Nature at its Best at Nilambur & the Teak Museum

Nilambur is a sleepy town in Malapuram district in Kerala, known for the abundant beauty of nature.

Hanging Bridge across Chaliyar at NilamburHanging Bridge across Chaliyar at Nilambur

Nilambur Teak Museum

Teak Museum at Nilambur is another tourist place in Malapuram district. It is closed on Mondays.

Nilambur museum gives insights into Teak tree’s  habitat, management, socioeconomic aspects, cultivation, history and it’s uses. Nilambur teak is world famous for its quality. This museum was established in 1995, with the assistance of  the Kerala Forest Department.

Teak Museum in Nilambur offers Nature Trail at its Bio-resource Nature Park, spread over 40 hectors of land. Propagules of more than 1200 plant species  have been introduced in the nature park trail route.

Nature park was established by the sub-center of Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), situated at Nilambur.  (Main Campus of KFRI is situated at Peechi in Thrissur district, Kerala.)

Other Attractions inside Kerala Forest Research Institute sub-center at Nilambur

There is also a Wildlife Museum inside the Kerala Forest Research Institute. There is also a Xylarium inside the institute, which has specimens of 600 tree species. The research institute has also established an Arboretum and a Botanic Garden. Bambusetum is another attraction inside the institute campus, with 70 species of bamboos.

Conolly’s Plot – a Must See Place in Nilambur

Conolly’s Plot or Canoli Plot and Canoly’s Plot is situated at Vadapuram, at around 2 kilometers from Nilambur. It is considered as one of the world’s oldest teak plantations. the oldest teak here is known as Kannimari.

Canoly’s Plot Teak plantation was planted in 1846 by Mr. Chathu Menon, under the order and supervision of Mr. H.V Conolly,  then Collector of Malabar.

Chaliyar and Kurinjipuzh rivers flows through two sides of the Canoli Plot. Dense forests surround the other two sides.

A hanging bride connects Conolly’s Plot with the town.

How Do I Go to Nilambur?

Nilambur is connected by roads to other parts of Kerala.

Nilambur Road Railway Station, on the Shoranur – Nilambur section of southern railway, is the nearest railway station to Nilambur. This railway route is one of the best scenic railway routes in south India.

Nilambur Teak museum is at around 4 kilometers from Nilambur Road Railway Station.

Conclusion

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Have you been to Netrani Island, famous for Scuba Diving?

Netrani Island is a small coral island off the coast of Karnataka, situated around 10 nautical miles (19 kilometers) away from Murudeshwar town. It is famous for scuba diving, snorkeling, etc. It is also rich in coral reef.

Netrani IslandNetrani Island off Arabian sea coast in India.

Sharp rocks and steep cliffs prevent tourists from entering the island. Scuba diving and snorkeling is done from anchored boats.

Netrani Island is rich in fauna. Butterfly fish, Coral,eels, parrot fish, trigger fish, shrimps, etc, can be seen here. Fish eagles can also be seen in large numbers, which feeds on sea snakes and fish. A Mongoose species is also seen here. Bats are also found in the island. Whale sharks were seen around the island, occasionally.

Netrani Island was being used by Indian armed forces for their target practice; remains of which can still be seen there. In 2012, Honorable High Court of Karnataka has issued a stay order on target practice here. Naval authorities has admitted that they are using a big rock here for target practice.

There are some shrines in the island.

How Do I Go to Netrani Island?

Murdeshwara and Goa are the nearest towns where dive shops are there. They will arrange diving trips to the island. Fishing motor boats also can take you to the island from Bhatkal Fishing Harbour.

Ideal time to visit the island is during the months of December and January.

Conclusion

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Mathikettan Shola National Park

Mathikettan Shola National Park or Mathikettan  National Park is one of the smallest national parks, with an area of just 12.82 square kilometers. This national park is at Poopara village in  Udumbanchola taluk, Idukki district, Kerala state.
An Elephant inside Mathikettan Shola National ParkAn Elephant inside Mathikettan Shola National Park

The area under the national park is a reserved forest. It is rich in flora and fauna. It became a  national park in 2003.

The word Mathikettan means ‘mind confuser’ in Tamil Language, an Indian language spoken in the area. One forgets the path once he or she enters the park. Hence, the name Mathikettan National park. For this reason, seek the help of a guide when going inside the park.

There are different trekking packages available, accompanied by  Forest department approved guides. There is a bird watching trekking route in the evening around 4’o clock. There is a morning trekking tour available, which starts at 6.30 am.

Pampadum Shola national park is another national park situated close to Mathikettan Shola park.

How Do I Go to Mathikettan Shola National Park?

Mathikettan Shola National Park is accessible form Poopara. Poopara is on the Munnar – Kumily road. Munnar is at around 34 kilometers distance. Similarly, Kothamangalam town is at around 90 kilometers distance from this national park.

Cochin International Airport  and Madurai International Airport are the nearest airports to the National park at around 123 and 141 kilometers distance, respectively.

Kottayam railway station is the nearest railway station to the National park, at around 155 kilometers distance.

Toll free number of  Kerala forest and wildlife department is  1 800 425 4733.

Conclusion

To sum up, Even though Mathikettan Shola National Park is one of the smallest national parks, it is rich in flora and fauna.

Are you going to the park? Please leave your comments below.

Did You Know that Datia Palace was Built to Welcome Mughal Emperor Jahangir?

Datia Palace alias Bir Singh Palace or Bir Singh Dev Palace is a place at Datia city in Madhya Pradesh state, India. It was built by Birsingh Dev to welcome Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
Datia Palace alias Bir Singh PalaceDatia Palace alias Bir Singh Palace

Bir Singh helped Jehangir in ascending to the Mughal Throne, after Emperor Akbar’s death. There was a bitter power struggle between five prominent and legitimate sons of Emperor Akbar, after his demise. Jehangir succeeded in defeating his brothers (with Birsingh Dev and others help), after an eight day power struggle.  In return, Bir Singh was made the ruler of Datia state. It was expected that Emperor Jahangir  will be visiting this palace. But emperor Jahangir never visited Datia Palace (for reasons still unknown).

Datia Palace is known by different names like Satkhanda Palace, Datia Mahal, Purana Mahal meaning “Old palace”, etc.

Satkhanda Palace was built by Maharaj Birsingh Dev, the founder of the Princely state of Datia. In A.D 1614, on a visit to Mathura, Maharaj Birsingh Dev got himself weighed with gold. After this, he started constructing the Bir Singh Dev Palace in 1614.

No royal family members ever stayed in this palace; though it served as office.

Bir Singh Dev Palace is made on an isolated rock, on the western side of Datia city.

Datia Palace in Detail

It cost 35 Lack Indian Rupees (78 thousand US dollars) in the 16th century, to built this magnificent and beautiful palace. It took nine years to build  Datia Mahal.

Datia Mahal is a magnificent seven storey palace. Mahal is the Hindi word for Palace. The southern face of the palace overlooks a large lake. Bir Singh Palace is square shaped. It is approximately 80 meters long and wide.

There are four octagonal towers; one at each corner. Ceilings of the palace is finely carved.  There are 440 rooms and many courtyards.  Interior walls are decorated with Bundela paintings.

There is a 40meter high, five storey tower at the center. The dome atop the tower is lotus petal shaped.

Purana Mahal is a fine example of the fusion of Indian and Islamic architecture. It is a combination of Mughal and Rajput architecture. Arched doorways and dome are examples of Mughal architecture. Sculptures and paintings of birds, animals and flowers is part of Rajput style of architecture.  It was built entirely with brick and stone.

Other Places of Tourist Interest Near Datia Palace

Numerous ancient temples, some of which dates back to pre-historic times, are  the hallmark of this city.  This city is nick-named ‘Laghu Vrindavan’ or ‘Small Vrindavan’.

Maharaj Birsingh Dev build 52 palaces and monuments, all around the state. Datia palace is the most famous among these 52 monuments.

How Do I Go to Datia Palace?

Datia Palace is at a distance of around 75 kilometers from Gwalior city.

Satkhanda Palace alias Datia Mahal is situated in between Gwalior and Jhansi stations. Datia Palace alias Bir Singh Dev Palace is visible from the train.

Do you Know the Legend Behind the Name Change of Nurpur, Known for Nurpur Fort Ruins?

Nurpur is  a small town in Himachal Pradesh, known for the ancient fort ruins. Nurpur Fort ruins can be seen in this  town. This town was the capital of kingdom of Nurpur, originally known as Dhameri.

Nurpur Fort
Nurpur Fort

This kingdom was founded during the end of the eleventh century, by Raja Jhet Pal.  He was the younger brother of the then ruler of Delhi. The Kings of Nurpur kingdom bore the title Raja.

During the reign of Raja Basu Dev, Nurpur reached its peak. It was between 1580 and 1613. Raja Basu Dev built the fort here.  The kingdom became a feudatory  state under  the Mughals. Later on, they were defeated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1815, who  established the Sikh Empire.

In 1849, this tiny kingdom with an area of just 180 square kilometers was annexed by the British East India Company. Raja Jaswant Singh Pathania was the last monarch of the kingdom.

16th century Brij Raj Swami temple is situated inside the fort. This temple is unique that idols of Lord Krishna and Meera Bai are work-shipped here.

The British has destroyed the fort partly and an earthquake also destroyed this fort in 1905.

Legend Behind Name Change from Dhameri to Nurpur

The name change of this town from Dhameri to Nurpur has a story behind it. It is believed that Nur Jahan, wife of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, was so impressed by the beauty of this small town that she decided to stay there for the rest of her life.

To avoid the town becoming the central point for Mughal domination, the then rulers decided to tell her a lie to avoid her from staying there. They told the queen that staying in the town for a long periods of time may spoil her  beauty due to  a fictitious local disease.  The terrified queen, immediately left the town.

Name of the town was then changed to Nurpur, to honor Nur Jahan. (Nur Jahan was the most powerful and influential woman at the Mughal court. She was the only Mughal empress to have coinage in her name. )

How Do I Go to Nurpur Fort?

Nurpur Fort is in Nurpur town, which is connected by road network to all parts of the state. Pathankot-Kullu – Manali highway passes through this small town. Pathankot is at around 26 kilometers distance. Palampur  is at around 87 kilometers and Dharamsala is at around 60 kilometers from Nurpur

Nearest Airport is situated at Dharamshala.  Jammu Airport is at around 129 kilometers distance, while Amritsar Airport  is at around 134 kilometers away.

Nearest Railway station is at Pathankot, which is a major station in Punjab.