Rama Warrier's Blog

Travel

Shettihalli church

Shettihalli church

Rosary Church is a 19th century French church located in Shettihalli village near Hassan. In the 60s this was abandoned during the construction of Hemavati dam. The old dilapidated structure could be immersed in the reservoir or exposed based on the time of your visit.

There is nothing much to see in the surroundings. Worth a visit for those who like to see ruins / historical buildings

The Umbrellas of Trichur

The Umbrellas of Trichur

One of the major attractions of Trichur Pooram is ‘Kudamattam’ (change of umbrellas). This takes place in the afternoon when the elephants of Thiruvambadi and Paramekkavu face each other in an open ground in front of the famous Vadakkumnathan temple. Here, to the vibrating rhythm of melam, both groups display their umbrellas one after the other. Both groups take pride in display of umbrellas and keep the umbrella designs a secret, to be revealed only at the time of kudamattam. If you remember one of those typical pooram pictures with two rows of elephants facing each other with an ocean of people in between, that is the kudamattam event. In case hot sun and charged crowds do not excite you, kudamattam of a smaller scale can be witnessed at noon in front of Paramekkavu temple. When the Devi (Godess ) exits Paramekkavu to proceed to the main temple, there is a fairly long event which includes kudamattam as well. This is called “purappadu” (start the journey). Kudamattam is accompanied by ‘Chempada’ (type of music).[...] read more

Rajdhani First AC – Is it worth it ?

Rajdhani First AC – Is it worth it ?

If the super luxury trains like Palace on wheels are excluded, it is the highest class of travel offered by Indian Railways. The fares are comparable with airfare in most cases. So, should one opt for Rajdhani First AC (RIAC) ?

What is different ?

  • Berths are not allotted at the time of booking. You would see status as ‘CONFIRMED’ in the ticket. Berths are allocated at the time of preparation of chart – which happens a few hours before the start. This helps the authorities to see the composition of the travelling groups and allocate coupes accordingly. If you want a ‘two berth coupe’ an advance request could be placed a couple of days before the day of travel.
  • There are no side berths. The berths are larger than those in other classes. It will be quite comfortable for almost all. Berths are approximately 75cm wide and 185cm long.

A short trip to Thattekkad

A short trip to Thattekkad

The excitement was palpable when the Nature India trip to Thattekkad/Munnar kick started with the team packing itself into three SUVs at Kochi airport. It was a bright and sunny January morning. The 45km drive from the airport to Thattekkad is a scenic one. There are winding roads and rich vegetation on either side. The route passes through Kaladi (the birthplace of Adi Shankara) and the small town of Kothamangalam. The day we were travelling, it was festival time in a local church and there were colourful processions on the way. It did not delay our progress in any way and we were in Jungle Bird Homestay well in time for lunch. This was our home for the next three days. Gireesh Chandran, Sudha and Sandhya were our hosts, guides and caretakers.[...] read more

Should you take a group tour or plan one for yourself?

Should you take a group tour or plan one for yourself?

When we decided to tour Europe, the question of opting for one of the standard tours or planning one on our own came up. We opted to plan things ourselves.

What made us take this call?

  • The most critical factor was that we felt that if planned well, we could do it cheaper than a standard package
  • The next factor was the ability to decide exactly how many days / how much to time should be spent at a location
  • Most European location would have much more to see than what time you could afford to spend there. So making a choice of what to see is very important. In a package one hardly has a choice.
  • The most irritating aspect of a group tour is that you are as fast as the slowest team member. Also the departure and break times are decided based on the general requirements – may not be what you want
  • We were covering only Schengen countries, so visa was simple

Birding on Jog – Sagar Road

Birding on Jog – Sagar Road

We spent a day and two nights at ‘stay@matthuga’, a homestay, to visit Jog falls and the old temples near Sagar. Birding was an added bonus. On two mornings we had the opportunity to bird near Talavata – a village about 20km away from Sagar on NH 206 where the homestay is located. It is about 10km before Jog falls. I had read in a few places that localities near Jog have a lot of bird activity. But, with no specific clue on where to go, I decided to find out if there were any water bodies around – there was one about a kilometre and a half towards Sagar, on the left side of the highway.[...] read more

On the Sea Eagle’s trail

On the Sea Eagle’s trail

Devbagh which literally means ‘Celestial Garden’ was the destination we picked for a stop-over during our Coastal Karnataka trip. I had heard about the pristine beauty of the Devbagh Resort from earlier visitors.

Karwar, a small town near the Karnataka-Goa border looks very rustic. It is known to have been a part of the vibrant trade network during the colonial era. Karwar raised the waves of creativity in the mind of a young Tagore inspiring him to put pen on paper and author Prakritir Pratishodha – story of a Sanayasi and a young girl.[...] read more

stay@matthuga – a lovely homestay

stay@matthuga – a lovely homestay

I was looking for a decent accommodation near Jog falls for a family trip. There were not many options available. The choice finally was stay@matthuga – a homestay near Jog falls. There were mixed reviews on the net, but it looked suitable for our needs.

We landed at matthuga late in the evening after spending time at Jog falls. We were greeted by some sunbirds and bulbuls. The small garden in front of the building looked beautiful in the evening sun. It was very quiet, but for the bird activity. The first impression was good.[...] read more

A tribute to Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

A tribute to Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

Ladakh is slowly recovering from the devastation which it suffered from the recent natural catastrophe. It is a painful period of rebuilding for the people of Ladakh. The toughest task would probably be for the BRO to rebuild roads.

One needs to visit the Himalayan region to really appreciate the work done by BRO. Ladakh is a cold desert up in the Himalayas posing a terrible challenge to engineers working on developing road networks. The terrain is unfriendly and has extreme weather conditions. These areas would be fully snow covered for almost nine months a year. However, they are of high strategic importance – being the supply route to many defence positions like Siachen.[...] read more