Monday, September 14, 2015

Kerala, an experience !

Kerala is the most amazing place I have ever visited. I am much impressed by place and people itself. No doubt it is a beautiful place with different geographical features but the most amazing thing was the people around. Whoever I met and talked to were so kind, generous and disciplined. Anyone I happen to meet in Kerala were so so so generous that their behaviour encourages you to behave like them. Auto Rikshaw Driver, Bus Conductor, Local residents, Shopping Mall Staff, Restaurant Staff, you choose any one; they are like gem of the people. For Example, we happened to get into a wrong bus in Boat Jetty in Ernakulum, as the bus conductor found it out he requested us to get down in next stop and helped us to get into the right bus, which was not of his concern at all, I was like spellbound. And are you thinking if we paid him the fare? No, not at all. I have never met such a humble public bus staff ever, nowhere. You dare not imagine that in Nepal.
Another example, we took our hotel room in MG Road, Ernakulum. We wanted to go to Cherai Beach next day. We took  an auto rikshaw from our hotel and asked him to take us to the bus stop from where we could get bus for Cherai Beach. Also requested him to show us the bus, as we wouldn’t recognize the correct bus. He rode us to the bus stop; he was moving his auto here and there and was turning it many times. I was wondering why he was doing so. At last he stopped behind a bus and told us, that we were supposed to get into the bus standing in front of us. I mean can you imagine people being so helpful to two unknown people in unknown town?
our train experience to Kerala
15 Oct 2012
We boarded train from Gorakhpur to Ernakulum, Cochin, Kerala. It was tedious 53 hours journey on train. We were to spend three nights in train. For sure it was meant to be very boring, but contrary it was not tiresome at all. We met different people during our train journey. Though the travel was not that pleasant from Gorakhpur to Lucknow. Some railway staff came and sat in our compartment and were talking nonstop. Their voices were irritating and my head was about to burst listening to their loud talks.
Compartment was silent as they got off in Lucknow Junction.  Then we happened to meet a very nice and big family. They were a whole lot bunch of people with two sweet little cousin sisters. Who knew not Hindi but English and Telgue only. I still remember their names- Sadvi and Saranya. They made our journey to Kerala even more exciting. And their grandfather was a gentleman. A man in his late 40s educated and had a lot of sense of humor. He kept us telling the specialty of South India, things to do and not to do while in Kerala. He insisted us to try banana chips which is one of the famous snacks of South India. 
18 Oct, 2012
It was evening when our train stopped in Ernakulam Junction South. Unknown city, unknown people, we just followed the people who got off from train just to see from where to start. We talked to railway guards to know the place where we could get hotel rooms for the night. They suggested us to go to Fort Kochi, a foreigner centric place. We took prepaid auto rikshaw from train station to Fort Kochi. It was dark already and the Kochi was shining like a star. The street lights were reflecting on to the sea water, it looked glamorous; I fell in love with the place immediately.
We met a very energetic and humorous hotel owner in Fort Kochi; he must had been in his early 50s. We decided to stay in his hotel. As I told him I do write blog he wanted me to write about him and his hotel “Elite Hotel” in my blog and I promised him that I will do that for him. He also requested us to take a photo standing infront of his hotel to post in my blog :D
Around Fort Kochi
19 Oct 2012
Early morning next day we set out to explore Fort Kochi. It was mainly a tourist area. You can find many restaurants around here offering varieties of foods and these restaurants were always packed by tourists. We went the Vasco da Gama Square, the narrow walkway that runs along the Fort Kochi beach, to see Chinese Fishing Net. Once just a fishing accessory, now a big bait for tourists. We paid IC 200 to see how it was operated. More than four fishermen were needed to operate it and was made in such a way that the weight of a man walking on the main plank was enough to cause the equipment to be pulled down into the sea. Fishing was usually done in the morning and early evening. The net was descended into the water for a short time and then raised delicately by pulling on the ropes. We also participated in pulling of ropes. The slow rhythm and balancing of the net was spellbinding to a first-time viewer like us.
Chinese Fishing Net in Vasco da Gama Square, Fort Kochi
Same day after breakfast we headed to Alappuzha also known as Alleppey for House Boat experience. Our all arrangements were made by the hotel owner where we stayed in a Forth Kochi. We paid him IC 7000 for transportation and boat house stay. We were welcomed by very pleasing staff- Akhil and Binu of Minar de’ lake House Boats and then we started our house boat journey. We floated for 24 hours in Vembanad Lake in a house boat. It was an amazing experience. We tasted Keralan snack made from ripe banana and then delicious ethnic Keralan rice and curries. Akhil and Binu also managed us to visit small village there. We were amazed to see the way people were in those backwaters. Their daily household and business were entirely dependent on those backwaters. The only means to connect those household to the city was waterways. They had school bus… no not bus but school boat to carry school children. They sold fishes and vegetables in boat. All their washing and cleaning were done in the same water, no idea what water they drank. 
Kerala Backwaters
20 Oct 2012
We, me and Kamal, love sea, sand and sun. After saying good bye to Alappuzha backwaters we headed directly to Alleppey Beach. After spending hours in Alleppey Beach, we went to Marari Beach. We found not much people around and also felt abandoned so decided to return without wasting any time. We had no plan where to go after that. And saw no any public transport to go back. We kept walking unless we could find a ride. After walking for more than hour we found an auto rikshaw. We told him we wanted to go to Varkhala. He drove us to bus stand and waited for us until we could get right bus to Varkhala.
We reached Varkhala in the afternoon. We took a hotel, freshen up and went for exploring the city. I cannot explain in my words what a view it was. It was breath taking and mesmerizing. You never get tired of looking at the sea, it was immense and ecstatic.  I must say Varkhala as one of the must visit places. I might not know how heaven looks like but I felt Varkhala was not a penny less than Heaven.
There were restaurants on the cliff adjacent to the Arabian Sea. The evening views of the sunset were worth seeing. We enjoyed dinner along with Sunset view. One of the most memorable days in my life. We met many Nepali guys working in those restaurants in Varkhala. Some of them had been living there for more than decades. 
Varkhala lured us that much that we decided to stay there for one more day. We spent more than 80% of our day in the beach. Next day we had to leave early morning. We had already packed our bags and were all set to leave the hotel. We had to clear our bills before we leave. We looked for hotel staffs for about an hour, but nobody was there. We shouted for them nobody answered. So we decided to write a letter and leave the money along with it. We wonder still today, if the manager got the money.
Varkhala Beach

22 Oct 2012
AC bus operated by Kerala Govt.
We were suggested by locals in Varkhala to take AC bus to go to Thiruvananthapuram, capital city of Kerala. I was more than stunned to see the bus, as we did not had such bus in our country or let’s say at least I hadn’t had experienced that yet.  Comfortable, spacious, clean and reasonable fare, what could you ask for more. And of course AC was on.  You might think why I am focusing this much in AC.  Well we found out that in Kerala if you want a hotel room, they will ask you first question AC or non-AC, if you go in a restaurant, there are two menus AC and non –AC :D
We reached the capital city very comfortably. We explored the city or say a small part of the city. We went Padmanava Swamy Temple. Then we visited some of the famous silk showrooms. Their silk sarees were awesome. And their staffs were so kind and generous. Felt like I could buy all those sarees they showed us. Nevertheless I did some shopping.  We took train back to Ernakulam. We met Sijju in the train. Sijju a young south Indian from Thiruvananthapuram who worked in Ernakulam. He had never been to North India. He was shocked to know that we two were there in Kerala for holidays from Nepal. He was asking us time and again ‘just two of you’? He told us that he would like to visit Nepal some day and would love to see us. We shared our email ids and promised to meet him some day. He flattened us by saying that we both look like movie stars and wanted us to stay in Kerala and act in Malayalam movies. :D We reached Ernakulam and waved off to Sijju. It was already dark. We stayed in a hotel in MG road.
What we captured from Varkhala beach 
23 Oct 2012
We visited Spice market in Jew Town, Mattancherry.  We took ferry from Ernakulam to Mattancherry. It was about 20 minutes ride. Same day we also visited Cherai Beach.  It was about 1 hour bus ride from MG Road. Cherai beach became crowded with setting sun. We kept on playing with waves as long as we could, and returned hotel when it was already dark.  Next day we boarded train to Gorakhpur from Ernakulam Junction. In our compartment there was a family of three; husband, wife and daughter. They too were travelling from Kerala to Gorakhpur and finally to Bhairawa, Nepal. They told us, husband taught in a School in Bhairawa. We reached Gorakhpur on 25th October 2012 around 7 PM. We took a Tata Sumo to the Nepal border along with some Army Men, who were returning home for Dashain. We reached Nepal India boarder at around 9 PM. We took a Taxi to Butwal Bus Station from there, which took 2 hours to reach there. After that we took lift in a reserve Micro bus to Narayanghat. We reached Narayan ghat at around 12 AM and finally we got in to a local bus from Narayanghat to Hetauda.  We reached home at about 2 AM the same night. It was exciting and rushy day afterall.

Enjoy the video :)





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