Saturday, April 28, 2018

Herd of Sheep

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Those who follow me know that I love taking road-less travelled and every time I plan a trip I try to explore some unusual places and routes and this way I took an unusual road to Kodaikanal last year, which took me through refreshing sights. By taking this road I have covered all the motored roads to Kodaikanal, even though it’s a link road it takes through some beautiful mountain villages, including Thandikudi, where my uncle built the woodhouse. The 40 km detour takes us through newly scenes and experience of traveling. It was showering and drizzling alternately as we travel through the countryside, we come across herds of sheep blocking the road for a distance we could see.

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Although it took few minutes for the shepherds to clear the sheep, seeing such big herd is a wonderful scene and allowed me to take photos on the same. Since it was about 4 pm, looks like the sheep are driven back to their shelter following grazing through the day. There were more than 3 big herds of sheep following one behind another and for us it was a long journey from Chennai and as we move close to the mountains the weather turned gloomy and rainy which was the reason I couldn’t get more clear photos and the following ones are shot from inside the car.

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Linking this post with SATURDAY CRITTERS

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Karimutty Waterfalls, Marayur

Karimutty Waterfalls

Following Thoovanam, we checked the Karimutty waterfalls on our travel to Munnar. The beautiful, fresh and natural waterfall is located on the end of Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and 3km earlier to Marayur, the only town between Munnar and Udumalpet – from where we started our journey. The waterfall makes an impressive fall right next to the road and one could get a full view from the bridge across the waterfalls.

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Few kms ahead to the waterfalls, we saw the water flowing down the mountains through thick vegetation and grasslands and the water is believed to have medicinal values as it passes through lot of herbs. Since it was slightly wet and drizzling weather, the waterfall makes feel cool and refreshing. There is a stair leading down to the waterfalls, provide a secure platform for people who desire to take bath and beside the falls there’s a room which I believe to be built for changing cloths.

Star Tortoise Eco Shop

Adjacent to the waterfalls, there’s a huge sculpture of an Indian Star Tortoise. I actually thought it was built to enhance the waterfalls but we find it was an Eco shop with an opening in the side, sells products made by the local tribal communities. The eco-shop also sell tea, coffee, biscuits and snacks along with some organic and herb products with the help of forest department. The Indian Star Tortoise structure here marks the existence of the endangered species more on the rivers along the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

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My dad stood at the side of the falls, and our car parked aside the road (pic right above) and water running down across the bridge on other side of the waterfall 
This place is also facilitated by homestays and accommodation in forest guest house, from where one could take forest trek to Thoovanam waterfalls and Ancient dolmens and rock paintings date back to the Stone Age. Marayur is the only place in Kerala that has natural sandalwood forest from where one could learn more on the fragrant trees and is also popular for jiggery. Karimutty waterfall is located at a height of 500 meter, is a tributary to Pambar River flowing through the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Bird Watching and Red Whiskered Bulbul

Western Ghats is a great stretch of mountains, including valleys, dense forests and plantations of tea, coffee... according to the circumstance of height, soil and weather condition. It’s also home to innumerable species of trees, plants and shrubs and variety of birds and insects and wild animals. For the people of south and west coast of India, Western Ghats plays an important role as summer vacation with many parts of mountains or Ghats becomes a hill station where people visits when the plains turn hotter.

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The view from the balcony on the rear side of my uncle's  woodhouse

Kodaikanal is one of a blissful part of the Western Ghats, comes under the Palani hills range and it’s the only hill station where I have been to more than 10 times. Since my uncle built the woodhouse (Smokey Haven) in the lower Palani hills or to say as half Kodai, staying atop the mountains has become easy and for last couple of years we have been visiting the mountains twice a year. Nestled amid woods, natural vegetation and coffee plantation, the place provides lot of opportunity to bird watch and listening to distinct note of birds. I call it as bird paradise but birds most of all smaller in size are difficult to find out but I try my best to capture birds every time I visit there.

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Though there are number of birds in the vicinity of woods, adjoining the woodhouse, some birds are frequently spotted or to be a residential birds of woods. I have spotted even migratory birds flying all the way from Himalayas, which are difficult to believe looking at their tiny size. The bulbuls, magpie robins, eagles, woodpeckers are commonly found there but for me who sees once or twice a year turned to be surprise and blissful to watch and shoot. During my visit in December, it was raining and full of fog and mist but it didn’t stop me looking for birds and the Red Whiskered Bulbul was the one I able to shoot as it came perching the wire outside the woodhouse, despite light showering.

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Linking this post with SATURDAY CRITTERS

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gates and Fences

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During an off-roading to Adukkam on the eastern slope of Kodaikanal hills, we find some beautiful private guest houses around the coffee and orange plantations which are nicely fenced and gated to look out for. This is one simple gate and chain linked fence along the house that overlooks a valley.

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Many traditional houses in Kodaikanl have a upper floor to dry coffee seeds and store things
Below is another beautiful house I simply like to own and it has elegantly designed gate and my favourite kind of driveway along with garden. Last month during my visit to Kodaikanal, I find some roadwork is going on the stretch and soon the road will be suitable to drive by cars. So far only SUV/MPS were able to venture this road that doesn’t play buses. The road through Adukkam village is the first motorized road to Kodiakanal, which has been abandoned so far after couple of better roads laid to the mountains.

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Linking this post for  Good Fences by Gosia

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Photos: Fern House, Ooty

Fern House, Ooty
(click pics for enlarge)
The Fern House in the Ooty Botanical Garden is a glass house we checked last year during the visit to Ooty, aka Nilgiris, is home to many species of ferns and orchids. This house (established in 1894) is dedicated to W.C. Mc. Ivor, in whose response the Garden has been developed to this stage from the then a patch of vegetable garden and wilderness of Shola and shrubs and the lower part as a swamp traversed by deep ravines.

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Mr. W.C. Mc. Ivor who had his training at the Royal Botanical Gardens, was able to transform the steep slopes into walks and terraces, lawns and flower beds for growing choice selection of plants. He also improvised ways and means by which he could reclaim the lower part of the garden and converted into undulating and sloping lawns with pockets of ponds left at convenient places to add chart to the landscape.

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We just took shots of the fern house from outside during our previous visit in 2008 since the house was locked. Last April there wasn’t much people visiting the garden and the fern house was also opened to visitors and allowed to take photos. Though these pictures are shot from mobile, as my camera was dropped down that previous night, I really liked the outcome and detail on ferns.

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My grandmother watching the ferns

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Master Health Check-up

I underwent a master health check-up and back x-ray as I was going through some symptoms and posture imbalance more lately. Though I already have scoliosis and lordosis which is a commonest cause in muscular dystrophy and due to long seated in wheelchair, the x-ray doesn’t make a significant impact but still some different impressions have found which our doctor will reveal when we check tonight. The diagnosis with complete blood and urine profile doesn’t show great differences except few crossing its border which I am sure isn’t a matter to bring control, but the ultrasound scan thrown away the stones. Actually they mentioned it as cysts in kidney and not stones. I come to know that cysts are fluid pouches form in kidney, but I don’t want to go deep on it leaving doctor to reveal himself. Lately I find particles in urine, though it haven’t blocking its way but making feel so, so I took the chance to examine which comes as part of master health check-up.

The blood and urine for the diagnosis was collected from home by the lab person in morning (like usual) and I check the lab for X-ray, ECG and ultrasound scan in evening. As I have took ultrasound already I known drinking plenty of water is must while examine, but last time I didn’t find difficult as it was only the scan this time along with X-ray, ECG I struggled with bladder, though I have drink only enough water, the a/c rooms trigged the bladder  and made feel  anxious and painful. Glad I took my urine bottle along so I was able to pass on immediately after the scanning. My mind was thinking anything at that moment, and this is my second time experiencing the same as 2013 when I first time took the ultrasound. I felt a great sign of relief after passing this exam and I know it’s my fault to drink water at home rather after going to the lab. Perhaps this could be the reason to show high heart beat rate at ECG and I really hope it’s because of the tense moment with bladder. Now looking forward to hear from the doctor…  

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Thoovanam Waterfalls

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During my travel to Munnar, through Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, we got to see this awesome waterfall from the road we are traveling between Udumalpet and Marayoor and it was flowing gracefully down the valley covered in dense forest. Thoovanam, meaning drizzling sky, is one of the beautiful waterfalls I have seen and though it flows far from where we stood watching its majesty, we could hear the rushing water cascading from a height of 82 feet.

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Thoovanam could not stop us from thinking about Athirapally, the largest waterfall in Kerala on the Chalakudy River, which we checked while staying from Valparai in 2008. Though Thoovanam isn’t big as Athirapally, the way it looks resembles. Actually we missed a stop earlier on road, where we would have got a whole view of the waterfalls, but I was truly content from the location we stopped to watch and take photos as it gave a bit near view.

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Thoovanam waterfalls from on the Pambar River that run down along the valley between the hills and dense forest, and the highway between Udumalapet and Munnar travels along the river which supposed to be originated at Anaimudi, the tallest peak of  South India. The Chinnar wildlife sanctuary offers trekking to the waterfall and the forest guided trek takes about 2-3 hours to cover 4km of stretch through wild forest and hills.

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The valley view where the Pambar river winding through thick forest after magnificently fall as Thoovanam
Apt. to the name of waterfalls (Thoovanam) the weather was drizzling sky as we passed the mountain Ghats. Though our entire trip to Munnar in November was drizzling, rainy and foggy for the most gave far refreshing sight of many waterfalls and cool weather along our travel, Thoovanam as it flows through a pristine cover of forest green is spectacular to be watched again and again.

Monday, April 09, 2018

RGB Monday

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A colourful gate of an industrial unit on the outskirt of Chennai! And it’s an instant click from one of my outing.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Colour of Summer

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Knows as Kalyana Murugai or Mull Murukku (Erythrina Indica) is a thorny tree of rapid growth in warm regions and is planted for hedges. During March/April the tree blooms after shedding all its leaves and the crimson coloured flowers with numerous petals, spread in all directions is a feast to the eyes.

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In Sanskrit, the tree is rightly called kinjukam meaning a parrot, as poet kalidasa likens the petal of this flower to the beak of the parrot. Sangam poets compare the colour and form of the petals to a claw of a lobster, blood-stained nails of a tiger, painted nails of a woman and to a cock’a comb. They have also recorded that crows, cuckoos and other birds eat the petals, filaments and pollen of this flower.

Ps. I captured these pictures during a visit to Kodaikanal, last year

Linking this post for Floral  Friday Foto 

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

From my Trip to Mountains

Six days passed since I climbed down the mountains and I travelled through two different parts of Western Ghats, although I have visited them already few times, I just went to see if I could reveal some more and enjoy the cool weather and nature I am always fond of. Staying from uncle’s woodhouse in Kodai Hills (Thandikudi) we relished and relaxed a while for few days before climbing down and up to another part of Western Ghats in Theni district.

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My uncle's woodhouse called Smokey Haven
After long time I visited the Bryant Park in Kodaikanal with an expectation to see Kurinji, that started to bloom after 12 years. In 2006 we saw Kurinji flowers bloomed at the popular Kurinji Andavar Temple there and at the edge of some valleys; I really wish to see its bloom again as it is the year of blooming. Although I know the peak season of Kurinji blooming begin from May to September, the time the southwest monsoon lash, I tried my chance to see the flower but couldn’t make way to one. Wish I could revisit the Kodai again later this year to see my second chance for Kurinji.

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The Bryant Park doesn’t have any flowers this time and I know I’m too early to lookout for flowers as the Park was only getting ready with freshly cut and planting of flowering plants to be bloomed during the summer vacation or flower show in May. The park was free of crowd and gave amply space to move unhurried and capture landscape photos of garden and some flowering plants. Apart the park I checked couple of old churches in Kodaikanal with remarkable architectures and hidden beauty, after going through some street searching. 

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Except a day going to Kodaikanal, we spent most of the time at the woodhouse and short drives around. As usual I enjoyed the birds chirping, and taking photos around the woodhouse. The days are sunny and cool at night helped me to stay outside the most and the travel to the hills in Theni was only somehow disappointed. I have been to this mountain in Theni twice and once have stayed at the govt. guest house at the mountain top at a height of 1500 msl. I really don’t want to reveal anything about the place which had new road lately what made me disappoint.

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The mountain is partially leased by a private tea plantation, and other parts come under wildlife sanctuary with biodiversity. Only recently government decided and laid road to this place which has been almost off-road for many years, where even buses played up and down though huge bumps. What bothered me was the road’s width. It was already a single road and the environment dept. permitted to lay road for only 5 metres width, but they have widen the road to 12 meters which meant cutting down lot of trees and many were rare species.

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I couldn’t take it easily not only because it is my favourite place, the nature out there is incredible and untouched by many. The streams, river and dams all holds freshwater, which is becoming a rare source of nature everywhere and the people here uses only natural spring water that flourish throughout the mountains. I feel so blissful every time being there, listening to birds with distinct notes and watching sunset from this mountain is spectacular indeed. Theni is been my favourite place since visited in 2006 and I always enjoy being there whenever I get chances. I think to make many posts out of the trip in future posts. Keep sharing