Ride to Karur, Kochi, Kanthaloor, Munnar, and a visit to Sahayagiri hospital, Marayoor..

One more Wonderful Travelogue from you Mr.Tilak. Nice. The pictures of Munnar are taken beautifully. ( One Doubt: Are the officials still not allowing bikes in the Valparai - Athirapalli-Chalakudy route. )
 

Tilak Francis

Well-Known Member
One more Wonderful Travelogue from you Mr.Tilak. Nice. The pictures of Munnar are taken beautifully. ( One Doubt: Are the officials still not allowing bikes in the Valparai - Athirapalli-Chalakudy route. )
Thank you so much rrstallion. During the days of my travel, Valparai - Athirapally forest route was closed due to Covid pandemic but Kerala Government allowed free flow of Vehicles only in regular National highways. Later during my trip Valparai - Athirapally route was flooded with heavy rains in Kerala. With continuous rains, I believe the situation remains still the same.
 

Tilak Francis

Well-Known Member

14th October 2021 Thursday

I had a very pleasant sleep.Woke up at 4.35 am, only to the alarm from a deep sleep. Got ready by 6am as Pastor Titus told that he will take me around Marayoor reserve forest known for sandalwood trees. Pastor Titus also said it is possible to spot Bison and Deer.
Exactly by 7 am Pastor brought Kattanchaya. I liked the Kattanchaya made at Pastor's house with mint leaf added to it. After drinking it, we left to see around the sandalwood reserve forest. .



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My Comfortable bed inside the altar.






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Inside the Brethren Church, Marayoor.




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Morning sunrise as seen from the Church​

The watchers were there all around the reserve forest and the forest was mostly fenced. Some of the watchers greeted pastor and told the locations to spot bison and deer. Pastor Titus told me that, most of them he knew as his Sunday school students.
Some women and children were picking up sandalwood tree seeds. Pastor told that the seeds were procured by plant nurseries. They soak the seeds and peel of the coat and try to grow sandalwood saplings for sales. Pastor told it was successful partially and sandalwood tree grows only in wild.
A deer group were grazing faraway as they were scared of women and children picking the sandalwood tree seeds near by.



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Sandalwood reserve forest, Marayoor.


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Sandalwood reserve forest, Marayoor.


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Sandalwood reserve forest, Marayoor.




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Sandalwood reserve forest, Marayoor.



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Sandalwood reserve forest, Marayoor.



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Sandalwood reserve forest, Marayoor.



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Natives collecting sandalwood seeds, Sandalwood reserve forest, Marayoor.
We moved to a different location in the bike and spotted a Bison and a Barking deer called Kelai aadu. I remember my grandfather telling me about their life in Peermedu estate where his father Mr Gnana Prakasam worked as a Writer under British, and these Kelai aadu were local hunting delicacies of the by gone era. Pastor Titus, hearing my story told that his father too worked as a supervisor in Tea estate and that was how their family migrated to Kerala.


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Bison, Sandalwood reserve forest, Marayoor.



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Barking Deer or Kelai Aadu Sandalwood reserve forest, Marayoor.
On the way back we saw workers harvesting Sugar cane. Marayoor is famous for its Jaggery. We went back to church and Pastor told me to come to his home around 9 am for break fast. I went and had break fast. We had Idli, vadai and of course Kattanchaya.



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Sugarcane Harvest, Marayoor





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Sugarcane Harvest, Marayoor



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Sugarcane Harvest, Marayoor​


Pastor's wife started preparing for lunch and were busy packing it for the ride to Kanthaloor. So I went and waited in the church. Around 11.30 am when the pastor's family were ready we went to Kanthaloor in two bikes. Jeremy and Jenny were in my bike.

First on the way, we went to a water fall called " Irachi para Falls", that was in Marayoor. The place was very beautiful with a river down below and the falls above with a small cement road inclined at 45 degree angle in between.


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Irachi Para Falls, Marayoor


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Irachi Para Falls, Marayoor



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Irachi Para Falls, Marayoor


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with Jenny and Jeremy​
When I was thinking about how I would be able climb the 500 meters road with above 45 degree inclination, I was told that there was an alternate route which would join Kanthaloor - Marayoor road.
Kanthaloor is located at an higher altitude from Marayoor. Kanthaloor is famous for apple and other fruit gardens. It is in fact located close to Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, separated by thick forest. In the British era, there existed an Escape road for British from Kodaikanal to reach the port city, Cochin, in order to escape the country in times of uprising freedom struggle. There is still a hidden forest road connecting Kilavarai of Kodaikanal to Vattavada of Munnar.

We reached Kanthaloor and Pastor Titus was going in front in his TVS Star city bike.He chose a narrow path and I followed him in my bike. Soon the road was non existent but saw Jeep tracks. I understood the route was meant for off roading in 4 wheel drive with steep down curvy path. Finally after 15 minutes of ride, we reached a beautiful picnic spot on top of a rock. It is called "Kulachivayal rock" . The place was beautiful with scenic view all around. We walked through the lemon grass that was growing wild on the ground.




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Dirt track leading to Kulachivayal rock, Kanthaloor.



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Dirt track leading to Kulachivayal rock, Kanthaloor.




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Kulachivayal Rock, Kanthaloor




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Kulachivayal Rock, Kanthaloor




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Kulachivayal Rock, Kanthaloor



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Lemon Grass, Kulachivayal Rock, Kanthaloor


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Kulachivayal Rock, Kanthaloor


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Kulachivayal Rock, Kanthaloor



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Kanthaloor Falls from a distance


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Pastor Titus Family, Kulachivayal Rock, Kanthaloor


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Scenic views from Kulachivayal Rock, Kanthaloor



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Scenic views from Kulachivayal Rock, Kanthaloor​

We had lunch after unpacking the parcels sitting over the rock. Some tourists from Munnar came and started a conversation with Pastor Titus. They become very happy once pastor Titus told what to visit in Kanthaloor and about his Job. Pastor did not forget to invite them to join for lunch. He said there were still extra Biriyani Packets to share with. They were delighted but, gently said no and reminded that they were more in number.
Pastor's wife spotted a new pair of ladies sandals on a corner of the rock. Pastor Titus, said, Must be Jeremy teacher's?! and giggled. I got curious and inquired the Pastor about it. Then he told the story. Jeremy's class teacher fell in love with the man and since their love was not accepted by the parents, they decided to commit suicide from that rock. On a fateful day, they both cut their veins at wrist and jumped from the cliff. The local people were able to save the life of Jeremy's teacher but the man lost his life. Why men alone ?! Blame on the huge parabolic curve of the jump away from bushes in the cliff!!!!
After Lunch, we left to see the apple and fruit gardens. Forest honey was sold at a very cheaper cost. 1 litre was only Rs 500/-
We reached Snowline fruit gardens in Perumala road, Kanthaloor. The care takers of the garden were known to Pastor. Fruits were available for sale at the entrance and they also charge an amount as entry tickets to the garden. Pastor Titus told the farmers have become lazy because of the tourists. The farmers show no interest in selling the fruits as they could earn through the entry tickets a lump-some amount. The sale of fruits were easy at the entry ticket counter which reduces transportation of fruits to the market.
There were wide variety of fruits that were commonly available in Hill stations. I saw Apple, Orange, Lemon, Tree tomato, Passion Fruit, Custard Apple, Berry, Pear and Straw berry. There were also some flowering plants around the garden.


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Straw berry, Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.



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Pear, at Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.



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Oranges


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Passion fruit flower, Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.



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Passion Fruit


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Oranges, Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.


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Oranges, Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.



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Lone Apple, Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.


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Mandarin, Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.


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Orange, Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.


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Custard apple,Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.



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Flowers at Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.


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Flowers at Snowline Fruit Garden, Kanthaloor.

We left Snowline fruit garden. Pastor bought some fruits and I was not interested to buy and carry fruits to Vellore but had plans to buy only the local specialties

I told Pastor Titus that I wanted to buy garlic from the mountain. So pastor stopped at a shop, a Tamil family selling the local produce. the shop keeper was well known to Pastor. In respect to Pastor he was trying to give away many items for free but Pastor Titus insisted that he should do business properly but despite that he gave me 3.5 kg garlic at a price of just Rs 70/-per kilo.


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Buying Garlic at Kanthaloor


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Buying Garlic at Kanthaloor
We saw the Kanthaloor falls while sitting and having our lunch on the Kulachivayal rocks. So Pastor wanted to try and see that falls . They have not been there and the kids were excited to see the new place. So, we stopped the bike at the end of the motorable road and kept the luggages in the nearby house ans started trekking deep inside the forest. There were many trekking paths and we did not know which way to go and there was no one who could tell us the correct route. At one spot when the bush become thicker and difficult, I told the exhausted Pastor not to venture any further as we do not have proper clothing and also mentioned his wife and the kids would be exhausted to to go back the way up above after that steep descent.
So we returned without seeing the Kanthaloor water falls. On the way back, I saw a 8-10 foot King cobra which crossed our trekking path. When I called others it raised its Hood and in fraction of a second, slithered away in to the rocks. I could not capture even in my mobile which I took from my Pocket.



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Trekking to Kanthaloor Water falls

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Trekking to Kanthaloor Water falls



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Trekking to Kanthaloor Water falls



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Place where I saw the Cobra while trekking to Kanthaloor Water falls
Jeremy was fascinated to handle my Nikkon DSLR camera. I gave him under my guidance . But when he wanted to carry and use it alone, I was not sure how he would manage carrying it on the slippery rocky paths, so gave him my mobile and and taught him the method to take macro photography.

..........to be continued







 

Tilak Francis

Well-Known Member
14th October 2021 Thursday .............continued

Jeremy was fascinated to handle my Nikkon DSLR camera. I gave him under my guidance . But when he wanted to carry and use it alone, I was not sure how he would manage carrying it on the slippery rocky paths, so gave him my mobile and and taught him the method to take macro photography.

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Jeremy Macro Photography


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Jeremy Macro Photography



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Jeremy Macro Photography
We rested for a while on a view point along the way to the falls. Both Pastor and his wife were completely exhausted and I reminded them, that it was good that we did not go down till the end to see the Falls.


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view from Kanthaloor view point on the way to the Falls


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view from Kanthaloor view point on the way to the Falls

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view from Kanthaloor view point on the way to the Falls

After resting a while, we started back to Marayoor and on the way stopped for sugarcane juice. The board said "Marayoor sarkara". Then Pastor signalled me not to show interest in buying Jaggery there. But the whole set up of producing Jaggery machinery was there. I took photos of it but only had sugarcane juice. Each cup of 200 ml cost about Rs 30/- each. Rs 20/- extra compared to Chennai or Vellore.
While leaving, Pastor told it was a set up to attract tourists. The main aim of them was to sell sugarcane juice at higher cost and to sell cheap quality fake Jaggery. The real Marayoor jaggery production will not allow any visitors and are in places away from main roads in Marayoor. The geographical index (GI tag) is given to Marayoor Jaggery as the farmers do not use chemicals in the production process.

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Marayoor fake sarkara Factory, on the way to Kanthaloor.


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Marayoor fake sarkara Factory, on the way to Kanthaloor.


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Marayoor fake sarkara Factory, on the way to Kanthaloor.

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Marayoor fake sarkara Factory, on the way to Kanthaloor.


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Marayoor fake sarkara Factory, on the way to Kanthaloor.


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Marayoor fake sarkara Factory, on the way to Kanthaloor.

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Marayoor fake sarkara Factory, on the way to Kanthaloor.


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Marayoor fake sarkara Factory, on the way to Kanthaloor.

After reaching Pastor Titus home, we had Kattanchaya. Then Pastor Titus and I went to the Marayoor bazaar to purchase the local specialties. I bought cinnamon (rolled barks like cigar)for 100/-, Tea packets Thalayar tea 500g Rs 110/-, Grass oil 100 ml Rs 200/- and Marayoor Jaggery 1 kg for Rs 70/-.
I did not wanted to buy spices and other things I could get in our departmental store, sold, may be slightly at a higher cost.
We came home and had dinner. I had chappathi / potato curry and Omelette. I waved bye to the kids and assured that I would visit them again as family. I told Pastor that I do not want to disturb in the morning while leaving for Vellore, instead I would meet and bid bye on the corner of their street. I left Pastor's home and came to church. I packed all the bags and kept ready for tomorrows long ride and slept around 9 pm.


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End odometer reading 55851 km.

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Marayoor - Kanthaloor route map.


Day 5 riding statistics:-

Start Odo 55795 Km
End Odo 55851 Km
No fuel stops






 

Tilak Francis

Well-Known Member
15th October 2021 Friday

Started at 6.20 am after getting up at 4,30 am. Pastor told to come home and have tea and then to leave. As I could not refuse his affectionate call, I went to have tea. The children were sleeping . I said bye to the Pastor and his wife and thanked again for their hospitality.
After riding for 2 km, I joined the Marayoor - Udumalapet road.

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Marayoor


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Udumalapet - Marayoor road.

The road goes through two wild life reserve, Chinnar and Anaimalai. Pastor Titus advised me to go slow and if possible to tailgate a truck. He also told about a single elephant which has killed, a girl in their church, while riding late in the night with her husband.
All these information made me more alert and pumped up my adrenaline. Riding through the elephant and tiger wild life sanctuaries were only fascinating in the four wheeler. I was in the fright and flight mode.
But the morning sunrise at the top of the mountains lighting up the clouds in the valleys was beautiful and made me forget about the scary animals.


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Morning sky, Marayoor


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Morning sky, Marayoor


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Sun rise, Chinnar wild life sanctuary.


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Karimutty Water falls, Chinnar wild life sanctuary.

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Chinnar wild life sanctuary.


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Chinnar wild life sanctuary.



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Chinnar wild life sanctuary.


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Chinnar wild life sanctuary.


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Chinnar wild life sanctuary.

I saw a Lion tailed white Macaque on the road at Anamalai tiger reserve. I stopped my bike and slowly took my mobile out as did not have time to take the SLR in my tank bag. While I was taking a shot, the monkey ran away. I was only able to capture its back.


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Lion tailed Macaque running at the far end of the road, Anamalai tiger reserve.


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Lion tailed Macaque running at the far end of the road, Anamalai tiger reserve.


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Signs of night party by elephants at Anamalai reserve. Few sign boards were bent and broken.


After crossing the forest check post, I had breakfast at Naidu Hotel on the road side. Two Dosai , a Vadai and a black tea. I guess I paid Rs 60/-.

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Naidu Hotel, After the forest check post



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My bike , parked for breakfast.
Then I started riding through Udumalapet, Palladam, Thirupur, Bhavani, Mettur, to reach Thoppur ghat road at Dharmapuri.
I had a pleasant riding through the villages on that route. Stopped once in a while to take photo or for a rest.


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Last view of Western ghats


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Rear view. "Bye bye" mountains until next time.


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Wind mills, Udumalapet.


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Wind mills, Udumalapet.

The road became very bad after Bhavani and worse after Mettur to Thoppur with lot of Potholes. After joining the National highway at Thoppur,


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Near Mettur


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National Highway at Thoppur.



I started cruising at a constant speed of 80 km/hr. I was in a dilemma whether to stop and have biriyani at Ambur for lunch or to make a home run for food at my house. When I reached Ambur, I felt the urge for home run and I cruised at 90 km/hr to reach my house in Vellore at 3.45pm. I had chappathi and chicken at my house. My mom was excited to see the garlic and Jaggery I bought from Marayoor.

I thanked God for providing yet another safe and pleasant journey amidst Covid lock down rumors, unexpected Kerala rain and floods.


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End Odo 56334 km


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Marayoor to Vellore route map.


Day 6 riding statistics:-

Start Odo 55851 Km
End Odo 56334 Km
One Fuel Stop near Mettur and filled 10 liters of petrol. Hit reserve at 56042 km
Mileage : 39.2 km/ liter (Measured reserve to reserve after filling 10 litres petrol)
 
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