Wednesday, January 28, 2009

(Mis)adventures at Thenmala

Here's a misadventure of a trip that came to pass in the middle of my short break in God's Own Country. [Coudl'nt resist putting up a photo walkthrough with my own pics either :P]

So 5 of us cousins set out to Thenmala, an eco - adventure tourist destination somewhere in Kollam. We were inspired by the beautiful pics on the website and an article in the Yaathra magazine that fired us up with enthusiasm about adventure laden treks and activities. Little did we know that Kerala tourism is sometimes a bigger letdown than even the worst Mallu movies.

The information counter was pretty informative, allright, except he failed to mention that the only 'adventure' in this place would be trying to find anything adventurous at all. So, grabbing a few tickets and thanking God we were not 'international tourists', we set out for the 'adventure' zone.

The 'walkway' was a beautiful sight, in fact it was a pic similar to the one on the right that started off the Thenmala plan.

When we reached the 'rock-climbing', unfortunately, we received our first shock.A small 10 metre rock stood in front of us, with a signboard saying

"Feeling adventurous? Try this.. You are safe in professional hands.. " .

Yaa right ! It was safe allright. 10 metres. If its safe, then wheres the adventure, dude ?

Anyways, enthusiasm unbeaten, we proceeded through the 'natural trail' (a small kachcha road through the woods) to a small lake, which was supposed to be the centre of the remaining 'adventure'. The lake was beautiful allright.

But the rest of the let-downs came quickly in succession. The 'ropeway' was nothing but a small piece of rope around 20 metres long for people to hang on and cross. The 'spider net' was a rope net that we used to play on as kids, or find in theme parks. 'Flying fox' and 'freedom fall' were worse than they sounded even, you dont even want to guess what they really were.

After the adventure zone letdown, though, the 'leisure zone' turned out to be better. It was a beautiful area. The view of the dam and the river was breathtaking.There was a trail through the small forest area, with all sorts of 'modern sculpture' in between. The 'modern art' was so abstract (read as 'corny'), they had to give us a pamphlet explaining what each one meant. Some were as foolish as a man holding a ball, and a long crappy explanation to follow it. The type of bullshit we write in our History exams. Probably some engineer after 4 years of bullshitting in his exams, decided to find a job in tour-packaging instead of coding in C++. The pic on the right though, was one of my favorite ones. Its called Meditation - it signifies that man should 'keep aside' his 5 senses to attain salvation (and u can see how the 5 'senses' are 'kept aside' in the sculpture, literally)

More sculpture photos follow.

That last one means "Why try to attain pleasures you cannot reach (the moon on top) while you have simple pleasures of life within your own hands (the moons reflection in the girls hand)".

The rest of the story was scenery. The walk along the dam and river, the garden and the 'boardwalk' (we prefer to call it bored-walk) are better seen through the pics than words.

Finally, wondering whether to kill the Yaathra magazine writer, bomb the Thenmala ecotourism society, or sue Kerala tourism authority for what they'd done, we were on our way home faster than we hoped to be. And that signpost. Theres one that will still leave me in splits of laughter and anger together.


Mahesh Mahadevan said...

1. This post has to be filed under the folder "India Trip", which is what every visit home is called, once you are an NRI. You end up spending so little time at home, and _try_ to be adventurous ;-)
2. Half of the Mallu tourist industry is killed when the tourist enters Kerala and finds that (Oh, what a pleasant surprise!) there's a strike. They somehow manage to find their way using alternate transportation to the tourist spots on days when it's not a strike, only to find that the workers union at the spot has gone on strike. And not to forget, the tourism board office has turned into a public toilet. Despite all the aggressive advertising, if we can't do much ourselves to stay up to the name, we aren't worth even a molecule of our salt.
3. LOL, 10m rock for climbing. Well, there is a sport called Bouldering in which you climb relatively small rocks, but with no safety equipment but for a crash pad - it is pretty challenging (trust me, I stay with a person who is pretty much an expert in it). Anyway, considering Mallu standards, they would never have heard of bouldering anyway :-P
4. Next time, try finding a spot that is yet untouched by the spoiling hands of tourism. There's a place that junta from IITM would have gone to at least once during B.Tech (I haven't, but hey, that's me) - it's called Tada falls, and it is pretty isolated. Even though we guys have done our fair share of spoiling it by dumping tons of trash and bottles of liquor, it is well worth a day's hiking to get there. I am pretty sure there are such places in Kerala that you or some of your relatives might know of. When you're without the crowd or the commercialization, that's the true adventure.
5. I was waiting to hear _other_ stories of your trip home...

Anon said...

Long time..i think i saw u in campus walking on hostel road,but i wasnt sure,so dint shout out.
LOL @ the post.

Hari Vishnu said...

1. true lol, i think kerala tourism will get a boost since after i came out here
2. haha the ever so timely strikes.. how they manage to be so right on time to spoil the days of so many..
3. and 4. yea dude, time for me to find that spot and do some real para-kayaral
5.more coming up later :)

@krik krak
hey yea i was there in college some days ago, around jan 9th if i am right.. had come, met a hell lot of juniors all over the place.. esp in mc.. then went around old hostels and all.. had lunch at mamachans.. and left the place..

u cudve called out :).. wudve been a nice meeting after a blogger-to-blogger conversation via the net so long..

Abhi said...

Awesome experience. I'd like to try this the next time i visit Kerala. Pinne regarding the looting of Tourists i'd say all of India leads in this. See slumdog millionaire for a detailed expose. Also a news item in Ibn live a few months back carried the headline Samosa's for Rs 10000. Being the food lover i am i was STUNNED. I read and found that a NICE guy asked Rs 10000 some dutch tourists for 2 samosas.

Find it unreal. Try this link

Balajee said...

You guys walked on that walkway?!! That rickety looking thing? Even considering that none none of you fellows might weigh nearly as much as me, surely 5 of you must be thereabout right?

Hari Vishnu said...

lol..saw that link.. unbelievable.. but then again, this is hamara india.. is it any wonder tourists fear to come here..

hehe that walkway is sturdier than it looks, luckily.. it could hold more than 20-30 ppl or so (considering there were around 20-30 ppl on the thing at the time we went)..

Dorm Bedding said...

Really nice outdoor pics - thanks for sharing!

Kerala Tourism said...

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