Monday, March 10, 2008

A Trip To Remember …

At last after 50 decades of perfect planning ( of course exaggerated ) Mr.Vetti Vishwaanth came up with an exotic Kodai Plan ( What did I say Kodai ?…. Actually it all started with a plan to the mighty Goa. Then everything fell(literally) in places the budget, the people, time everything. So we half heartedly postponed the “Goa trip” and came up with the “Exotic Kodai” plan. ).As per Mr.Vetti eight ppl agreed to come but at last we were left with only three Mr.Vetti , Hari and me.

From the Start of this plan everything went on with uncertainty. Nothing went as planed( plan courtesy Vishwaanth). In fact this made the whole trip more interesting and worth exploring. We decided to go on with a three day trip , so we booked the tickets for 22 night in Pandian express. As it was in waiting list my mom (Southern Railway employee) made arrangements for confirming it. We were sure that we would get the tickets confirmed. But being a weekending we could get tickets confirmed only in the Holiday Special train. We were all set for the trip and boarded the train without much trouble. The next day morning (23/02/2008) we were supposed to get down in Kodaikanal Road. But god decided otherwise . we picked our luggage and was ready to get down the train didn’t stop in Kodai Road (Specials don stop there it seems).We had to alight at Madurai. Right at the first move plans collapsed. We then took a bus from the Madurai junction to Aarapalayam(main bus stand).From there we took a bus to Kodaikanal.

Day 1-The Arrival :

The route to Kodaikanal was a fantastic experience by itself. The hairpin bend
and the enthralling view of the mist amidst the mountain peaks along with the cool breeze provided the necessary build up for the whole tour. The next 3 hours was spent wondering how god had architected this wonderful place(not to mention the nonstop clicking of camera by Mr.Vetti). Atlast we reached Kodai by 4.30pm when we were supposed to have reached there by 10am , thanks to the confusion in the trains. We were received there by our cab driver Mr.Murugan We then had our first meal of the day(time 4.30 pm) in Astoria , the hotel recommended by all people who visit Kodai. Ya it was good . Then we went to our room which vishwaanth had booked for our stay. The room was a compact and a cozy one with breath taking view from the balcony. Hey what’s this I have been to Kodai and no mention about the weather . Yes that was the spot light there. Mornings are pleasant and cool and in the mid day(1-3) the sun does seem to pop up ,but the chillness is still intact and during the tail end of the day man!! Its Freezing. So cold that we lived the all late evenings inside our blankets(in front of the TV of course). Though the place where we stayed was a little away from the “city”(as they call it) it was comfortable as we had a cab at our disposal. We ordered for dinner and even the paneer butter masala had chicken(). Being a vegetarian I refrained from eating. Heard food was bad. The rest is goodnight sleep after a long and “ happening” day.

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Day 2-The Local Sight seeing :

The morning started with me waking around 6.00 am. Then all three of us after the necessary morning chores (Kalai Kadangal) set out on and “Explore UR Surrounding” trip. True to the fascinating splendor of the Kodai ever place was a worth watch. It was a lane devoid of people (arra it was 7.00 in the morning yaar) with lush green surroundings. We were truly amazed by the place where we stayed. It was actually a little bit higher in altitude than the main Kodaikanal. So we did come to a spot where it sloped down with a path down to where there were some houses. This path in particular was covered with thick green blanket on both sides and was very calm as though no one ever lived in these places. Had Wordsworth been here we would have got a few more of his masterpiece. We finished all our scouting and returned to our place by 8.30am of course with a lot of photo sessions in between. There was a lone tea kadai opened at this time. We hade a dose of the special Kodai Masala Chai and then went into our room. We had planed to set out for the day long trip by 9.00 am and the only plan that happened was this one. Our driver came exact at 9 and we left for the local sight seeing. We finished our breakfast at Astoria and went strait to Coaker’s walk. This is just a 15 mins walk through one of the high altitude lands that provided glimpse of mesmerizing mountains and a few valleys. After this we went to the 100 year old church. This was a nice quite and well maintained place. From this church we went on to Suicide point. This has been rechristened as Green Valley view . As there is nothing there to view there I took Hari and Vetti to the Southern Railway guest house were I had stayed long back. This place is rocking. Serenity is the mighty word. No one to disturb u .The guest house hosts one of the finest view or the suicide point from the other side. We went further up to the Sai Baba guest house. The view oh no! it doesn’t come into words. We took a lot of time enjoying each and ever aspect of nature with a host of photo sessions. Next we drove to the Pillar rock. As I have been to Kodai many times and prefer places without crowd I dint relish this place much. It is just a view point were all we get to see is four tall mountain rocks. We had a desire to go to the other side of the rock and our driver promised to take us there. We then went to Guna cave, the other side of the pillar rock( right through a forest were none inhibited) , the pine forest , Amaidhy pallathakku, and a few places of less importance. We were brought back to main place for lunch. We opted out of Astoria and tried Rasoi, a Punjabi dabba instead. Food was good but the price was hefty. Our last destination of the day was to the Kodai lake and Bryant park. As this was not the flowering season we opted the park out and spent most of the evening around the lake. We went for a pleasant cycling trip around the lake spoiled by the occasional stopping by Vetti for photos( occasional= every one minute).Around 6.30pm we planed to leave back to our cottage. We dint want to eat at the same place as yesterday so we opted to like on biscuits and bread this night. Then most of night was spent inside the room infront of the TV and of course Kalachifying Hari.

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Day-3-The incredible Forest Tour

As usual morning saga. Tea, the walk and back to room. We planed for the forest tour that would be awe-inspiring (as proposed by our driver). As we were running on a tight schedule and travel to Chennai not yet confirmed we had to be back at least by 2 in the Kodai bus stand. So we set out early. First we went to the dolphin’s nose. I misunderstood it as the one in Ooty(U2 ah?). Reaching to the place needed special energy. It was a long trek. We had to stop our vehicle miles before the spot as there was a landslide. We walked through the narrow and lone lane to a place where it bent in the undergrowth(no references to Robert Frost) . It was sloping and a bit easy to trek. We met all kind of people here from true locals to nomadic internationals. We moved in through slush forest and reached to a place called dolphin’s nose. “ I had seen this only in films”. Truly it was a extravagant display of splendor. It was like a rock projected into thin air surrounded by tall mountains. We went on to stand on the projections edge( surrounded on three sides by just air with no support on either side. We had a host of photographs there. The other side of this rock is the “Raam Rock” , this is a place where a scene in the Raam film was shot. It is a square rock suspended in the middle air giving you the required dizzy feeling. That’s all done. We hade to climb back to our car. It was a strenuous climb as we had not come prepared (we saw two girls with Hawaii slippers going to the place , what a tough time the would have had while climbing up). Then in a short while we were in one of a so called falls. It was just a brook with refreshingly chill waters. We then walked further up along the river to a place called “The tigers den”. No big deal it was just a crevice in a rock. But the walk along the river itself gave a glimpse of heaven. The time had now come for some shopping. We got a lots of chocolates ,spices and tea and rushed for the bus to Madurai. As the bus was already ready to leave we got into it with a few biscuit packets and juices. We came to Madurai went to the Meenakshi temple ,ate at the famous Murugan Idly Kadai and how can we leave behind the celebrated Jigerdanda ? we had a taste of it too. Then train to home sweet home(Chennai). This is a tour were we left no stone unturned.

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Though I have been to Kodai a copious times , this one is the best and linger in my memory for long long ages. India is truly Incredible India!


VZVT said...

OMG , no one can explain the trip in such a beautiful way , This was a trip to remember ,
A well Detailed Blog dude..

Super super super :)

jibak said...

Great Post, ajay!!!! You saved me a couple of thousand bucks....because I just finished my Kodai trip through your eyes, without spending anything from my pocket.... :-)