Archive for the Photographs Category

Where do you meet God – Part II

Posted in Nature, Photographs, Travel with tags , , , , , on September 21, 2014 by swatiaiyer

Next day we visited Athirapally water falls.  The journey of around 48 kms which is normally doable in about an hour took us about 2 hours – we kept stopping on the way to take pictures.  It was by far one of the most beautiful drives I have been on so far.  The typical winding, narrow roads through rural Kerala were very good to drive on and more than anything else spotlessly clean.  There was just a short stretch of the road which was in bad shape.  To put it shortly, zimmmmbly enchanting! 😀

I was rather shocked and disappointed by my experience at this restaurant.

Breakfast enroute

We left the hotel at around 8.30 am and stopped at a wayside coffee house for breakfast.  It was a shocker.  There were no idlis or dosas.  Puri and vegetable were available – I guess the vegetable had beetroot in it since it looked pink! About 80% or more of the items on the menu were non-vegetarian.  The coffee was excellent.  I can’t really say much for the coffee in Kerala.  Ever since I left home, I had been drinking some awful brew called coffee – reminded me of “the coffee in the army they say is superfine, it looks like ditch water and tastes like turpentine”!  So this coffee came as a real treat – some real coffee for a true, dyed in the wool coffee addict.

First glimpse of a river

First glimpse of a river



From there we drove on and soon turned off the main road.  The road went through some palm estates.  Suddenly we chanced upon a river running by just behind the trees and vegetation.  Stopped by to take a pic.  All of Kerala strikes me as one huge picture post card.

Drifting clouds seen through a canopy of trees.

Cows going for a walk

Cows going for a walk

There was this lovely vision of the prettiest cows I have seen in a long time coming along the road.  It would take a crazy coot in India to go ga-ga at the sight of cows.  But these cows just completed the picture amidst all the greenery and looked so healthy and clean.  I got off from the car and started running backwards to get a good click. The cows did not seem to be in a mood to be too obliging.  They kept walking as I kept running backwards.  Finally!  Did get a good click.

Oil palm estate

Fruits from the palm from which the oil is extracted


The road wound through oil palm estates.  Got to see palm fruits collected to be sent for oil extraction.  Was good to have a driver who was friendly and well informed.

Mountains in the distance

Stopped at many places along the way for such clicks.


Athirapally Trip

Around every bend onc came across such sights.

Athirapally Trip

The first view of the Athirapally water falls from a distance.

Lunch Time

Lunch Time

There were plenty of monkeys waiting to grab food from visitors.  Here was one grabbing a bite on the sly.:-D

Athirapally Trip

Entrance to the short trail to the waterfall.

Any doubts

Loved the boards put up by the Forest Department in many places.



Not to miss the monkey tail dangling down like a pointer.

Good warning

Athirapally Trip

Here is a little one exploring life on its own.

Athirapally Trip

Another one in a contemplative mood.

And yet others too busy to notice the world around.

Athirapally Trip

Approaching the river leading to the falls.

Enjoying the cool waterAthirappally Trip

The river comes flowing towards the fall.  Entry to the river is prohibited, though one can cool off one’s feet in the little bit of it that flows between the rocks.  The waterfall from the top looks so majestic!The river flows away from the falls

The water falls down and flows away into the horizon.

Athirapally TripAthirapally Trip

The waterfall from below.  It’s absolutely out of this world!

All things come to an end.  With a heavy heart we depart from there.  But there is more to come.

We drive further from Athirapally on the highway towards Charpa waterfalls.

Athirapally Trip

Shortly after leaving Athirapally, we come across a mountain stream which is chanelled through a small bit of rubber pipe at the end.  The water is crystal clear, amazingly cool as well as tasty.  It feels blissful to pour some of it on my head – the trek down to the river and the waterfalls has left me absolutely hot and sweaty.

Another beautiful sight!

Athirapally Trip

Charpa waterfalls.

From there we drive further on towards Sholayar reserve forest in the hope of seeing some elephants on the way.  We do see a lot of droppings (but no elephants in sight) as well as a few pheasants, but they are just too quick and I miss capturing them. 😦

After a while we turn back and drive back.  On the way we see one more real life picture post card.

Athirapally Trip

We stop at Athirapally looking for a place to get some vegetarian food.  As luck would have it, we do find one restaurant where we get piping hot, fresh, thin phulkas and some very good chana!  Finally it is really time to say good bye!  Hope to visit you again Athriapally!

Athirapally Trip

Awww….. give me a break.  You are such a bore!  Will you let me have a nice afternoon siesta now!  Go away!

Athirapally Trip

This one though gives me a sad look as it says good bye!

Driving back through the plantations, we notice a nutmeg tree and get one fresh one to eat along the way!

Athirapally trip

This has been a glorious day.  Paradise, thy name is Kerala!  It is 4.30 pm.  We are slap bang in the middle of “civilization” in Cochin.  The anti-climax to a perfect day.

Kerala is a wonderful example of how progress and development has been coupled with environmental protection.  It has not lost its old world charm.  In many ways it seems like the Kerala of old which I used to visit as a child.  I am so happy to see that there are still some spots which are relatively untouched by the tourism bug.


Where do you meet God? – Part I

Posted in Photographs with tags , , , , , on September 21, 2014 by swatiaiyer

Answer:  In God’s own country!  Ouch!  Don’t throw rotten eggs at me for that one!

Seriously!  Do you want to get away from the din of city life and see something different?  Experience greenery all around and near absolute cleanliness?  Please go to Kerala.

To me, Kerala has always meant “home” as in my dad’s family home.  Every visit to Kerala with parents automatically meant going home, spending a few weeks there and visiting all the temples in the vicinity.  So my perception of Kerala was extremely limited.

Recently I had an opportunity to visit Kerala with family.  It was an extremely different experience.  While most of the family decided to visit Guruvayoor temple, I declined.  It was too soon for me after the passing on of my mother – my only surviving parent.  I could not deal with going there and missing them.  So the husband and I decided to visit some other place while the rest of the family visited Guruvayoor.

We camped at Cochin at a hotel close to the airport.  Cochin is just an hour or so by air from Bangalore.  It was a mildly cloudy day and we boarded a flight leaving Bangalore at around 1.30 pm.  From the airport, we went straight to a place called “Kalady” – the birthplace of Adi Sankara – born in the early 8th century  – who was one of the most revered Hindu philosophers and theologians who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.

Kalady is just a 5 km drive from the airport.  Here are some pictures.

1.  Janma Bhoomi Kshetram:  This is said to be the place where Sankara was born. A simple structure housing the samadhi of Aryamba (the mother of Sankara). The stone stupa is said to be from Sankara’s times and helped identify his birth place. Inside this structure are the sanctums of Lord Ganesha and Shri Sharadambal. We visited this place twice during the visit and the second time witnessed a thread ceremony being performed. It was so beautiful to see the sanctity of the passage of rite without any of the distractions of a big do.

2.  Rigveda Pathshala:  A pathshala is a school.  This is a place where the Vedas are taught.

3.  Sad there was no entry.  Would have loved to go in and see the place.

Sunset from the Window

Posted in Hobbies, Nature, Photographs on February 23, 2014 by swatiaiyer

Sunset 22 feb 2014.jpg (1) - FB, I4usSunset 22 feb 2014 (2) - FB, I4USSunset 22 feb 2014 - FB, I4us

A glorious end to a busy day.

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