Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kumarakom Boating, Bird Sanctuary at Kottayam

Located on the shores of Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in Kottayam is touted as ornithologists' paradise. It will be a paradise of ornithologists only when the Siberian and other birds start arriving here in late November through late January.

I have visited the place two times. I haven't seen any birds on both occasions. Then again, I visited the place off season and I reached the place in the afternoon. Avid bird watchers (evidently I am not one) vouch to visit the sanctuary early in the morning to get a glimpse of birds leaving the nests in search of food. Maybe, I will visit this place once again while in season. In any case, the walk the paved path along the 14 acres of mangrove forest is a hearty experience.

If it is not raining, you can enjoy boating along the Vembanad Lake. There is also water routes connected to Kottayam and Alappuzha from Kumarakom. Boating is always a great experience. You can enjoy the cool tropical climate, rich water bodies, and splendid greenery.

Location @ Google Maps

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tripunithura Hill Palace Photos

Here are a few photos I have taken while visiting Tripunithura Hill Palace, Ernakulam the other day. Read the post on Tripunithura Hill Palace.

A view of Garden in front of Hill Palace, Kochi

 Getting out and seeing new places has been my hobby, for which I am dedicating very little time now a days.

However, when I feel like it, there nothing stopping me from getting out and reaching the place I plan to visit.

This visit to Tripunithura Hill Palace has been a very unplanned one.

 There seems more than few dozen buildings - all built in the traditional architecture style.

One of the buildings had a thularithara (a platform to grow a tulsi (holy basil) plant, which is a common sight of old houses in the state.

The plant has great medicinal values.
 The carpenters would have done a great job, making the frames on which to lay the tiles. Under the tiled roof, you don't need AC to escape from the boiling sun.
 The photograph on the left and the one above that shows the path from inside the palace to the pond, where the palace people used take a bath.

By the sight of it, the original of this structure was damaged and destroyed, replaced with a relatively new one.
 A scene from the garden. click to see it big.
Another scene of the garden. It is simply great.
 A side of the palace.
 Tripunithura Hill Palace is welcoming with the exteriors filled with plants.
 A view of the hill palace.
 The terraced garden of Tripunithura hill palace. You can see the place on the background.
The trees in the compound keeps it cool, even under sun.

location @ Google Maps

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tripunithura Hill Palace, Kochi

Last Sunday was a nice day with a quick visit to Tripunithura Hill Palace, the largest archaeological museum in Kerala.

We reached the place at around 12 noon. Being advised the museum will be closed at 12.30, we (my wife, Seeja and I) decided to explore the expansive terrace garden. We could enjoy the interiors at leisure when it reopens at 2PM.
Front view of Tripunithura Hill Palace, Kochi

The garden, although showing signs of wear and inattention, is wonderful with several thousands of plants and hundreds of trees. I think they have planted several plants of medicinal value.

There was a place to buy plants too. The claim was you can buy any variety of plants from here, but was disappointed with the dismal collection of plants for sale.

Luckily, you can take photographs of the garden. (You can't take camera or any electronic gadget inside the museum).

The compound houses a deer park, where we saw visitors feeding fallen leaves to the deer. I wonder if feeding the animals is permitted anywhere else. Then again, it is a nice sight to see the large herd of spotted deer.

The surroundings also include a children's park, a pre-historic park (displaying a life-size dinosaur, which I doubt is a T-Rex), a pond (you won't feel like touching the water though), lots of sculptures, and (I think) more than 40 buildings of traditional architecture.

The roofs of the buildings are all tiled. Only skilled carpenters can set the frames for laying the tiles. The roofed walk from the palace to the pond is a nice sight and offers a cool seclude under the scathing sun. It is a wonder the insides of the buildings are always cool - without any AC or fans.

By 2pm, we have finished checking the gardens and got into the museum. It was a palace built by the Maharaja of Cochin in 1865, which was handed over to the Department of Archaeology by the Royal Family in 1980. They converted the palace into a museum and opened it to the public in 1986.

Inside the palace, the floors are tiled. The smooth, colourful tiles feel cold while stepping on. No two rooms appear to have the same design of tiles.

The displays include mural paintings, sculptures, chariots, swords, guns, and several hundreds of equipments that have been in use a long time ago. It also displays kitchen equipments (like wooden chopping board), household items, etc that regular people used at their homes.

The part I liked the most is a vault, guarded by policemen. Inside it, you could see centuries old gold ornaments. There is also a golden crown that weighs more than 1.5kg, decorated with more than hundred precious stones of all kinds. The same vault (or is it a locker) has an Odyanam (an ornament for the waist), which appears to weigh more than 2kg. I wonder how any woman had worn it.

The displays also include depictions of scenes from day to day life, from epics (like Ramayana), and from history.

click here for more photos.

For those who like to visit the place:

Entry fee: Rs.20
Working hours: 9.30am to 12.30pm, 2.00pm to 4.30pm
Closed on: Monday
Location (how to reach): Tripunithura is 12km south of Ernakulam (Kochi), approachable by road.

There is a railway station at Tripunithura (passenger trains and some express trains do stop there).

I am not sure about spelling the place and I am confused with variations like Thrippunithura, Tripunitura, Trippunithura, etc.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Onam Illumination Works TVM 2011 Photos

The illumination work is a regular feature of Onam festivities in the city. I have been seeing the illumination works since I was a child. I still find it amusing.

I have taken a few photos of the illumination works, which I post below. (click on the images to view the pictures in larger size).

Onam Illumination in 2008

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Onam Festival 2011 Trivandrum

The capital city is all set for an extravaganza of Onam festivities. The seven-day celebrations begin on September 7, with Chief Minister Sri Oommen Chandy opening the fiesta at the Chandrashekhran Nair stadium.

The programmes include several traditional and modern performing arts. The music shows include a conglomerate of traditional artistes from different states, along with playback singers on 7th evening at Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium. The same venue will witness Ganamela (music performance) by M.G.Srikumar,Anwar Sadath, and comedy show by Babu Jose and Biju Jose.

Programmes and venues

Ganamela (M.G.Sreekumar & Anwar Sadath) - 8 Sep Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium

Comedy Show (Babu Jose& Biju Jose)

'Manpazham' (poems recital by various poets)

'Tharolsavam' (dance and singing programme by serial artists) 9 sep  Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium

'Indradanuss', a programme to honour cine artist Jagathy Sreekumar
Ganamela by Sujatha Mohan, Swetha Mohan, sreenivas, Lakhmi priya

Comedy show by Kottayam Nazeer team - 10Ssep Chandrashekharan Nair Stadium

Down to earth (Music Band by Biji bal and Team), dance (thandra), Comedy Challenge ( Live Comedy reality Show) 11 sep  Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium.

Metro Nilav ganamela ( Mano, Anwar, Akhila, Nishanth), 'Mimicri' (cinimala team), dance ( Shano cazim and team) - 12 Sep Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium

Onam extreme ganamela ( Rimi tommy, Afsal and Vidhu Pradhap) 13 sep Chandrashekharan Nair Stadium.

Classical dance forms (various) - Nishagandhi auditorium

Classical dance solo - Vylopilli sansikriti bhavan

Ganamela (madhu balakrishanan, Gayanthri, Jassi Gift, Najeem arshad, Raja Lekhmi, Ravi Shankhar, Jose Sagar, etc) - Poojappura Ground

Nadan kalakal (folk-art) - kanakakunnu mini stage

Painting exhibition - Kanakakunnu Palace

Karnatic music - Kanakakunnu Palace

Drama VGT hall

Drama N.Krishan Pillai Foundation auditorium

Panchavadyam - Kanakakkunnu gate

Magic & comedy show - Museum auditorium

Women and children programme - Institute of Engineers Hall