Alappuzha Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Alappuzha Nehru Trophy Boat Race is usually conducted on the 2nd Saturday of August every year at Punnamada Kayal or Punnamada backwaters,  Allapuzha. In 2018, it is to be held on 10th November, as it could not be conducted due to heavy rain nd floods in August.

Allapuzha was previously known as Alleppy. ‘Kayal’ means ‘backwater’, in the local Language, Malayalam.

There are different kinds of boats taking part in this Alappuzha Nehru-Trophy Race. Snake Boat, Iruttukuthy, Churulan, Veppu, Odi, Kochuvallam, etc, are the types of race boats participating. Snake boat racing is the most attractive race among these races.

First Prime Minister of India, Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, visited Alappuzha and watched in the Nehru Trophy Boat Race in the 1950’s. He was so excited on seeing the race, that he jumped into one of the boats. He also donated a rolling silver trophy in the shape of a snake boat

Around 100 people are needed to row the Snake boats at Alappuzha. It is the prestige of local boat clubs, which is tested in the Greatbackwaters here. Kumarakom Town Boat Club has won Nehru Trophy three times in a row, making them the only ha-trick winners till date.

Alappuzha Nehru Trophy
Site of Alappuzha Nehru Trophy Boat Race.

Alleppey houseboats are available for hire and you can go for a Cruise in the Alappuzha backwaters; visiting islands to have tasty local foods and can go to the Bird sanctuary at Kumarakom, etc.

Alappuzha is well connected by road. It is around 3 hours drive by car from capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. Allapuzha railway station is the nearest railway station. Code for ALLEPPEY  or Allapuzha (new name) is ALLP on https://www.irctc.co.in/ , the official Railway Ticket Booking site of Indian Railways. Cochin international Airport is the nearest airport.

Is Accommodation Available Near to Alappuzha Nehru Trophy Boat Race Site?

There are many hotels at Alappuzha. ‘Lake Palace Resort’ is leading resort near to the finishing point of Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race on Vembanad Lake side. Home stay at Alappuzha and neighboring Kumarakom and Kottayam are also available.

A Misty Paradise called Gavi; Location of Ordinary Movie

Gavi, a heaven of Misty Paradise with forests, lakes, water falls, etc,  in the Western Ghats, situated in Kerala State, India. Gavi is re-opening its doors to tourists from December 2018, after the recent floods damaged the infrastructure facilities, including roads and electricity lines.

Gavi

Gavi – The Gateway to the World of Wilderness

Alistair International‘ has listed Gavi as the leading Eco-Tourism center in India and a must see place in India.

Gavi offers unparalleled experience for a tourist. Unadulterated Nature at its  best!”

Tiger, leopards, bear, elephants and many other inhabitants of the beast can be seen on your jungle safari drive to Gavi. There are 3 dams and a check dam, on your way to this place from Pathanamthitta town.

Facilities for Trekking, Bird watching, Wild life watching, etc, are there. Tree top accommodation and Boating inside Gavi lake on small Coracles (bowl-shaped boats) are available. You may visit the cardamom factories int he area.  There is a spot from where one can view the world famous Sabarimala temple clearly. Local people are involved as guides, cooks, gardeners, etc. That way, they earn their livelihood from nature and became more involved in protecting the nature.

The scenic route passes over the Five dams namely; Moozhiyar, Kakki, Anathode, Pampa and Gavi Dams. Gavi Kerala Tour package is one among the Best Kerala tourism packages available.

Mega Hit Malayayalam Movie Ordinary – Shooting Location

The mega  hit Malayalam movie ‘Ordinary’ (an Indian regional language film) was shot here, which was released in 2012.

How Do I Go to Gavi?

If you are coming from Pathanamthitta, You have to book Gavi entry pass. Entry fee is Rupees 60 per person for Indians. Those below 13 years of age does not need entry pass. Foreigners are charged Rupees 120 per person.  (revised fare as on last quarter of 2018.) Only 100 people are allowed per day.

Two wheeler entry is prohibited. Those who are coming by two wheeler needs to park their vehicles near the Angamuzhy Forest Range Office and go by bus.

50 vehicle passes are issued daily, from November 2018. 75 % of vehicle passes are reserved for those holding online booking. The remaining 25 % of vehicle passes are for those who comes straight to Goodrical Forest Range Office with vehicles.

Entry for private vehicle is allowed from 8.30 am to 11 am only. Entry point  is the Ticket Counter at office of Goodrical Forest Range Officer at Angamuzhy (around 45 kilometers from Pathanamthitta). You have to pay the entry fee and get the actual pass, after producing the online booking acceptance details (applicable to those with online entry pass).

Private Vehicles must cross the Anathode Forest Check post before 2.30 pm on the same day and should leave through Vallakkadavu Check post before 6 pm, the same day.

It is best to go from Pathanamthitta by a Jeep. Car journey, especially small cars, is not advisable as the ghat roads are often damaged.

If you are coming from Vandiperiyar, the entry pass can be collected from Kerala Forest Department office at Vandiperiyar.

KSRTC Buses to Gavi  and from there to Kumali and Vice Versa.

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses are also available to those who prefer to go by public transport. Bus journey does not require entry passes.

KSRTC bus timings are given below. It is as on 11t March, 2019, as published at the FB page of KSRTC Pathanamthitta

KSRTC Bus route along with the expected time at major stops for the fist bus from Pathamanthitta to Kumali is as follows.  Pathanamthitta 6:30 am (starting point), Mailapra, Vadasserikara, Perunad, Chittar, Seethathodu, Angamuzhy 8:30 am (check post), Moozhiyar dam, penstock pipe view point, kakki dam, Anathode dam, Gavi (11 am), Pullumuedu, Vallikadavu, Vandiperiyar, chelimada and then Kumali 12:30 pm (Ending point).   The second bus from Pathanamthitta to Kumali is at 12.30 pm. It reaches Gavi by 5 pm and Kumali at 6:30 pm.

K.S.R.T.C. Buses from Kumaly to Pathanamthitta (via Gavi) are at 5.30 am and 1.10 pm. First bus reaches Gavi at 6:45 am and Pathanamthitta at 11:30 am.  Second bus reaches Gavi at 2:20 pm and Pathanamthitta at 7:00 pm.

KSRTC bus charges are 77 rupees per ticket (This is subject to change and please check the charges at your end).

Please check the bus timings and bus fare with the respective KSRTC bus stations, a day in advance of your planned travel. Timings may change seasonally and on many other conditions.

Contact numbers of KSRTC bus stations are as follows;

KUMILY – 04869-224242 (office)

PATHANAMTHITTA – 0468-2229213 (office), 0468-2222366 (station master).

Is Accommodation Available at Gavi?

Gavi Forests are part of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Kerala government undertaking, Kerala Forest Development Corporation, provides accommodation in Eco tents, as part of Kerala Tourism packages. KFDC Gavi Ecotourism website gives all the required details on this.

You may stay at hotels in the nearby towns like Kumali, Pathanamthitta, Ranni, Konni, Punalur, Tiruvalla, Chenganoor, Kottayam, etc.

It is advisable to carry food for those on day trips, as there are very few options available. There is a small restaurant run by K.T.D.C. at Kochu Pampa, 10 kilometers ahead of Gavi. Some other small eateries / food stalls are also there at different places en-route. But availability is limited to those who comes first.

Conclusion

Are you interested in going to Gavi and enjoy the beauty of nature? It is advisable to combine your Gavi trip with a night’s stay at Thekkedy and explore Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary there, on the next day. Please leave your comments.

The most spectacular festival event on the planet, Thrissur Pooram

Thrissur Pooram, adjudged by UNESCO as the most spectacular festival event on the planet, is held each year at Thrissur. Previously known as Trichur, this town is in the central part of Kerala. Thrissur is the gateway to the famous Guruvayur Krishna temple.

The most spectacular festival event on the planet, Thrissur Pooram
Elephants standing during Thrissur pooram festival in Kerala state of south India.

Thrissur Pooram is celebrated in the Malayalam local calendar month of “Medam” which normally comes in Mid of April to May. Pooram is hosted by Vadakkumnathan temple, Thrissur. It is conducted at the “Thekkinkadu Maidanam” which when translated means “the ground of teak forests”.

Little Poorams from nearby eight temple starts the beginning of the Pooram which lasts for 36 hours.

“Panchavadyam”, cultural display of instrumental music using five percussion and wind instruments, creates a magical effect of on the audience.

Madathil varavu.
Madathil varavu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An array of  up to 15 elephants are lined up by each group, decorated with colorful golden “Nettipattam” (or Elephant Caparison in English) with Colorful umbrellas , complete with “alavattam” and “venchamaram”; typical decorative costumes used in Kerala festivals.  If you are wondering what all these mean, in plain English  this means, each elephant will have an umbrella, fans made out of peacock feathers and a bunch of yak tail, which are held in hand by those seated on top the elephant. These are swayed rhythmically to the tune of the music played. 

The main Pooram is between the Paramekkavu Bhagavathy temple and Thiruvambadi Bhagavathy temple, each of these two temples have the Hindu deity Parvati,the wive of Lord Shiva (the deity at Vadakumnathan Temple).

Thrissur Pooram is also very famous across the world for its magnificent display of fireworks lasting all through the night.

It is to be seen to believe the magnificence of marvelous event. Are you going to book your tickets to attend this year’s Thrissur Pooramm? Take your mobile and call your travel agent. Hotel rooms are fast getting exhausted!

How do I Go to Thrissur Pooram?

Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport and Thrissur is the nearest railway station. Thrissur is well connected by road also. Thrissur is around 300 kilometers from the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram.

Information on Aranmula Snake Boats, Parthasarathy Temple & Aranmula Metal Mirrors

Aranmula Snake Boats, Temple, Metal Mirrors
The annual Snake boat race is conducted during Onam Celebrations on the Pamba River at Aranmula near Pathanamthitta.

Aranmula Snake Boat Race

Aranmula Snake boat race or Aranmula Vallamkali, as it is known in the local language of Malayalam, is held annually on “Uthrattathi” day, normally the 4th day after “ThiruOnam”. Aranmula Snake boat race is conducted during the Onam (or Thruonam) Festival Season. Thiruonam is Kerala’s traditional harvest festival celebrated during August or September. Aranmula Snake boat race is a canoe racing kind of activity among the various nearby villagers.

Each boat is more than 30 feet in length with a minimum of 124 oarsmen rowing; many others standing on the boat singing traditional ‘Vanchipaattu’; traditional songs to encourage the oarsmen. These trophy boats are decorated with Kerala’s traditional golden lace, flag and colorful umbrellas. Only men are allowed to row the snake-boats in these races. Nobody wears shirt or footwear. Traditional ‘Mundu’ also known as “vesti” and ‘Turban’ to head are the dress allowed. It is a pleasure watching these snake boats glide swiftly through the water. 48 snake boats have participated in the last year’s Aranmula Vallam Kali.

Aranmula boat race gallery

Aranmula snake boat race gallery

Trophy Boat races are the highlight of Kerala Tourism during the Onam season. Allapuzha Nehru Tropy Boat Race, Aranmula snake boat race, Champakulam Moolam Boat Race, Neerattupuram boat race, etc, are to name a few.

Anamula Parthasarathy Temple


Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple, Kerala, India.

Anamula Parthasarathy temple is a temple which is one of the ancient temples dedicated to Parthasarthy or Lord Krishna. “Thanka Anki”, which is the Golden dress to Sabarimala temple’s Lord Aiyappa which was donated by the Tranvancore royal family, is kept at Ananmula. It is taken to Sabarimala temple every year, for a few days. Back side of the temple is the holy river Pamba. Temple celebrates its annual festival during regional calender’s month of ‘Meenam”. It is believed that Lord Aiyappa of Sabarimla temple, after getting the Tiger’s milk from Sabrimala , came to Aranmula in a country boat made of six bamboos and landed here, on his return journey to Pandalam palace, ;where his parents were residing. Thus the name Aranmula. ‘Aru’ is six and ‘mula’ is bamboo in Malayalam, the local language of Kerala.

Aranmula Metal Mirrors

Aranmula metal mirror
This is a metal mirror created from special metal alloys. This is manufactured in Aranmula near Chegannur in Kerala, India.

Aranmula Metal Mirror or Anamula Kannadi as is known locally, is handmade with metal alloys. Unlike mercury coated mirrors, which has mercury at backside, these mirrors reflect image from the front of the mirror. Exact metals used to make the mirrors are still a secret to the outside world. It is made of some alloys, and takes many days of polishing by hand to make it smooth.

There is also the famous ‘VastuVidyaGurukulam’, supported by government, which promotes the traditional art, culture and heritage of Aranmula.

How to Go To the Site of Aranmula Snake Boats, Temple, Metal Mirrors

Aranmula is at a distance of 110 Kilometers from the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, previously known as Trivandrum. Chenganoor is the nearest railway station to Aranmula snake boat race site, at 9 kilometers away. Aranmula is well connected by roads. Cochin International Airport and Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, at around 110 to 125 kilometers away ;receptively, are the nearest airports.

Being a Village, there are no hotels at Aranmula. One can stay at Aranmula homestay or at Malakkarethu House

Aranmula is a beautiful heritage village.

Meenmutty Falls Wayanad

Meenmutty Falls Wayanad
A complete view of Meenmutty Falls Wayanad during monsoon season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meenmutty Falls Wayanad is located at around 30 Kilometers from Kalpetta. It is in Wayanad District, Kerala State, India.  Karnataka and Tamilnadu states borders are very close to Wayanad.

There is another water fall with the same name, Meenmutti falls, in the same state. It is near the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.

Meenmutty  falls from a height of 300 meters; a three tier water fall. It is one of the best waterfalls in Wayanad district and and can be reached by trekking 2 kilometers from the Ooty main road.

Meenmutty water fall is little away from the main road.

En route to Meenmutty waterfalls is the famous “Pookode lake“, which offers boating facilities. There is also a Park for kids and space for walking for those health freaks. Pookode Veterinary college, one among the two veterinary colleges in the state of Kerala, is here in this village.

 

Eddakal caves

Eddakal caves, 10 kilometers from Wayanad, is another major nearby tourist spot. There are boats, which can carry 6 people, available to cross the river and reach the island.

Kuruva Island (Closed in March 2019 as per High Court Order)

Kuruva Island in Kabini river was another major tourist destination. Kuruva island is at around 15 kilometers from Mananthavady, 40 kilometers from Kalpetta and 58 kilometers from Sultanbathery. Entry to the island is closed in March 2019, as per High Court Order.

Can You Name Some Good Wayanad Hotels or Resorts in Wayanad?

There are many hotels and resorts in the city and home-stay also is available. The Willow Resorts, Pepper Trail, Vythiri Village, Edakkal Hermitage, The Windflower Resort & Spa, Holiday Hill & Suites, Upavan, Sharoy Resort, Misty Hills Hotel & Resorts, Parisons Plantation Experiences, Le Villagio Holiday Apartments, Lakkidi Village Resort, Marmalade Springs Resort, Aranyakam Homestay, Grass Roots, Planet Green Plantation, Banasura Hill Resort, etc, are some of the best Wayanad hotels.

How Do I Go to Meenmutty Falls?

Meenmutty falls is at a distance of 95 kilometers from the nearest city, Kozhikode alias Calicut. It may take around 2 hours plus, to travel this distance. Nearest Airport is Karipoor International Airport near Kozhicode or Calicut.    Nearest railway station is at Kozhikode. Kozhikode is well connected by railways, road and air transport to the rest of the country.