Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chandanakkampara, Kannur

A place that is quite popular among basketball players in Kerala but could have been popular with tourism as well !! Surrounded by Hills, waterfalls, water bodies and greenery, Chandanakampara offers a promising vacation !!

Paithalmala : A must visit spot close to Chandanakampara with breathtaking views and blood sucking leeches. A morning walk would be the best option in case you plan to trek. The government lodge close to this spot would be an ideal location to stay. You could take your vehicles till the lodge and then starts a trek through the forest to reach this absolute beauty. Beware of leeches - you would need some salt to keep them away.

Mother Teresa church - A flawless human being who led by example and showed the world what charity means. A church built in the name of this humble woman has a historic relevance of being the first few churches built in her name. Natives have experienced several miracles here. However this church remains unknown to people outside Kannur, probably because there was
 barely any publicity for this place.



Alakapuri falls : A small walk through a forest which leads you to a waterfall and that Alakapuri falls. Not often would you get to stand beneath the waterfalls. Do remember to carry a towel as you would be tempted to get drenched !! The trek to this falls reminded me of Meenmutti falls in Wayanadu.

Meeshakavala : Close to Alakapuri falls is a junction named after a man who gained popularity with his mushtache. Not sure what his name is but he is addressed by the natives as "Meesha" and hence the junction is termed as Meeshakavala. This small town celebrity is the only one to run a tea shop in these premises so do not forget to stop by for a cup of tea and bread omlet.




Muzhipilangadi beech : A 2 hour drive from Chandanakampara will take you to the only drive in beech in India. In case you happen to wonder how people drive their cars along the beechside as seen in some movies, this is the place that would clear your doubt. Surprisingly the waters weren't fierce enough to soften the sand along the shore. This place also offers space for people to learn car driving. You would also spot fishermen with their boats filled with fishes.

Quarry : Another spot in Chandanakampara that you could visit in case you have some spare time would be the quarry. Though there is nothing much that you could do here, the drive to this spot and the view from the quarry is good.

Apart from the above spots, there are various other spots like Sasipara that you could trek or visit. A native by name Sasi had apparently jumped off this cliff and ever since, this was place was known as Sasipara !!


Basketball court : This blog would be incomplete if I don't make a mention about the basketball court. It amazes me that the whole town is filled with sportsman spirit and in most families you would find at least one basketball player. Like I said earlier, Chandanakampara is popular among basketball players and this place hosts numerous tournaments inviting teams across the state and at times other states as well. Every morning you would find players of all age groups working out with their routine exercises and the schools in this town give more priority to Basketball than other sports.

This sums up my experience in Chandanakampara and I feel proud to have my better half from here !! :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015


A pilgrimage visit to Velankanni was due since 15 years and we finally made it. It also came in as a road trip !! #

Route : Bangalore - Salem - Namakkal - Karur - Nagapattinam
Distance : ~500 kms

May 1st being a holiday we decided to spend the extended weekend with a road trip to the most Popular pilgrimage among the Christian community. We started our journey early morning and reached Krishnagiri by about 7 AM. After a heavy breakfast, we continued our journey. Apart from a heavy jam before reaching Salem, the route was traffic free. By afternoon, our next target was to stop for lunch. We finally found a hotel beside a temple. Not sure if it was the hunger or the quality of the food, the veg meals was a delight. Post lunch, we continued our journey and we reached Velankanni by about 6 PM.

Accommodation was a big disappointment since we had not done an advance booking. With great difficulty we found a place to stay - Johnson Park Inn. A rip off in terms of room tariff but we had no other option. A suggestion for those of you who plan to visit Velankanni - book your room in advance since this place is crowded beyond your imagination.

After freshening up, we visited the beach which is a tourist attraction. The beach was a disappointment since it was neither clean nor safe. We barely spent few mins at the beach and then headed towards the church.

History of Velankanni church - Portugese sailors were on voyage and were struck by a heavy storm. They had taken a vow to build a church if they reach a shore safely. Miraculously the storm calmed down and they stopped by a shore which happened to be Velankanni in Nagapattinam. They then constructed a small church in remembrance of their miraculous survival. This was then followed by few more voyagers who kept contributing towards the construction of this church.

Appearance of Mother Mary with Infant Jesus - It is believed that Mother Mary and infant Jesus had appeared on a pond when a shepherd boy passed by. This pond shot to fame as 'Marys Pond' with this miracle and later became a pilgrim spot in Velankanni. A church has been built near this spot and devotees can be seen crawling on their knees on a sand laid path which is a half kilometer stretch.

Healing of a handicap boy - It is also believed that Mother Mary once appeared to a handicap who lived by selling buttermilk. Mother Mary's appearance cured the handicapped boy who went running to the village to spread a word about this miracle. A church has been constructed on this spot as well, which is yet another pilgrim spot in Velankanni.

The next day, we attended the holy mass and then started our return journey to Bangalore. We reached Bangalore by late night and had a good sleep to compensate for the 9 hour long drive.


If you thought Gulf countries look like a desert, you are wrong !! My brief visit to Qatar was fun filled and much better than I anticipated... .thanks to the wonderful friends that I met in Qatar.

Though there is nothing much that you could do in Qatar, heres a brief at what you possibly could do here.

Souk Wakif : Located close to Corniche, this is a place where most of them hang out during their spare time. Formerly popular as a market for Gold (Gold souk), Souk Wakif is currently one among the happening places in Qatar where you could shop, roam around and spend your free time. There are quite a lot of Hookah bars here and most of the eat outs here have kept open air Coolers to beat the heat !! Visit Souk wakif during a weekend and you are likely to witness some Cultural events too. Srikhar and myself were regular visitors here and we even had a Jordanian Friend with us by name Osama (Sam). Sam often shared his experiences travelling around the world (including India) !!

Corniche : Google for Qatar and you would see images of Corniche for sure. A popular spot for Joggers since you get to Jog along the coast of Persian Gulf. The view of City center from Corniche is mesmerizing !! Another interesting part of Corniche is the Museum of Islamic Art and the adjacent park. The park is filled with visitors towards evening even on a week day. Behind the Museum is a spot which probably is the coolest place due to the gentle breeze from the Persian Gulf. Another strange thing about the Islamic museum - it resembles a women wearing Burkha from all four sides !!

City Center : The beautiful and colorful buildings that you find on searching for Qatar on google search - thats the area surrounding City center. A place filled with skyscrapers that are lit up elegantly giving a charm of its own. City center is a popular shopping mall amidst these buildings. If your weekend plan to watch a movie and do some shopping, then City center is the place to be.

Villagio mall : One of the best malls in Qatar which makes you feel like you are in Venice due to the architectural brilliance inside the mall. When you enter the mall, the first thing you would notice is an artificial stream inside the mall with boating as well. All those who visit Qatar are most likely to get a pic clicked inside the Villagio mall. Next to the Villagio mall is a skyscraper built in the shape of a torch which was built when Asian Games were hosted in Doha.

Pearl Qatar : One of the most expensive areas in Qatar is probably Pearl Qatar. Another place popular for its architecture. High profile meetings and the creamy layer of Qataris are found in this part of Qatar. This is one place which was a bit of disappointment to me since there was nothing great here. Probably my level of expectation was higher.

Katara : Lookout in news for events being hosted in the Katara Open air stadium and make sure you dont miss it. Katara has a park, beach and an open air stadium which makes it a popular spot.

Last but not the least, I must make a mention about Gokulam Park. This is where I stayed during my visit to Qatar. If there is something I miss about Qatar, then it would be my room in Gokulam Park.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sadahalli - Temple on a quarry !!

Man proposes God Disposes
When man disposes, God still remains intact 
Such is the power of faith !! 

Sadahalli is a remote area in the outskirts of Bangalore which gained some popularity due to a Quarry. Though it hurts to see a huge area of land being destroyed for the greed of human beings, it still amazes to know that a temple which was present at the center of the quarry was left untouched !


We were a group of about 10 all set to explore this temple in Sadahalli. After a visit to an oldage home, all of us headed towards Sadahalli and reached the village by about 3 pm. Though we initially had a bit of struggle to spot the entrance, we managed to locate it with the help of localites.

The trek was pretty simple. We passed through the outhouse of the gate keeper who guarded the entrance to the quarry. With a brief interaction with the gate keeper we got to know that he also has a part time job as a Dog trainer. A couple of Emu's were also caged in his premises.

After a 20 mins walk, we finally reached the quarry which was being dug since many years. The path to the temple was left untouched and all the surrounding areas were dug to such an extent that lorries beneath looked like ants !!

There was a bridge connecting the quarry boundary to the temple which was located at the center of the quarry. Though the walk on the bridge looked a bit scary, it quite easy to walk on it !! Vipin from our group was even seen lying on the bridge exhibiting his photographic skills :D


The walk on the bridge was very brief and we reached the temple in no time. The gentle breeze on top of the quarry was very soothing and soon the photographers in our group got onto work. A localite was also there at the temple premises. Aby struck a conversation with him to get some facts about this place. As requested by the localite, we clicked his pic which brought a smile on his face.

Devanahalli being a nearby place was a bonus to this temple visit since we got to see Aircrafts flying at a very near distance. It looked like the aircrafts were just a stone throw away. Vipin and Aby patiently waited for the Aircrafts to pass by for some good clicks.

After spending about an hour at the temple, we started our return journey. By now those who had fear of height were accustomed to the bridge walk which made the return much simpler. After having tea at a nearby hotel, we bid good bye to each other and returned home.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mango Mist

An IT project Team is not just about a deliverable
It also creates moments that are memorable !! 

A well deserved break for wiproites from Qatar Airways account. After several attempts, the team outing finally worked out on 7th May 2015 and it was delightful to see everyone actively participating in various events organized during the team outing.

54 of us reached Mango Mist by 11 AM in 8 cars and 7 bikes. After reporting at the reception we were greeted by the resort with a welcome drink. Following which, we divided ourselves into 4 groups and the 1st activity for the day was to come up with group names. The group names were "Smashers" led by Ravi, "Brave hearts" led by Girish, "Signatures" led by Ambika and "Spartans" led by Sony. I stepped into the role of a host for the day and it was fun organizing the events.

Balloon fight : This was the 1st event for the day wherein, each time were given balloons with a distinct color. Team members had to tie the balloons to their legs and when the timer started everyone had to run around bursting the balloons of their opponent teams. At the end of 4 minutes, the team which had the maximum number of balloons left would be the winners. It was fun to see everyone running around the park stamping each others balloons. After a 4 minute long struggle, Spartans emerged victorious !!

Dodge ball  : The next group event was Dodge ball wherein 1 group would form an outer circle and the other group would be allowed to run around inside the circle. The outer circle members would throw the Volleyball on the ones running around in the circle. The team inside the circle have to dodge the ball for 2 minutes and make sure that they are not being hit below the waist. Those who get hit below the waist have to move out of the circle. The team with maximum members inside the circle at the end of 2 minutes would be the winners. Again, Spartans emerged victorious with 5 members inside the circle.

Dumb charades : After balloon fight and dodge ball, most of them looked exhausted so it was time to relax. It was time to play a game with minimum efforts and dumb charades was the best choice. The 4 teams competed with each other and "Signatures" won the Dumb charades event.

With this we were done with group events. It was now time for lunch. Food was average. Since everyone was exhausted, food appeared tastier than it actually was !! While having lunch there was a slight drizzle which we feared would be a spoilsport for the day. But we were fortunate that the drizzle stopped by the time we finished lunch !!

Mango Mist resort had given 4 complementary coupons for adventure activities. These coupons were distributed post lunch. All the members were allotted 2 hours time to spend time with adventure activities and pool.

Shooting : Most of them rushed towards the shooting area and had their turns in firing bullets at bottles kept at a distance. Many of them managed to shoot a couple of bottles. Few of them went to the extent of spending all 4 coupons on the shooting event.

Archery : Few of them tried their luck at archery. Must say that the Mahabharath Character "Arjun" had an influence on few of them in our group.

Rope walks : There were several rope walks like Burma bridge, Quake walk etc. Many of them tried these activities and managed to complete the rope walk. This is where most of them spent time since it was a tedious task to complete few of these rope walks.

Fish spa : A fish therapy where fishes would tickle your feet for 20 minutes and eat all the dead cells !  Barring the fact that all would get to know how dirty your feet is, this surely was the biggest crowd puller. It was fun to see few of them giggling and controlling their laugh when the fishes tickled their feet !!

Zorbing : 2 of them would be made to sit in a huge ball and you would go rolling on the lawn !! While most of them were busy with rope walks, few of them went for the land zorbing. The activity sounded interesting from the experience shared by those who went for it.

Swimming pool : The swimming pool was barely 4 feet and quite narrow. But that doesn't stop enthusiasts from jumping into it.

Mist dance : By 4 PM all of them gathered for mist dance. Many of them were disappointed that it was mist dance and not rain dance. Though nobody showed interest to dance initially, the last 10 mins of the mist dance would be remembered by all for a long time. Must say Sathish had a great amount of energy in dancing and entertaining the crowd.

By 4:45 the mist dance came to an end and it was time for Hi tea. They served us with hot tea/coffee and bajjis. This was followed by sports activities. Some played cricket while the others played badminton, fuseball and table tennis.

By 6 PM we were done for the day. With a sigh of relief and happiness, the team greeted each other and dispersed. I'm sure this outing will be remembered for a long time. Thanks to all those who made it. Special thanks to Ravi and Surendra for covering the entire event in their cameras. Also, thanks to Ayesha, Prakash, Sreedhara and Sony who helped me in organizing this outing.