Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady, Kerala is a tropical evergreen forest located high up in the Cardamom Hills of the southern Western Ghats of India. An overnight train to Madurai and a three-hour taxi ride later we were in Periyar one cloudy Saturday morning.
On the way there, I excitedly tell P about the night trek organized by the Periyar Forest Department where visitors can join the regular forest protection party as paid volunteers. They have three slots; 7pm to 10pm, 10pm to 1am and 1am to 4 am where groups of 5 to 6 volunteers accompany a forest ranger on his daily beat. Our Bengali middle class risk-averse cells are suitably assuaged and we opt for what appears to be the least perilous of the three, 7pm to 10pm. Continue reading “Into the night in Periyar Tiger Reserve”→
The beautiful state of Kerala along India’s south western coastline is an ever popular tourist destination. However, come monsoon and it’s palm lined beaches, lush hill stations and emerald backwaters wear a desolate look.
Monsoon is grave matter in Kerala. It rains so heavily that even the mythical King Mahabali remembers to carry an umbrella for his annual visit to his beloved kingdom during the festival of Onam that falls in the middle of the monsoons. No Kidding!
But every second Saturday of August, the town of Alleppey (also known as Alappuzha) – the de facto capital of Kerala’s backwater country is abuzz with tourists, the rain notwithstanding. Thousands of visitors; local as well as foreign; flock to this “Venice of the East” to watch what is arguably the biggest water sport event in India – The Nehru Trophy Boat Race – commonly known as the Snake Boat Race. Continue reading “A Thriller in the Backwaters”→
When planning a trip, we always try to go off the beaten track and explore places that have been hitherto overlooked. Hence, when it was time to visit Goa; probably the most over-exposed destination in whole of India; I desperately tried to find a side of Goa that is still untouched. Some research led me to Chandor, a lush village 15km away from Margao. I was intrigued when I read about it’s string of colonial-era mansions belonging to Goa’s former landowners who found favour with the Portuguese aristocracy. Continue reading “Chandor – Off the beaten track in Goa”→
It was probably in my fifth or sixth standard history class that I first came to know about Hampi.
I remember being wonderstruck by the black and white picture of the bird’s eye view of Hampi as the teacher proceeded to tell us about the capital city of the once powerful Vijayanagara Empire that was lost till its ruins were discovered. For my naive mind, the tale of a 600 year old city with its ornate temples, grand palaces, imposing gates, bazaars consisting of straight parallel rows of shops, tanks and bathing ghats still intact was like the proverbial time machine. All I wanted to do was to ride that time machine for a glimpse of the fantastical past. Continue reading “Hampi : A trip to the fantastical past”→