Friday, September 22, 2006

Pookot Lake – On a Rainy Day

“Another interesting tourist attraction centre of Wayanad”, this description will not do enough justice to the beautiful lake situated near the entrance of Wayanad from Calicut. It was a rainy evening, when we drove to this place and took these photos.

I expected the place to be closed and haunted in the evening, but to my surprise I found lot of people there, even from other states of India, spending their evening in boating through the lake and having hot coffee/ snacks from the nearby counters after getting soaked in the monsoon rain. The lake was on its maximum capacity of water and was over flowing in the rain.

The main attraction of this lake is the boating, but a walk through the greenish shade covered narrow road which surrounds the lake is a great experience. Some parts of the road were covered with water and I got my shoes wet, since the lake was over flowing. There is a good tea/ coffee counter near by the lake where we got hot coffee and snacks which valued a lot in the cold chilling rainy climate.

Near by the snacks counter, there was a small shop that sold hand made objects out of bamboo and other forest products and other products like honey, and lot of usual things that we see in any tourist location in Wayanad. A fish museum was nearby but the chilling whether didn’t allow me to stay there too long, since I already had a walk around the lake and was soaked in the rain water.

The Ghat section road that connects Wayanad and Calicut, the view point situated at the top of the ghat section and the Chain Tree or the “Changala Maram” which now is renamed as Changala Muneeswaran Temple are some other attractions very close by to this location. There Chain Tree is nothing but a big chain hanging down from a Banyan Tree.

The View Point at Ghat Section

People believe the following story about this Chain Tree.
Long back ago, when the British people where fighting against the Indian rulers, they faced a big threat from Pazhassi Raja, because the British soldiers where not able to defend the bow and arrow attack of Pazhassi’s army who hided behind the trees and mountains of this Ghat section. There was no road that leads to the top of the mountain, so that the British army was not able to climb up and fight in the plane grounds. But they found one man belonging to a local tribe climbing up the mountain and the Captain of the army got to know about how to reach the top of the mountain, but killed the man in order to get the fame of discovering a new path. Long after that, when the road was developed and was better for commutation, lot of accidents happened in the Ghat section (obvious in a narrow Ghat section) and people believed that the soul of the killed man was making those accidents. Now people believe that the soul of the man is tied to this Banyan tree with the long chain so that no more accidents will ever happen. Very recently, probably within the duration of last five years, it got renamed as Changala Muneeswaran Kovil. It is always interesting to know about how local traditions and religious beliefs get evolved.

The curling Hair Pin Bends in Ghat Section

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Misty Blue Mountains of Wayanad

Wayanad, the land of misty mountains and ever green forest is one among the 14 districts of Kerala, situated at in the North-eastern side of Kerala. The geographical location of Wayanad makes the climate of Wayanad entirely different from the other districts of Kerala. Kerala is a costal region, but Wayanad is a hilly area, the Deccan plateau is border-lined with the Western Ghats near the Arabian Sea and Eastern Ghats in the Eastern side.

Wayanad falls right in the border – the Western Ghat or Sahyaparvatham (Sahya Ghats). The monsoon that starts in June which plays a major role in Kerala never leaves Wayanad without a good rainy season. Even in other seasons, the mountains near the Western border of Wayanad will be covered with mists.

Even though I belong to Wayanad, my fascination about the misty blue mountains of Wayanad never get stopped. The distant view of these various mountains turn much more vivid in the coming months, especially in a bright morning after a rain in the previous day. Some of these snaps of the mountains you are seeing here are taken from Calicut while driving towards Wayanad through the Thamaraserry Ghat road.

My mother had told me once, that during her childhood (that is in the 1950s) people in Wayanad use to wear a woolen cloth even during the mid day to protect them from the chilling cold weather. The climate changed a lot during the last 50 years due to deforestation in Wayanad, as well as the due to the global climate changes.

Ever in your life if you gets an opportunity to trek in one of these mountains, don’t forget to step into a small stream that flows down from the mountain, you will fell the chilling cold water doing magic. If you are able to wash your face or take a bath in the water, you will feel refreshed amazingly, ready for another 10kms trekking.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Beauty of Peruvannamuzhi Dam and Hills

Peruvannamuzhi is situated in Kozhikode (Calicut) about 60Kms away from the district head quarters. I got a chance to drive along with my brother, through the nearby places where the back waters of the dam extends, last week while we were going to his wife house at Kallanode.

We started our journey from Wayanad and reached the place after driving down towards Calicut through the exotic Kuttiadi ghat section (Sahya ghat section or the Western ghat) covered with fog. We didn’t go the actual location of the dam, but got some nice views of the water storage area of the Peruvannamuzhi dam.

Panoramic view of the Peruvannamuzhi.

Behind the scene we can see the blue “Sahyaparvatham” tall and proud which plays an important role in controlling the climate of Kerala. The rainy season is not over and the effect of the same can be seen in the photos, the sky is grey with clouds and the nature is filled with rich green vegetation.

There is lots of picnic and trekking locations in Peruvannamuzhi which I wish to explore in the future. The beauty of this place adds to the statement “God’s Own Country”.

Some more pictures

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Paddy cultivation is an important one for the farmers of Kerala. Generally the cultivation starts along with the Monsoon and ends in December when there is only one harvest per year. Using advanced seeds, developed by scientific methods, there can be two or three harvest per year and the timings vary accordingly. The cultivation in odd times using these seeds are called “Punchakrishi” and the paddy field which is artificially irrigated for such purpose is called “Punchapadam”.

The paddy cultivation cycle is interesting to learn. It starts with making the seed ready for sawing in the paddy field. The seed is made ready by dipping it in water mixed with cow-dung and keeping it in the same wet sack for one day. Next day the seeds will be sprouted.

These sprouted seeds are then thrown and spread in the specially ploughed and kept ready area called “Njattumkandam”. (Vithuvithaykkal) Once the seeds are of enough growth, the rice seedlings (“Njaru”) are transplanted to the other paddy fields. This process is called “Njaru nadeel”. The expertise of the tribal people in Kerala to do this process is worth mentioning.

The paddy fields should have enough water in it till the rice is full grown and it is a tedious job to keep enough water in the field. Crabs will make holes from one paddy field to a low lying one, so that the water will start flowing though the hole made and it can wait for its prey in the flowing water to have a nice meal. But for the farmer, his duty is to find these holes dig by the crab and patch it so that the water is preserved in the fields.

Paddy cultivation holds an important role in the preservation of underground water. In recent times, farmers are getting used to plant arecanut and plantain in paddy fields since paddy cultivation is not that profitable. Paddy fields being used for other purposes are now imposing a huge threat to the underground water refilling process, since other than paddy, all other cultivation in paddy fields require no water to be hold in the fields, so the natural rainwater harvesting process is being disrupted.

I will be back with the photos of the paddy harvesting season, in the month of December.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Chirping Birds of the Dawn

A sweet dawn of my village will start with the chirping sounds of birds, Cock-A-Doodle-doo emerging from the deep silence of the night. People who start their daily routine are very few. They may be the farmers who have cows to milk and sell it in the society, some farmers who have to start plough in the fields early so that the bullocks doesn’t get tired in the hot sun and some workers in the tea shops who have to start grinding the rice and other jobs early so that they will be ready with tea and snacks at 6:30 am or 7:00 am ready to be served to others who start early in the morning. Apart from this, unnoticed are the house wives who gets up early in the morning to prepare food and clean their house and premises.

Today morning, at 6:00 am, when I reached Bangalore after traveling for 6 hours from Mananthavady, I saw a different morning. Of course birds are chirping, but their sweet voices are no more audible due to many other sounds so louder then them. I alighted at the Mysore road – Ring road junction to get the city bus towards Kathriguppe junction. The traffic is very much less compared to the peak time or the other hours of the day. There I saw hundreds of trucks loaded with sand for building construction set ready for business. I saw crowds here and there, which were actually fixing the deal or fixing the price for the sand in truck measure for those who need. Perhaps the place may be more crowded with sand trucks which may have already left to different construction sites to deliver the material before the workers arrive, if I reach there little bit earlier.

These are not only the people who start their life so early in the morning. You can see thousands of ladies who work as scavengers who clean the city so early in the morning. These women will have to work till evening or beyond that and start their life again the same way next day. Taxi cab drivers as well as drivers working for the numerous industries in Bangalore also start their life so early. One another interesting thing I saw was bus conductors who works gets up early and trying to reach their work place by getting into the BMTC bus which I boarded towards Kathriguppe circle. They were more than the number of passengers in the bus. They were sharing their experience on the last day as well what to do today. Their friendship gang will be able to have a gathering like this only the next day very morning.

Some others who start their life early are the workers of tea shops who make breakfast or better call it morning tea for those described above. If I start listing the different group of citizen who starts their morning so early, it won’t end today. But I would like to talk something regarding the people who start their life late in the morning. These set of people includes me also. We start our life at 7:00 am or 8:00 am. When we walk out towards our office, if we face any difficulties due to the traffic or lack of cleanliness in public places, we start complaining. We complain about the busy traffic, we complain about the crowded BMTC buses, we complain about the auto guys for not stopping to give a lift, we complain about the rash driving of other vehicles, we complain about the government who are not providing enough infrastructure and the list goes on like that. But when we spit of litter on the public place, we never are bothered about the people who cleans it after us.

When I write about this, I would like to share something from MindTree. In the refreshing rooms of MindTree we see small cards here and there, especially near the wash basins, with the script “When we splash water, one human being is cleaning it after us, be considerate”. When we complain a lot, we are never considerate about those people who start thief life so early in the morning who does the activities which enable others to life, or we can say the enabling team. Those people never are bothered about the infrastructure problems or the traffic problems etc. They don’t complain about not having enough vehicles to commute towards thief work place. Or even if they have some complaints no body hears it in the crowd, and the strangely they are working so early when others like us sleeping and not hearing their cries.

Next time when we complain about something, think about ourselves and find out whether our deeds make us deserved for murmuring against these uncomfortable situations. Think and find out whether we have done what we can towards the solution. After all be considerate.