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Monday, June 18, 2007

Family Trip to south of TN Day 2 nd 3

Day 2

After tiring day 1, the second day was pretty slow we started around 10 after our breakfast. Our destination was Padmanabhapuram Palace. This palace is located in Thuckalay in Kerala it is a two hour journey from Tirunalveli. The entrance ticket to this palace is 20 Rs per head. I think 15 for still camera and Rs. 1500!! for video cam. The palace is famous for its magnificent wooden works. I have to admit the fact that it is one amazing place worth spending some time admiring the works, knowing the way the king led his life. We spent about 3 hours in this palace and the museum which is also in the same place.

Ok here is the entrance to the palace and that’s my pops .

You will see this huge chair and bed kind of stuff as soon as you enter. Wooww that chair is so huge that me and my pops can fit in at the same time (oh ya and don’t try to touch any of the exhibits cause you don’t want to end up paying fine).

After this you will see a small staircase (really small) and you will have to bend yourself a lot to enter the top room. You will see the place where the king and his fellow minister will be addressing the cases and issues in this hall and that’s where the king sits . The wood work in this hall is made in such a fashion that the place will get maximum light. After this you will take an exit from this place through another small staircase (don’t worry this is a very normal kind of one) and then you will find a dinning hall kind of place. You will be actually standing in the first floor of the hall and there is another hall right below it. Guess what is capacity of the whole hall, 300 nope, 500 nope, 1000 nope, 1500!! Nope, 2000!!!! Bingo. Yup the total is capacity is 2000!! The king used to give Anna Dhanam (it’s a Tamil word ‘Anna’ means ‘Food’ and Dhanam means ‘Free offering’) .

Check out the large pots where the pickle was stored.

The kings durbar has a black shinning flooring, the flooring is a special one, want to know why ? Well the floor is made of the following INGREDIENTS ! Egg white, jaggery lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand, granite tubs to cool curd and buttermilk !!! When the guide inside the hall was telling this I was dumbstruck (Obviously everyone will) No wonder the palace is still holding good. There was one place where the ceiling had a very distinguishing wood work, there were 32 Lotus designs of which the middle one will be a little different from the others. We walked through some more steps, rooms and ended up in the kings bedroom.

The wooden bed is made up of rose wood along with different herbal tree woods which are know for its medical purposes.

Check out the ceiling .

Hmmm no wonder he had a healthy life. Well that’s not all, guess how the kings recruits men for his army, the person should lift a stone of 38 KGs above his head and he has to repeat this for nearly 100 times ( I am not sure about count) .

Yup that’s me holding the stone with one hand ;)

There is a granite dance hall, it was classic!!. There is one guest room, specially designed for French people. What’s special about this room?

The room has a ceiling which is a lot more higher than others rooms, completely designed in French architecture manner – doors, windows, etc.

I have just mentioned a very few things about the palace, there is also a queens mother room, etc, etc. And then there is this small museum.

The museum is also good, one of the displays was iron bar cage in the form of human - hand, legs, body and one for head. So everything is connected to each other by small chains. I thought it was used to hang people but I was wondering how it would kill someone because there was no such mechanism of strangling or stuff like that. Then the guide near me explained how people were executed (horrific). The person who is sentenced to death will be put in this human shaped iron bar cage. The person won’t be able to bend his legs, hands or any part of his body; basically he can’t do anything if he is put inside this. After which the cage will be hung in a high altitude place where the vultures prey on him when he is still alive and he is left to death!!! Yup painful till the last beat of your heart. I couldn’t take a snap of that cause battery in my cam was drained, and it was a little dark so I couldn’t use my sisters mobile either. Anyways I wanted to show how it would look like so here is the work I did it in paint, hope you get the pic

That’s day two, Day 3 was a big disappointment when we went to kutralam, a place where tons and tons of water falls didn’t even have a single drop. So we ended up seeing big rocks. Anyways that didn’t spoil our thirst for water. We set off to Palaru which is in Gods own place Kerala. There was not much water but still we enjoyed the beautiful nature. The giant trees, greenery, fresh air.

Here are some of the snaps.

Next post will be about a special drink called Padhani which we had throughout the journey. Check it after out two days. Have a great week …

Monday, June 11, 2007

Family Trip to South of TN Day 1

This is my first blog. Here I am going to share my vacation experience. After a long time me, my sis and parents got time for this small trip. The plan was done in a short span and worked out pretty good except for some small disappointments.

Anyways this time we decided to go towards south, since it is summer we thought waterfall, dams etc. etc. will be a good option. So we start our journey to Tirunelveli on a Friday night by Ananthapuri express. Tirunelveli is approx 600 KM from Chennai, it is towards the south. The place is famous for Halwa (a sweet made of wheat and sugar) available there. As such Tirunelveli doesn’t have any scenic places. It is the place surrounding this small town where you find gorgeous waterfalls, dams and beautiful terrain.

Oh ya before I say further let me tell you about a surprising thing which happened in the train. There we were sitting near the window hoping the signal will turn green and train would start (anyways the train was late as usual), suddenly an RPF pops up near the window and hands over a paper to my father. It was a feedback form about the Train service. Wowww!! Ok so we answered the few questions which were there in one side of the paper. It was a really a good thing, cause you can specify if you had undergone some problems or non social activity in any stations. Hmmm finally there was a suggestion column also. So my father takes his pen and starts filling it and hands it over to the RPF inside the train.

Finally the train starts and we reach Tirunelveli safe and checked-in the hotel. We have already arranged for a cab so transportation was not a real problem. The driver was also a relation of us in a very complicated way which my parents tried to explain to me and as usual I never got it. Anyways I addressed him ‘Anna’ (anna means brother, it is a friendly way of addressing people in the south).

So we finish our breakfast in a good hotel and start our journey, the first place we went was Karaiyar dam it is a 2 hour drive from our hotel. There is a boat ride in Karaiyar dam which will end in the other side of the dam from there you will have to climb a bit and presto you see a fall known as Banatheertham Waterfall.

We reached Karaiyar dam and it was a pretty sunny day and my mother being aged couldn’t walk much but she managed got to appreciate her will power. So we get the tickets for the boat ride. It’s a small motor boat with no roofing or fancy stuff meant for the sole purpose of floating over the water.

The scenic beauty seen from the boat journey is simply superb. Surrounded by hills, a clear blue sky above and ice cold water made it the perfect.

The boat ride is for 15 min. You wont see any waterfall or not even a shore for a while; then nearing the end of the journey the boat takes a small turn where you get to see the gorgeous falls so clean and the greenery makes you feel fresh. This is Banatheertham Falls.

Anyways the one you see in the beginning is just a sample of the big one. Photos are prohibited in and around the dam but it is anyways allowed near the falls and trust me it is worth spending time for taking good snaps. Climb for a little while and you end up in the magnificent main falls, which is pretty huge and the thrust of the water is tremendous.

My mother felt good cause all that climbing was worth it. So we get ourselves ready for the bath, this is my first experience in an waterfall and I completely had no idea how it is going to feel. Before entering deep into the falls itself the drizzles makes you feel cold. Finally me and my sis entered the falls and all I could remember is something heavy is falling on my shoulders and back and damn I couldn’t see anything. I dint even know if I was coming out or going deep inside. After a while managed to get out and saw my parents also. We were screaming in joy cause it was a great feeling. We prepare ourselves to go again at least this time we knew how it would feel. Entered the falls and stood there for quite a few minutes. My parents couldn’t take the force much so they came out and chose a spot where the fall was not that powerful. The power of the nature can be never explained and has to be felt to know about. Local people there sell oil near the falls. Applying one whole packet of it and you enter the falls and come out after two minutes you will not have a single trace of the oil!! . On the whole the experience was too good. This is just what happened in the first half on Day 1 of our trip.

All that fun made us hungry; the driver had already told us that there were not any good hotels near the dam so we got parcel in the beginning of the journey itself. Had our lunch in the open space surrounded by trees sat down in the dried leaves and enjoyed the lunch with nature.

From there we started coming down, less than half an hour you will find another falls known as Agastiyar falls. No climbing stuff is required here; you walk a little bit from the parking area and you end up in this falls. This one is a small one and also very much crowded which made the place look a little sloppy, din spend much time but had a good bath here also and packed for the next the dam which is known for its magnificent beauty and the scenic location where many movies shooting has also been done.

It is the Papanasam dam of the Tamiraparani River. The water is clean and very pure which can be felt in every drop of it, local people come there for bathing, fishing and washing clothes. Its like this, there will be a place where you can walk along and the cool water will be flowing through your feet, towards your right you will see water water water and then hills.

The depth of the water is somewhere around 6 to 7 feet and so you need not be scared. And if you knowing swimming you will never get the feeling of coming out the water. Towards your left is where the water falls down and goes along; don’t be scared that you are walking on the edge cause its not that deep, you will see people standing below this small fall kind of thing and talking bath. People who don’t know swimming prefer this spot. For others it’s like a huge swimming pool with natures best scenic views. We went there by evening so the sunset also added to this scenic beauty and made it breath taking view.

We took a place where there was less or no crowd; and found a place to sit which is comfortable for my parents it was actually like a big Jacuzzi !!. Around 6.45 we had to start cause the place was getting dark and local guards asked everyone to leave. End of Day 1; The day was fun filled and of course filled with water water water; something which is tough to find in Chennai!.
I will let you know about my day 2 and day 3 of the trip in my next blog… Day 2 was good but Day 3 ended up in disappointment… Will be posting soon ..