Travel

Apple Orchards

Posted by Vikas Sharma on May 28, 2015

 
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The beautiful appleorchards in Himachal Pradesh are a popular travel attraction of the state.While in HP a visit to these beautiful apple gardens is a must as here you canget to know more about the cultivation process along with enjoying thepanoramic view of the Himalayan ranges at the backdrop.  Shimla isimportant for apple cultivation. This picture is of the hill slopes of Theogwhere apple cultivation is the most important activity. Also you can buy lotson apples from these orchards on your way back. Apple is one of the mostimportant commercial crops    of    the   Himalayan region  and  Himachal  Pradesh  (HP) with 1.05 lakh ha area under apple cultivationwhich  fetches livelihood  for  more  than two lakh farmers. The wintertemperature and precipitation  in the form of snow are rtant  and sensitive  climatic  factors for   induction  of  dormancy, bud   break and  also  to  ensure proper  flowering  in apples.

 


Travel

History: Tiger Tourism in Kanha

Posted by Uday on June 21, 2014

 
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Kanha:Conservation

Kanha is World’s finest tiger conservation unit and a National Park. Situated in the cradle of Satpura Range,Kanha National Park is in a part known as Maikal Hills. The forest received early protection during the Raj whence wildlife all over India was on brink of decimation.

Post independence era the park received status of National Park and subsequently it became a Tiger Reserve under the aegis of Project Tiger Program. In earlier times Kanha was a contiguous part of Central Indian Highlands which are now fragmented. The fragmentation came about by conversion of forest into agricultural lands,settlements and denudation.

Tourism at Kanha

In the contemporary era of protected area concept many of the viable ecosystems in the Satpura and Vindhya Ranges have been converted into National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The protected areas offer varying degree of protection and seclusion depending upon the status granted.

Since the seventies Kanha National Park is receiving tourists from all over the World. During the seventies the safari was conducted in private cars and the forest staff acted as park guides.Most of the tourism took place in Kanha and Kisli Ranges. Elephant rides were freely available and the tiger sighting was good. This was the era whence the park was recovering from land use and settlements that had been trans-located -leaving few.

The park enclosure had been created for Hard Ground Barasingha and about twenty heads or more where kept inside a place devoid of predators. The rest is history of a highly successful conservation program. There are more than five hundred swamp deer now from a critical figure of sixty six in the seventies.   Some where in nineteen seventy six bison population suffered from an outbreak of rinderpest disease that reduced the numbers subsequently.

In the seventies the major problem for tourism was lack of accommodation and bad highways that lead to the park.There was no hotel in Kanha at that time albeit a canteen sold regular stuff including vegetables did exist. The first accommodation which could be described as basic was established by Kissu Chacha a relative of the canteen owner. I remember the shortage of food stuff at the canteen that nearly marred our excursions in the park.

Bob Wright was the first to establish a hotel in the early eighties. This was then followed by Nilesh Agrawal who established jungle resort with twelve rooms. I began frequenting this hotel during my excursions in the park. The resort went on to be the most successful venture and was later sold for profit around 2012.   Today there are more than 30 hotel resorts in the periphery conforming to all grades.      

Subsequently more rules were incorporated and tiger safari and tourism became well organized. The conservation efforts paid heed and the ecosystem flourished with increase in tiger numbers. Other forms of life also increased in numbers and the populations became stable.

I could see bison and swamp deer inhabiting areas which they vacated due to population decline. This was a welcome comeback and I was thrilled.

Stricter implementation of tourism rules made life much less stressful for the wild denizens and their numbers are constantly increasing to reach the carrying capacity.

The Zones

The park is now divided into four zones for tourism, Kanha being the prime zone. The other zones are Kisli, Sarhi and Mukki. All zones can be entered from Khatia Gate which is reachable from Mandla Township. The number of vehicle entry is now regulated in all four zones except in the buffer where safaris are being conducted. Total area reserved for tourism is 22 percent as per NTCA guidelines.

Kanha Tourism Zone comprises of large grasslands or meadows interspersed with many water bodies and streams. Itis the center of the critical tiger habitat. This area is most frequented by tigress with cubs as the open grasslands provide them with prey and security cover due to high visibility. Other animals sighted here are Leopard, Sloth Bear, Bison, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Langur and Wild Boar.

The zone also contains an interpretation museum and cafeteria and most important of all a well equipped set of toilets for the tourists.

Kisli Zone comprises of rugged hills which are low lying and table top. These hills are covered with dense forests of Sal, Bamboo and Mixed.The hills give rise to deep glens which contain numerous water bodies and perennial streams. These are the lifeline of the ecosystem.  The ecosystem supports tigers, leopards,sloth bear, bison, sambar, wild dog, wild boar, spotted deer and langurs.  The zone encompasses diverse habitats. It offers good sightings of tigers and other animals to tourists on jeep safari.  

Sarhi Zone comprises mixed forests, bamboo along the Sulkum river, and it is the most picturesque as well. This is the best place to seethe tiger besides four horned antelope, Nigai antelope and sambar deer.

Mukki Zone comprises of midsized grasslands and large swampy lakes which are home to the Hard Ground Barasingha.  The low lying region is surrounded by tabletop mountains which are home to many tigers. There is a separate entrance for this zone called Mukki Gate. The zone can also be assessed from Khatia Gate towards Mandla. There are many luxury hotels near the Mukki Gate.       

Buffer Zone Tourism

Kanha Tiger Reserve is divided into two management zones. One is the core zone or the critical tiger habitat while the other is the buffer zone which cushions the core zone. In the core zone no human habitation is allowed while this takes place in between the buffer forests subject to some regulations. The gate fee for excursion in the designated buffer zone is less and there is no limit on the number of vehicle entry.  This is booked by the tourists whence no entry is available in the four prime zones. The buffer zone ride yields sight of many deer and with luck one can see the tiger, leopard, bison and the sloth bear.             

Park Safaris

The park safaris are well organized and conducted by the Kanha Management with some strictures from NTCA or National Tiger Conservation Authority. All safaris are conducted on open jeeps registered with the Kanha Office. There are two safari conducted in a day one s in the morning which begins at predawn and ends at 11 AM. The second one begins at 4.30 AM and ends at 6.30 PM. The safari timings keep on changing as per the day light available.

The entry for park safaris is from the Khatia Gate and the Mukki Gate. The entry is booked in advance albeit on spot booking is also available. Advance booking is done on the MP Online Portal.  The jeeps for safaris are available at the Khatia & Mukki Gate. You can also use the resort jeep if available or request the resort to book one for you. Six guests are allowed to sit for the safari in the park.

The zone is allotted during the time of gate entry booking and the excursion is limited to the allotted zone.All zones have different rates which keep on changing but the guide fee is fixed at Rs.300.00 which has to be paid at the time of entry. It is compulsory to hire a park guide registered with the department. Recently full day safaris have been introduced for which a greater charge has to be paid.

Tiger Tracking & Animal Watching   

This has in recent time become a well developed mechanism. The guides and naturalists are expert at locating tigers using a number of signs that includes alarm cries of the prey species. Their knowledge enhances visitor experience by their interpretation of the ecosystem and morphological descriptions. Some of the naturalists are also good at birding which is very useful for the bird enthusiasts.   

Tiger Show: Elephant Joy Rides

Though joy rides on park elephants are still available tiger show has been banned. It is no more possible to see tigers from elephant back. This recreation is banned in all Central Indian Tiger Reserves. Elephants are also available for filming wildlife at Kanha but this is subject to a set of procedures. 

How to Reach?

Reaching Kanha: From New Delhi& Mumbai by flight to Jabalpur and then drive 165 km.

Best reached From New Delhi &Mumbai by overnight train and then drive 165 km. 

Notes: The Park is closed from Julyto October 16th every year. It is also closed on evening of every Wednesday.    

About The Author

Uday works as freelance naturalist guide for Courtyard House a luxury resort at Kanha National Park. He also organizes and operates Kanha package tours for inbound groups.   Uday loves to write on wildlife safaris and travel in India. 

Travel

Just Jungle Wild Life Safari

Posted by Ambu Raja on February 27, 2014

 
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Just Jungle Safari is the Wild Life Tour Section of Oviam Tours in which we Exclusively do Wild life Safaris, Wild Life Photography Tours, Wild Life Camps, Wildlife Trekking etc., in India as well as Africa

our Departure Dates of Wild Life Photography Tours & Program Details will be announced in our blog: 

http://oviamwildlife.blogspot.in/


You can also follow is in our facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/justjunglesafari

Travel

Snow Leopard at Hemis National Park with WWF-India

Posted by WWF-Explorers on January 15, 2014

 
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WWF-India have recently started nature experience program under the WWF-Explorers umbrella. WWF-Explorers is our attempt to bridge the gap the nature disconnect through a series of nature trails & trips. We have a very exciting opportunity for wildlife enthusiast to get visit Hemis National Park with WWF field biologist/ snow-leopard expert, Dr Aishwarya Maheshwari from 10th to 18th Feb. Those interested, please sign-up at the earliest http://www.wwfindia.org/help/wwf_explorers/
or contact karishma handa at khanda@wwfindia.net or wwfexplorers@gmail.com


C:\Users\khanda\AppData\Local\Temp\notes758E9C\explorer.html

Travel

Kakadu National Park, Australia

Posted by himanshu joshi on April 20, 2013

 
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Kakadu National Park is a World Heritage-listed site located in the Northern Territory of Australia, around 250 kilometres east of Darwin. Spread in an area of about 19,800 km2, the park is located within the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory of Australia. The gigantic park is as big as the size of Slovenia, about one-third the size of Tasmania, or about half the size of Switzerland. This biggest national park of Australia has much to offer: you will find here lush rainforest and rock art galleries as ancient as 50,000 years old, rugged escarpments. Love Birds! the place is for you as you can witness millions of migratory birds amongst the wetlands. Interested in wildlife and enchanted by nature’s beauty! the place shall exhibit you prehistoric crocodiles, delicate waterlilies, beautiful cascades, and thundering waterfalls. Also, you can learn about Aboriginal culture from traditional owners the Bininj/Mungguy people.

Best time to visit Kakadu : All year round except rainy season as some roads are unpassable then. Kakadu changes dramatically with the seasons.

Activities to do in Kakadu : Learn about Aboriginal art, explore rare and ancient flora and fauna, partake in adventure sports.

For more info and Video, visit-

http://musetheplace.com/kakadu-national-park-australia/

Travel

Kamakshi Tours

Posted by kundal roy on March 10, 2013

 
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Kamakshi Tours providing comprehensive and professionally effective service at minimum cost to the customer, using and utilizing the best available resources and technology. Also to nurture a work culture and environment internally and externally that promotes total commitment and growth, thus becoming the largest and the most reliable Travel Organization in the region setting standards in the industry for professionalism and reliability to the customer.

Kamakshi Tours offering reliable & highly professional services which make your journey a pleasant & memorable experience. Our services include complete travel arrangements e.g. Hotel booking, tour planning, air ticketing, train reservations, cultural activities, wildlife safari and a lot. Being a leading tour operator of Northeast India, providing all kind of travel and tourism information, guide, services for every Indian tourist destination.

Finding the right travel agent to help you plan your vacation can make the difference between a "just OK" vacation and one that you'll remember for years. We have a passion for travel and enjoy working with our clients to make their vacation planning go as smoothly as possible.

Our team is a group of qualified and enthusiastic tour operators and guides who will be alongside with you in your travel to India. We make every effort to provide the guests a real and rich holiday experience. We offer a complete travel management, in other words everything from planning to execution of tours.

Our travel consultants are friendly, professional, and experienced in accommodating both the seasoned traveler and those new to the world of travel. We pride ourselves in customer satisfaction. A large percentage of our bookings are from repeat clientele while much of our new business is from word of mouth recommendations.

Travel

Hemis festivals 2013

Posted by Discovery Journeys on February 25, 2013

 
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Hemis festivals remember the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, who was the creator of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. Huge contest drops on the 10 day of the Tibetan lunar 1 month. The vibrant two days of production is famous with excellent gaiety and passion. Individuals in joyful passion keep behind all their problems and stress and interact with themselves in festivities.

A grand party of Hemis event occurs after every 12 decades according to the Tibetan season of the Goof. In the Festivals, a two-storey excellent "Thanka", illustrating Padmasambhava is on show. It is highly stitched and very eye-catching and amazing, ornamented with pearl jewelry and semi-precious rocks. The oldest or the go lama presides over the wedding festivities. Another fascination of the Hemis Festivals is the vibrant reasonable, which shows some beautiful handcraft. Shopaholics can look for conventional handcraft for their visitors.

The Hemis Festival is an event here we are at the natives have fun with the vibrant procession. They decorate themselves in a shiny shaded conventional garb on this event. Cure your sight with an interesting hidden dancing conducted by the Lamas, on the beat of percussion, lengthy horns and cymbals. The wonderful dancing performance entertains the brain of every guest and persuade them to join in it.

The grand Hemis event is famous in the Hemis Monastery. It is one of the greatest Festival of Ladakh built in 1630, during the program of Sengge Namgyal. The Monastery homes the greatest Thangkha in Ladakh area, which is shown once in 12 years. There are two sections in the monastery - the set up area on the right and the Tshogkhang forehead on the remaining. The fantastic structure of varandah is outstanding. The surfaces are ornamented with surfeit of frescoes, the Buddhist 'Wheel of life' and the lords of four areas.

Hemis Festival 2013 - 18th-19th June 2013

Travel

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2013 by Helicopter

Posted by Mount Kailash Yatra 2013 on February 18, 2013

 
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Kailash is ruminated the blessed mountain on earth by a number of believes, faiths and religions and Mt. Kailash is also Known as Gang Tise or Gang Rinproche in Tibet.It is reputed asdifficult yatrasin the process, found that some places radiate and elemental energy not felt elsewhere. Mt. Kailash is the mother of all Teertha Sthala. KailashYatra is considered to be one of the most ambitious expeditions in Asia.Mt. Kailash stands south-west corner of Tibet in the Himalayan Mountains and raising at an ridge of 6638 m (21778 ft) it is one of the highest parts of the Himalayas and serves as a source of some of the longest rivers in Asia.The narrative in the Puranas, Mount Kailash's four faces are made of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli.

It is the conclusive destination of inspiration and the holy center of the world. It is a pretentious and outstanding commensurate peak which is made up of black rock. Mt Kailash is aawesome and amazing diamond like shaped mountain that is surrounded by beautiful landscape which is bumpy or rugged and dry.With great divine pleasure we invite and welcome all the Shiv Bhakts to one of the most sacred pilgrimage of Mount Kailash Tour. The time for yatra is from June to September as during the winter months all mountains and river lakes are frozen.

According to Hindu legends, Shiva, the god of desolation and rebirth, resides at the pinnacle of this famous mountain named Kailasa. Mount Kailasa is considered in many sects of Hinduism as heaven. Kailash Yatra by Helicopter has its own exotic experience.Lake Mansarovar situated about 2000 kms from Lhasa is world’s highest freshwater lake. This huge lake with the mirror like image of snow capped mountains in its crystal clear waters is just fabulous. The lake is located at the southern foot of Mount Kailash, stretching up to 55miles (88kms) in perimeter it goes 330 feet deep and about 120 sq mi of total area.

The best to visit the lake is during springs as it is during this time the lake melts and allows people to bathe in its holy water this holy lake is one of the considerable pilgrimages for Hindus and Buddhists which attracts thousands of tourists towards itself every year from not only India but also various parts of the world. Mount Kailash Mansarovar is the perfect destination of all the pilgrimage. Kailashparikrama is a dream of everyone who has faith in Hindu culture. Kailashparvat is a place where the soul merges in the purist Mansarovar Lake and gives peace and holy experience for whole life. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is not easy path to travel.

Some special attraction at Mount Kailash Yatra

  • KailashParikrama
  • Lake Mansarovar
  • GauriKund
  • Rakshas Tal
  • OM Parvat

The world-famous and Kailash Mansarovar Tours have been, the source of inspiration for many religions and beliefs. Despite many difficulties and long distances, people are keen to go there at least once in their lives.

Travel

WILDLIFE JOURNEYS – Kanha National Park – CENTRAL INDIA

Posted by Discovery Journeys on February 18, 2013

 
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Monsoon season has thundered to aclose, meaning India’s national parks are once again open for business. KanhaNational Park, one of the country’s finest safari spots, is a world pluckedstraight from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” Giant Indian elephantsrumble through bamboo thickets “in a military. The mainly two types of forestsof this national park: Sal and mixed deciduous.   

 

Style”, peacocks fluff their brightlyadorned feathers, and while visitor swon’t catch Mowgli swinging about, theymayspot India’s fierce Royal Bengal tiger prowling in the brush. The 1,945 sqkm wildlife preserve also shelters many other exotic and endangered nativeanimals. Rescued from near extinction, herds of swamp deer feast upon the tall,dry grassland, now threatened more by tigers than poachers. Kanha’s alsopopular and lightning fast black bucks sometimes zip by at an incredible 100kph, enthralling spectators and exhausting predators. Of course, the area’smain draw is its elephant-back tiger safaris, which put open-air jeeps in theirparking place. In fact, with its vast stretches of open meadows and closelyguarded borders, the preservation is the perfect site for tiger tracking. Manycan see tigers behind bars at a zoo, but few can come within meters of thebeasts’ uncaged brilliance while sitting atop one of the globe’s largestmammals. Mowgli would be proud.

 

ShergarhTenting

 

 Threekilometers from Kanha’s quiet, less touristy Mukki Gate, eco-conscious Jehanand Katie Bhujwala have taken “luxury” outdoors with six top-end tents. Thesespacious canvas quarters offer a relaxing retreat from the day’sgame drive andconnect to private, permanent bathrooms delivering hot water, heated by astoked fire. After a superbly guided safari, guests can pedal through the locallandscape on one of Shergarh’s exciting new cycling treks. Personal toucheslike tasty, packed safari lunches or preheated beds on chilly nights ensureeach stay feels special.

 

Flameof the forest

 

Cloaked in the forest and fauna ofKanha National Park lies the sought-after Flame of the Forest Safari Lodge.Owners and caregivers Isa and Karan warmly welcome adventurous visitors, makingtheir jungle abode feel like home. This luxurious lodge offers foureco-friendly cottages, thoughtfully designed with nature and relaxation inmind. Each cottage exudes an aura of authenticity and has a patio that peeksdown at the banks of the bubbling Banjar River. Venture out early for a trekthrough the nearby tribal villages or accompany seasoned naturalist Karan on aheart-pumping tiger safari. Twilight dinner on the Banjar sands will have youseriously considering

Making the switch from the “concretejungle”.

 

Floraand Fauna of Kanha National Park with Wildlife Tours

 

Kanha National Park is mixture of greatfloras and faunas. The main fauna in the park are tiger, gaur, wild dogs,chousingha, nilgai, sloth bear, sambhar, chital, hard ground Barasinga-(12-horneddeer), barking deer, hyena, jungle cat and leopard. It is also the ecstasy ofbirds like Racket-tailed drongo, Magpie Robin, two species of hornbill seen inlarge numbers.

 

Other attractions around this nationalpark are: Kanha Museum, Elephant Safari, Bamni Dadar, TigerSafari India National Parks, (bird’s eye view of the National Park), Bird WatchingTours India and many more.               

Travel

An entreaty for the Kollengode Thrissur railway, a Green Corridor.

Posted by Madan Menon Thottasseri on July 11, 2012

 
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An entreaty for the Kollengode Thrissur railway, a Green Corridor.

This is ananalysis on the decades’ pending proposal for “Kollengode – Thrissur railwayline”, a green rail-corridor through the valley of Nelliyampathy Hills that enhancesthe value- addition of Tourism in two states!

(Madan MenonThottasseri    email:tmadan.menon@gmail.com)

__________________________________________________________

This is the chronicle of a once shelved proposal for  a railway line, which could have beenincluded into the ‘wish list’ of both Kerala andTamil Nadu all these years.This railway line through the valley of Neliyampathy Hills can beyond doubt facilitate for a fresh green rail-corridor from South Tamil Nadu to Thrissur,the cultural capital of Kerala, bypassing the busy Palakkad junction and it will be increasingly pertinent now for the tourism development in both states. Unfortunately the said project never enjoyed much popular demand in Kerala and had been ignored by political bastions of all fronts.

I have been advocatingfor the Kollengode – Thrissur line during the past few years and expected theKerala government to include it in the ‘wish list’ this time too, for getting itincorporated into the Railway Budget/2012-13 as the shelved project has thepotential to get it refurbished. The said project which was resurveyed justfour years’ back is once again selected for a survey under the Railway Budget2012-13. Though the project had been getting shelved, it is a blessing indisguise that the announcement of a fresh survey for the rail link could prove that the proposal had not gone astray forever!

The proposed Kollengode– Thrissur line will practically enable a Chord line between Pollachi andThrissur. The existing Pollachi –Kollengode - Palakkad section (58 k.m) iscurrently under B.G conversion,wherein the Pollachi – Kollengode is with adistance of 35 k.m. Though the proposed line connects two towns within theState of Kerala, it will pave the way for establishing a direct green corridorfrom Tiruchchi - Dindigul -Pollachi region in Central Tamil Nadu toThrissur, the Pooram city in Central Kerala. Both States will be equally benefited from this proposed railway line.

 

Kollengode– Thrissur Railway line:

The on-going gauge conversion in Palakkad – Kollengode-Pollachi – Udumalaipet - Palani - Dindigul;and Podanur – Pollachi routes will be completed in a phased manner as per theproposal to the Railway Ministry by Southern Railways. The rail traffic in the entire stretches was closed forgauge conversions for the past two years.

There is a long pending proposal for a new line between Kollengode, the erstwhile tiny realm and Thrissur, thecity of pooram festivals, which is actually very much significant for the B.G conversionproject in the Palakkad- Pollachi- Dindigul route aimed to facilitate shortest route to temple towns of south Tamil Nadu from Malabar andCochin regions ofKerala. A traffic survey for connecting Kollengode and Thrissur (B.G) was done during 1964-65 by the distinguished Padmashree P.N.Baskaran Nair (late) who simultaneously surveyed the Salem- Bangalore and Hassan – Mangalore lines. Infact this was the second survey, as the initial survey conducted during thepre-independence period in mid-forties already went unnoticed. The line was resurveyed in the year 2007.

Being a short distance of approx. 54 k.m, the Ministry of Railways can still incorporate the proposed Kollengode-Thrissur B.G line in the coming Railway Budget/February 2011 and simultaneouslyrelease adequate funds for the early implementation of the newline as well as for augmenting the completion of the gauge conversion projects in Dindigul –Udumalaipet – Palani - Pollachi - Kollengode- Palakkad/Pollachi-Podanursections. The proposal to link Kollengode lying in the Pollachi- Palakkadsection under B.G conversion, with Thrissur, the city ofpooram festivals via.Nenmmara, Ayalur Road, Chittillamcherry, Mudappallur( For Mangalam Dam),Vadakkumcherry , Kuthiran, Pattikkad ( for Peechi Reservoir) and Mannuthy was neglected and kept in the cold storage for the past four decades.

It is very noteworthy that the proposed Kollengode – Thrissur line passes through Nenmara, thegate-way of Nelliyampathy Hill- Station the upcoming tourist destination and an ideal out-door shooting location for movie makers.

The present Nenmara townis constituted bythe erstwhile twin villages which are better known from the name of popular‘vela’ festival- the Nenmara- Vallenghy Vela , held in the firstweek of Aprilevery year. This festival attracts not only people of Cochin-Malabar regions and Coimbatore - Pollachi – Tiruppur- Palani regions ofneighboring Tamil Nadu,but also tourists from bigger cities likeChennai,Bangalore,Mumbai etc. Of late foreign tourists visiting Kerala duringthe months of March- April are enticed by travel industry based in cities inthe region like Coimbatore, Kochi and Calicut  to witness the spectacular festival which is rated at par with Thrissur Pooram. The said rail link between Kollengodeand Thrissur will give a face-lift to the paddy-cultivation and trading centers covered under Chulliyar, Pothundy, Mangalam and Peechi irrigation projects.Cruise rides in Peechi and Pothundy reservoirs are popular.It will be anenchanting journey by a train that chugs through the beautiful countryside surrounded by thick lush of paddy fields, coconut – areca nut farms, rubberplantations and picturesque hills!

The Nelliyampathy hills with amazing varieties of flora and fauna, around 65 km from Palakkad and 45k.m from Nenmara is situated at a height of 467 meters to 1572 meters at the highest peak.The Hill station is comprised of a chain of ridges separated by valleys ofdense, evergreen virgin forests and orange plantations. There are more than adozen hair-pin bends on the ghat road from Pothundy Dam passing through junglesof Sahyadri ranges. Nelliyampathi’s forest regions are sanctified with wild animals like elephants, leopards, hill squirrels, bisons and a wide spectrum ofbird life.

Nelliyampathy is also the perfect location for eco tourism and farm tourism. The sprawling teagardens,coffee, cardamom and orange plantation add beauty to this destination of all seasons. Studies had revealed that a rich civilization existed in Nelliyampathy during Tamil Sangam era. Certain view-points en-route to the hill station offer a splendid sight of the Palakkad Gap, which is a geographical phenomenonin the Western Ghats formation, showing the  extensive paddy fields of the Palakkad district and adjoining Coimbatore-Pollachi regions forming a verdantcarpet.

Seethakundu waterfall with a height of 100 meters is an added attraction from where tourists can have a nice valley sight. Padagiri, the highest peak situated on Nellikotta mountain ranges is the trekkers’ paradise. Trekking is possible to reach Mampara as well for beautiful valley-sight. Even Pollachi and Valparai can be seen from there.Nenmara town and Pothundy reservoir can be seen from yet another view point –Kesavanpara. There are private operators offering Night-Safari to see wildanimals, especially elephants; but must be beware of fuming elephants roaming around to charge anything on its sight!

GreenRail Corridor for Value Addition of Tourism in Nelliyampathy:

 

Probably it may be aprudent decision of Kerala State to give a thrust for Ayurveda andBack-water oriented tourism to woo maximum number of class tourists to thestate. Ofcourse Kerala, boasting with the tag of “God’s Own Country” could register asuccess story while offering resorts by the side of back-waters withfacilitiesfor cruise  boating, sail and stay in house-boats,  in-house Ayurveda health-centers in resorts etc. which are very much acclaimed by tourists from all continents.

It is desirable that thegovernment of Kerala consider launch of special campaigns at big cities within India as well as in Europe and U.S, for bringing guests to state; It can be “TeaGarden Tourism” for locations like Munnar and Nelliyampathy.  “Festival Tourism” may be feasible for attracting tourists to exclusive colorfulfestivals wherein there will be elephants’ parade, traditional drum recitals and display of fire-works at Thrissur Pooram, Nenmmara-Vallanghy Vela etc.

Tourism campaign for Nenmmara- Vallanghy Vela festival can be clubbed with that of Nelliyampathy,the hill-station with tea gardens, orange farms, cardamom estates. Nenmmara is connectedby road with Palakkad, the district headquarters through two or three routeswith distances around 20k.m. The town in the valley of the hill station is actually lying in the middle of Pollachi- Vadakkumcherry-Nenmmara-Thrissur Inter-State route merged with NH-47 at Vadakkumcherry. The distances by road from Nenmara to Pollachi towards east and to Thrissur towards west are 49 k.meach.

Pothundy Dam, just 6 k.m away from Nenmmara, which is constructed at the start off ‘Ayalur(Ayiloor)River’, a sub-tributary of Bharathapuzha is an ideal recreation location with gardens. Boat rides are offered in the vast reservoir to attract tourists. This dam is having a unique status as ‘second largest in Asia without using cement-mixture’. The Kerala government may have to plan for constructionof adequate tourist resorts and budget motels at Nelliyampathy, Pothundy, Nenmara and Kollengode. There will be a good potential to install cable carservice between the gardens in the Pothundy Dam to Nelliyampathy Hill station to boost tourism. The Kerala Tourism can avail the technology transfer from oneof the best global companies for the same.

Though the Kollengode Railway station is the nearest rail-head for Nenmmara and Nelliyampathy, due to the proximity, it had not served the purpose much by the rail connectivitythrough  Kollengode, the Palakkad – Kollengode – Pollachi M.G Line, part ofthe M.G. network in  Palakkad – Kollengode - Pollachi– Palani –Dindigul and Polachi – Podanur sections in the region. This branch line under B.G conversion has potential for linking with trunk routes at three junctions,viz. Palakkad, Podanur and Dindigul. The pending project, Kollengode– ThrissurRail link enabling linkage between major trunk routes  of  Southern Railway at Dindigul and Thrissur, will enhance the potential for traffic earnings and optimum utilisation of rolling-stocks.

Tourists campingatNelliyampathy can be brought down to the valley to see the spectacular show of elephants’ parade and colourful fire works displayed in the Nenmmara-Vallenghy Vela festival. Together with Nenmmara and Vallengy, many villages like Ayalur(Ayiloor), Chittillamcherry, Cheramangalam, Mudapallur,Vadakkumcherry, Pallavoor constitute an enclave of Vela- Kanyarkali festivalsin the months of April-May every year. Kanyarkali festivals are performed intemple premises from desk to dawn and it provides all ingredients offolk-dance-dramas that can attract intellectuals to laymen amongsttourists. 

It is not an exaggerationto say that during the festival season, in this enclave of festivals in thePalakkad district, not even a single day passes without acelebration involvingprocessions by adorned elephants accompanied by drum recitals likeChendamelams, Panchavadyams etc. and colourful fire-works at least in a coupleof temples.

People of the Thrissur-Nenmara- Kollengode and Pollachi- Udumalaipet- Palani regions have lot ofexpectations on the B.G connectivity between Palakkad and Dindigul(180 k.m) aswell as between Podanur to Pollachi (40 k.m). Further if the new line between Kollengode and Thrissur is made possible, it will establish the shortest route from Madurai/Tiruchcchi regions in Central Tamil Nadu to the Cochin regions ofKerala state. Trains between Madurai/Tiruchchi and Thrissur, Guruvayur,Ernakulam, Alleppy etc. can be operated through Pollachi –Kollengode – Thrissurroute, by-passing the traffic saturated Palakkad– Ottappalam – Shoranur/Thrissur sections. Trains towards Malabar region,Mangalore and beyond, through Konakan railways to Uduppi , Goa, Mumbai etc. canmove through Pollachi-Kollengode- Thrissur- Shoranur Jn. as well as through Pollachi-Kolengode –Palakkad - Shoranur sections. In reality the gauge conversion in the Dindigul –Palakkad sector and also the new line between Kollengode and Thrissur will facilitate Tamil Nadu to become one of the major beneficiary states of theKonkan Railways.

The distance fromMaduraito Ernakulam  via. Sengottai –Punalur - Kollam and Alappuza, (after thegauge conversion in Sengottai –Punalur sections) is 411 k.m. Once the gaugeconversion between Dindigul –Palakkad sections is over and also provide the newB.G. link between Kollengodeand Thrissur, the Madurai- Dindigul- Palani -Pollachi- Kollengode – Thrissur sections will offer a shortest route toErnakulam with only 351 k.m. Thus therewill be a reduction of 60 k.m in thedistance between the temple city of Madurai and Ernakulam (Kochi) the “Queen ofArabian Sea”.

After the B.G conversion in Palakkad- Pollachi- Palani - Dindigul sections while Southern Railways can makeit feasible to operate express trains between Alappuza(Alleppy)/Ernakulam/Guruvayur/Mangalore/Kozikkode(Calicut)/Palakkad and temple towns like Palani, Madurai, Rameswaram, Thiruchchi, Nagore, and Velankkanni inTamil Nadu, it should simultaneously operate Passenger Trains aswell. The Kollengode – Thrissur line, by-passing the traffic saturated Palakkad,if implemented will further reduce the distances between Ernakulam and all thesetemple towns by 46 k.m which is included the distance saved of 60 k.m cited above.

The distance from Tiruchchi to Thrissur,Guruvayur or Ernakulam/Cochin (via.Manappara - Dindigul – Palani – Pollachi – Kollengode - Nenmara- Vadakkumcherry-Mannuthy- Thrissur/304 k.m) will be less by69 k.m**whencompared with the present round-about Tiruchchi- Karur - Erode – Podanur-Palakkad – Ottapalam –Wadakkancherry – Thrissur (373 k.m) route.

Further in future,theThrissur- Nenmara – Kollengode - Pollachi- Podanur B.G.sections (129 k.m),willserve as an alternative route to the busy Thrissur- Palakkad Jn. – PodanurJn. (125k.m) double-lined trunk section. Thus Southern Railways can treat this route through the valley of Nelliyampathy hills, lengther by just 4 k.m  asa ‘third line’ between Podanur andThrissur, while it enables to skip the traffic saturated Palakkad Junction.

Kollengode– Thrissur railway that facilitates a chord line from Pollachi, the industrialtown inCoimbatore district of Tamil Nadu well-known for the biggest marketforvegetables, agro products, hill produce etc., to Thrissur the city incentralKerala, known for the Pooram festival, should never carry the tag ofabranch-line within the boundary of Kerala. As the line establishes Pollachi–Kollengode – Thrissur inter-state ‘chord-line’ (89 k.m). It will neverbe extraneous if Tamil Nadu comes forward initiating for this ‘Chord Line’ knowing the potential for augmenting tourism and trade, even if Kerala is notkeen on advocating for the same!

The Pollachi –Kollengode-Thrissur ‘chord’ rail-link will be advantageous for the tourismdevelopment of Nelliyampathy (Kerala), Valparai (TN), Top Slip(TN)hill-stations and many water reservoirs in the region- Pothundy, Mangalam, Peechi, Malampuzha, Chulliar,Meenkara, Aliar, Sholaiyar, Kadamparai, Nirayar and Parambikkulam. Ultimatelythis line will add value to the tourism potential of these hill-stations and nearby dams with gardens, amusement parks,boating lakes, resorts etc. that canbe easily accessible by foreign tourists landing at Kochi, Kozhikkode or Coimbatore airports.

It is a different issue that Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi who had presented the current year’s railwaybudget underwent a unique situation wherein the whole of the party to which hewas associated turned against him and threatened to sack him if the hike inpassenger fares are not rolled back. The hapless minister DineshTrivedi hadresigned even prior to the completion of debates in respect of his budget inthe Parliament. The incumbent Minister Mukul Roy (who was nominated to RajyaSabha solely as a replacement for Dinesh Trivedi) must look into the facts in respect of the decades’ long pending Kollengode – Thrissur railway line.

Railway ministry must gracefully take note of the potential of the Kollengode – Thrissur railway lineand vacatethe project out of repeated and callous resurveys. It is fine if the ministry instantaneously takes forward the project that can augment traffic earnings andoptimal operation of rolling stocks of Southern Railway for implementation in the current Railway Budget itself and undo the injustice done all these years.

The Keralagovernmentmust take all preparations to get the sanction for the Kollengode-Thrissur railway line and it is desirable to seek the support from Tamil Nadu while demanding for the branch line, as Tamil Nadu will be an equal beneficiary from this line which facilitates a chord rail link from Pollachi to Thrissur instead of a round-about link through Palakkad.

Ultimately the Kollengode-Thrissur rail link will add value to the tourism potential of Nelliyampathy Hill station. If implemented, Nelliyampathy will be easily accessible to foreigntourists landing at Kochi, Kozikkode and Coimbatore airports as they can reach the entryway of the hill station - Nenmara town by a train.

On implementation of the Kollengode- Thrissur railway, pilgrims and tourists will get a  circular route – Palakkad – Podanur –Pollachi – Kollengode – Nenmmara- Thrissur- Shoranur – Ottapalam - Palakkad(255 k.m) comprising two smaller circularsections. The first one will bethe  KOLLENGODE – Nenmmara -Vadakkumcherry– Mannuthy – THRISSUR - Wadakkancherry - Shoranur – Ottapalam – PALAKKADJn.- KOLLENGODE circularsection (154 k.m) covering the erstwhile Vengunadu andValluvanadu realms touchingtwo district head quarters- Palakkad and Thrissur.The other one will be the Kollengode – Palakkad – Podanur – Kinattukkadavu– Pollachi – Kollengode (147 k.m) covering the erstwhile Kongunadu, Palakkadand Vengunadu realms.

These circularsectionswill be advantageous for the tourism development of Nelliyampathy (Kerala) andValparai ( T.N) Hill stations and many water reservoirs-Pothundy,  Mangalam, Peechi,Vazhani, Malampuzha,Chulliar, Meenkara, Aliar,Sholaiyar, Kadamparai, Nirayar and Parambikkulam.

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**Details of 'Thrissur- Tiruchchi' distance Saved (69 K.m):THRISSUR-TIRUCHCHI Jn., via. ERODE : Thrissur-Erode 232 K.m+Erode- TiruchciJn.141 k.m=373 k.m; THRISSUR-TIRUCHCHI via. KOLLENGODE, POLLACHI & DINDIGUL:Thrissur-Kollengode 54 k.m + Kollengode-Pollachi-Dindigul 157 k.m+Dindigul-Tiruchchi Jn. 93 k.m = 304 k.m. Distance saved: 373-304=69 k.m   

Notes:-

This ARTICLE is the amended version of my earlier Articles –

Will theRailway Ministry look into the prospects for a ‘chord’ rail link from Pollachito Thrissur? (http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8265495-will-the-railway-ministry-look-into-the-prospects-for-a-chord-rail-link-from-pollachi-to-thrissur) posted in ‘Allvoices’ on on 22nd February,2011 and Kollengode – Thrissurrailway line: Tale of a neglected fresh green rail corridor from Central TamilNadu to Central Kerala

 

(http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/6429030-kollengode-thrissur-railway-line-tale-of-a-neglected-fresh-green-rail-corridor-from-central-tamil-nadu-to-central-kerala) posted in ‘Allvoices’/31st July,2010 which was based on my  own original Article already published in ‘indianexpress’; see in blogs of indianexpress.com/ expressindia.com on 16th June,2009.

(http://blogs.expressindia.com/showblogdetails.php?contentid=477356).

Can read in ‘Blogspot’ which was posted on 17th June,2009(http://kollengode-thrissur-railway.blogspot.com/2009/06/kollengode-thrissur-railway-line.html);with Malayalam Captions posted on 29th June,2009 in blogspot itself, prior to theRAILWAY BUDGET ON 3rd July,2009 by Railway Minister Ms.Mamata Banerjee. Alsoread my latest Article in Blogspot once again to endure a callous resurvey? (http://kollengode-tcr.blogspot.in/) posted on 28th March,2012

Many people have fully copied my Articles from “expressindia” without mentioning about their copying, and posted in various sites as if they havewritten the Article and few people have quoted in their blogs/ forums.

Sometimes readers may wonder why I have been writing again for theKollengode – Thrissur Railway line as the previous Articles will serve thepurpose. It is to be noted that in this latest Article I have given a thrustfor the tourism development of Nelliyampathy hill station and the need for theKerala Tourismto launch special campaigns - ‘Tea Garden Tourism” and “Festival  Tourism”. FurtherI have a reason to dream on the saidKollengode-Thrissur railway line as I have felt the need for the same rightfrom my school days at my native ‘Ayalur’ Village, just 4 k.m away from Nenmmara. There will be thousandsof people in the Pollachi – kollengode – Nenmmara – Thrissur stretch who are nursing similar dreams.

I would request readers not to copy this Article and post in any other Blogs.

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