November 2023 - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Rustic Nature Views from my Village Home

Evening scenes from my village home terrace

It is that time of the year when the North East monsoon is in full effect at my village. The village and its surroundings are dressed up in lush green. The dams are getting full. The waterfalls are gushing with water and the rivers and canals have swollen in size. And you almost always wake up to the blissful cacophony of birds and that includes a few peacocks that have made my terrace and my neighbour’s terraces as its home.

When we get our North East monsoon rains, it almost always pours and getting out in the rains is tough, though the views are surreal. Sometimes, I did get drenched in the rains and ended up catching a cold. Unlike the South West monsoon, the rains of the North East monsoon are a bit cooler and it is best to avoid getting wet in the rains.

I thought why not share these village scenes with you during the monsoon season. So here goes the rustic nature views from my village home as promised in my earlier article about me moving my base to the village of Kallidaikurichi in South Tamil Nadu. More pictures and stories in my subsequent articles.

Above photo: This view from my terrace shows you the Chidambareswar Shiva temple, the Kannadigan canal (we call it vaykaal in the local parlance), the paddy fields and the cloud covered Western Ghats in the background along with the golden colours of sunset.

Golden Paddyfields of Kallidaikurichi

Above photo: Paddy turns golden. The main crop grown here, these paddy fields are getting ready for harvest. You can see the Western Ghat mountain ranges in the background.

Lush fields seen from my terrace at Kallidaikurichi

Above photo: Gorgeous green view of paddy fields, coconut trees, Western Ghat mountains and the town of Ambasamudram in the yonder.

Peacock at my village home garden

Above photo: A peacock struts its stuff at my home garden. He is a daily visitor and I almost always wake up to his calls.

Lush paddyfields seen from my village home terrace

Above photo: My terrace offers a 230 degree view of the mountains, views of the Kannadigan canal, the paddy fields, trees in the gardens of my neighbours, the agraharam streets, the local temples and more.

Sunset at Kallidaikurichi - Western Ghats in the background and peacock in the foreground

Above photo: This is a sunset view from my top terrace. The Western Ghats of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve are in the West, the terraces of my neighbours are in the foreground and somewhere between the two is this peacock that climbs to a high point every evening

The evening golden hour view of the canal and the paddyfields at my village

Above photo: This view is from the back of my village home. My home back door opens into the canal and behind that is the paddy field that is bathed in the golden rays of the evening sun. Further beyond that is the Thamirabharani river, which is not visible in this photo. And further beyond that is the village of Ambasamudram, which is visible through some tiny buildings.

The road connecting Kallidaikurichi with the Thamirabharani river

Above photo: This is the concrete road that connects my village home with the Thamirabharani river. To your left and right are swaying golden paddy fields and surrounding you on three sides are the tall mountains of the Western Ghats, especially the ones in the Manimuthar and Papanasam range.

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Friday, November 17, 2023

Anchorage Foodie Adventures: Discovering Local Cuisine and Dining Hotspots

Grilled Salmon Salad at Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska is a stunning bucket list destination. Known as the gateway to the 49th state, this charming metropolis is perfectly situated on the edge of a vast, majestic, untamed wilderness, and the ideal base camp for exploring the wild tundra, frozen glaciers, and dramatic mountain ranges of the Last Frontier.

While celebrated for its access to breath taking landscapes and extreme outdoor adventures, Anchorage is also emerging as a centre of food culture. The Alaskan foodie scene is an increasingly energetic and dynamic one, taking advantage of the abundance of fresh, wild produce and amazing local flavours to showcase the ingenuity and creativity of this fascinating region.

So if you are living the adventure with an Alaskan cruise and want to explore the remarkable flavours that the state has to offer, Anchorage is a fantastic place to start. Here are some of the best dining hotspots and regional culinary highlights to explore on a foodie adventure in Anchorage.

Wild Salmon Delights

Wild salmon is one of Alaska’s finest delicacies, and Anchorage is probably the best place to try it. Everywhere you turn in the city you will discover local restaurants serving up delectable dishes with freshly-caught salmon, in all sorts of styles from cured and hot-smoked to grilled and baked. The richness and unique flavour of the various species of wild-caught Alaskan salmon is incomparable, and a must-try for any foodie visitors.

Local Breweries and Alehouses

Skyline of Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska has long been a huge player in the US craft beer scene and Anchorage’s breweries and alehouses are thriving. With a diverse range of interesting, inventive, and eclectic brews in pubs, bars, and taprooms across the city, there’s no excuse not to quench your thirst when in town. Highlights of the brewing scene include local favourite The Midnight Sun Brewing Company, whose taproom is a cosy haven of warmth and good times, and 49th State Brewing, a lively brewpub with a rooftop patio doling out creative bar bites & house made ales.

Indigenous Alaskan Cuisine

Traditional indigenous Alaskan cuisine is an acquired taste, but one well worth trying. Places like the Alaska Native Heritage Centre offer the opportunity to try dishes that have sustained native communities for generations and provide a unique insight into the way of life of the indigenous Alaskan peoples. From salmon stew and smoked fish to fry bread, muktuk, and Eskimo ice cream (akutaq), trying the traditional food is a great way to connect with the cultural roots of Alaska.

Seafood Shacks and Oyster Bars

Fresh Halibut catch from the waters of Alaska

Anchorage is, as the name suggests, set right on the ocean. As a result, seafood is a huge part of its culinary offering. From fresh halibut to oysters, the harvest of the sea is a must-try in this glorious port city. Head to Sourdough Mining Company to try their seafood platter or check out the Bubbly Mermaid Oyster Bar, a cosy spot famous for its fresh oysters.

Sweet Treats and Bakeries

When the weather is cold and wet, nothing hits the spot like a little freshly baked goodness. Anchorage is full of charming bakeries where you can satisfy your sweet tooth, like Fire Island Rustic Bakehouse or the Flying Dutchman European Pastry Shop.

The culinary scene in Anchorage is a fascinating and eclectic blend of tradition, innovation, and the freshest produce the wild landscape of Alaska has to offer. From succulent salmon and amazing seafood to indigenous curiosities and amazing craft brews, there is something to satisfy every palate, with interesting, exciting, and unexpected flavours in every dish. Anchorage is the perfect showcase for the creativity of Alaska and its food scene is one to be savoured.

Note: The pictures in this article are courtesy of and have been borrowed under the Creative Commons license. Each photograph has been linked to its host page on

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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Thiruparappu Falls: Gorgeous Monsoon Spectacle near Kanyakumari

Beautiful 50 feet high Thiruparappu Falls

It is a stunning 50 feet high and 300 feet wide waterfall that is surrounded by lush greenery. It is a fabulous place for both adults and kids to enjoy a refreshing waterfall bath and a swimming picnic location downstream. It is also home to a 10th century Chola era Mahadeva temple. I am talking about the Thiruparappu falls on the Kodayar river about 15 kilometers downstream of the Pechiparai Dam.

Located near the town of Kulsekharam, this waterfall is a popular tourist attraction near Kanyakumari, especially among the locals and offers a gorgeous spectacle during the monsoons when the waterfall gushes with copious amounts of water. It is the kind of place where you can get a nice massage under the waterfall, laze around with your kids in the natural swimming pools, enjoy a hot cup of chukku coffee to get your body heat going and enjoy a quiet picnic lunch on the banks of the Kodayar river.

The herbal waters flowing from the medicinal forests in the Western Ghats, the green environment, the ancient Shiva temple and a rustic atmosphere are all icing on the cake.

Kodayar river tumbles at Kulasekharam to form Thiruparappu Falls

If you are visiting Kanyakumari or Thiruvananthapuram, don’t miss to visit this gorgeous monsoon spectacle in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. It is an ideal waterfall location to go with family and friends. It is safe, has decent access to food and there is hardly any walking to reach the waterfall from the parking lot. I can’t stop recommending this offbeat waterfall destination of Tamil Nadu.

Thiruparappu Falls with lots of water

Where to eat:

The stalls near the waterfall entrance serve some basic food like bajji, biscuits, tea and coffee that is available at all times. There are a few restaurants that serve simple meals, but one needs to inform in advance.

For better food options, head to Nagercoil city or any good restaurants on the Nagercoil – Kanyakumari – Thiruvananthapuram highway.

Where to stay:

There are a few guest houses and hotels where one can stay near the waterfall. Slightly more luxurious places can be found near Chittar Dam, about 8 kms away.

For better food and accommodation, head to the cities of Nagercoil, Kanyakumari or Thiruvananthapuram where you can find properties catering to all kinds of budgets.

Gorgeous Thiruparuppu Falls, Kanyakumari District

Distance to Kanyakumari: 62 kms

Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram (56 kms away)

Nearest railway and bus station: Nagercoil (38 kms away)

The stunning Thiruparappu Waterfall on the Kodayar River

Thiruparappu falls entrance fees:

INR 5 per person

INR 30 per camera

INR 30 per vehicle parking

Thiruparappu Falls and the Kodayar river seen from the highway

Best time to visit:

The best months to visit would be the rainy months from June to January as that is when there would be good amount of water to enjoy a refreshing bath and a swim. However, the waterfall can be closed during heavy rains to protect the people. Do check with local authorities or online about waterfall status.

Thiruparappu Waterfalls on the Kodayar River


Thiruparappu Falls is open all year round from 7 AM to 6 PM

Thiruparappu Waterfalls seen in the yonder while traveling on this local village road

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) Mathoor Aqueduct and Hanging Bridge: An offbeat wonder nestled in the mountains near Kanyakumari

2) Padmanabhapuram Palace: 17th century Travancore era palace

3) Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram: Also known as Sthanumalayan temple, it is one of the 108 Shiva temples revered by the Kerala Hindu culture

4) Kanyakumari: The land’s end that is home to beautiful temples, gorgeous beaches, stunning rock cut memorials and many forts

5) Poovar Island: A beautiful mix of serene backwaters (emerald), pristine beach (golden), majestic Western Ghats (green), swaying palms (green) and blue waters of the Arabian Sea

6) Thiruvananthapuram: The capital of Kerala home to the richest temple of India – Padmanabha Swamy Temple, gorgeous beaches and a lovely green metropolis

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Monday, November 06, 2023

Mathoor Aqueduct and Hanging Bridge: An offbeat wonder nestled in the mountains near Kanyakumari

Lush green view from Mathoor Aqueduct, Kanyakumari district

It is one of the largest aqueducts in Asia. It is also the tallest and longest trough bridge in Asia. It is an engineering marvel and a tourist’s delight. It offers a spellbinding vista from the top and a great river side picnic location at its bottom. I am talking about the Mathoor Aqueduct and hanging bridge (locally known as Mathoor Thottipalam) that is located in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.

The Mathoor aqueduct and hanging bridge was built in 1966 under the leadership of the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, K. Kamaraj, as a drought relief measure over the river Pahrali to carry water for irrigation from an elevated level of one hill to another. This 115 feet high and 390 metre long hanging trough is not only an engineering beauty, but it is also a popular tourist destination for the locals due to its scenic location and calm surroundings.

Mathoor Aqueduct - an engineering marvel that is a tourist's delight

In spite of its popularity amongst the local people, it is fairly unknown to the outside world and that is what makes this place an offbeat wonder. Nestled in the hills near Kanyakumari, the entire area is lush green and is surrounded by the Western Ghats. Armed with a 5 rupee ticket and some freshly salted and spiced locally grown mango, cucumber, pineapple or pomelo that is sold at the shops near the ticket counter, your journey begins next to the water body that seems to be flowing to the other side of the hill. There are 2 routes that you can take here. One is a flight of steps that lead you all the way down to the Pahrali river where you can swim in the water and relax doing some fin in the water. The other route is straight over the hanging bridge. On one side of the pathway is your walking path and on the other side is the water in the aqueduct going slowly down to the other side of the hill. As you keep walking towards the centre of the aqueduct, you cannot stop staring at the vast expanse of greenery, the rolling hills in the background and the meandering Pahrali river flowing below. You can go further all the way till the other hill and walk down the flight of steps to the other bank of the Pahrali river.

The entire walk can feel adventurous at times owing to the narrow walkway, the extreme height and the strong gusts of wind that blow through here quite regularly.

Unfortunately for me, I arrived very close to the closing time and hence the surroundings were fairly dark and I literally had to run through the entire bridge before I was engulfed in darkness. Of what I got to see, this place is fantastic for a motorcycling holiday, an offbeat nature location and a riverside day out with family and/or friends. I would love to return here hopefully in the near future and this time preferably in the morning hours so that I can explore the area at leisure. I definitely recommend this place with multiple thumbs up!

Pahrali river seen from the top of Mathoor hanging bridge

Best time to visit: October to March as this is when the weather is pleasant, there is water in the river and the surroundings are lush.

Distance to Kanyakumari: 52 kms

Distance to Trivandrum: 61 kms

Nearest railway station: Nagercoil Junction, 30 kms away

Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram Airport, 65 kms away

Timings: Mathoor Aqueduct is open all year round from 6 AM to 6 PM.

Mathoor Aqueduct - an irrigation idea implemented during the term of the first chief minister of Tamil Nadu

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) Padmanabhapuram palace: 17th century Travancore era palace

2) Thiruparappu Falls: A gorgeous waterfall perfect for bathing and a relaxed day out

3) Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram: Also known as Sthanumalayan temple, it is one of the 108 Shiva temples revered by the Kerala Hindu culture

4) Kanyakumari: The land’s end that is home to beautiful temples, gorgeous beaches, stunning rock cut memorials and many forts.

5) Poovar Island: A beautiful mix of serene backwaters (emerald), pristine beach (golden), majestic Western Ghats (green), swaying palms (green) and blue waters of the Arabian Sea.

6) Thiruvananthapuram: The capital of Kerala home to the richest temple of India - Padmanabha Swamy Temple, gorgeous beaches and a lovely green metropolis

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