Tag Archives: Kerala


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Blog | Travel

11 December 2017

Traveller of the Week: Tanya Khanijow

Tanya Khanijow started travelling and learning photography in 2016, she started off by expressing herself through her content on social media one frame at a time.

A traveller, blogger, vlogger and content creator, she loves to travel and find her self in different places every now and then. ‘What really drives me and encourages me to keep going is a never-ending need to explore and see the world’, says Tanya.

Tanya Khanijow


Tanya has always liked travelling from early childhood from the time her dad got posted to a new location, courtesy Indian Army.

Through the Indian Army, she has had the opportunity to stay at some of the most pristine locations in India. ‘I’ve changed as many as nine schools. And to be honest, I loved it. It provided me with a new perspective on a place, and people when I was as young as 3-4 years. I learned early on in life, the value of travelling and change’, she says.


During her college days, Tanya would find herself making plans on the spur of the moment to travel to different places. She would save her monthly allowance and hustle to travel. She has travelled in local trains, public buses, rickety mountain vehicles,  the list is endless.


Tanya has always loved the natural environment more than the comfort and education imbibed in a classroom. With that started her tryst with travel.

Not a full-time traveller yet, she spent 2017 working as well as travelling, intending to travel full time from next year.

Also a spontaneous traveller, she doesn’t plan the destination or things to do in advance. If she sees there is free time available on her calendar, she takes seconds to decide the best place for the time and plans economically by booking cheap flight tickets, she then skims through blogs and web resources for a brief basic idea of the culture, geography and differentiating factors of the place.

5 must-visit locations according to Tanya would be, Alappuzha in Kerala. The backwaters of Kerala are beyond beautiful and one must experience village life and a little by the water lanes. ‘Try living with locals and riding on a slow-paced boat instead of a motorboat. And don’t opt for a houseboat. Houseboats are large and can only traverse in broad canals. You’ll miss out on the village life experience’, stresses the travel junkie! Her next pick would be ‘The Himalayas’, right from North to West to the East, the entire stretch of the Himalayas is beautiful and unique, she personally feels, people who have not experienced it have missed out on something so far. Right from Uttrakhand to Valley of Flowers, Roopkund Trek, treks like Kareri lake, Bhrigu lake, Parashar lake in Himachal and recently the eastern side of Himalayas in Sikkim, it has always left her awe-inspired. Next is the white salt desert of Runn of Kutch – ‘One word, WOW! It’s beautiful, unlike anything. Especially the sight of a full moon during the night against the white sand’, she says.


Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

enroute Udiapur


Alleppey, Kerala

Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Bhrigu Lake, Himachal Pradesh

Udaipur, Rajasthan

Vashisht, Himachal Pradesh


Khanijow travels with a lot of camera equipment and instils everyone to have a dedicated space or compartment for everything whilst travelling. Sunscreen, mosquito repellent, paper soap, sanitizer and tissue paper are must-haves.

Battery pack, tripod, selfie stick – very useful commodities for travelling solo, especially if one is worried about running out of battery without a source of power for hours.


A big fan of chasing after sunrises and sunsets, she really enjoys waking up early and catching the morning action. It goes without saying, she loves travel photography and also her new found love for making videos.


A pretty impressive figure, 18 states have been covered by Khanijow along with a few international trips to countries such as China, USA, London, Aruba and Bhutan.


‘I think every lesson that I’ve learnt while travelling has been life-changing. But if I’ve to pinpoint one if you travel, you will change your life forever, for good’, is one life lesson she has learnt whilst travelling.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Tanya Khanijow


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Blog | Photography

31 October 2017

KANDASSANKADAVU: Boat Race | Photo Series By Binto P Anto

The Kandassankadavu Boat Race is a kind of the popular traditional boat race in Kerala, called Vallam Kali. It is held in the Enamakkal Lake and Conolly Canal in Kandassankadavu of Thrissur District, Kerala, India. The race is conducted on the Thiruvonam day of the Onam festival followed by a 10- day festival. The trophy is known as Chief Minister’s ever-rolling Trophy.
Competitions are held for a few specific types of boat categories, namely the Iruttukuthi and Churulan boats. The tradition started in 1955 when the state of Kerala was formed. Due to fiscal problems, the boat race was discontinued by the organisers for a long time. In 2011, with the support of Government of Kerala, Thrissur istrict Tourism Promotion and Manalur Grama Panchayat the race was allowed to commence again. This popular boat race is an absolute delight.
Shot on: Nikon D750 + Tokina 16-28 mm | Tamron 70 – 200 mm.


Photos & Words by Binto P Anto


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Blog | Travel

24 June 2017

Monsoon Destination in Kerala : The Illikkal Kallu

The alarm woke me up to the sound of a heavy downpour – something which was unusual considering those last couple of days. I sat on bed, slightly worried about the day’s plan. But soon I made up my mind and decided to head for the day’s destination – Illikkal Kallu.
Illikkal Kallu gained popularity in the span of past one year through Facebook and a few travel blogs. I still remember reading about the place in a Facebook travel group and adding it to my travel bucket list. Hence, due to its increasing popularity, roads to Illikkal are now well tarred with signboards kept at major points.

At about 3400 feet above sea level, Illikkal Kallu is one among the highest peaks in Western Ghats and is situated above Illikkal Mala, thereby giving its name. Half portion of the Kallu had fallen off thereby giving it a horrendous look. The Kallu (which means rock in Malayalam) comprises of three Kallu’s. Apart from Illikkal, the other two rocks are Kuda Kallu (Kuda being umbrella) and Koonu Kallu (Koonu being a hunchback). Across Koonu Kallu, there is a half feet wide narrow path called Narakapaalam which means bridge to hell – the name comes from the hazardousness it possess. Illikkal Kallu is also known as Kolliyaan Paara (Lightning Rock) due to its probability to lightning.
Popular belief also says that the famous medicinal herb Neelakoduveli grows here, which has supernatural powers and can increase wealth. Atop from the Kallu, one can get a panoramic view of Kottayam district and on a clear day, Arabian Sea will be visible far in the horizon.

I waited at the bus stop for about 20 minutes hoping to board a direct bus to Kottayam and join Sumi at the bus stand – but I couldn’t catch any. So I took a bus to Changanassery, and from there, took another bus to Kottayam. Sumi had already arrived and I was half an hour late.
Next up in our plan was to head to Poonjar where we will join Navaneeth. But again, since we couldn’t find a direct bus, we took a bus until Pala, and took a bus to Adivaram which will ply through Erattupetta and Poonjar.
After a late breakfast at around 11:00 from Navaneeth’s home, we headed to Illikkal Kallu through the Erattupetta – Teekoy – Adukkam Road route.
It was noon already. As we drove through the beautiful winding road to Illikkal Kallu, arrays of mountains stood behind swiftly moving fog. Sumi suggested parking our car half the way and cover the rest of the distance by foot. As we walked up, the fog began to become thicker to a point that the person standing even a few meters away couldn’t be seen.
We climbed from the starting point a bit and sat atop a rock so that the fog will get cleared. Parts of Illikkal Kallu could be seen at times as the heavy wind kept moving the fog towards left. At a point when finally the wind took all the fog away, I saw it for the first time, the gigantic and dreadful Illikkal Kallu.
While Navaneeth and Sumi stayed back, I climbed down and walked through the narrow path towards Illikkal Kallu, desiring to see the famous Narakapaalam and if possible, try crossing it to enter the cave. As much as the view is scenic, since the path gets narrower towards the Kallu, it can be a bit scary; and if heavy wind is there, it gets much worse.
Each step carefully placed, I reached the point from where one has to climb a rock before attempting to cross the (in)famous Narakapaalam. But back then, I was unaware of this particular route – so I stood there in a dilemma of what to do next.
I shot a few pictures and waited in the hope to meet someone, probably a native who can guide me.
After about 15 minutes, a guy came and started climbing up. But since I saw a narrow ridge a few meters ahead of me, I was still in a dilemma whether he is right and to follow him or not. By this time, he already reached the top and had disappeared. I sat on a nearby rock, utterly saddened for the fact that I couldn’t even find a way to see Narakapaalam.



I then heard Sumi calling out my name – probably because it’s been some time since they’ve seen me. I walked back a few meters, waved her and asked her to come down. A couple of minutes later, she joined me. I took my shoes off and tried to climb, but the jeans restricted me. I gave it a few more tries, but failed. In the process, Sumi started refraining me from going up considering its risk. I sat on the rock, regretting my decision of not following the guy who went ahead. Moments passed and we saw him returning after entering the cave through Narakapaalam.
If had a company then, maybe I’d have climbed up and crossed the Paalam somehow. Because according to me, it’s always good to be with someone who knows the place in situations like this. Like if the Kallu gets covered in fog within the time one reaches up there, the only thing he can do is to wait, wait..and wait. Additionally, chances of lightning becomes high.
When a group of drunkards came abusing each other, we finally decided to return considering our safety. I left the place with a self-promise to come back with someone who had crossed Narakapaalam at least once.


  • Entry to the top of Illikkal Kallu is now restricted due to an accident (second one in 2016) which resulted in the death of a tourist on the 18th of September, 2016.
  • A car accident was also reported on September 26th (as seen in a Facebook travel group) due to brake fade.
Photos & Words by Kannan K R


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Blog | Travel

3 June 2017

Munnar – God’s own Vacation Land

Sitting in nature’s lap, if you look up you see white fluffy clouds that resemble cotton candy and if you peek past them you see the majestic hills protecting the beautiful landscape of tea gardens and the aromatic smell of spices that fill up your nostrils – and that, my friends, is Munnar for you. Munnar, the land of the three rivers, Muthirapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundaly.

Travelling to Munnar is easier with a steady access to cars, trains and air flights depending on one’s budget. However, travelling locally within Munnar maybe a little troublesome due to the low frequency of public transport. Thus, hiring a car for the period of your stay is beneficial.

Munnar encourages you to be disconnected from the outside world by giving you low network connectivity and offers a wide variety of activities to satiate your appetite for adventure, knowledge and scenic beauty. From rock climbing and rappelling to paragliding, the adventurer in you has a wide array of activities to choose from. A visit to TATA Tea Museum to witness the processing of tea is a must. If you want to catch a glimpse of the rare Nilgiri Tahr in its natural habitat, the Eravikulam National Park is just the place for you. And for those with a passion for photography, the Mattupetty Dam and the Echo point make wonderful spots apart from the ever present scenic beauty and gorgeous waterfalls. After a tiring day of sightseeing, you can indulge in a relaxing session offered by the ayurvedic spas. While you’re engaged in these activities, do ensure that your umbrella is close by as Munnar is prone to surprise showers.


Photo by Anurag Pal

Photo by Debaditya Sarkar

Photo by Debaditya Sarkar

Photo by Murugesh Mohan

Photo by Vineeth Kuttippala

Photo by Esha Arora

Photo by Debaditya Sarkar

Munnar is a food lover’s paradise and one must definitely sample the traditional South Indian meal on a banana leaf amidst the locals consisting of vegetable pachadi – a salad,  elaneer payasam which is a coconut kheer, mixed vegetable thoran and rice and sambhar, while the non-vegetarians can go for rice with prawns. However, if you’re someone who misses your cheese pizza, you can give your taste buds a relief by devouring one at Club Mahindra’s property which is on the outskirts of Munnar.

On your way back don’t forget to take home the mouthwatering homemade chocolates or the wide variety of spices to enhance your culinary skills. And if you love interacting with people belonging to different cultures I’m sure you’ll be going back with many new friends as Munnar is no stranger to foreigners and even the local people are extremely helpful.

Make sure that you book your hotels well in advance for your holiday in 2018 because that’s the year when Neelakurinji, the flower that blooms once in every twelve years , will be showing its pretty face again in Munnar.

Words by Khyati


Photo by Debaditya Sarkar


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