Sunday, January 29, 2012

Munro Thuruthu: a non - touristy destination near Kollam

Location: around 90 kms from Trivandrum and around 40 kms from Kollam.

Route: Trivandrum - Attingal - Kottiyam - Kundara - Munro Thuruthu

Coming from Trivandrum, take the NH 47 route to Kollam. After around 60 kms comes Kottiyam. From Kottiyam take the right to Kundara. On reaching Kundara Hospital Junction take the right and after a short distance you have to take a left across a level crossing to go to Munro Thuruthu.
Munro Thuruthu is not your usual touristy place. In fact, it won't even figure in most people's  travel plans. So how on earth did I end up visiting this place? Well, my friend Pradeep wanted to go some place where there are (according to him) no or very less number of "evolved monkeys" spoiling the peace. As we made out of Trivandrum in the direction of Kollam in search of such a place, the first place that came to my mind was Sasthamkotta Lake. Further down the road, we saw a sign board saying Ashtamudi Lake and the destination got changed to Ashtamudi Lake. But I had no idea about reaching Ashtamudi Lake so both of us were looking out for directions when we saw the next sign board. Yes, change of plans yet again and we were off to Munro Thuruthu. We had an expectation about the place as both of us had seen the place while travelling by train.
We had to ask for directions  couple of times but finally we reached the place. We went to the railway station and parked the car there. We walked around the place taking pictures. The Kallada river flows through here creating a back water effect like Alappuzha. Although not as beautiful as Alappuzha, the place has its charm. One of the plus points is you are unlikely to find any tourists here. As for the beauty of the place and whether it is worth visiting, go through the pictures and decide yourself.

Things to do around the place: take photos, take a ride in the jhankar or any boat.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday visit to Madavoorpara Rock cut temple in Trivandrum

Madavoorpara Siva temple is a rock cut temple located in the outskirts of Trivandrum city. This temple is an ancient one dating back to 850 A.D. The temple and the surroundings is now under the protection of the State Archaeological Department. The temple has a carved idol of Lord Siva and a carving of Ganapathi on the wall in the right side. There is also a carving of the local chieftain on the left side of the temple.
Getting there: Now there are actually three routes from Trivandrum to Madavoorpara.
1) Trivandrum - Sreekaryam - Chempazhanthy - Kattayikonam - Madavoorpara
2) Take the Powdikonam - Pothencode route from Sreekaryam. After 8 kms through this road comes Santhipuram. Take a left turn from this junction. After 2 kms along this road you will reach Madavoorpara. One advantage of this route is that you don't have to climb up the rock.
3) Take the bye-pass road to Kazhakuttom. From Kazhakuttom take the new road to Venjaramood. Take a right turn from Kattayikonam. Travel along this road for about 1 km and Madavoorpara comes up along the left side. There is a kucha road on the left side which leads to the place.

Madavoorpara was a relatively unknown destination even for locals until recently, but now after some articles in the local newspapers and media, the place is witnessing an increasing influx of visitors, especially during the weekends. There is a small park at the top of the rock. A bamboo bridge 101 mtrs long has been constructed by the State Archaeological Department to take people to the hut on top of the hill. Needless to say, the view from atop the rock is simply awesome. You can see the city blending with the outskirts from the top and also a view of the sea. The whole area gets a golden hue at the time of twilight which is simply awesome to witness.

The board at the bottom of the steps leading to the temple stating that this is a protected monument and under the State Archaeological Department.
My friends on the steps to the temple.
Steps cut into the rock to reach the temple
Going to the top of the rock
The small pond on the way to the top formed by a perennial stream. It is known as "Ganga Theertham".
Climbing to the top
First glimpse of the bamboo bridge at the top
Zoomed view of the bridge
View from the top
One of the bamboo huts at the top
The small park at the top
Golden hue
The Bamboo bridge