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Month: December 2017

Sri Bhagavan Jayanthi: Devotees celebrate the birthday of Sri Ramana Maharishi

Enlighten your soul with the preaching’s of Sri Ramana Maharishi on his 137th birthday, which is popularly celebrated as the “Bhagavan Jayanthi” by his devotees. When Vasudeva Sastri requested Ramana Maharishi to allow his devotees to celebrate his birthday, he said: “At least on one’s birthday one should mourn one’s entry into this world (samsara)”. At the age of 16, he met with an accident which was a near-death experience for him. Thus started his quest for the soul. He went to Tiruvannamalai and spent his entire life there, where later an ashram was built in his name “The Ramanashramam”.

It is very popular not only among the local people but equally among the foreigners. Many people from other countries come, stay there to meditate and seek the blessings of the yogi. They lead a simple life staying thereby doing all the ashram work by themselves. They make handmade crafts and sell according to their interest. Even though the ashram is inside the city, you can feel the calmness fill your heart when you enter the premises. The ashram is surrounded by trees which serve as a shelter for monkeys and peacocks. People believe Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi Samadhi is present there, where the pujas and rituals are be held daily.

His most powerful way of preaching was about the “Eshwara” or “Jnani” inside us. One should know the reason for their existence in this world and to find that means true wisdom. The focused question of “I”; the self-realisation will free you from the temporary things in life. ‘For whom it’s happening?’ and ‘who am I?’ should be the constant question to be searched. It is not difficult to reach the divine reality because it’s already existing. “There is nothing to attain, only question the illusion and it will disappear

Although his birthday is on 30th December, people celebrate it on the Punarvasu star of Maargali month (dec-jan). The most important ritual is the Maha Ekadasa Rudhrabhishekam which will be held in the shrine of his Samadhi. The ashram and the new hall where Samadhi is present are decorated with florals which build up a fresh environment for the devotees. The puja will be followed by the bhakti chanting, music concerts, spiritual discussions about the life of maharishi.

This is not only famous in the “land of Mukthi”, Tiruvannamalai but it is also celebrated in the Arunachala ashram by a large group of devotees in the city of New York. They follow the puja with recitations, bhajans and serving of people with Prasad. As the words of guru, the body is temporary but the soul or eshwara which resides inside the body has no destruction. You cannot change the world with your opinion but being an example. He left an example for us and even though he passed away, his soul remains immortal which guide us out of ignorance to attain our true wisdom in life.


Thiruthani Murugan Temple Padi Pooja New Year Celebrations 2018

Thiruthani Murugan Temple Padi Pooja New Year Celebrations 2018

Thiruthani is a renowned pilgrim center across the country for its famous Murugan temples which is one of the six prominent abodes of Lord Muruga. Out of all the poojas and rituals carried out in this temple, the New Year celebrations deserve a special mention here.

To the surprise of every one, the devotees reach the temple atop the hill by climbing the 365 steps which represent the 365 days in a year.

The devotees started a significant practice of Padi Pooja somewhere around 1917. It is almost close to 100 years that the devotees of Lord Muruga keep performing the Padi Pooja during every New Year.

Thiruthani Murugan Temple Padi Pooja New Year Celebrations 2018

Eventually, the night before the New Year is the special period during which devotees start doing the Pooja. It will be a divine experience to watch the devotees lighting camphor at  every step from the downhill, praise the benevolence of Lord Muruga. And devotees sing a collection of hymns called Thiruppugazh which praise the glory of Lord Muruga.

Furthermore, it is again a wonder that the number of devotees participating in this padi Pooja increase year on year. The Pooja starts the previous day night and special anointing and rituals commence exactly at 12 AM to mark the beginning of yet another prosperous year.

Finally,  after the Padi Pooja, the devotees worship Lord Muruga atop the hill and offer their prayers.

It is an wonderful ritual to take part in the Padi Pooja at the Thiruthani Murugan Temple during the New Year.

Devotees believe that worshipping all the 365 steps in the temple will make their life more prosperous all through the following year.

Come and join the delightful celebrations for an amazing New Year at the Padi Pooja of Thiruthani Murugan Temple in 2018 !


A hidden Paradise amidst the Nilgiris which not many know about

Avalanche

Probably all the travellers who have been to South India, might have visited the Ooty hills [Nilgiris]. It is the crowned queen of the hills in South India. However, many those who made it to Ooty missed a gem of a spot roughly 30 kms away from the Ooty town. This hidden paradise is named Avalanche. It is a reserved forest area with spectacular scenes to offer. The Avalanche Lake is the most attractive spot and the highlight at Avalanche. During post monsoon month the lake is surrounded by blooming Orchids, Rhododendrons and Magnolias flowers, adding more charm to this heavenly location.

Avalanche Lake
Avalanche Lake

Trout fishing is an exciting activity here. You have options to buy Fishing rods and other accessories nearby the lake at a trout hatchery. You can also bring your tent and pitch it at Avalanche and enjoy a great night outdoors amidst thick woods and the serene surroundings at Avalanche. Fire up the woods and cook your freshly caught fish and enjoy a splendid evening with your family, friends or your better half.

If you are a trekking enthusiast, you have numerous trek routes at Avalanche for a good trek atop the hills. It is recommended to bring your warm clothes and proper trekking gears as well. The temperature at times drops heavily and it gets really chilly.

And YES! Mind the leeches.

 

Tip: Best time to Visit– The post Monsoon months would be great for an Avalanche visit. The flowers, small streams, thick greenery and more, yes, definitely it is the right time.

Spots near Avalanche– Do visit the Emerald Lake and the Upper Bhavani Hamlet very near to Avalanche.

Avalanche Lake
Emerald Lake

Book your Avalanche tour at www.southtourism.in 


Arudhra Dharshan 2018 Uthirakosamangai

Arudhra Dharshan 2018 Uthirakosamangai

Arudhra Dharshan 2018 is the annual event where the Cosmic Dancer Lord Nataraja blesses his devotees on the day of Margazhi Thiruvaadhirai. This year, the auspicious event falls on 2nd January 2018.

Uthirakosamangai is the renowned pilgrim where the presiding deity Lord Shiva is present in the form of His dancing posture. We call Him as Lord Nataraja and He is present in the form of a six feet emerald idol.

The idol is wonderfully carved out of a deep green single emerald stone. The temple is a three thousand years old structure where Lord Nataraja is covered by sandal paste throughout the year except for this special day !

 Arudhra Dharshan Significance

Out of the twelve Tamil months, Margazhi is a sacred month. Devotees visit the temples all through this month and worship their beloved Gods. The ardent devotees conduct musical concerts and divine preaching throughout this month.

Out of the several sanctimonious events in this month, the day on which the tamil star Thiruvadhirai falls is of high significance. A large number of devotees visit Sri Mangalanathar Swamy Temple at Thiru Uthirakosamangai near Ramanathapuram on this special day.

The devotees are enlightened to the core when they witness the unveiling of the Lord Nataraja at the early hours of the Thiruvadhirai star. As they cannot see this on any of the other days throughout the year, thousands of pilgrims throng in the temple, wait in long queues and get His blessings.

Devotees from across the state, come here on this auspicious day to visit this significant Emarald Nataraja. The idol is open for public dharshan for specific period of time on the Margazhi Thiruvadhirai day. And it is popularly called as Arudhra Dharshan. Though Margazhi Thiruvadhirai is a very special occasion in all Shiva Temples, Arudhra Dharshan in Uthirakosamangai deserves a special mention here because of this Emarald Nataraja.

 


5 best places near Chennai for a weekend tour

5 best places near Chennai for a weekend tour

Chennai, the most popular city in South India, has a distinct ambience compared to other cities in India. The food, the music, the dress code, everything is unique in Chennai. Speaking about the people in Chennai, the Chennaites are fun-loving and are known for their love for travel, however, due to their hectic schedule, most of them miss out their weekends. We all know life is outside, so travel lots and recharge yourselves for the upcoming week. After a long tiring week, you deserve some time off from Chennai and here are 5 best places near Chennai for a weekend tour-

  1. Yelagiri Hills 
best places near Chennai to spend your weekends
View atop the Swamimalai Hill, Yelagiri

Do you wish to spend some secluded time on top of the hills? I have got just the perfect place you would fall in love with, the “Yelagiri Hills”. The unexplored terrain and the pleasant weather all throughout the year is a great mix for you. There are not many specific sightseeing spots at Yelagiri, however, the whole chain of hills and the surrounding landscape is a visual treat. Those adventure oriented travellers can indulge themselves in highly entertaining treks, of which the most famous is the Swamimalai Hill trek.

Trekking up Swamimalai, the highest point at Yelagiri, 4400 feet above the sea level, is a highly rewarding endeavour. You get some stunning views atop Swamimalai. Other popular treks at Yelagiri are Javadi Hills and Palamathi hills. Other top attractions at Yelagiri includes the Jalagamparai Waterfalls and the Punganur Lake. Do try them. Paragliding is the most sought-after adventure activity at Yelagiri, which is seasonal, so tune in for the updates.

Nearly 220 kms from Chennai you can easily access the hills of Yelagiri by road or train. Board a train to the Jolarpettai railway station and grab a taxi to reach Yelagiri just 21 kms away. Enjoy your weekend kissing the clouds.

 

  1. Pichavaram
best places near Chennai to spend your weekends
Pichavaram Mangroves

Pichavaram is no less than a heaven for the nature lovers. The thick mangrove forest of Pichavaram is the second largest of its kind in the whole world. It provides a surreal experience amidst wilderness. A 1100 hectare of thick mangroves await you to gift a one of a kind travel experience. Boating is the most exciting way to enjoy the spectacular beauty of Pichavaram.

Float through the serpentine canals and glistening backwaters sandwiched between thick greenery. For bird watchers, boating along the Pichavaram backwaters offers a chance to spot some of the rare species of migratory birds. The winter time which is December- February is the best time for a Pichavaram weekend tour.

To reach Pichavaram, either book a private taxi from Chennai or board a bus to either Chidambaram or Pondicherry and from there catch another bus to Pichavaram. It is 230 kms from Chennai.

 

  1. Nagalapuram 
best places near Chennai to spend your weekends
Water stream, Nagalapuram

Now, this is a lesser known spot to many. Packed with hills, waterfalls, trekking, swimming and excitement, Nagalapuram can be thoroughly entertaining for a weekend trip which is why it grabs the spot in this- 5 best places near Chennai for a weekend tour -list. Unlike the other 4 weekend destinations in this list, Nagalapuram is not in Tamilnadu, but in Andhra Pradesh. Trekking at Nagalapuram has become a popular activity over the years and youngsters flock here every weekend.

As you move along the dense woods of Nagalapuram, you would come across small streams, sparkling waterfalls and gorgeous pools. Relax and spend some time by the pool, collect water from the small waterfalls you see to hydrate yourselves while trekking and of course enjoy some beautiful vistas of nature at this part of the world.

Just 75 kms from Chennai, Nagalapuram is easily accessible by road. Hire a private taxi or you could use rail or public transport buses.

 

  1. Pondicherry best places near Chennai to spend your weekends

Auroville Beach, PondicherryWell! Pondicherry is not new to anyone. Weekend getaways cannot get better than a trip to the most blissful sea sides of Pondicherry. A 170 km journey from Chennai to Pondicherry would make a great weekend for you with your friends or family. The places of interest in Pondicherry are plenty like the Auroville, the Aurobindo Ashram, the Promenade Beach, the Auroville Beach, the Paradise Beach and much more.

Grab a couple of cocktails, spend time along the seashores, or meditate at the Matrimandir. You have plenty of options to spend your weekend, the way you like it, at Pondicherry.

There are n number of frequent buses from Chennai to Pondicherry. You could easily board in one of them or hire a taxi from Chennai for your weekend trip to Pondicherry.

 

  1. Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram 
best places near Chennai to spend your weekends
Mahabalipuram

A weekend excursion to Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram is a perfect getaway for those who are fond of history and ancient architecture. The UNESCO recognised rock-cut temples at Mahabalipuram and the city of 1000 temples, Kanchipuram, would mesmerize you with its detailed stone carvings and intricate architecture.

Start from Chennai to Mahabalipuram, 60 kms away. Grab a taxi or you could board a bus to Mahabalipuram. After exploring the shore temples of Mahabalipuram, headway to the temple town of Kanchipuram, 70 kms away. Again, it is your option to go by a taxi or there are numerous buses from Mahabalipuram to Kanchipuram which you could use.

So these were the 5 best places near Chennai for a weekend tour. Hope you enjoyed the article. There are more places near Chennai which could be a great weekend getaway which we will include in our upcoming articles.

 

For more travel ideas and plans tune in to South Tourism blog

To book your weekend tour from Chennai or any other cities in South India, just leave us a message or live chat with us @ www.southtourism.in


Kerala: Mullakkal Chirappu starts today

Mullakkal Chirappu

Alleppey, Kerala: The annual festival Mullakkal Chirappu at the famous Rajarajeswari Temple at Mullakkal, Alleppey begins today. The whole city is illuminated with colourful lights creating a festive ambience all over. Every year, from the start of the Vruschika month [mid- November] the Mullakkal Mahotsavam is celebrated. It is a 41 days long festival in which the last 11 days is celebrated in a grand style and is known as the “Mullakkal Chirappu”. Thousands of devotees from all over the state and travellers from many parts of the world flock to the temple to participate and offer their prayers to Goddess Rajarajeswari. Nine caparisoned elephants proceed to the temple followed by a large crowd of devotees is one of the most delightful sights during this 11 day celebration.

Mullakkal temple
Mullakkal temple

The Chirappu festival at Alleppey showcases various cultural programs which reflect the state’s rich culture and heritage. Popular artists from all over Kerala perform during the night hours and entertain the people gathered around the temple. It is a great opportunity for photographers and cultural experience seekers. The festival concludes on December 26th. Annadanam or feast is served to more than 4000 people on the same day and the grand fireworks display marks the end of Mullakkal Chirappu.


Nelliyampathy: A visit to not so popular yet spectacular hill station in Kerala

Nelliyampathy

There are many hidden gem spots in Kerala which are still not on the radar of the travel community. This serene hills we call Nelliyampathy belongs to the same list. Untouched beauty at its best- that is what I would say about Nelliyampathy. It is located in the Palakkad district of Kerala nearly 70 kms from the city. We, a group of passionate travellers from Cochin decided to make a visit to Nelliyampathy. We booked a cab for the trip. It is a 150 km journey which would take nearly 4 hours to reach during the working hours and therefore we started at 5 am, early in the morning to cut in short. It took us just 3 hours to reach Nelliyampathy.

Nelliampathy

The driver took a deviation from the Cochin -Palakkad highway shortly after Vadakkencherry. The hill road starts from the Pothundi Dam view point. Our driver Joseph briefed about his previous trip to Nelliyampathy. He informed us not to expect a hill station something like Ooty, Munnar or Kodaikanal. He said Nelliyampathy is not a promoted hill station and therefore there are no particular sightseeing spots we could go and spend time, rather enjoy everything we see en-route. There are about 10 hairpin bends to negotiate before we reach Nelliyampathy. Our first stop was the Pothundi dam viewpoint. It is one of the oldest dam built in India. We stopped for few minutes and enjoyed our first moment of joy during the journey. The view from that particular spot was truly beautiful. We could see the river over which the Pothundi dam is built and the surrounding hills at its backdrop make it pleasing for any human eye.

Nelliampathy
Pothundi Dam view on road

We resumed our journey and the serpentine hill road exposed us to some of the most stunning vistas of nature, there at Nelliyampathy. We came across the Nelliyampathy Waterfalls shortly after the Pothundi Dam viewpoint. We stopped at several other viewpoints on the road to Nelliyampathy and shot few snaps as well. The gorgeous tea plantations and Coffee plantations are a highlight at Nelliyampathy. We could see a large area of plantations spread along various slopes. These were actually started by the British during their period and later sold to the natives. . I fell in love with Nelliyampathy already.

Nelliyampathy
Tea plantations at Nelliyampathy

As we reached the Nelliyampathy town, we stopped by a tea shop and checked with the locals on the sightseeing places. They were really happy to know we were tourists. They told us there are not many specific sightseeing places in Nelliyampathy just like our driver told us before, however they asked us to visit the Seetharkundu Viewpoint and Kesavanpara which are popular for great views they offer.

We started off with the Seethargundu Viewpoint, which as per Google is the highlight of Nelliyampathy. A 6 km drive took us to the Seethargundu. It takes another 1 km hike to reach the viewpoint. The hike itself is exciting. We started hiking and on to our right, we could see a chain of hills stretching to the horizon. The clock almost hit 9 and the sun was shining bright giving us a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape. The weather is pleasant and cool. We were all in a holiday mood, cheering and enjoying on the way. We reached Seethargundu Viewpoint and I must say it is one of the blissful sights I have ever had. One of my mates started jumping in joy and he was running all along the small walkway by the side. We are standing nearly 5000 feet above the sea level. One false step and we are gone. I took my camera off my backpack and started shooting. We spend an hour there at the view point. The view downhill of the surrounding landscape was beautiful. Below is a view from Seethargundu.

Nelliyampathy
Seethargundu view

Our next stop was the Kesavanpara. It is again another viewpoint in Nelliyampathy 9 kms from the Seethargundu Viewpoint and 4 kms from the Nelliyampathy town. A 500 m walk is required to reach Kesavanpara. This was again a great hike. We walked across thick greenery on both sides of the walkway. We reached Kesavanpara and enjoyed the views.

Next up, we decided to explore the woods on our own. Nelliyampathy is a great hill station and considering its vast expanse of lush greenery at Nelliyampathy, there is a whole lot of options to enjoy nature. We drove along every roadway we came across. We stopped by and hiked many densely forested areas. It was pretty risky considering the fact that we would come across some really wild animals of the jungle, but the excitement to explore triggered us to just move on. Even our driver joined us and it was total fun. By evening 5 pm we started our journey back.


Chitrakoot, the holy mountain of wonders

Chitrakoot, the holy mountain of wonders is a place in a sylvan surroundings with the mystic beauty triggering  your curiosity to explore the “Hill of Many Wonders”.  Actually, it is believed to be an asylum for Lord Rama and His consort Sita for over a decade, exactly for Eleven years and a Half during their exile period, Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh is abundantly filled with amazing surprises.

And Chitrakoot is the place of astounding beauty with mythological connections with history. Actually, It is  in the northern range of Vindhya Mountains along the banks of the Mandakini River. And the place has one more significance that “Ramacharita Manas”, the story  based on the epic Ramayana was written by the sage Tulsidas after performing a hard penance. Ultimately,The  magical fascination and the secretive aspects of this place attracts tourists and devotees in large numbers.

places to visit in Chitrakoot:

First of all, The Ram Ghat, the most sacred of all the places in Chitrakoot, welcomes you with the presence of saints and sages everywhere making this place more sanctimonious. Taking a dip in the Ram Ghat and taking part in the evening Aarthi will for sure awaken your cosmic consciousness. Besides this, the tranquil boat ride in the Mandhakini River towards the confluence the three rivers Mandakini, Payaswini and Savitri is a divine experience. Janaki Kund is a separate water body which is believed to be the place where Sita used to take her bath.

Also, Kamad Giri is another interesting place which means the mountain that fulfils the wishes and desires. You can see large number of devotees offering their prayers by the circumambulation for a distance of five kilometres around the hill . This is called as Parikrama.

chitrakoot photo
Chitrakoot – Bathing Ghats

And, places like Bharat Milap Mandhir, Sati Anushya Ashram, Museum, the ancient Ashram of Rishi Atri, Gupt Godavari, Hanuman Dhara, Bharat Koop, Ram Dharshan Mandhir, Sharbhanga Ashram, Shabari Falls are worth paying a visit in and around Chitrakoot.

 

Out of these places, Hanuman Dhara is considered to be very sacred. After climbing around 600 steps, you can reach the Hanuman Temple situated atop the hillock. The uninterrupted water falling on the Hanuman idol makes you surprised. This places symbolises the belief that Hanuman landed here after his visit to Sri Lanka with the hundreds of monkeys wandering across the region trying to grab everything from the visitors.

Basically,Chitra means beautiful painting and koot means mountain, Chitrakoot boasts the beauty of dense forests, divine temples, and wonderful waterfalls amazing every visitor with the lot of stories told and retold. Eventually,One word to describe the experience of visiting Chitrakoot is “Peaceful”.

 

Kajuraho is the nearest airport at a distance of 175 kms from Chitrakoot. Varanasi is yet another option. From the railway station at Karvi Dham, Chitrakoot is only at an 8km distance. By surface, the place is well connected to Allahabad, Satna, Jhansi and Lucknow.

See it to believe it, yes, this is very true when you enjoy the blissful beauty and amaze at the mysteries of this place of wonders, Chitrakoot !


All you need to know about your Alleppey houseboat tour!

Alleppey houseboat tour

Who doesn’t know about the popular Alleppey backwaters in Kerala? Probably all those who love travelling have somehow at some point, heard of this paradisiacal land we call Alleppey. If you are planning to visit Alleppey, I would say hire a houseboat. If you are looking for the best way to enjoy Alleppey, it is a houseboat for sure. A trip to Kerala, the so-called “God’s own Country”, is never complete without an Alleppey houseboat tour. Hop on to a wooden houseboat, and cruise through the Alleppey backwaters in style.

Who wouldn’t love floating along the lake, with lush greenery on both side of the backwaters, and that too in a “house like boat” with all the amenities you would find in a hotel. Also depending on your budget you can choose between standard houseboats to luxury houseboats. It depends on your travel style.

About the cruise experience

For me, personally, I love houseboats. I have had an Alleppey houseboat tour a couple of times with my family. For an overnight houseboat cruise, the check-in time is 12 pm noon and check-out time is 9 am the next day. The houseboat guys come to receive us on road and lead us to the houseboat boarding point. The houseboat crew is really welcoming and helpful. As we hop into the houseboat they help us with a refreshing welcome drink, mostly a fruit punch or tender coconut.

Next up the cruise starts and your Alleppey houseboat tour begin as well. Alleppey starts to slowly reveals itself to you. Enjoy every scene of the Alleppey countryside. As the houseboat captain steers through narrow canals and remote village sides, you could see the day to day lives of Alleppey people, churches, schools, toddy shops, fish markets and more. The paddy fields, coconut farms, the people, every sight is a delight for a traveller. By noon, you will be provided with a sumptuous Kerala lunch with the local special Meen curry [fish curry] and other dishes. Evening the crew serves you Tea/Coffee along with local Kerala snacks, such as Banana Fry, Uzhunnu Vada etc.

The cruise duration varies as per your boarding time. Generally, the timing is 12 pm to 5:30 pm and after that, the houseboat will be anchored by the side and rest of the night you spend inside the houseboat. Due to safety reasons, the houseboats are not allowed to run after dusk. Meanwhile, you can have a short evening walk through the Alleppey villages on your own which are pretty interesting and enjoyed by all.

Alleppey houseboat tour
Evening village walk

At night, a delicious dinner is prepared for you on board by the houseboat crew. If you wish to taste any particular freshwater fish, you have options to buy it on the way. The crew will help you pick your favourite fish and cook exclusively for you as per your preference for your meal. Enjoy! Kerala food is simply great to try. if you are a vegetarian? No worries, do let your tour operator know it beforehand and you will be served some mouth drooling Vegetarian Kerala food as well.

Alleppey houseboat tour

Category of houseboats

Houseboats are of different categories to suit different types of guests and their budget. Basically, there are 3 categories-

  • Standard

Standard houseboats have all the necessary amenities that we need and it is enough to enjoy the stunning Alleppey backwaters.

  • Premium

Premium houseboats are more aesthetically appealing with glass covered fully air-conditioned interiors.

  • Luxury

Luxury houseboats, just as the name suggests, they are pretty grand and luxurious.

Note: There is one bedroom to 4 bedroom houseboats available as per the number of persons travelling, let it be your family or a group of friends, you can enjoy your Alleppey houseboat tour together. There are very few large houseboats which can accommodate large groups as well.

Alleppey houseboat tour

Type of cruises

There are 2 type of houseboat cruises you can choose from.

  • Day cruise
  • Overnight cruise

Day cruise is a 4 to 5 hours houseboat cruise through the backwaters. It starts at 12 noon and ends at 5pm. If you are not interested staying on a houseboat, I would recommend you to opt for a day cruise. However, there is not a big price difference between a day cruise and an overnight houseboat cruise. Considering the fact that you got to book a hotel for your night stay in Alleppey, If you are comfortable staying on a houseboat, an overnight houseboat cruise is a better option. Again, it depends upon your travel style and preference.

Alleppey houseboat tour

Choose an authorised and reliable tour operator

Now, this must be noted. There are thousands of houseboats in Alleppey and hundreds of houseboat providers, but to find a reliable one is not an easy task. Often it happens the local houseboat operators charge you a heavy prize and provide you with a very cheap houseboat, sometimes very dirty and odd looking. Do remember to do a lot of research on finding the best houseboat operator.

It is always better to book your houseboat with your trusted tour operator who customizes and arrange the whole Kerala trip for you. In that case, you get a great houseboat as well. You can always ask them to book the best boat suiting your budget and style. You can also tell them your recommendations on how you want your food to be cooked, any extra amenities you need or whatever it is. Tell them and they will make sure everything is perfect for your Alleppey houseboat tour prior to your arrival.

We can help in this regard. The South Tourism Houseboats are all well maintained, classy and have a great houseboat crew who will see to it you enjoy every moment of your Alleppey houseboat tour. We have a great range of customized houseboats of various categories. A dedicated houseboat branch in Alleppey ensures a hassle-free and memorable houseboat tour to all our clients.

Choose your pick and enjoy the most popular backwater destination in the world in a customized South Tourism houseboat.

For bookings log onto-   South Tourism Houseboats

Alleppey houseboat tour


Athirapally Waterfalls in Kerala, the “Indian Niagara Falls”!

Athirapally Waterfalls

Often referred as the Niagra of India, the Athirapally waterfalls in Kerala is the largest waterfalls in the state. Falling from a height of 80m, this splendid waterfall is a delight to witness. It is situated in Chalakkudy [Thrissur district] on the 145 km long Chalakkudy River which originates from the Western Ghats and flows to the Sholayar Forest. The location is so beautiful that it has served as a setting for many blockbuster Indian movies like Raavan, Guru and Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se to name a few.

Though I have heard a lot about Athirapally Waterfalls, I never made a visit. Finally, last week I decided to travel to Athirapally. From my hometown Cochin, Athirapally is nearly 70 kms, a 2 hour drive. I started early morning 6am. There are 2 ways to reach Athirapally from Cochin, one is taking a right diversion after Angamaly junction which is the Mukkannur- Ezhattumukham road, and other is from Chalakkudy. I must say both ways to Athirapally are two of the most scenic routes you would have ever come across. I took the Mukkannur- Ezhattumukham road which comes shortly after the Cochin International Airport near Angamaly.

Athirapally Waterfalls
Road to Athirapally

From Cochin, it is the shorter route. However, if you are travelling by car, I would suggest you pick the Chalakkudy route as i suffered a bit moving the other route. The Chalakkudy- Athirappally road is in good condition and therefore a better than the former. As I started driving through the Mukkannur- Ezhattumukham road, I came across some blissful sights of the countryside. No wonder people love this route. There were oil palms, rubber estates, gorgeous rivulets, and smiling estate workers all along. The route passes through many beautiful villages as well. I stopped at certain spots for few clicks.

Take a look below-

Athirapally Waterfalls

I reached a check-post, where we need to buy the ticket to enter the Athirapally Waterfalls area. It is Rs. 30 per person. For still cameras, you got to pay Rs. 20 and Rs. 200 for video cameras. From there, nearly a 100 m away, there is a sweet spot for the visitors. We get a long yet spectacular view of the Athirapally Falls. The below is an image taken from the spot

Athirapally Waterfalls
Falls view near the Athirapally check post

A short walk from there got me to the Athirapally Waterfalls entrance. There are lots of food joints and other shops adjacent to the entrance. I started walking through the pathway inside. It takes a 10-minute walk to reach the first viewpoint of the Athirapally Waterfalls. From there I had a panoramic view of the waterways and the surrounding hills along with the side view of the majestic Athirapally waterfalls on to my right. You could see the same below-

Athirapally Waterfalls

A guard informed me to go for a short trek downhill where the “Big deal” is. I started the trek. The pathway is well laid out with bamboo handrails and also bamboo made benches for the visitors to relax during this downhill trek. I reached halfway, and unlike the guard said it did not feel like a short trek for me. I was heavily gasping for air. I sat at one of the bamboo benches by the side. Nearly half an hour gone, i still did not move. Maybe because I am so used to sitting at work for long hours that my body doesn’t like to overdo anything that burns my calories.

I resumed my trek. I guess it is more than half a km walk down the rocky hill. It is tiring, however, I could hear the roaring waterfalls near me, which pumped me to get through. At last, I made it. I saw a group of travellers looking up, standing in awe. I rushed towards them, and guess what- the same thing happened. I was awestruck too, I was lost for words.

Well! Who would not? seeing THIS-

Athirapally Waterfalls
View Point

The sight is just brilliant. I just stood there for a while witnessing the river water gushing down the rocky landscape surrounded by lush green mountains. A blissful sight for any human eye. The feeling was great. I was standing right in front of the largest waterfalls in Kerala. This waterfall is not big, it is simply GINORMOUS! I sat on a rock and enjoyed the sight for more than an hour.

For me, this is one of the finest pieces of art by Mother Nature.

I highly recommend all travellers, especially nature lovers to make a visit to Athirapally Waterfalls and experience the love of nature at this part of the world.