Valparai: a conflict zone or tranquil getaway?

“All tea estate workers need to be in the field before the siren rings at 08:00 am. They work hard collecting leaf buds through the day to meet a day’s target of 25 kg. One evening the supervisor sent back his wife and two others for falling short of 2 to 3 kg each. On entering…

Grooving to nature’s tune at Periyar Tiger Reserve

Neither had I spoken to anybody nor anybody to me. We traveled in silence the entire night and reached Thekkady, early the next morning. I had seen a newspaper headline, ‘Two days nature camp at Thekkady,’ organized by Environment Conservation Group, Coimbatore and had enrolled myself for the study tour. On reaching Bamboo groove, an…

Stages of strenuous Kathakali make-up in pictures

Sadunam Mohan, I gathered, is a very patient man. He spread out colorful powders on thin papers in front of him and started applying the strokes carefully. “Everything used in Kathakali make-up is locally available. The white is made from rice flour, the black from soot, and the red from Vermilion. Other colors are made…

The mysterious land in India called Mizoram

My heart almost stopped fearing the worst. Until few seconds before landing, you will not know if your flight is crashing onto the trees or landing safely on the airstrip. Such is the 2500 mts runaway at Lengpui airport that is uniquely built on a mountain with streams running below. Cab drive to my host’s…

Kodiveri: A hidden gem that isn’t on any tourist map

It started as a not so serious argument, me defending the neighboring states, Karnataka and Kerala, saying it has many interesting places to see, and everybody knows it, many things to do, unlike Tamil Nadu where everything I hear about is either a pilgrim site or Nilgiris. My father put forth his point saying, Tamil…

Remembering my journey to the base camp at Kasol

I reached the Bangalore International airport exactly 45 mins before my flight take-off time. Predictably, the flight attendants played strict and did not allow me to board. Those days, I diligently saved up money for the two weeks trip that I would go on every 6 months. So I had not budgeted 11,000 INR spare…