Not many of us might have heard about Kodikkal beach in North Kerala, though it has all the credentials to be a world class drive in beach. The shallow and safe waters , the sandy coast that is free from the footfalls of mass tourism and the rustic milieu around would make it a choice worth reckoning.
Yet the potential of this beautiful 8km beach , which is situated near Vadakara in Kozhikode is yet to be tapped. The beach is well suited for a range of beach activities like paragliding. Foreign tourists who often come to this beach find it more beautiful than its popular counterparts like Kovalam or Muzhuppilangad beach . The hard black sandy coast of Kodikkal is perfect place for one to drive in without getting stuck in the sand.
There are many other obscure tourism spots in Kerala as well, which are not fully documented and are known only to the local populace.As The Kerala Tourim Development Corporation plans to focus more on new and unexplored destinations apart from promoting the popular attractions of Kerala, this beach, which has remained hidden from the public eye might get featured in the tourism brochures soon. The best thing is that there are many other tourist attractions around, including the Iringal craft village, the house of Kunjali Marakkar and Velliyamkallu which can be combined with Kodikkal beach to form an interesting package as well.
A proper tourism promotion package alone can bring out the beauty of these hidden tourist attractions, which remain unexplored and untamed. To retain its impressive track record in tourism sector, Kerala will have to offer a diverse fare for the curious tourists who always look for something new!
Bicycles, which were once the only means of transport were shoved aside with the advent of motorised locomotives like cars and bikes. However in an interesting reversal of trends, a growing line up of young and keen cyclists is emerging in Kerala, predominantly among the techies. They prefer to not just pedal their way to work but also for their daily chores. The newly-launched Bicycle Club at Kochi’s tech hub, Infopark, is one such initiative, which has raised a lot of interest. It was set up as an initiative to promote a green tech campus in Kochi.
However in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram a cycling club took birth almost two years ago in the form of The Allianz Technopark Cycling Club. The club has become a favorite haven for cycling enthusiasts now. It has 56 cycles of eight different styles and close to 1,500 members. Youngsters make use of these low cost and green transportation option of cycles to move around the campus.
The techies in Kochi too is not far behind in patronising this trend. Even those who run their own tech firm, cycles to office every day and finds this option as a cool choice to beat the traffic mayhem of this city. Many vouch that they reach their office in half the time of what they would have taken by car. Cycling is not just a fun ride but is a recommended exercise routine as well. Some cyclists even take it up as a daily routine to tide over muscular and joint pains.
To popularise cycling among the youth, many cycling clubs have sprung up all over the city. Some malls in the city even provide an exclusive parking space just for cycles to encourage these green commuters! Bicycle hire is a popular option among foreign tourists to explore the unexplored villages and coastline of Kerala too. With the cycles available for hire for as little as `2, you could not have asked for a cheaper transportation option in Kochi.
So, next time when you are stuck in the maddening traffic of the city, just give this smart idea a thought. It will not just make sure that you reach your work place on time but will also tone your muscles to make you physically fit and alert. So, in case you have a dusty bicycle, shoved somewhere in the attic or the backyard, it is the right time to give it the place that it deserves!
The monsoon dates that coincide with the school reopening in Kerala has always been a delightful experience for every Malayalee. As the much expected South West monsoons lashed the Kerala Coast bang on target on June 1st, it brought cheer to not just the fun loving kids but also to the general public and the administration as well. Monsoon is so intricately linked with the lifestyle and culture of Kerala that normal life will be badly hit if the rains fail to show up on time.
The monsoon has a crucial role in in the economy of the power starved state of Kerala as it replenishes the waterways and reservoirs of the State, which depends on Hydro electricity for power generation even today. From tourism to Ayurveda and monsoon wellness treatments, Kerala offers a host of activities that are tagged to monsoon.
The South West monsoon, which is expected to bring normal rains this year has brought down the soaring temperature of Kerala. Keralites who have been reeling under load shedding can be a relieved lot as the power curbs will be lifted in a few days when the monsoons gather strength.
As industrialization and deforestation has affected the weather patterns all around the world, we can only hope and pray that this God given gift of the monsoons, continue to bring prosperity and happiness to Kerala. As responsible citizens we should all take an oath to protect our water bodies, forests and wet lands to make sure that we hand over the magic and bounty of monsoons to the future generations.
Kerala is indeed a land of paradoxes! While the State Government is striving hard to promote khadi and the regional attire of ‘mundu’ among Government employees and the general public, the case has not been so in other sectors.
Recently the Police and autorickshaw drivers in the pictersque district of Wayanad got embroiled in what could be called a ‘mundu’ row,. The Drivers’ unions are resisting the move to enforce a dress code for drivers, which will prevent them from wearing the traditional mundu to work. The auto drivers feel that this directive, which will be in force from the 1st of June is nothing short of an infringement on their rights and a tight slap on the face of those of try to promote Kerala culture.
The unions have decided to air their grievance and to protest the decision by making all their members, mainly autorickshaw drivers, wear the traditional Kerala dress. They warn that they may resort to tough measures including taking their vehicles off the roads if the police went on with the implementation of the code.
Police however said the decision was taken in view of the immodest dressing followed by mundu-clad auto drivers, who often walk around with the dhotis tied high up the waist, causing discomfort to lady passengers and families. The police want the auto drivers to stick to the uniform of Khaki pants and they plan to impose a fine on those who break this law.
In most Kerala villages including those in Wayanad, a majority of drivers still wear mundu to work and some of them are so accustomed to this dressing style that it might be a difficult for them to switch to pants. While the mundu controversy continues to simmer discontent among the auto drivers in the higher altitudes of Wayanad, the women commuters have welcomed this move as they feel that very often they are caught in an embarrassing situation on roads and also while travelling in an auto.
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Kottayam had registered its name in the hall of fame long time back for being the first city with 100 % literacy. Now Keeping up its tryst with fame , it is all set to get a new tag of ‘the mural city’ after being called the land of lakes, letters and latex! When the chief minister declares it as a mural city on Saturday, Kottayam will be making a huge stride in the Kerala tourism map of the region.
At present painters from across the world are engaged in painting murals in different parts of the city like the district collectorate, library and places of worship. A massive mural sketched by Suresh Muthukulam of Aranmula Vastu Vidyalayam. depicting Noah’s Ark,” which will come up in Pushpagiri Church in Thellakom will be the star attraction of the project. According to the organizers, this 300 square feet painting once completed will be the biggest in the country. Over 300 artists from around the world,will complete the work within a day.
Meanwhile a committee has been formed comprising of district collector, Municipal Chairman,district panchayat president and the Akademi chairman will also be formed to ensure the conservation of the paintings, which is prone to damage owing to the high level of pollution in the city.
Kerala has set the living standards of the distant Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finlnd as its paradigm of development over the next 17 years. Kerala has decided to let go the standards set by Asian Tigers, which have long been benchmarked by developed states like Gujarat for its dubious human development indices.
As per the new paradigm, Kerala will have to make a quantum jump in its per capita income from the current $4,700 to $19,000 in the next 20 years at a compound growth rate of 7.5 per cent. Though the standards of Norway with a with a PPP of $54,000 appears distant, Kerala is aiming to achieve the $ 36,000-37,000 income bracket of Finland and Denmark. The immediate priority in this regard will be to scale down the income inequality spread score from over 40 to 23 per cent.
With the foreign remittances slated to plunge to a minuscule 4% of the State’s GDP by 2030 from a whopping 50% now, Kerala should have a well set plan to achieve this paradigm. With a qualified manpower resource to fall back, Kerala can rely on start up businesses and trading activities though Kerala is not known for its entrepreneurial credentials.
Tourism, health care and education will be the niche segments under spotlight for Kerala in the coming decade. Apart from retaining the growth rate, Kerala has to think about innovative ideas and business plans in these segments to keep the coffers full. Will Kerala leave its indelible imprints in the league of some of the most prosperous countries in the World in the next few years? This million dollar question will stir up debates, opinions and counter opinions in the coming days for sure. Meanwhile as responsible subjects of Kerala, everyone of us should strive to pitch in our best to make sure that Kerala attains this commendable distinction!
We Malayalees seem to have an uncanny knack in choosing only the not so desirable traits of western culture by conveniently turning a blind eye to the virtues of their life style. For instance, not many of us in Kerala think that is necessary to stand in a queue while boarding a bus or follow the road rules on a day out unlike our Western counterparts. However aping their dressing style and fast food styles are some of the many things that come naturally to Keralites. The Westerners dress in jeans to beat the severe cold and when we blindly ape this dressing style, we not only put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, but also make a mockery of ourselves in the hot and humid Kerala weather.
Many feel that the outrageous dress sense of girls has played a big role in pushing up the women abuse cases in India in recent times. The fact that a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes in itself shows the vulnerability of women in the modern society. Modesty of women is at stake at work places, public parks, railway stations, bus stops and even inside their own homes.
Here are some handy tips for women to prevent rape
- Scream for help, seek public attention and get way from danger immediately.
- Defend yourselves with pepper spray ; learn martial arts steps like karate for self defence
- Avoid dimly lit spots, isolated areas and small alley ways
- Be alert to what is happening around you; do not use headphones while on road.
- Dress modestly and make sure that you wear clothes that do not attract unwanted attention from men .
- Use your cell phone as a safety tool to remain connected with your family, friends or even the police if the situation warrants.
- Do not accept money, sweets or snacks from people you do not know. It could be laced with sedatives.
- Do not share personal information with people whom you meet online or during trips in a train or in public places. There is never a good reason to meet up with a person whom you have never met in person.
- Walk confidently so that it may put off the stalkers on the prowl looking for soft targets.
- Never accept lifts in cars or bikes from people you do not know.
- Last but not the least, mothers can play an important role in teaching their daughters to dress sensibly and fashionably without being obscene from a young age.
As the rising instances of rape and abuse against women is snowballing into a major social issue, it is high time that women stay alert to ward off the risks and to remain safe and secure.
Though it might sound a bit weird, there seems to be a connection between meat eating habits of Keralaites and the surging instances of rape in the State going by the opinion of the Arya Samaj scholar Swami Agnivesh.
If it is true, Kerala has a sound reason for worry. With the state’s meat production shooting up at a staggering 342 percent increase in the last 1 year and booze flowing freely, there is every reason for the women in Kerala to be on their guard. However, Criminologist James Wadakkamcherry reiterates that the rape cases in Kerala have infact dropped slightly in recent times.
Though there is no proper research data on meat and its effects on libido, there is a common notion that rape cases are more prevalent in meat eating communities. However statistics prove that Madhya Pradesh which leads in juvenile rapes in the country is one of the lowest meat-consuming states in the country. Rape cases are also reported from countries like Saudi Arabia where there is a blanket ban on liquour.
As opinions and counter opinions continue unabated , many gourmets have come up with solid facts to support that meat eating has nothing to do with libido. Most of the aphrodisiacs that are sold in the market are made of green leaves and roots of herbs like ginseng, safedi musli and ashwagandha.
No matter whether this discussion will bring down the rape cases or not, the fact remains that rapists can never be just meat eaters or boozers, but are mentally sick patients who need counselling and treatment.
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Welcome to the Monday ‘Market Day’ of Ernakulam market, the city’s oldest centre of merchandise.It appears that nothing has virtually changed in the past 150 years in and around the Ernakulam market. The fragrance of lemongrass oil, masked often by the stench from the nearby dirty canal waft in the air as truck loads of vegetables and provisions choke the narrow pathways adding to the chaos and mayhem.
True to the past tradition, Mondays and Fridays are observed as Market Days even today, though it attracts fewer people these days. The shop owners some of whom in the business for over five decades say that there has been a marked shift in the frenzy and activity in market days these days.
Originally the Maharaja of Cochin had given the Market area to Jewish traders for business, who set up poultry and coir trade. When they left the country , they sold their shops to the local people and most of the buildings have traditional architectural influences. The market has been in existence much before MG Road, the contemporary nerve centre of the city came into being and much before the North and South overbridges were built. This lively market place had tradelinks with many far off places like Ponnani and Chavakkad in the north and Kollam, Changanassery and Kottayam in the south, which makes it an indelible link in the history of this city.
The Ernakulam Market includes the northern end of Broadway, Basin Road and Jew Street, which has over 2,000 shops that sell literally everything under the sun apart from the innumerable pavement sellers that spread out their knick knacks, clothes, electronic items and attracts buyers with their budget deals. There are also many temporary shacks that sell vegetables and fruits along the canal side.
The canal, known as the Basin Road Canal, which linked the Market to the outside world now lies in a state of disuse. Country boats used to bring in goods even until the 1990s. Then the canal had clean and pristine water and was a busy waterway linking to the Vembanad Lake. The waterway lost its relevance with the commissioning of the roadways, which led to the deterioration of these waterways in Kerala.
The market gives many nostalgic memories for the older generation whereas the younger generation remains oblivious to the rich tradition and history of the Ernakulam market.