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Showing posts from May, 2009

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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Kalady - Adi Shankara Janmabhoomi Kshetram

5 Kms from the bustling Cochin International Airport is the picturesque town of Kalady, situated on the banks of the Periyar River, here known as the Poorna. In this small village lived a pious Namboothiri couple, who prayed to Lord Shiva for a child. Pleased with their devotion, the lord gave them a choice – they could either have a long lived, but stupid son, or choose an intelligent one, who would walk on this earth for a scant 16 years. The couple unanimously and unwaveringly chose the latter – the son whom they named after the lord as ‘Shankara’, who would make his parents proud, and grow to be the teacher of all teachers – the Adi Shankaracharya .       When Shankara was a child , his old mother found it difficult to walk to the river for her daily ablutions. Shankara prayed to Krishna, his family deity to help his mother, who blessed him and decreed that the river would follow on the footsteps of Shankara. This not only changed the course of the river here, but also gave a

Thekkady - Periyar Tiger Reserve

The Periyar is the longest river in Kerala, and is thus the lifeline of the state. The Periyar Lake is an artificial one created by the building of the MullaPeriyar Dam in 1895. What was started as a game reserve by the British, after independence became a wildlife sanctuary, and later, the Periyar Tiger Reserve. While the area where the reserve is located is well known as Thekkady, the town is named Kumily, and is located on the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu. Kumily is about 250 Kms from Trivandrum and 110 Kms from Kottayam. On the Tamilnadu side, it is easily approachable from Madurai, which is also 110Kms away. There are lots of regular KSRTC (Kerala State transport Corporation) buses available to Kumily from Kottayam, and the 3 ½ hour journey takes us through picturesque mountains covered with rubber and tea/coffee and spice plantations. Though it was the month of May, and the period of the Agni Nakshatram (the hottest period of the season), as we approached Thekkady, there wa