An Enthralling Expedition to Illikal Kallu with My Best Friends

It is being a long time that I have packed my bags and went for an exploration. To be very frank I am such a person who loves to explore new places and discover the hidden gems in it. Usually, I used to plan solo trips. In my viewpoint solo trip makes you more courageous and helps you to understand more about the world and people. Till now I have visited many gorgeous places like Shimla, Manali, and Kulu in the north and in the south I have visited Kodaikanal, Meesapulimala, Vagamon, Munnar, Agasthyarkoodam. During my leisure time, I used to browse my social media accounts. And one day accidentally I came across a travelogue in Instagram. The travelogue was about trekking in one of the breath-taking hill stations called Illikal Mala in Kerala. More than the mountain it is the rock erected on the top of the mountain, Illikal Kallu lures every trekking enthusiast. The travelogue inspired me a lot. After trekking the famous hill station Agasthyarkoodam I decided to stop the exploration at least for a few months because I was assigned one of the toughest projects in my office and as a team lead I am supposed to dedicate my valuable time on it. But I don’t know how the images of Illikal Kallu changed my mind. The captivating images of the mountain propelled me to explore the place. As usual, I discussed my exploration of Illikal Kallu to my best friends. But to my surprise this time they expressed their desire to accompany them to the hill station. Even though I had decided to visit the place on my own, their wish changed my mind. Therefore we decided to avail of tour packages at cheap prices. We packed our bags for the trekking and also we carried a high-resolution camera with us. Before explaining about our trekking I would like to share some valuable information about the Illikkal Kallu.

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Illikal Kallu is one of the captivating and scary hill station situated in 6000 ft above mean sea level in Meenachil taluk in Kottayam district. What makes the rock so amusing is half of the portion of the rock has been fallen apart. And the rest half is standing sturdy on top of the mountain. It will take three hours to reach the top of the mountain. Standing over there one could mesmerise the amusing panoramic view of the entire Kottayam district. With your sharp naked eyes, you can see a blue line indicating the presence of Arabian Sea. In adverse climatic conditions, it may not be visible. The Illikal Kallu is standing on three consecutive mountains. The first hill takes the shape of an umbrella and hence the hill is called as ‘Kuda Kallu’. People say that the hill consists of ‘neela koduveli’, a blue flower. The plant carries many medicinal properties and it is one of the most valuable medicinal plants in the world. The local residents tell that keeping the plant in houses will bring good harvest, prosperity and also it could cure any kind of disease on the earth.

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Due to the presence of a small hunch on the second hill, it looks like a mushroom and hence the hill is called as ‘Koonu Kallu’. Across the rock, one could find two paths and their names are really interesting ‘narakapalam’ and ‘swargavathil’- ‘heaven’s door’. The two hills are connected by the narakapalam-‘a bridge to hell’. The bridge is named so because it is situated at a great height somewhat 4000m above mean sea level. Even though the path is scary it provides mesmerising images of emerald valleys and surroundings. The narakapalam leads you to an amazing part of nature which looks like heaven and thus the region is known as ‘swargavathil’. Some of the eye-catching attractions of the region are Illaveezhapoonchira, Kattikayam waterfalls, and Healthacation.

We reached Kottayam railway station and our tour guide was desperately waiting for us by holding our name cards. We kept our luggage in the cab and started our journey to Illikal Kallu. The journey was really awesome. After 2 hours of journey, we reached the spot. Our tour guide parked the vehicle half the way. Over there we saw many adventure enthusiasts getting ready for the trekking. We started our adventure. We started to ascend to the mountain and gradually the fog began to cover the premises. It became difficult for us. As time passed the fog became so thick that we were not able to see the person standing adjacent to us. Thousands of thanks to God finally we found a small rock where we all sat and waited for the fog to disappear. By 11.30 the sun began to shine brighter and slowly it unveils the region for us. We continued our exploration. We were so happy. After covering a few distances we used to pose for group photos and also selfies. Words are insufficient to express the beguiling charm of the surrounding nature. The whole premises will be surrounded by fog and dark clouds in the early evening. Seeing our fun activity our tour guide requested us to move fast so that we could return before the sunsets. This time we were very serious and without any break we ascended to the top of Illikal Kallu. The moment we reached the top of the mountain we screamed like a small child and expressed our joy. We were so happy and clicked a group selfie by keeping our fingers in ‘v’ shape- indicating victory. The hilltop provided mind-blowing images. We also visited the famous rock by crossing the scary and dangerous narakapalam. There were many a time when we supposed to fell down while crossing the bridge, each time we held each other’s arms firmly. After spending a few hours over there, we slowly descended to the slopes. The next day we also visited the famous mountain located near to Illikal Kallu, Illaveezhapoonchira. It is a valley surrounded by trees. And the most astonishing part is no leaves fall into the valley!kerala holiday packages

After spending one more day we departed to our home town. Before ending the travelogue I would like to sincerely thank Dream Holidays for curating such a wonderful tour package and making our holiday memorable in Kerala. If you want to explore Kerala, purchase their packages. They curate packages at cheap rates and even ready to customize!

Unearthing the Hidden Histories of Eyyal in Thrissur District of Kerala

We bet that you are not to find the rare name of ‘Eyal’ in the list of any popular tourist destinations of Kerala. If at all you have heard about them, you might have read it in any history books that you had referred long back. It might be due to the excavated Roman coins datable to the very first centuries of AD or of the Burial Caves discovered from the place. Anyhow, the hamlet could be explored more for its nascent nature and virgin beauty. However, here we are going to discuss some prehistoric sites in and near the small village of Eyal, which is situated in the outskirts of Thrissur district in Kerala.

Ariyannur Stone Umbrellas

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Belonging to the Megalithic period, when you come to this rare site of Eyyal, you could find the strangely placed huge stone structures known as Ariyannur Stone Umbrellas. In the regional language, they are better called Kudaikkallu. Moreover, in its visual appearance, you may note that they are going to look like large mushrooms bloomed out of nowhere. When counting the total numbers, they are actually six of them, but two among were severed damaged. No one exactly knows actually when and why were they constructed on such an irregular shape. However, it is believed that the monks who used to come at the site used to store their belongings under its shade, but there is no evidence to prove that. At present, they are under the protected list of historical monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India.

Harikanyaka Temple

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A random visit to the ancient temple of Harikanyaka that is located to a few distances from one of the most visited temples of Kerala, Sree Krishna Temple in Guruvayur could say a lot about the intricate temple sculpting techniques followed here in the south of India. Moreover, it is believed that the ancient structures seen here were carved out by the all-time master craftsman of Kerala, Perunthachan. Even if they were built centuries ago, the very charm and the complexities of its unique architecture still remains. So a tour to the shrine will be worth enough to visit even if they are excluded from popular tour packages. The historical Hindu religious centre is dedicated to the deity Mohini, who is the virgin form of Lord Vishnu, as the goddess at the Sri Vasavi Kanyaka Parameswari Temple in Coimbatore.

Burial Cave of Eyal

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Situated amid Wadakkancherry and Kunnamkulam, in Cheramangad, the Burial Cave that you get to sight here in Eyyal is double-chambered. Similar to the stone umbrellas of Ariyannur, the Burial caves to are believed to be originated in the Megalithic age that in a laterite boulder. Also, this pre-historic rock-cut cave does constitute a circular chamber, which can be accessed by a single entry. There exists an irregular bench in the chambers with no pillar at the centre. Furthermore, it from this historic site that the Roman coins up to 117 AD from 123 BD, which is of the Republican period were excavated. From the year of 2016, the burial cave is recognised and protected as a historical monument by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Kallaayi Kunnu

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A small hilly area is situated in the Akathiyoor Kunnu near Eyyal, is now the region’s favourite spot to spend the evenings along with your family as there are no external noises to disturb you from the tranquillity of this place. Much to the surprise, you could also take your vehicles to the hilltop, so you take little toddlers along with you as there is no point of trekking here at hills also known as Kalasha Mala. If you are lucky enough, you could even catch a glimpse of charming peacock flying and relaxing at the rocks.  Even without the presence of the national bird in front of you, the mesmerising view from its summit is going to calm you in the evenings after the historic tour in the momentous village of Eyal.

Kakkad Burial Cave

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The burial cave at Kakkad is one among the megalithic caves found in the nearby locations of Eyyal cave. However, they are a more sophisticated one than the latter, as they have got a flight of stairs to reach at its chambers through a narrow pathway.  With an opening in a circular shape at its ceilings, it looks different when looked from its exterior. From its outside structure, one could easily realise that they are indoors if dome-shaped.  At this cave of height about a typical man, on both sides of its entrance, you could find wide plaster-like projections. Also on the southern and northern sides, there is a rock-cut circular block and single sectoral bench respectively.

How to reach there: From Cochin International Airport, you could reach Eyyal within 2 hours via NH544 covering 74km. Moreover, the nearest railway is the Guruvayur Railway station is at a distance of 13.6 km. However, you need to travel up to 21.4 km to arrive at the major railway station of Thrissur.

Just like the prehistoric sites discovered from the village of Eyal, there are various unknown places in Kerala that are historically very crucial and significant. Like, say, the Kothukkal Cave temple in Kollam, the popular Edakkal Cave of Wayanad and many more. An ardent traveller needs to have that wanderlust to quest for such sites spread across the state. Now whether it is for visiting these lesser-known ancient mysterious places or sightseeing popular tourist destinations, you may get in touch with Lelagoon Holidays, who could fulfil your dreams of visiting these thought-provoking tourist places. Their most popular tour packages would cover the destinations like Wayanad, Athirapally, Munnar, Kochi, Thekkady and Varkala. Moreover, you could avail their travel deals at extremely cheap prices. For the comfort of the tourists wishing to travel to exotic locations in Kerala, their tour packages are made available from all the major cities of the country such as Bangalore, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Delhi Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.

Munroe Island as a Perfect Honeymoon Destination of Kerala

How about lying on the lap of your significant other on a peaceful morning and just talking about any random topics on the banks of tranquil backwaters? Sounds cool right? Well, such a calming experience can be gained when you are up to this picturesque Munroe Island, which is only at a 27 km of distance from Kollam main city. So the honeymooners visiting Kerala can think of a whole new location of Munroe Island situated at one of the southern districts rather than opting for the stereotypical spots of Allepey, Munnar or Kumarakom in Kerala.

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Being situated on the brink of Ashtamudi Lake, which is said to be the cleanest backwaters of Kerala, to every angle you turn to you are going to find picture-perfect frames that would resemble any scenic places. One of the most profound factors of such a charm of the islands would be the reflection of the long line of tall coconut palms slanting toward the serene water bodies. They make that perfect blend for creating that lush greenery and increasing that stunning beauty of the location, besides the dense mangrove plantations. Moreover, at some parts, the islands are sidelined by the tributary of the Kallada River. So on your honeymoon trip, when you are spending your precious time together in the backdrop of such an adorable place it will bring you a special kind of joy that you had never felt before.

The relaxing ambience of this quaint village could be experienced on a greater extent when you both are staying back at any of the adjacent resort or simple homestay. To avail the former option you will always be advised to pre-book under any good tour packages. They may provide you with both that precious opportunity to sail through numerous narrow and small canals flowing in between the islands. On its banks, you could find several mangrove plants growing in unusual shapes. Sailing across in these intricate pathways in kayaks can turn out to be a fun activity that can be indulged by couples together. At some places, the mangroves would be denser that would create a tunnel kind of structure, providing shelter to you.  On that voyage, you could closely observe at the simple rural livelihood led by the villagers there.

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The entire concept of tourism has only started emerging to this pristine island of Munroe. So you are going to rush into a very few other tourists on your trip. Moreover, there will not be any long lines to create any boredom in you and hamper your honeymoon. In this very little crowd, both you and your significant other can have your own special moments together. Also, the brightly coloured mangroves provide these areas with an added beauty, as you may catch a glimpse of large migratory birds flying across from them, on which they had made their temporary nests. The calming green-hued water bodies are going to soothe and save you from all the tensions you could have suffered from the everyday busy lives.

On your exploration of the place together, you may interact with the cordial and polite village dwellers. They may educate you about the primary fishing methods that they usually do for their living, by moving around in the lake waters on country boats. Apart from that, they also depend on the cultivation of cashew nuts, areca nut and obviously the coconuts. They could be the most common tree that you could get to spot here in Kerala, making them the state tree. But all these geographical features do create an awesome view once the sun sets in. The islands may be sighted far away from the beaches, but when clicked a picture during any late evening of the pristine water bodies, you are going to get a mesmerizing photo of you and your loved one.

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That sail inside a boathouse and cruising all across the backwaters could the next big things that cannot be missed on this very first tour with no other than your beloved. Although they are merely large boats plying in the clean lake waters, you could avail all sorts of world-class facilities, so that you are not facing any troubles by staying in the cruise all day and missing your home. As they are moving to different spots in the cruise, you could get to see the unique views of Munroe Island from the well-equipped houseboats. Above all that, the tickets for this is offered by the Kerala Tourism Department Council at cheapest prices so as to attract more tourists to the destination.

Those Intriguing facts about the Island

Although the name Munroe Island does sound singular, they are actually a group of around 8 small islands or islets. So is the place commonly known as ‘Manttrothuruth’ in the region, as ‘thuruth’ in Malayalam means ‘a group of Islands.’ Furthermore, in the coinage of the name of this place, there had been an influence of a foreigner. It was done after Colonel John Munroe, which was the British Resident of the former princely state of Travancore. In fact, it was under his suggestion that the area of these canals was further expanded. It was to honour him that the island in this part of Kollam district to be called so.

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How to reach there: The Munroe Island can be reached from the Trivandrum International after travelling for almost 2 hours 20 minutes covering 81 km to the next district situated in the northern side. Moreover, the nearest railway station of Manttrothuruth is only 4km away. However, you need to transmit for around 26 km to arrive at the more accessible Kollam Junction Railway station.

The island honeymoon destinations as charming as Munroe Island are quite many in the incredible state of Kerala. You need to explore those serene locations along with your partner at least once in a lifetime. So whenever you are heading to these destinations of Kerala, never forget to seek for the assistance of Dream Holidays, who could suggest you about the places and the exciting activities to be indulged in. Although based in Kochi, the reputed tour company had created numerous honeymoon packages targeting adventurous couples like yours.  Moreover, their travel deals would cover the popular tourist destinations like that of Wayanad, Athirapally, Munnar, Allepey, Ponmudi, Kochi, Thekkady and Varkala In addition to that the unexplored places like that of Poovar, Kakkathruth, Kuttikanam and many more would also be considered if the customer is demanding so.

Bon Appetit -The Delicacy Of Kerala Cuisine

Kerala, God’s own country, the land renowned for its exotic range of spices. The cuisine of Kerala is a symbolization of its culture, tradition, heritage and its geography. It is an epitome of both veg and nonveg cuisine at one phase. When you ask any Malayali about the Kerala cuisine, the very first thing you might hear will be Coconut and Banana fries. But from my experience, there is a lot to explore in Kerala cuisine apart from coconut and bananas. Being the land of spices, every dish in Kerala you can experience a magical amalgamation of spices. There are so many places in Kerala which are famous for their dishes and recipes. “Mittayi Theruvu” in Kozhikode is renowned for a cluster of a wide variety of chocolate shops and different types of halwa throughout its aisle. And the famous Manjali biriyani and Kayees biriyani from Ernakulam and also famous “Kulukki Sarbath” which is extensively popular among youngsters. Being a North Indian, from Ahmedabad it was a fascinating moment for me when my Malayali friends introduce me to the authentic Kerala cuisine when I moved to Kochi for my post-graduation. Apart from the delicious food there a lot of lush greenery destinations in Kerala which can be included in your tour packages to make a phenomenal trip to Kerala.

As a famous film dialogue “Food is not just a word, it’s an emotion” and it is completely true when it comes to breakfast for every Malayali. The spectacular option for breakfast is just amazing. But before I came to Kerala, the only thing I know about South Indian cuisine was Sambar and Dosa. But apart from Sambar and Dosa there a lot more to explore in South Indian Thali. From my personal favorite “Puttu” and “Kadala curry” or Chickpea curry to the piping hot beef stew and Appam, the breakfast options are just dashing. So let’s dig into the wide variety of authentic Kerala cuisine.

puttu kadala

1. Puttu and Kadala Curry

Puttu or steamed rice cake is one of the most popular breakfast options in Kerala. Usually, it is made up of rice powder, coconut, and water. But apart from rice, wheat, corn powder, and semolina are also used to make Puttu. And the recently discovered “Jack fruit Puttu” is one of the edible breakfast options in Kerala. Puttu can be molded in different shapes, From cylindrical to most recommended: “Chiratta Puttu” which has a shape of semi-sphere is also available across different parts of Kerala. If you’re a vegetarian Puttu and Kadala combination is the best choice for you. Apart from Kadala curry, beef and chicken curry or even Fish curry are also a kick-ass combination for Puttu. When I travel with my friend to Calicut, he introduced me to “Kuthirabiryani” which sounds weird to me but later I discovered that it is the famous combination of Puttu and Kadala Curry with Papadam or Papad.

pepper chicken-stew

2. Appam and Stew
Appam and stew is an integral part of Syrian Christian cuisine. Appam is a pancake made up of rice batter and cooked in a specially designed cooking vessel called “Appachatti”. It was a magical moment for my taste buds when I took my first bite of the crispy Appam with the coconut stew. Stew is basically, a curry made with the richness of coconut milk and can add vegetables, chicken, or even red meat according to our taste. Among them, piping hot Mutton stew along with the crispy Appam is my all-time favorite. Even though stew is white and has a creamy texture, it is a little bit spicy due to the presence of black pepper and green chilies. The making process of Appam is also very delightful to watch, the sweetness of coconut milk and sugar which balances the sour taste of the fermented batter, like a perfect marriage of flavors. And the most interesting part of making is the deft swirling of “Appachatti” to get a unique bowl-like shaped Appam.

Parotta-and-beef-fry

3. Malabar Parotta and Beef roast
Kerala cuisine is incomplete without having the most favorite Malabar Parotta and Beef roast. Malabar Parotta is another version of bread which is made up of all-purpose flour, oil, and water. And the making process is quite complex but interesting to watch the way he broke down the dough into long strips, which is then rolled together to make multi-layered Parotta. One should add this delicious Malabar Parotta along with the aromatic spicy beef curry in your next trip plan to Kerala. But it cannot be taken daily due to the huge amount of calories but still a perfect combo which gives immense pleasure to your taste buds. Beef or “Panni” curry is an authentic Kerala curry which is filled with the richness of spices, coconut, and red meat. In local wine shops, Beef curry is the main dish that is paired up with toddy and a must-try combination in Kerala.

kappa biriyani

4. Kappa Biriyani
One of my favorite evening snack. Kappa biriyani is a combination of mashed tapioca mixed with beef roast. Kappa is a ground crop in Kerala which is an edible food ingredient with a lot of fibers, which is cooked in water and it gets softened and then it mixed well with beef curry and garnished with onions and curry leaves. I became a huge fan of Kappa and Fish curry which I tried once in my college trip to Kerala which is organized by a travel company called Gogeo Holidays. If you’re someone who loves spicy food then Kappa Biriyani is a must-try dish for you. In my experience, the local Kappa Biriyani that we got from the street vendors is more flavourful, delicious and available at cheap prices. During my post-graduation period, this is used to be our evening snack along with some hot black tea. A day is not enough to complete the food diary through Kerala, from the wide varieties of biriyanis, Banana chips, and “Kuzhi mandi” the dishes are ceaseless. Depends on the region, culture, and religion we can explore a spectrum of dishes in Kerala cuisine.

The 5 most prominent dams in Kerala

               The world is growing day by day. People have now become very competitive. Nowadays people are not ready to invest their valuable time in any unnecessary matters, because they are in a rush to achieve their daily goals. Humans are so busy with office chores that they forget they have obligations towards their family, friends, and society and moreover towards nature. Can you imagine a world without trees and wild creatures? It is said that our planet was formed millions of years ago and it was our Mother Nature who protected our ancestors and also us from several devastating natural calamities. Like where son and daughter have an obligation towards their aged parents and siblings likewise we, humans are liable to the conserve the natural resources. What we are today is all because of the hard work of our parents. Therefore it is our responsibility to hand over nature in the same away as we were gifted. Before explaining the importance of conservation of nature and its resources let us all have a glimpse of the important resources of nature. We all are familiar without water no one on the planet could survive. Pure air and water are the two basic elements that are essential for living organisms to sustain life on earth. It is not possible to discuss each and every element in this document therefore let us concentrate on the conservation of water. Water has many uses and 99 % of us know what they are. I really don’t want you to get bored by reading the uses of water. There would be only a few places in the world that experiences continuous rainfall throughout the year. But the rest of the part of the world suffers from the scarcity of water in terrible hot summer days. To avoid such situations waters are conserved in reservoirs called Dams. More than 50 dams are situated in India. Out of which 10 are from Kerala. Kerala is the state where Mother Nature has showered her scintillating natural resources enormously to mankind. Water in the reservoir is generally used to generate electricity and quench the thirst of plants, animals, and humans. The dams in Kerala are beautifully decorated and maintained with all modern amenities. Hundreds of travelers flock to Kerala with family from Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Hyderabad to enchant the beguiling charm of water dams situated in the state. Most of the travelers visit the state by purchasing tour packages at reasonable rates and thus make their travel hassle-free. When compared to the past now people are more interested to accompany their family and friends to nature-oriented places and marvel their hearts with fresh vibes. To freshen your hearts with good emotions let us traverse through the lanes of prominent dams in Kerala.

  1. Parambikulam Dam

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               Parambikulam Dam is one of the best dams in India. It is located in the Palakkad district in Kerala. The water from the dam feeds hectares of paddy cultivation and lakhs of the family in Chittur Taluk and also other places in the district. It is constructed on the banks of the Parambikulam River and Aliyar River. It was built during the period of Kamaraj. The maximum storage capacity of the dam is 1825 feet.  The dam is functioned and maintained by the government of Tamil Nadu but the ownership of the dam lies with the Kerala government.

  1. Neyyar Dam

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               Neyyar Dam is situated on the banks of the Neyyar River in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. It is positioned on the grounds of Western Ghats. It was constructed in the year 1958. The Neyyar Dam is also known as ‘Gravity Dam’. The dam is constructed close to Agasthayarkoodam. Trekkers who trek the famous Agasthyarkoodam hill will definitely visit the famous Neyyar Dam. Visitors availing family tour packages at cheap prices used to mesmerize the beauty of the serene nature by visiting the famous Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwanthari Ashram.

  1. Mullaperiyar Dam

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               Mullaperiyar Dam is a masonry dam constructed on the banks of the Periyar River in the Idukki district in Kerala. John Pennycuick started the construction of Mullaperiyar Dam in 1187 and he took 8 years to complete it. The dam collects water from both Mullayar and Periyar Rivers. The famous Periyar National Park is constructed on the banks of the Periyar River.

  1. Idukki Dam

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               Idukki Dam is one of the highest arch dams in India situated in the Idukki District on the banks of Periyar River. The Idukki dam is sandwiched between Kuruvan and Kurathi hills. At a distance of 43 km from the dam, the Moollamattam powerhouse is located. The Idukki dam is mainly formed by the amalgamation of Cheruthonni, Idukki and Kulamavu dams in Kerala. Tourists from various corners of the world visit the dam to enjoy its fascinating beauty. Travelers are supposed to buy tickets to enter the dam. People can enjoy the spell-bound beauty of the dam by practicing boating inside the dam. After strolling the dam travelers can visit the famous Idukki Wildlife sanctuary and capture amazing images of animals and birds in the jungle.

  1. Pazhassi Dam

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               The famous Pazhassi Dam is situated in Thalassery Thaliparamba taluks in Kannur district. The dam is also known as Kulur Barrage. It is constructed on the banks of Valapattanam River. The dam is famous not only for its storage capacity but also for its serene nature. For travelers to enjoy the beauty of the park the authorities have constructed a park and named it as Pazhassi Park. King Pazhassi’s statute and the sculpture of Buddha are the eye-catching attractions of Pazhassi Park.

               From the above paragraphs, travelers might have got a clear idea about the famous 5 dams in Kerala and their unique specialties. To know more about it avails of a tour package to Kerala. To make your journey more comfortable purchase the packages from a prominent tour operator called Gogeo Holidays. They curate itineraries according to the customer’s request. Travelers can book packages either online or offline. So what are you waiting for? Avail of the packages as soon as possible, before it expires.

A Surprise Wedding Gift for My Brother and Sister-in-law

Usually, everybody wakes up either by hearing the alarm or by tweeting of birds. But for me, it was something strange I opened my eyes early morning by hearing a quarrel from my newly married brother’s room. As everybody knew it is very awkward to peep into some other’s personal life especially when it is our sibling. Therefore I did not interfere in his personal business. To be very frank I was hearing quarrel for the last night but it was not as serious as it is now. Slowly I got from my bed and got refreshed and moved to the kitchen to start my household duties. After an hour my sister-in-law joined in the kitchen and with her my mom. Usually early morning she used to be very talkative. She used to talk on several issues. But on that, she did not utter a single word. Her face was turned like a pumpkin. My mom wanted to inquire about the matter but she did not do it as she wants to protect her image. Even though she wanted to know the fact she controlled her emotions. In the next 30 minutes, my brother came to the kitchen and demanded a cup of tea. Usually, his wife used to give him, the moment he wakes from his bed. But today as they were not in good terms I had to take the initiative. He was very angry and he shouted at her and told her “you decide the place, I will not” and left the kitchen. She busted into tears. We both females consoled her and called him and inquired about the matter.

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It was nothing like a major problem. For the past few days, they were discussing their honeymoon trip and till now they were not able to finalize any place. “Are you all crazy to quarrel for such silly things?” I asked them. Like every life partner, they both had different choices for each and everything. As my brother is an adventure lover he liked adventure places such as hill stations, scary mountains and so on. His wife did not like adventures but love to spend precious time with plants and animals. I smiled and told them I have a perfect solution for your cumbersome problem. They looked at me. Their expression exactly reflected their curiosity to learn the solution. They were eagerly waiting for me to utter the answer. I did not test their patient anymore and revealed the name of the destination- Alleppey, and Kumarakom. The places were not new to them. Both these places have played a significant role in the formation of new Kerala. They were happy now and started to smile. But he told me, “even though the names of the places are familiar but he does not have any idea about the tourist destinations over there”. “I have a solution for that also”, I told them. “What is that?” my sister-in-law asked. They can purchase the honeymoon tour packages to Kerala from the famous travel operator called Dream Holidays. It is one of the prominent travel planners in Kerala and curates the packages by inculcating airfare too. “Wow! That sounds good”, my brother replied. Also, I added that I and my husband will arrange all the necessary arrangement for your trip, the only thing what you have to do is to pack good dresses for your most awaited honeymoon trip. They were surprised and had no idea how to express their joy and excitement. Within a couple of hours, we availed of the packages. They thanked us for the surprise gift.

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Within a week they boarded a flight to Cochin International Airport in Kerala. As they ascended towards the gate they met their tour representative. He greeted them and guided them to the cab. They told that cab was well–maintained. The interiors and exteriors were fascinating.  After travelling for 3 hours they reached the ‘Venice of East’- popularly known as Alleppey. The soothing climate and calm ambience lured their hearts. After completing the formalities they moved to rooms in the resort and unwind for a while. By the evening they started exploring the district. First, they visited the famous Krishnapuram Palace. The palace is famous for the mural painting of Gajendra Moksham. They clicked many lovely images of the antiques and artefacts seen in the palace. They were fascinated by seeing the spectacular architecture of the royal mansion. After spending a few hours they moved to the coir industry, for which the district is famous and understood how coir products are formed.

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By the evening they entered the most famous traditional cruises of Kerala known as houseboats. These houseboats were once used for business purposes, now being used to enhance the tourism sector. Hundreds of travellers flock to the district to spend memorable moments in the houseboat cruises by availing of tour packages at a reasonable price. The moment they entered the houseboat they felt like they stepped into a five-star hotel. The houseboat carried all the modern amenities. There were lured by seeing the infrastructures and that moment itself they called me and thanked me and my hubby for such a wonderful gift. In the evening three were entertained by the classical dances performances of the dancers and savoured scrumptious Non- vegetarian meals prepared in traditional Kerala style. The next morning they landed to Kumarakom. Kumarakom is famous for bird’s sanctuary with a scenic view. They stepped out from the boat and enjoyed the melodious chirp of lovely birds in the forest. They captured lovely pictures of birds in the sanctuary. That night they spend in the treehouse. After returning from the trip they once told me that spending a night in the treehouse was one of the memorable moments in their life. From Alleppey and Kumarakom they bought some homemade chocolates and also antique for me.

They once again thanked us for formulating such a wonderful itinerary. By reading my brother’s honeymoon story don’t you feel to accompany your life partner to ‘god’s own country’ then what are waiting for? Avail of the package as soon as possible.

What is Unique about the Ananthapura Lake Temple of Kasargod in Kerala? Explained with 9 Amazing Facts

Even from a small picture of the Ananthapura Lake Temple of Kasargod, will say so much about the uniqueness of this spiritual centre located at Kumbla village. The foremost thing that you note here would be of the surrounding green marshy waters on all its sides. Such a structure built in the 9th century is still the only of its kind in Kerala. Moreover, the idol worshipped in the ancient temple is a replica of the same sort like that of Anadhapadmanadha temple down the south in Thiruvanthapuram and so the name. The following characteristics of the Ananthapura Temple of Kasargod are what make it unique.

The only lake temple dedicated to Lord Anandhapadmanabha in Kerala

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As the name implies, this ancient shrine located in the northernmost district of  Kerala does worship deity Anadhapadmanabha who can be seen here in the sitting positing just above a serpent unlike the reclining pose as in the temple of Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. So when you are tour to these parts, you may try to give a visit to the spiritual centre if they are readily included in your packages.

Major sanctum of the temple is protected by a ‘Vegetarian crocodile’

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Although this may sound scary, you have to admit that you are taking some risk by deliberately moving to the temple either for praying or sightseeing, as a crocodile named ‘Babia’ lives in the lake waters surrounding the temple. However, you do not have to get panicked of the crocodile that was spotted in urban spaces of Hyderabad soon after the deluges of 2019. It can be said so, as the reptile is so used to the things from staying here for quite some time and most surprisingly, it consumes only vegetarian food offered by the priests.

Bridges across the rectangle lake to reach the deity

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As the unique shrine is surrounded by water on all its sides by a rectangular lake that never alters its water level, different spots of the temple have to be reached by small bridges inside the premises itself. Like, for example, say, you may have to cross them just above the deep green waters of the lake to reach the Sreekovil from Gopuram. By standing on the bridges, you may feed Babia with Jaggery and sweet rice.

The temple walls are beautifully adorned with mural paintings

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When you are visiting this unique Ananthapura Lake Temple, you may adore the beauty of the Mural painting done on the external walls of the Sreekovil. Each of these magnificent works is done based on various Hindu epics. It becomes quite mandatory that the lustres of these intricate paintings would be affected over years of passing time. Therefore, the temple authorities had built a wall to conserve them for the posterity.

Idols of the temple were initially made with leaves were changed to metallic

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It is believed that, in the ancient periods, it was set by some unique combination of herbal plants just before sculpting the idols of deities here. Even now, during the scheduled rituals, they are decorated with ornaments and sandalwood pastes. Apart from that, you may find the same Sri Krishna Temple that was once believed to have been revered by the popular Vilvamangalathu Swamy.

Numerous myths associated with the construction of the temple

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There are quite many myths popular based on each of the idols, spots and the rituals followed in the temple. One among them is that the deity Anathapadmanabha, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu was settled himself at this spot and was appeared in front of a devotee in the form of a boy. Later, the lad was believed to be run into the nearby cave, as he was shooed off by a meditating sage at this particular spot.

The rare material is chosen for making the present idol

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In the textures and colour, although it may resemble an ordinary metal, in reality, they are not so. They are actually made of a rare material called ‘Kadu Sarkara Yogam,’ which is a combination of around 108 materials. It would be really astonishing to realize that they are not stone and metal as seen in usual idols of deities.

A cave with the perennial flow of sacred water

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At one of the corners of this never drying up the lake, no matter what the climate is, you could find a cave. Moreover from this cave, you could sight a perennial flow of water that is consumed as a ’Theertham’ by the believers coming here. Besides, various myths are connected with the origin of such a source of pure water amid the lake waters of the temple.

Being situated in a scenic location

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Even the path leading to the temple is rich in its own biodiversity, as the temple can be sighted after witnessing rows of high verdant hills. So your visit to the temple can also be considered as a tour of all the nearby beautiful locations. They could be as beautiful as the regions surrounding Arulmigu Maruthamalai Murugan Temple in Coimbatore. Once you arrive at the premises of the temple, you are going to avail that beautiful ambience of serene tranquillity.

Just like the ancient temple elaborated here, there are several other unique pilgrimage centres spread all across the state of Kerala. So if you are planning to visit these spiritual centres most profoundly, you may get in contact with Lelagoon Holidays who are one of the most popular tour companies of Kerala. They had curated varied tour packages that would fulfil the demands of any sorts of travellers who are on a group tour or solo trip or even whether they are honeymooners or family. You could make use of their best travel deals when you are planning of any sort holidaying in the happening state of Kerala. Above all that, their packages are set in such a way that they can be availed by wanderlust who are on a budget or wishing for a luxurious vacationing.

Exploring the Calvary Mount of Kerala with My Cousins: Travelogue from Hyderabad

That resembled the same natural landscaping of the scenery picture hung in my parent’s bedroom. It has been hanging there since the time we shifted into this home almost 15 years ago from our Army Quarters. And I really did feel awkwardly delighted when I showed the pictures that we had clicked during our trip Calvary Mount in Kerala to my ex-military dad, as he had a few tears in his eyes after that. I still could not figure out why was it so. Ah, anyways, it was decided during our yearly family meet at Durga pooja holidays last October, as they are now settled in different parts of the country. That is Reghuram is in Delhi, Pooja Akka and his younger brother Gokul in Chennai, Maneesh in Ahmedabad, Soorya is in Kochi, Abhijit Annaya in Guwahati and the remaining people Ranghat and Laya are the only ones in our native town Hyderabad. I being a single child, I was always close to my dear cousins even though we had to move to different places as the years went by. But anyhow, I feel that I am on the top of the world whenever I am spending time with them. This year when we met, we thought of making any bigger and it was quite incidental to pick that mesmerizing picnic spot of Calvary Mount in the easternmost parts of Kerala for the same.

Our very first move was to decide the time of our vacation. As all of the 9 people in our gang could not wait for more, we finally decided to set out during the winter vacations. The senior-most of this cousin gang, Abhijit Annaya who is just out of the college had always been very adventurous in everything he does. But he had never caught in any grave issues that had halted his wanderer kind of living. Every now and then he goes for a trip along with his friends for which he receives scolding from Sridevi Auntie. But he never cares about that. It was he who suggested the name of Kuttikanam on our discussion, as it would be best to visit the place during winter days in cold misty weather conditions. But due to some technical issues, our major destination for our tour had to be changed. Nonetheless, we would never regret that decision. Fate had brought us here.

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It was my overprotective dad who insisted on vacationing after booking any appropriate packages, and we were to travel to some unknown place. To be frank, he does not believe in the ways and plans of Abijit Annaya. After some thorough research, he finally decided to send us safely to Kerala with one of the best tour companies that he could trust. It was the Lelagoon Holidays based in Kochi who made our trip worthy in every aspect.

We reached Hyderabad on the previous day of our trip as we had an early morning flight from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport to Cochin Airport. Later, we did not have to plan much in the flight hours, as our tour operators had already done everything for us. So we were having our own time by talking continuously. Within 2 hours of flying, we arrived at Cochin Airport. Once cross-matching with our names listed in the placard, we spotted our driver-cum- a guide from the crowd. As it was during the beginning of the vacation, Keralites all across the country and over the globe might be coming to their home. Anyhow, we moved to our cabs by which we traveled to our resort in Idukki, which was the next adjacent district. We were most thrilled about camping in the hills of Calvary as they were one of the most interesting things included in the packages that excited us.

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We arrived at our destination almost at noon, so we had our lunch from the restaurant of our resort itself. The food served there satisfied both our tummies and heart. The tents that we were to stay are under the supervision of the resort we checked-in initially. After that, we moved to our major destination, which was on the top of the adjacent hill of the resort. The trekking was not that challenging as we were helping each other especially the elder ones in the gang. The real unity of we the cousins was now more proved. So we could truly enjoy the beauty of nature at this part of the state while mounting up. After some time, we reached comparatively a flat portion.

From that space, the views behind were sheer captivating. It seemed that the verdant hills of this Calvary Mount were merging up to the scenic lake formed by the Idukki reservoir at some point. When we got to know that we will be staying overnight at these tents, the youngest one Maneesh were jumping in the happiness knew no bounds. Even though the time in which we reached the top of the hill was not that late, there were misty fogs all around and the temperatures too were dipping down. Later at the night, they had arranged campfires for us in the middle of the 3 tents we got to stay in. We the girls were made to stay in a tent facing the lakes on our special demands. Therefore, Pooja Akka, Soorya, Laya and I could spend the remaining time talking and gossiping for the whole night. Our brothers had their time together in two other spacious tents.

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The very next day of this trip was most worthy, as got to experience that we never had before. The rays of the risen sun were in front of us in a somewhat different mood. To our surprise, one side of the sky was beginning to shine brightly, whereas the other was a bit moody with dark clouds. The views on the sunny side were truly awesome and could find indeed some distance. I think we got to see the entire district from there. As we were at the summit we find behold at the play of these clouds clearly. It seemed that the sun was playing hide-n-seek with us. Without much time, Gokul spotted a herd of wild elephants at a side of the lake. All of us were trying to click pictures of it, after zooming our cameras to its maximum. Everything around us impressed us in every possible way they could. We feel fortunate to have visited Calvary Mount and chosen our tour company to make it hassle-free and enjoyable.

Unveiling the Historic Reminiscences in Fort Kochi

Kerala, the southernmost state in India grabs travelers from various corners of the world. The state is known for its captivating beauty. Outstanding culture and traditions make the state unique and charming. The state comprises historic places like palaces, museums, and galleries. Nature has showered its marvelous blessings by providing the cerulean seas, tranquil rivers, shallow backwaters, traditional houseboats sailing in the undisturbed lakes, stunning species of fauna and flora, bare misty mountains enveloped with lush green plantations of tea and spices and many more. More than the natural resources it is the pleasing climate that pulls the nature enthusiasts from Ahmedabad, Surat, and Mumbai to tour the state. The present world is so busy that people have no time to spend on their personal needs and desires. Most of them are tired and exhausted with their hectic busy schedules. Availing the packages of Ayurveda therapies will help you to rejuvenate and unwind. The state has always been the favorite destination among travel enthusiasts. Kerala is a perfect place to learn about the ancient colonial days, ritual and traditional art forms, palaces and many more. Thousands of travelers flock to the state to learn its spectacular beauty.

Kerala, when we hear the word the first thing which comes into our mind is the tall coconut trees oscillating in the cool breeze. It is the only state in India where coconut trees are seen in abundance and that is the reason why the state got the name (‘Kera’-coconut tree). Not only the scenic surroundings but also the generous mentality of the common people make the state ‘god’s own country’. The secluded hill stations, sun-kissed beaches provide the best moments to enjoy some quality time with dear ones. The national parks and wildlife sanctuaries shelter rare species of animals and trees. To tour the amazing wildlife many globetrotters from Hyderabad flew to Kerala by purchasing packages from eminent travel companies. The state is blessed with 14 astonishing districts. Each district differs from each other in many aspects such as natural resources, technology, and amenities. Irrespective of aspects each district cordially welcomes travelers for discovering the hidden gem. As mentioned each district has own specialties, the Ernakulum district which is an upcoming metropolitan city in Kerala has something to tell the world. By strolling through the following paragraphs you will learn more about the district and its peculiarities.

 Describing one whole district in a document is not possible. Hence this essay is dedicating on the special touches of Fort Kochi. Have you seen the popular Malayalam movie called ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’? people who have seen the movie at least once will never forget the location. Unlike other movies the Fort Kochi the place where it was shot acts as a main role in the movie. Fort Kochi is the place in Ernakulum that still maintains its ancient vibes and tells how it was in the olden days. It is an amalgamation of ancient and present amenities. People of all generations love to flock to the place to celebrate their special days like the New Year celebrations. It is the perfect place for night parties and many more. Before understanding the present conditions let us have a glimpse of its past. Fort Kochi was once ruled by the Chinese traders. It is believed that the word Cochin has been derived from the Chinese people i.e. Co-Chin. The spectacular monuments and building built-in Chines architectural style depict the influence of Chinese in Kerala. Followed to Chinese, Portuguese, and Dutch were the other merchants who visited the place for various s trade purposes. Fort Kochi is a perfect instance of the rise and fall of European administration. The main destinations in Fort Kochi are as follows.

  1. Chinese Fishing Nets

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Chinese Fishing Nets were introduced to Kerala by the famous explorer called Zheng He during 1350 AD and 1450 AD. It would be difficult to believe that these fishing nets are still in use. To use the functioning of the Chinese fishing nets travelers are requested to visit the place either early morning or evening.  It is the time when the fishermen throw the nets into the sea for grabbing their earning. Chinese fishing nets are called as ‘cheennavala’. It is 20 m wide and 10 m long and it is operated with the help of counterweight stones and cantilever.

  1. Fort Kochi Beach

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Strolling through the Fort Kochi Beach, one could witness the golden rays of sunrise and sunsets. Traversing the streets one could capture the stupendous pictures of historical events and monuments. One could see the most ravishing images of Chinese fishing nets. Also, travelers could copy the stunning picture of the first-ever built fort called Emmanuel fort by the Portuguese. Tourists can engage themselves by indulging in various activities like fishing, boating, beach photography and dolphin sighting. While riding in the boat one can come across various small islands.

  1. St. Francis Church

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It is one of the oldest churches built by the Portuguese. It was initially made from mud and water. The church was later conquered by the Dutch and followed to its Anglican Church. It is situated on the premises of the famous Emmanuel Fort. Till now the church has undergone several modifications but still, it maintains the ancient vibes and beauty. The church shelters the cenotaph of great martyrs of Kochi and the burial ground of well-renowned Vasco Da Gama before taking to Portuguese.

  1. Kashi Art Café

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It is the perfect place to hang out with friends and families. Foreigners on their Kochi expedition flock to the Kashi Café to savor mouthwatering delicacies like the chicken burger, mushroom burger and so on. It is an exquisite place for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. While relishing the dishes travelers can also enjoy the various arts exhibited over there.

  1. Pepper House Café

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People who have seen the famous Malayalam movie called ‘Premam’ will not forget the popular cake shop run by the hero. The cake shop in the movie is actually the well-renowned Pepper house café. The place gained much fame through the movie. Along with the restaurants the place also hosts jewelry, clothes, and stationery shops for travelers to buy souvenirs for their dear ones.

The other notable attractions in Fort Kochi are Kerala Kathakali center, Pierce Leslie Bungalow, Princess Street Kochi, Vasco Da Gama Square and many more. To make your travel more comfortable avail of packages from the Lelagoon holidays. They formulate by giving keen importance to customer’s desires and needs.

Celebrating Honeymoon in Mananthavady – The Iconic Place in the History of Kerala

Is there anyone who does not like to unveil the elegance of emerald nature? How would it be if one starts his or her day with innocent chirps of adorable birds? Isn’t it would be pleasing? Many times I have thought who assigned them the duty of wakening up all the animals, trees and humans. Do they get the wages for doing so? Or is it a kind of thanksgiving to the almighty for giving one more day on the planet. Whenever I see the thickly populated trees in the forests I always think who waters them and who look after them. It is not possible for a few people to look after the trees regularly. Still, it survives on the earth for a half a century. The wild animals in the forest never have experienced starvation for more than a couple of days. Somehow they will get their food. There are many more examples in nature that teaches some bitter and important lessons of life that no textbooks could teach. The wonders and various activities of nature will teach how to lead a life peacefully with limited resources.

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Most of the people in the world believe that spending a day in the lap of Mother Nature could gift wondrous experiences that no magnificent cities could present. That may be the main reason why people after their wedding decide to enjoy their honeymoon by exploring the beauty of nature. When considering our country India there are many places that truly display the immense scenic beauty of lush green surroundings. And the most luring place in the nation is the most popular Kerala. Year by year thousands of travellers visits the stupendous state to uncover the amazing beauty. Compared to the past now many travel operators have come forward with exciting packages to discover the captivating charm. More than the technological advancements it is the amusing charm. Couples travel to the state to enjoy the fabulous destinations in Kerala. They consider the state as an exquisite place to renew their marriage vows and to understand each other’s feelings in the soothing climate.

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There are many reasons for tourists to select Kerala for their short and long vacation trips. The cerulean seas, tranquil rivers, undisturbed backwaters, traditional houseboats, and excellent collection of various types of fauna and flora make Kerala a typical destination for travellers to rejuvenate. Not like the past, the travel cost to the state has now become cheap and best. Kerala comprises of 14 districts and each district has its own peculiarities. To enjoy the real charm of nature one should definitely avail of tour packages to the most famous district called Wayanad. It is the land of spice plantations. The bare mountains and bowl-shaped valleys are blanketed with emerald leaves of spices. Also one could find tribal settlements in abundance in the district. Wayanad is a haven for nature enthusiasts. The mesmerizing historical streets and caves, bio-reserves, and luxurious resorts make the district unique from others. Mananthavady is a well-known municipality taluk of the district.  By narrowing down the following paragraphs one could clearly understand the inner beauty of Mananthavady.

Mananthavady is one of the largest taluks in Wayanad district. The taluk resides on the banks of the river ‘Pusha’ or more commonly known as ‘Mananthavady River’. Nook and corner of the district have something reveals some pages of the history. In the past, the district was not accessible as it is now. The district was ruled by tribal communities called ‘Adivasi’. The town was formed in the 19th century. Ambukuthy is a place in Mananthavady, where a deer was pierced with an arrow and hence the taluk, got the name ‘Mananthavady’ (‘mane eytha vadi’). One could read the heroism of a famous freedom fighter called Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja or known as ‘Kerala’s lion or Kerala’s Simham’. The important places that could be visited while touring the taluk are as follows.

Pazahassi Raja’s Tomb

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The famous freedom warrior of Kerala called Pazahssi Raja’s tomb is situated in Mananthavady taluk. The tomb is located on the banks of River Kabani. The museum comprises of main galleries called the numismatic gallery, Tribal Gallery, Heritage gallery, and Pazahassi gallery. Also, it has an excellent collection of weapons, utensils, and statues.

Boys Town

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Boys town, when you hear this name suddenly a picture of boys hostel will come into your mind. But actually the place has no connection with the boys. The place is a mind-blowing sanctuary. The park is situated at a distance of 13 km from Boys town. It is a perfect place to witness the gorgeous beauty of tea and spice plantations. The gene park at Boys town was built as a part of the Indo-Danish project. The place is worth to see.

Post office Road

Post office road will take to the land of temples and mosques.

Valliyoorkkavu Bhagavathi Temple

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Valliyoorkkavu Bahagavathy temple is one of the ancient temples in Kerala with goddess Durga as the presiding deity. It is believed that the idol of the goddess was self-built. Every year in the month of March a 14-day festival will be held. The temple is considered as the biggest festival in Wayanad.

Pakshipathalam

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Pakshipathalam is a paradise for bird lovers. It provides shelters to rare species of birds like the gold fronted chloropsis, Asian fairy bluebird, giant Malabar squirrels, gaurs, the paradise flycatcher, and the emerald dove. Pakshipatahalm is located at a distance of 36 km from Mananthavady. Travellers will have to seek prior permission from the forest department to visit the sanctuary. In the past, the eagle King called Garuda rested on a rock and hence the rock got the name ‘Garudakunnu’.

Kuruwadweep

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Kurwadweep is one of the famous islands in Kerala. The island is uninhabited. Migratory birds and animals are ruling these 950 acres of land. Visitors will have to get prior permission from the forest department for visiting the island. The island is famous for bamboo rafting, swimming, and also trekking.

Trekking and bird spotting are the major activities practised by travellers and locals. Travellers usually visit the iconic destination by availing of packages from the travel operator called Dream Holidays. If you have any concerns regarding the package you can directly contact the customer support team.