilaku is an auspicious day at Sabari Mala to witness which a lot of pilgrims reach to the temple.

Arthunkal Church

Location: Alleppey

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Arthunkal Church

St. Andrew’s Basilica, which is a Roman Catholic church is located in Arthunkal at Alleppey. It was originally built by Portuguese missionaries and was rebuilt twice. The believers who visit the place of significance often reach the place during Thanksgiving. The people who had been affected by diseases often reach up to the church to seek blessings and to give offerings for the wellness they have been granted by God.

The history revoked that men from Hindu religion had also been helpful in building the Church which shows to the people, the respect the people living in Kerala provide to all the religions.

Thousands of devotees reach up to the church where extended families join together for pilgrim purpose to seek the blessings from the church.

The pilgrims from all the religions visit Kerala where they get to indulge in peace by seeking the blessings from the pilgrim sites. Despite any climate, the travellers coming all the way from Chennai get to the Gods own country where they also get to go to so many other tourist destinations that are located close to the sites. Families also visit during the auspicious festive period where the temples, mosques and Church celebrate various festivities. All the people devoid of religion become a part of it. Pilgrim tours to Kerala have become very prevalent and whenever a tour package from Chennai is planned, the travellers make sure that they visit one place that had temple significance where they seek blessings for their journey.

 

Explore The Land Where Once The Footprints Of A Great Theologist Was Marked

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There was an 8 Th century Indian philosopher, a great thinker and a theologist who gave immense contributions to the present Indian philosophy and Vedas. To get the clear, picture of the personality, the mention of Advaita Vedanta will helpful. Yes, it is the great spiritual knowledge seeker, Adi Shankaracharya who has devoted his entire life teaching the realm of life to the disciples in various parts of India. He travelled to various parts of India in an effort to spread his philosophy and teachings by adopting the methodology of involving in discourses and debates with other philosophers and thinkers. It is the contribution of his works, the present Hindulogy is based upon. India can take pride in giving birth to a personality like Adi Shankaracharya, he who had divine powers too.There was a concept of Brahma Sutra and on his travels, his main aim was to spread the teachings so that humans understand what the life is about and the ways of leading a meaningful life. Sri Sringeri Mutt is famous in India and its branch in Bangalore is considered to be the holy abode of Adi Shankaracharya, and goddess Sharadamba. He during his travel has decided to establish a mutt which is the current Sringeri Mutt. Worshippers coming there used to participate in prayers and used to read the books in the stall. Interested by the preachings of the great philosopher, the natives of Bangalore has the desire to reach Kerala. The reason why Kerala is, the Gods own country is known to be the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya and people consider visiting his birthplace as sacred and pleasing. For this reason, Tour packages to Kerala from Bangalore will be added with a visit to the birthplace of Shankaracharya, which is Kallady. His life and decision to adopt a unique life are quoted in his biography and the mention of Kallady is present. Natives find it interesting to behold the locations where his life was nurtured.

 

His birth

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Sringeri Mutt in Bangalore is perfect for spiritual awareness and the temple has three parts comprising Adi Shankaracharya temple, Sri Sharadamaba temple and a prayer hall. A guest house and book stall is running inside it. Once you explore the temple gopura you will find that the carvings exhibit the life of Shankaracharya. His life unfolds in Kerala where two Brahmin couples were not blessed with children for a long time and sought refuge to Lord Shiva in Vadakkunatha temple in Thrissur. Pleased in their worship, the Lord himself came into the dream of the couples and conveyed them a boy as his incarnation will be born to them. The boy when born was given the name of Shankara who started showing penchant towards spiritual knowledge and could easily recite difficult prayers, Vedas and Puranas. Slowly, he mastered Vedas. His life took a different turn when he decided to adopt Ascetic life which meant detaching from all worldly pleasures. He lost his father in early age itself and his mother was against his decision to adopt a sanyasi life.

 

The story behind the crocodile bite

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The worshippers in Bangalore were embarrassed to read the story of crocodile bite and while on their tour, the spot presently famous as crocodile Ghat was visited. The story unfolds when, one day Shankara was ready to bath at the shores of Poorna river, the current Periyar while offering prayers to sun God, a crocodile bite him on his legs. After hearing the cries, his mother came at the shore who was reluctant in giving permission to Shankara’s ascetic life. He soon pleaded his mother to give permission for leading an ascetic life then only the crocodile will leave him. At last, his helpless mother had no other option than to sanction permission. Soon after that, the crocodile left him. Thus this places has utter significance in the life of Adi Shankara.

His Ascetic life

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After getting the permission, he soon left Kerala and travelled to various parts of India to learn Vedas and at last on the banks of Narmada river, he met his guru, Govinda Bhagavadpadam, who was a great teacher, Under his tutelage, Shankara attained supreme knowledge of Brahma. He mastered Vedas and its meanings. From then, his name came to be known as Adi Shankaracharya. He wrote commentaries on various Puranas, Vedas even Bhagavat Gita. After travelling Gujarat and Kollur Mookambika temple, he reached Sringeri in present Bangalore and established mutt and Sharada Peetam. The mutt conducted teachings on various aspects to pupils and gained a lot of respect from pilgrims. He again travelled and established the branches at Gujarat, Hyderabad and so forth. He is known to the world as who has achieved doctrine in the Advaita vendetta, a sub-school of Vedanta. It is quite significant to understand the Vedas and our children must be impaired the knowledge of life which they cannot get from any schooling. Still, now, various mutt is working and providing teachings on Vedas, Braham sutras to children. It is the responsibility of parents to lead their children through right ways. Realising this, the followers of Adi Shankaracharya and believers of Sringeri Mutt used to visit Kerala with their families. All members of families must witness the Kallady land, which is his birthplace.

His freedom from the embodiment

After his fulfilment and great contributions to Indian philosophy and the present day Hinduism we follow, he gained supreme knowledge. The 6 Hindu religious sects were his contributions for which he debated with many Brahmins, Buddhists and thinkers. Brahma Sutra was something he wished to propagate in India. After 32 years of leading a meaningful, enlightenment and ascetic life, he freed from the embodiment. Still, now, debates are going on regarding his place of departure to heaven. The books say that it was at the holy land of Kedarnath, the famous pilgrimage of Lord Shiva while some say it was at Vadakunnatha temple in Thrissur, Kerala. One may get surprised how he died at tender age. The reason is given in one of the traditional sources of his accounts of his life, Shankara Vijayami which is a hagiography. When the parents of Adi Shankara, Shivaguru and Aryamaba worshipped Lord Shiva for a son, the Lord gave them two choices, a son who is a mediocre child living for long years or an extraordinary son having a short span of life. The couples had chosen the latter one.

 

Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Shankara still nurturing his wisdom

Kalady is presently a renowned pilgrimage centre in Kerala nurtured by the banks of Periyar river in Ernakulam district. The etymology itself narrates a story revolving around the innocent devotion of Adi Shankaracharya’s’ mother to Lord Shiva.  The place was rediscovered by the saint of Sringeri Mutt, and a temple for Adi Shankara was consecrated. Following that various mutt and Ashramam was laid. People from far away places and locations of Sringeri Mutt like those in Bangalore visits Kalady to pay respect to the great philosopher. They come with their families on holidays and advice their kids about the significance of the place and his teachings. Some who come to Kerala as a part of Holiday packages of families in Kerala, would spend one or two days at the location and will devote their mind and body to the ashram environment. Children and youth in that families can lead a positive life if they are ready to understand the teachings.

Some of the structures at Kalady withholding the significance of Adi Shankaracharya are

RAMAKRISHNA ADVAITA ASHRAMAM– This Ashramam runs a school, a library and a charitable dispensary and is a part of Ramakrishna Mutt and Belur Mutt equipped with spacious prayer hall.

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SRI ADI SHANKARA KEERTHI STHAMBA MANDAPAM – This shrine is open to people from different religions and there is a stupa which is a must to see making it a must to be visited historical treasure in Kerala. This eight-storeyed structure portrays the life of Adi Shankaracharya on the walls as paintings. This was built by Kanchi Kamakotti Mutt and the entrance is guarded by two elephants and also, there are silver knobs of wooden sandals.

TEMPLE OF SHANKARA– The temple was built in paying respect to Adi Shankaracharya and it houses the samadhi of his mother, Aryamba. The temple is a large structure and is built on the bank of Periyar which is run by Sringeri Mutt.

India and Kerala equally can take pride in giving birth to a great philosopher and thinker, Adi Shankaracharya and still, people, devotees follow his teachings and they come to Kerala to watch the land where his existence was started.

 

An escape from the city of I.T hubs to the capital city of Kerala, Trivandrum

 

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Bangalore is a rocking city mostly known as the city of dreams by the younger generation and it is true to an extent. Living in Bangalore for the last 8 years all I saw in the place was a number of forts and places of great historical importance. Even with all these wonders, the place had a weak point too, nature and wilderness. The city known as the I.T hub of Kerala lacks natural resources. One thing people living in Bangalore look for while travelling would be nature and natural beauty. It was the same for me too, 8 long years in the city and all I missed was greenery, mountains, waterfalls and forests. Tired of the busy life in Bangalore finally I planned a trip to Kerala with my family, the land known for its natural beauty and destinations filled with greenery.  On the 20th of October, I planned a trip to Trivandrum the capital city of Kerala which is known to have a number of fascinating tourist destinations. Planning a trip was something that I can never get right so to make my trip tension free I decided to avail the best Kerala tour package from Bangalore organised by Gogeo holidays. One of the best things in availing a tour package from tour operators like the Gogeo holiday is that you can have a hassle-free trip enjoying the nature and the place. On the 25th of October, I with my family set off to Kerala taking a two-day leave from my office; we reached the airport at Bangalore by 7 am. After a 3 hr long flight, we finally reached the Trivandrum airport by 10 am and was welcomed by the tour operators in Kerala. The representatives of the travel operators were of great help, without much lag we were taken to the taxi which was waiting for our arrival and then straight to the hotel which was already ready to receive us. The hotel that the tour operators booked for us were perfect with great facilities and the best view of the city. After freshening up we decided to start with the trip for the day.

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Our first destination as planned by the tour organisers was Agastyakoodam, which is said to be the second highest peak in Kerala and a part of Sahyadri range. After a drive of about 1 hr, we reached our destination 11 am. Rich with wildlife the forest of the mountain was filled with rare medicinal herbs, plants and brightly hued orchids. The place could be best referred as bird watchers paradise, this majestic mountain is best accessed by foot from Koror which is located near Meyer dam, and from Bonacaud. The travel guide informed us that the best time to visit the place was from the month of December to April as it is the best time for trekking. This park that is located in Thiruvananthapuram is a part of the Agasthyamala biosphere reserve which is located on the borders of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The place was added to the world network of biosphere reserves in the month of March in the year 2016 by UNESCO. The place is one of the best that people living in cities like Bangalore would love. The view that the peak exhibits of the city are so unique that it would attract travellers like us living in Bangalore. After enjoying the view of the city and the hills we decided to move on with our trip to the next destination.

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After the tour of the peak we reached back to the taxi by 1 pm, as all of us were hungry we decided to have the lunch and then continue with our journey. After having the lunch from the nearest hotel we started our trip to our next destination, the Veli tourist village. We reached the place by 2.30 after a drive of 1 hour. The place is one of the best picnic spots for a family where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea. The place offered us with boating facilities which we enjoyed to the best. Travellers are free to hire the pedal boats to explore the flavour of the lagoon in an easy manner. The place is one of the best families could enjoy as it offers different activities for the families. Children visiting the place could enjoy the beauty of the place by climbing and playing over the sculptures which dot the landscapes. We explored the beauty of the place by enjoying a boat ride through the waters. It is not that boat rides are not there in Bangalore, one of the major difference that one can feel in the boat rides in Kerala and Bangalore is the sight and beauty that each provides. By enjoying a boat ride in Bangalore one could explore the beauty of the city while in Kerala you could explore the beauty of nature. The vile tourist village is one of the best destinations where families could enjoy the evening availing different Kerala tour packages for family. The place promises to entertain the whole of the family even children with complete safety. Families could enjoy tension free picnic in the place. One of the other attractions for the travellers visiting the place would be the Veli beach which is located 8 kilometres away from the Trivandrum town and provides the best view of the waters and the sunset. After enjoying in the place for a while we decided to move on to our last destination of the day.

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After enjoying the boating and tour of the village we started our trip by 3.30 to our next destination, Ponmudi. A mesmerising hill station with twisty pathways and chilling, green, wooded surroundings the place is one of the best destination where travellers could spend a peaceful day. We reached the place by 4.15 after a 45 min long ride. The place is filled with a verity of colourful and beautiful mountain flowers, rare species of butterflies, small rivers and springs. Apart from being a picnic spot, the place is also known to have some perfect trekking trails which attract a number of trekkers. People living in Bangalore are more attracted to trekking but as the place lacks much of trekking destinations its Kerala that they prefer to trek. Ponmudi is one such destination in Kerala which most loved by the trekkers in Bangalore. Ponmudi, also known as the golden peak among the nature lovers and trekkers is an enticing and breathtaking hill station in Thiruvananthapuram. One of the major attractions of the peak is its scenic view and the 22 hairpin turns located along the narrow and short routes which the bikers and riders love to explore. These hairpins make the ride to the destination thrilling and entertaining. By the time we decided to leave it was already 6 pm and so we voted to stay in the place to enjoy the sunset. After enjoying the sunset we decided to get back to the hotel as we had to check out the next day. After refreshing and having food we decided to sleep as we had a busy day ahead.

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The next day we woke up by 8 and after refreshing and having breakfast decided to check out. It was our last day in Kerala as we had to return back to Bangalore. We started our trip to our first and last destination of the day Varkala by, 10.30 am. After a ride of 45 min, we finally reached the place by 11.30 am. Varkala is a place with a number of seaside resort and spa and hence known as the land of resort and spa. The travellers visiting the place are mostly over-see tourist who visits the land to enjoy the magic of rejuvenation and spa. Apart from being a mesmerising tourist destination, the place is also a well-known Hindu pilgrimage centre. The place is the final resting place of Sree Narayan Guru is located at Varkala, at a top hill called the Sivagiri. With the presence of high cliffs with mineral spring raising from the coastline the place is one of the best and well-known pilgrim centres in Trivandrum. According to the mythical story of the place, a sage named Nerada was once visited by a group of mendicants who admit to having sinned it is believed that Nerada threw his valkkalam which is a cloth made of the bark of a tree into the air, and the place where this piece of cloth landed was later named Varkala. The place where these mendicants are believed to pray for redemption came to be known as the Papanasham beach. The other attractions of the place are the presence of Sree Janardhana Swami temple and the nature care centre. By the time we finished the tour of the place we decided to get back to the Trivandrum international airport which was another 1-hour drive from the place.

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We reached back to the airport by 2.30 and board the flight back to Bangalore by 4.40. Trivandrum the capital city of Kerala is a place considered to be one of the best destinations for families to tour and hence is a prominent tourist destination in most family holiday packages to Kerala. The day spends in the place with my family was the most relaxing and refreshing that we enjoyed o the best. Entirely different from Bangalore Kerala is a state which is a rapidly developing city that conserves and preserves its natural resources. For travellers and families who wish escape from the busy life of the city the capital city of Kerala is one of the best and most prominent destinations.

A Romantic Escape to the Misty Hills of Kerala

honeymoon-packages-munnarMarriage is not just a word in the dictionary for a girl but a word with a whole lot of emotions and dreams attached to it. It was on the 20th of August that this word brought in a meaning in my life as I was happily married to Ashik. We were settled in Bangalore one of the busiest business city, mostly known as the city of dreams. Even after marriage, we had no much time for each other as we were totally busy with our work and tight schedules; we never got enough time to understand each other. After a week of our marriage, Ashik planned a surprise honeymoon trip to the misty hills of Kerala. Our honeymoon trip was organized and managed by Gogeo Holidays as we opted for one of their best and most attractive Kerala tour packages from Bangalore. According to the plan, we were to spend our honeymoon days in Munnar which was one of the very famous tourist destinations with hill stations covered in mist. The only reason to choose Kerala to be our honeymoon destination is due to the climate and natural beauty of the place which a city like Bangalore lacks. A rapidly developing city like Bangalore lacks nature as the place is mostly filled with buildings and flats which make the city look more congested and stressful. People in the town are driven into never ending work which makes them look more like systematized machines than humans. Even after having a number of tourist destinations in Bangalore we choose to enjoy our honeymoon in Kerala so as to escape from the loud busy city life of the place.

Couple-portraitsWe started our trip on the 20th of August at 8.00 am to the land known as ‘gods own country to enjoy the days in the misty hills of Munnar via flight.  We reached the Bangalore airport by 6.00 am and were welcomed by the tour operators. After a 3 hour flight, we reached the Kochi international airport by 9.00 am. As soon as we reached the Kochi airport we were welcomed by the trip organizers and were led to the cab. We decided to have our lunch on our way to Munnar. After riding for an hour we finally got to a restaurant to have our lunch. It was after reaching the restaurant that we realized that we were really hungry, the smell of Masala and flavors of the food were more tempting for us.  As soon as we got the menu we ordered for the very famous chicken Biriyani, which was one of my favorite dishes in Kerala. The smell of the Masala and flavors in the food with the delicious taste of gravy of the chicken and the rice with the salad would make your mouth water. After having the lunch along with some juice and dessert we decided to move on with the trip. Due to our very busy schedules in back in Bangalore, we never had enough time to eat, even if we eat. We never had enough time or piece of mind where we could enjoy and explore the taste of the food we eat. It was in this restaurant in Kerala we actually explored the taste and flavours of the land to the fullest. We reached Munnar by 11.45 am after a ride of 2 hrs. As soon as we reached the town we were helped to check in to the best budget hotel in Munnar where we could enjoy the stay. After freshening up we decided to start the tour of the place.

Mattupetty-Dam-near-MunnarAs per the plan, our first destination of the day was Mattupetti Dam, which is a well-known reservoir which is located almost 13 km away from the Munnar town. We reached the place after a drive of about 30 to 45 min by 12.45 pm. the main attraction of the place is the natural surroundings of the concrete dam which is well built between the hill ranges of the Western Ghats. And it is used mainly for water storage for hydroelectric projects. The place is a very prominent destination in almost all Kerala holiday packages for family where they could enjoy the trip in the lap of nature and enjoy the sight of the dam which is surrounded by the misty hills and the Western Ghats. A family trip to the dam could also be made educational as the dam is mainly used to store water for the hydroelectric project.  Another attraction of the place is the fact that a number of elephants visit the area to have water from the dam. After enjoying the sight of the place, we decided to explore the Mattupetti Dairy Farm which is located at a distance of 30 min from the dam. We reached our 2nd destination, the Mattupetti Dairy Farm by 2.00pm. The farm is one of the well-known destinations in the place which is a well-known Indo-Swiss Farm. The main attraction of the farm is its existence for being a highly specialized dairy farm which is named and listed under the Indo-Swiss Livestock Project. Another importance of the farm is that the place reared a number of high-quality cattle and new varieties of cattle are developed. after enjoying the beauty of the place and spending some romantic time with each other we decided to move on to our next destination of the day, Top Station.

 

 

Kerala Tourism Packages.jpgLocated about 40 km from the Munnar town the place is one of the best sightseeing destinations were the trekking facilities are provided for the travelers.  We reached the top station after a travel of about 1 hr by 4.00 pm. the misty cloud of the place was something that attracts a number of tourists from around the world. After enjoying a small trekking from the base we reached the top station to take in the panoramic view of the Western Ghats and the valley of Theni which is breathe taking. The place got the name from having the top most located railway station at the Kundala Valley Railway. After enjoying the beautiful sight of the city and spending some quality time with each other we decided to get back to our restaurant as the watch already showed the time to be 6.00 pm. lost in the nature we didn’t realize the running time. Back in Bangalore we never have enjoyed the peace and freshness we felt in the land of mist hills, Kerala. This beauty of the state with misty hills, rivers, and fresh air and nature makes the land entirely different from busy cities filled with buildings and factories. Kerala is one of the best destinations where one could enjoy the nature and relax in the lap of nature forgetting every tension and stress of the daily busy city life. From the top station, we headed back to our hotel by 6.30 pm. after a drive for about 1.30 hrs we reached back to our hotel by 8.00 pm. by the time we entered our room we were exhausted and tired. After being in the room for a while we decide to refresh and head to the dining to have the dinner. After having the delicious dinner we headed back to the room, after spending some quality time with each other we decided to sleep as we had a flight to catch the next day.

munnar-honeymoon-packageWe woke up the next day by 9 am and after refreshing and having the breakfast we checked out of the hotel by 10.30 the stay in Munnar was one of the best I could remember and cherish for a life time. Newly wedded couples like us could easily avail a Romantic Munnar honeymoon packages where they could enjoy the climate and the mist which sets up a perfect romantic ambience. The natural elements of the Western Ghats with the beauty of nature would make your honeymoon the most memorable and special. After checking out of the hotel we were taken back to the Kochi international airport. A travel of about 3 hrs, we reached the airport by 2.00pm. After boarding the flight back to Bangalore we reached our place by 5.00 pm. the days we enjoyed back in Kerala were the best in our lives. The ambience of the place gave us enough time to know more about each other and understand each other well. After reaching back home we were engaged and busy in our works, but after the trip, our relation took a beautiful turn where we decided to enjoy our life together by understanding and cherishing each other’s dream. The newly wedded couples could make each day of their honeymoon count by exploring the hill station in Kerala the land called ‘Gods Own Country’.

 

The Mandatory Visit of a Malayalee to Thrissur Pooram

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Kerala hosts quite a large number of festivals. But out of the lot, Thrissur Pooram is considered of high importance both by the inhabitants as well as by the tourists. I belonged to Kannur and had been studying at Mangalore. Since some of my friends belonged to Thrissur, we had decided priory that we would be celebrating Pooram at Thrissur this year.  In the month of May, we left to Thrissur as a gang that included 8 people.  Three of them belonged to Thrishivaperoor and they had been a part of it since they turned 3. That was the spirit of the festival. We had taken the Kannur- Alappuzha express train early in the morning. We reached the destination by 10 in the morning. Even though Pooram was the next day, the Swaraj Round had already been lit by a lot of people mainly coming here with the top Kerala Tour Packages. The street vendors had started their work by selling varieties of things. We had booked a small lodge as the prices of the hotels around Thrissur hike during the Pooram season. Also, nobody really spends a lot of time at hotel rooms if they have come to enjoy the festival. We dropped our bags there and got out to the Temple after freshening up.

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Even though Pooram is actually a Hindu Temple Festival, devoid of religious barriers everyone celebrates it with their families. Since past few years, plenty of controversies has arisen regarding the fireworks and the use of elephants for the day. In 2015, a ban had been put on the fireworks by the court but the requests of the authorities and the inhabitants of Thrissur brought it back. But since then, every year, several pleas come up on the same issue every year. We walked through the temple premises after seeking blessings from the Vadakunnathan temple from outside. The major deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. The celebration goes on for 7 days. On the first day, Kodiyettam which is the official flag hosting to the celebrations takes place. On the second day, the sample of fireworks takes place which is done by two major temples here that are Paramekkavu Temple and Thiruvambady Temple. The third and fourth day is when the temples set up Aanachamayam that show cases elephant accouterments on the second day of which we had arrived. When the scorching heat of sun started affecting us, we went to the Bharath hotel for lunch. One would have to wait for some time to have food from any of the restaurants nearby as a huge rush would be there. We had some vegetarian meals and went to the lodge to take rest. By early evening, we got out to go to the Pooram Exhibition. Some people had been doing circus and magic to entertain the people.

 

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Free buttermilk stall had been set up for the tired people. The rush to the exhibition was high where we had to take each step carefully as there were chances that people would trip and fall. People from different parts of India had put their stalls selling their traditional clothes, sandals, and food. We stopped at most of the food shops trying out hot pakoras and chili bhajis. We were quite tired as we got out of the exhibition because we had burned a high amount of calories there. We came to the stall of buttermilk and had enough of it. And then we walked to the Paramekkavu Agrashala where Aanachamayam had been taking place. Most of the people had been resting around the Swaraj round itself. Police had been alert around the whole place as pick-pocketing is usual here.We had tea from a small shop near the Agrashala. The night had fallen and the beautifully illuminated Gopurams were shining amidst the dark. The temples were also decorated with lights. The police had blocked the entrance to the round. Only those vehicles that have a pass were being allowed inside. We walked into the Thekkinkadu Maidanam as the elephants had been standing there munching their treats. Around 30 elephants could be seen here who would be busy for the celebrations tomorrow.

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The firework premises had also been set up by the people. As there were restrictions regarding it, only a few dug holes could be seen there. All those who come in affordable and cheap Kerala family tour packages during the time of Pooram would definitely come here as it is the most celebrated festival. I had seen some tourists who were walking around with cameras capturing the moments of the day.  On the eastern Gopuram of the temple, some TV show was being hosted where familiar faces from television could be seen. We went to the Ming Palace and got some vegetarian Chinese food for ourselves. The next day we had to leave early to the Thiruvambady temple from where the deities were being taken to the Vadakkunathan temple. On the way, we stop at Paramekkavu too for the same purpose. And then went to the Vadakunnathan temple. Madathil Varavu is celebrated by the Panchavadhyam melam which is one of the most spirited events of the day. Artists get together by playing various instruments like Edakka, Thimila, and Madhalam.

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We quickly moved to a restaurant for food as Ilanjithara Melam would start by the 2 in the noon. Also, if you want to save a place in the front, it is necessary to reach as earliest as possible. We gobbled our food and reached the earliest but people had already crowded the place. We met an English couple who had been on their best Kerala honeymoon package from Bangalore. Even though they had come to Alleppey, their tour planners told them about Pooram which they felt like viewing. They wanted a spot to set up their camera as they had been shooting their whole trip. There were several podiums that had been set for the media people. We showed them the way to it. Some people were ready with balloons in their hands which are often used by them to follow the beats of the Melam. There was no wonder that thousands of people flew from varied places to Thrissur to be a part of this. If you get lost in the Melam, you would definitely come again and again to witness the extravaganza here. Everyone, be it, families, bachelors, tourists or children were involved in the drug of Melam. And when it ends, you would wish for more. As the Kudamattom takes place along with it, you would want the animal activists to come and see the joy of every being there. Neither the elephants nor the people are at harm. Everyone graciously embraces the festival.  Even though these come to an end, the major firework is what the people wait for. Most of the people do not even go home. They wait peacefully until early morning. Every one rises up as the first firework goes up. The major temples, Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu host the firework in turns. Low-decibel fireworks had been used as per the order. As it ends the people leave to their houses.

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As the Kudamattom takes place along with it, you would want the animal activists to come and see the joy of every being there. Neither the elephants nor the people are at harm. Everyone graciously embraces the festival.  Even though these come to an end, the major firework is what the people wait for. Most of the people do not even go home. They wait peacefully until early morning. Every one rises up as the first firework goes up. The major temples, Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu host the firework in turns. Low-decibel fireworks had been used as per the order. As it ends the people leave to their houses. The final day which is referred to as Pakal pooram is when certain families come as the crowd would be less. A small firework also takes place in the morning when the idols of the deities are taken to the respective temples. We had to return back to Mangalore in the morning as we had class. With the hope of coming again to this auspicious festival, all of us left back happy.