Kerala House Boats – Engine, Kitchen etc.

From Sun's makeup box | സൂര്യ ദേവന്റെ കണ്ണാടി.

House Boats, Aleppey, Kerala

 

Needless to say, the house boats of Kerala, to be precise in Alleppey is quite popular and attracts lots of tourists. I was curious about the the engine and other finer details, I could find in a trip and here it is:

 

The hidden engine room door in the kitchen

The hidden engine room door in the kitchen of the house boat

Engine

Engine

 

from the engine room

turning the engine - kerala house boat

turning the engine – kerala house boat

electrical wiring, plumbing and septic tank

electrical wiring, plumbing and septic tank

 

 

 

trekking to Agasthyakoodam – day two.

Due to issues ranging from global warming & Mallan yet again finding a Kallana ( a pigmi elephant found in Agastyakoodam area) I couldn’t post the second part for so long ! well well. This is yet another March and this year also it seems I am not in a position to complain about a bad hike. I have no hike. The world is still flat and the life is going on. Oh, yea we made sure that 33% of the seats in our democratic temples are reserved for woman, we are about to make sure that the radio active rays from nuclear reactors exploding due to manufacturing defects etc by the companies who provides the equipment will not cause damage more than 500 crores, we had something called budget and as usual opposition were unhappy and in my little state – Keralam – certain political parties took all possible measure to make sure that in the next elections they don’t stand a chance to ‘serve’ us.

Ok, The trip to Agastyakoodam happened long ago, before  any of this happened. The world was still flat then and the date was 29th Jan 2010. We were at the base camp and made plans to start bit early the next day. I was was sure that not going to work and slept peacefully inside my sleeping bag. We woke up around 6:30 AM, got our breakfast packed and after few cups of tea started our trek to the peak nearly 8 O’ clock.

to be or not be ?

to be or not be ? (photo removed )

From the base camp the peak looked challenging and we were aware that the climate dramatically changes at the top. But today it seems its a pleasant day and we will not face much difficulty. I had all geared up and assortment of stuff including lenses, additional battery and first aid kit packed inside a photographer’s jacket and a wind sheeter to protect all this from rain and few plastic covers.

sun rays playing hide and seek

sun rays playing hide and seek

The initial trek was easy but seemed to be a terrain where we find elephants a lot which was bit scary. But the possibility of seeing a pigmy elephant was nice too 😉

dare to conquer – swami thiruvadikal enjoying the view

Once we were out of thick forest the steep climbs started and mist started arriving from nowhere. Four of us had visited the peak earlier and they started explaining about their earlier journey and how they crossed a dangerous stream which is just ahead of us.

mist starts appearing

mist starts appearing

The atmosphere started getting colder and windy. Mist was coming with the wind and the wind was strong enough that we started feeling it agiainst us. I found it was a good decision to leave the camera bag behind.

mist starts flooding with the wind. We can see it spreading in this photo. In ten minutes we were immersed in it.

the stream which 3 of our team had crossed with much difficulty during their previous expedition. I must It was a real dangerous attempt from their side. Something too far from adventure ..

the stream which 3 of our team had crossed with much difficulty during their previous expedition. I must It was a real dangerous attempt from their side. Something which others should not try at home.

edge

edge

its a good idea to be careful here.

its a good idea to be careful here. Travels give us a time to contemplate about life. It sometimes leaves us with nothing to hold on to. All that can take us forward is how carefully we plan our next step.

Last 5 photos were taken in 10 minutes and the place was suddenly misty and we couldn’t see anything beyond 5 meters or so now. We started climbing up decided to have our break fast near Ponkalappara.

mist everywhere

mist everywhere

After the steep climb we reached a clearing. The place had suddenly became extremely cold and wet. If the same climate is going to continue it is going to difficult to climb the remaining path and that was not a pleasant thought at all.

mist, windchill

mist, windchill

We sat down near a small stream for breakfast. I had poori with me and some had uppumaavu. By the time the whole place was covered with mist and all that was remaining now was rain. It looked like we must expect heavy rain any moment now. The sudden change in climate was very strange and quite unexpected.

break fast time.

breakfast time.

The climate soon started getting better. Yea, as I was told a 100 times this place is different !

One life. We all have a life to leave marks behind. Here is how someone to choose to leave a mark behind. This was created by someone so that whoever climbs the mighty mountain remembers him. (there is no myth behind this. its very recent - modern)

One life. We all have a life to leave marks behind. Here is how someone to choose to leave a mark behind. This was created by someone so that whoever climbs the mighty mountain remembers him. (there is no myth behind this. its very recent – modern)

Man is always keen to worship what he doesn’t understand. It seems a recent example will be film stars whom we don’t understand. We build temples for them when we find it difficult to understand how a feeble man can fight hundreds and cause “Neo Effect” on bullets. The earthly mark in the previous photo may became a similar one in next 100 years.

if we dont understand, we will worship. If we understand we will destroy. We are humans.

if we don’t understand, we will worship. If we understand we will destroy. We are humans.

where the mystery forest starts

where the mystery forest starts

The climate had become normal again and the visibility was good too. We started climbing up through a narrow slippery stream. The terrain again looked promising but I never expected it will make me realize that being alive is such a great thing and life is so beautiful.

Part1 is here: Trekking to Agasthyakoodam day one

Note: Agasthyakoodam is also called as Agasthyarkoodam

trekking to Agasthyakoodam – day one.

On 27th I got a call from a friend asking are you ready for the trip ? Oh, I had completely forgotten about the whole thing and had a most productive day ahead with numerous calls and emails and finally packed up and reached the Cochin KSRTC bus stand by midnight. Had a packet of biscuit and cashew nuts as dinner and me and Rejish started our  5 hour bus journey to Trivandrum from where have to start by 6 AM. Surprisingly the bus managed to reach the destination in less than 5 hours and we could sleep for  another 1 hour at friend’s place. Finally we managed to start at 7 AM and reached Banacaud by 9:30 AM. Completed the formalities with the forest officials, packed our lunch and yes we are ready for 3 day wanderlust.

The area is kept clean and well preserved by the forest department and the EDC – In  a land where government departments functioning the way it is supposed to be is quite unheard of, this is something we must appreciate. The officials were friendly and I could drag them to a small talk about my sleeping bag which is quite small compared to the ones they use.

As per our plan the journey ends at Athirumala which is 17 kms from the base camp at Bonacud. And most of it is through dense forest and atleast 5 kms of the path is difficult terrain. And with a bag weighing too much with equipments it was not fun. From the camp at Athirumala its 6 kms to the Agastyakoodam peak. And we plan to climb the peak on the second day. I must say that splitting the journey to 3 days was an excellent idea as we got ample time to enjoy the wilderness.

enroute Agastyakoodam

en-route Agastyakoodam

swami thirivadikal enroute Agastyakoodam

swami ‘thirivadikal’ enroute Agastyakoodam

This part of western ghats is called the “abode of biodiversity”. The green virgin forest filled with herbal plants gives one the impression that we are in a huge herbal  garden. The Agastyakoodam is related with Buddhism and to the wise man Agastya who formulated grammar  to Tamil and he is believed to be an Ayurvedic expert too.

cauliflorous tree enroute Agastyakoodam

cauliflorous tree enroute Agastyakoodam

cauliflorous tree - closeup

cauliflorous tree – closeup

strong winds are a peculiarity of the area. Here we can see the grass dancing in the wind. But this is nothing compared to the wind at the peak.

strong winds are a peculiarity of the area. Here we can see the grass dancing in the wind. But this is nothing compared to the wind at the peak.

Oh yea, we were a team of seven backpackers. see them below:

backpackers

backpackers

in harmony with nature ?

in harmony with nature ?

we had our lunch here. Under a sky that looked like this !

we had our lunch here. Under a sky that looked like this.

the camp at attayaar. The difficult terrain starts here. The board that says Athirumala was kept here and in one of the next photos we can see it being carried to the final camp.

the camp at attayaar. The difficult terrain starts here. The board that says Athirumala was kept here and in one of the next photos we can see it being carried to the final camp.

The terrain that followed Attayar was bit difficult but compensated by breath taking landscape.

the path ahead - less traveled, difficult and beautiful

the path ahead – less traveled, difficult and beautiful

the Athirumala board which traveled with us :-)

the Athirumala board which traveled with us 🙂

landscape between attayar and athirumala - one can even see the historic dust on my lens. Well, I am goving to clean every piece of equipment this time. All has years of dust on them and water. Yea, my D80 still works fine with all the water and dust. My next cameras will be Nikon too. I dont need reviews anymore on brand wars.

landscape between attayar and athirumala – one can even see the historic dust on my lens. Well, I am going to clean every piece of equipment this time. All has years of dust on them and water inside. Yea, my D80 still works fine with all the water and dust. My next cameras will be Nikon too. I don’t need reviews anymore on brand wars.

a variety of Thulasi found in the area. This is just a sample from the mysterious collection of herbs starting from Arogyapacha, Vathamparathi etc

a variety of Thulasi found in the area. This is just a sample from the mysterious collection of herbs starting from Arogyapacha, Vathamparathi etc

The above photo is taken from an area of where the forest is thick and dark. We can find small holes in the rocks along the path which was used to grind herbs. The area also has peculiar stones which looks like remains of some ancient life forms.

fossil ?

fossils ?

a stone resembling bone. Passerby has left turmeric powder on it and it turned yellow now.

Passerby has left turmeric powder on it and it turned yellow now.

The final camp at the bottom of the peak follows this dense forest area and we got the majestic view of the peak from here.

the first glance of Agastyakoodam

the first glance of Agastyakoodam

We reached the final camp around 4 PM. We were tired but not really exhausted because we were walking at an average speed. Soon after tea and a leisurely bath at the nearby stream we came back and settled at the camp. And we were all set for the climb early morning next day. And the destination was a 1886 meter, heritage mountain with its lush  green herbal garden and myths.

Agastyakoodam aka Agastyarkoodam - the majestic peak with its lores, herbs and wonders of mother nature which makes us understand how silly we humans are.

Agastyakoodam aka Agastyarkoodam – the majestic peak with its lores, herbs and wonders of mother nature which makes us understand how silly we humans are.

യാത്രാമൊഴി

break away ....

.അവിനാശം.

അച്ഛന്റെ ശാപവാക്കുകളും കേട്ട് തറവാടിന്റെ പടിയിറങ്ങുമ്പോള്‍ അവന്റെ മനസില്‍ തികച്ചും നിസംഗതയായിരുന്നു. പണ്ട് ഏഴാം ക്ലാസിലെ പരീക്ഷത്തലേന്ന് അമ്മയോട് ഉറഞ്ഞുതുള്ളിയ അച്ഛനെ തടയാന്‍ തുനിഞ്ഞതും അവസാനം പഠിയ്ക്കാമെന്നു കരുതിയിരുന്ന പാഠത്തിന്റെ താളുകള്‍ അച്ഛന്‍ കീറിയെറിഞ്ഞതും അവനോര്‍ത്തു. ആ പാഠത്തില് നിന്നും ഒരു ചോദ്യം പോലും പരീക്ഷകള്‍ക്കുണ്ടാവില്ല എന്ന ആത്മവിശ്വാസം മാത്രമായിരുന്നു അന്ന് മനസില്‍. എന്നും ആത്മവിശ്വാസം മാത്രമായിരുന്നു അവന്റെ മുതല്‍ക്കൂട്ട്. ഇന്നിപ്പോള്‍ അവസാനത്തെ പ്രതീക്ഷയേയും അച്ഛന് അരിഞ്ഞെറിഞ്ഞിരിക്കുന്നു.

തറവാടിന്റെ വടക്കുഭാഗത്തുനിന്നും ആ വര്‍ഷം ആദ്യമായിക്കായിച്ച മാവില്‍ നിന്നും ഒരു പഴുത്തയില കൊഴിഞ്ഞുവീണു. പാലക്കാടുള്ള സുഹ്രുത്തിന്റെ വീട്ടില്‍ നിന്നും അവന്‍ കൊണ്ടു വന്ന മാമ്പഴവിത്തുകളില്‍ ഒന്നിന്റെ സന്തതിയായ മാവ്.

.തുടക്കം.

കാലം തെറ്റിയെത്തിയ മഴ പെയ്തു തിമിര്‍ക്കുമ്പോഴും അച്ഛന്റെ ശവദാഹത്തിന്‍ വടക്കുമ്പുറത്തെ കൊച്ചുമാവ് തന്നെ വെട്ടണമെന്ന് അവന്റെ അമ്മ ശാഠ്യം പിടിച്ചു. ആര്‍ത്തലച്ച് ആ മാവ് നിലം പതിച്ചപ്പൊഴും അച്ഛന്റെ ചിതക്ക് തീ കൊടുക്കാന്‍ അവനൊരിക്കലുമിനി വരില്ലെന്ന് പറഞ്ഞപ്പോഴും അമ്മയുടെ മുഖത്ത് ശാന്തതയായിരുന്നു. ബന്ധങ്ങളുടെ കെട്ടുപാടുകള്‍ തകര്‍ത്ത് കാറ്റിനോടൊത്ത് യാത്രയാരംഭിക്കുന്ന പട്ടത്തിന്റെ ശാന്തത.

.ശുഭം.

( മറ്റുള്ളവ: 1. നോക്കുകുത്തി 2. ഓര്‍മകള്‍ )

It’s so nice to have you back where you belong

I signed into my wordpress account after a long time & the greeting message said “It’s so nice to have you back where you belong“. Well yea I was away for a long time. But I was busy traveling. I will be back my dear blog.

A Theyyam photo I took recently & named the one who loves, the one who protects.

(The expression on this theyyam’s face & the way she is holding the sword forced me to give the caption.) Its thaypparadevatha theyyam @ naduvilathu kottam, pilathara, payyannoor, kannur. Kottam is a collection of 2 – 3 temples which is normally called in other parts of kerala. തായ്പ്പരദേവത തെയ്യം. കണ്ണൂരില് പയ്യന്നൂരിനടുത്തുള്ള പിലാത്തറയിലെ നടുവിലത്ത് കോട്ടത്തില് നിന്നും. Info: This photo is taken while the theyyam was making rounds around the temple. I had split of a second to click.

Z point.

Its been sometime since I posted. I have been posting stuff at my flickr page. Today I got few wonderful comments on my blog and that forced me to restart posting.

This shot is from Z point, the sunset point at kemmanagundi. Its from last team outing. oh yea, I work with a wonderful group of people. 🙂

leeches.

I was writing and uploading photos of our pythal mala (hill) trip. Finally I ended up uploading too many photos of the leeches from that area and thought of posting them in a seperate thread. 🙂

This guy managed to suck some blood. (you can see pythal mala in the background.)

Leech bite: Thats Divakarettan. Our jeep driver. The poor chap was never bitten by a leech before.

They love posing for photos

My friend and divakarettan was complaing about me not getting ‘attacked’ by the leeches. They were of the opinion that I have “vatham” and thats why the leeches are not biting me. To speak the truth, I have been bitten on a daily basis during my lower primary school days. Anyway finally one tiny monster managed to bite me. Wikipedia tells me that leeches injects an anti-cogulant agent called hirudin and thats why its bleeds so annoyingly. oh yea, the bleeding is enough to scare the shit out of an ‘inexpericed’ person. So next time, when you are bitten by a leech don’t worry, get a small piece of paper and put it in the wound. It will stop bleeding immedeatly.

bleed.

HOPE

(Taken on the way to chembra peak, wayanad. The whole area was burned due to wild fire and it was nice to see this small lonely flower in the the ashes. It reminded me of few people I have met in my life. People who gives encouragement and hope … let me dedicate this photo to all those wonderful people.)

Hope can set you free !

Courtesy: Shawshank Redumption