Friday, September 30, 2005

About Wayanad, My Native District

Wayanad, the land of mountains and paddy fields blessed with natural wonders is one of the unexplored places of beauty. Wayanad district is situated in Northern Kerala, where Deccan plateau begins. Some believes that the name 'Wayanad' probably originated from two Malayalam words "Wayal" which means paddy field and "Nadu" which means land. So Wayanad means the land of paddy fields, in fact there are lot of paddy fields in Wayanad in between the hills and mountains. Geographically the western part of Wayanad touches the Western-ghats and the other parts is the edge of Deccan plateau. State boundary of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil-Nadu meets in Muthanga, a place covered with dense forest and wild animals; the Eastern border if Wayanad.

Wayanad can be reached from the districts Kozhikode, Kannur, Malappuram, Mysore and Ooty. The distance to Wayanad from these places is about 100kms. Nearest airport is Karippur. No railway lines touches Wayanad. So industrial development has not yet happened in Wayanad, which in turn helped in protecting her Natural beauty. People outside the state, especially from the IT capital Bangalore and other places like Chennai select Wayanad as the place for a two or three day tour and trekking.

People from other districts of Kerala consider Wayanad as an undeveloped place where Tribal people leads an ancient and undeveloped form of life. But I have seen a lot values among the people who belongs to various tribes whom are unique by their way of life and skills they possess. The tribal people who live in small communities under a head (His title is “Moopan”.) have their own rules, for maintaining peace and leading an un-interrupted social life. Each of these tribal communities does have their own language, but lacks written form. Some of these languages do have a close resemblance with Kannada, the language of Karnataka. Regardless of the perception of others, they have strong awareness of the rest of the world, strong views on politics, and other happenings around world. But people outside their community don’t know anything about them and they don’t interfere much with the rest of the world, so their uniqueness is preserved.

Chances of tourism in Wayanad are a lot. The tea estates surrounded by mountains with rich greeneries and covered by clouds makes Wayanad a heavenly place. Chembra peak is one of the main attractions of tourists. Chembra peak, surrounded by tea estates have a small lake at the top. Some of the places worth for visiting are Pookot Lake near Vythiri, the curved road through mountains which reaches Kozhikode, Kuruvadweep; an island formed by the a river spreading into two and joining together forming a land of 900 acres of rich vegetation, Muthanga; a wild life sanctuary where we can see a variety of animals like elephant, bison, deer, pea-cock, wild boar and many other. Edakkal cave is an ideal place for trekking and site seeing. The ancient wall paintings inside the caves are wonderful. Soochippara and Meenmutti waterfalls and the tea estates near these locations make the place unique.

A lot of other places of Wayanad still remain unexplored. The climate of Wayanad adds to the beauty. The temperature remains always below 30 degree, so life is easy. The best place for me to live is always Wayanad. The more places I visited the more I loved Wayanad, making me to think of going back to Wayanad again and again. The most beautiful days in my life or those while I lived in Wayanad.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A bike trip to Nandi hills (Near Bangalore).

We planned everything all of a sudden. After the lunch, I was thinking about how to spend the rest of the day. My cousin brother Ajeev was with me. We decided to have a bike trip to Nandi hills. We went back home to get the camera, filled enough petrol and started the ride around 3:00 pm. From Banashankari, we went to Majestic, then reached Mekhri circle, from their, took the Bellari road. After riding almost 50 kilometers, we had some soft drinks, then took a left turn to the road which leads to Nandi hills. We reached there by 5:30 pm.

The ride through the curved road up the hills with lots of hair-pin-bends was too exciting. Both sides of the road were covered with a kind of plant with beautiful yellow flowers. As we went up the mountain, the atmosphere temperature decreased in a sudden pace. The climate was entirely different at the top. We parked the bike, took the ticket at the entry point, and walked up through the steps. Dense trees and climbers made a beautiful passage up the hill. There was a place like a small children's park with swings and other kind of structures. We climbed further and reached the topmost part. There was a small temple (Yoganandishwara temple), one hotel, a police out station and some other buildings at the top of the hill. Nandi hills were Tipu Sultan's summer retreat and Tipu's fort walls still stand as testimony to history. The rivers Pennar, Palar and Arkavati originate from these hills.

We went to the other side of the temple. The view of the valley and the sunset was very beautiful from the rocks. We got a bird’s eye view of Kolar, Tumkur and Bangalore area. Unfortunately the battery was low, so we could capture only few snaps from the location. One side of the mountain was too steep and dangerous. The valley was full of rich vegetation with coconut trees, vineyards and small lakes and ponds. The wind blowing up from the valley was too chilling and fast. We found difficult to stand against the wind. As everything was planned all of a sudden, we didn’t even have our jackets. So we were not able to stay there for long in the chilling wind. We started back at 6:00 pm, and reached home at 8:00 pm.
See the snaps below, click on the thumbnails to get the enlarged view

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Beautiful Evening Sky

Took this photo on August 27th 2005 from the terrace of the rented house where I stays currently in Bangalore. I was about to leave to my friend's house and before that, I climbed up the terrace to get my clothes kept for drying. Then I saw the beautiful evening sky in dazzling yellow and red color, clouds forming strange desing. Immediately I ran down to get the camera to capture the wonderful scene. Took 5 minutes for me to reach back, then the dazzling color has faded a little bit. But I got this beautiful view. Many of the time when I saw such a beautiful scene, I didn't have a camera with me. I tried to take a panoramic view, but within a short while, the light faded as the side hide behind the clouds. I was so glad after that since I felt like I have photographed something like the scene of a lightning strikes the earth.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Beauty of Silence and Darkness.

Imagine complete silence in a moonlit night without any artificial lights. I haven't experienced the same since I started my life in Bangalore. Getting a chance to enjoy the beauty of darkness and silence is a remote dream for people living in cities like Bangalore. Cities are always lighted with lots of huge sodium vapor lamps, and fluorescent lights. In cities if we look at the sky in night we can see the light reflecting from the clouds and it will almost like the late evening sky. We can see clouds in orange color (Let me call it, the sodium vapor lamp effect.)

But in villages like Payyampally (my home) the night is always dark except for the moon light or the lights from the stars. In Malayalam the light from the stars in a night without moon light is called the “Nattuvelicham”. I am sure that people living in cities will never experience this.

In my home town, a cloudy night means a complete dark night. And the one night which falls on the new moon during monsoon is the one which is the darkest night. The feeling of being out in the the cultivation lands in such a dark night and silence is something which I can’t describe. We call it the “Karkadaka Karupu” in Malayalam. “Karkadaka” stands for the particular month and “Karupu” means black.

During my schooling days, I used to go for patrolling in our plots in the night with my brother (Babu V Jacob), during the harvest season of pepper and watering season of coffee plants. Sitting some where in the cultivation fields and listening to the sounds coming from the nature is a great experience. If it is a full moon day with no clouds, the beauty of the nature tenfolds. We can see everything clearly, though it is dark. Watching the distant mountains in dark blue color, and the leaves of trees and coconut leaves shining in the moon light!!!! Oh! I don’t know about when I will be able to feel these amazing moments in my life once again. I love the scene of the fog getting developed in such a full moon night slowly and slowly and at last hiding the moon leaving a hallow in its place. Even the black and white clouds and silver lining at their edges in such a night is soo beautiful to watch.