This Monsoon Vacation Escape Into A Tranquil Tree-House Hideout In Munnar, Kerala- Ela Ecoland Nature Retreat.

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Blossoms along the way to munnar.

Thinking about a quick trip to do on your short vacation for a week? Is your Indian blue humble passport holding you back from your plans to travel to International destinations?

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The lovely curve roads for a perfect drive.

I have often felt lost for myself trying to figure out the visa procedures for a quick escape and have looked upon my fellow mates who hold the US, UK passports jump onto Skyscanner and book tickets and fly the next day. Well, there is nothing we can do about rather get yourself in a tour package spending a lot of money or dedicating an entire day at the embassy.

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That lush greenery

But I have wondered, it could be because we have a world within us.

Spreading from Andaman & Nicobar Islands to Kashmir & Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh exhibit a whole lot of difference in culture and language.

Kerala- a land blessed with coastal and hill ranges have never disappointed its visitors. In this blog, I am introducing Ela Ecoland, a quick hideout in the Hill ranges of Munnar that I visited last summer.

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Enjoying my evening on the balcony of the tree house.

Ela Ecoland is a nature retreat than a resort. I found the retreat to be so close to nature that I did not find anything artificial or non-biodegradable used in its premises.

Ela Ecoland offers three types of accommodation.

  • Rock house rooms
  • Luxury Tents
  • Treehouse

Treehouse stay is unique in his style. They aren’t many treehouses in Munnar only a couple of few countable on fingers. I was lucky enough to stay in one among them.

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Getting my works done on a tree house in the woods.

Golden tip: If you’re interested in Treehouse then book them at least one week in advance and to be noted Treehouse is couple friendly which accommodates two comfortably.

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The view of the tree house from below.

The view from the Treehouse is stunning that it overlooks a small pond with falls and to add to the natural beauty they have a bamboo raft which can be used to move around in the pond.

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The bamboo raft 

As the sun goes down begins the chirping of the birds that you feel you are totally lost in the jungle having nothing to worry about your chaotic life and is best if you want to disconnect yourself from the hectic life you have back in the city.

The stream flows by that adds to the beauty and serene environment. Imagine laying on your cosy bed in the cool weather where the temperature drops to as low as 15 °C listening to the chirping of the birds and stream, reading your favourite book. Perfecto!

If you want to stay connected then internet wifi facility is available at the reception. Mobile networks go on and off. Idea and Bsnl networks often work but are not stable.

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Benjamin with his friend.

Run by these two nature lovers Benjamin and his friend would never leave you disappointed. So, this monsoon vacation head to Ela!

Excuse me! Don’t forget to take your camera with you! You may come across some beautiful spots to capture nature photographs.

You can also watch my Youtube video on Ela Ecoland for some visuals.

Do visit to get connected to the nature retreat to book your stay through this website.

Happy Vacation!

Blogwithgokul©

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For Nature retreat website: www.elaecoland.com

For booking call: +91 9400946800


Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

Make sure you also follow Benjamin on his Instagram YouTube Channel.

A Young Artist and A Social Media Fame: An Interview with Akhilshah-Blogwithgokul (GV’s Talk)

Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen, I happily welcome you all to GV’s Talk – a series of interview with inspiring people across the globe.

Gokul: Welcome to GV’s Talk Mr Akhilshah!

Let’s Kickstart the interview. Tell us about yourself.

Akhilshah: I’m Akhilshah. My friends call me Akku. Well, I come from the Perinthalmanna district of Kerala. A high school graduate and all set to begin a college life. I’m so passionate about arts and love to sketch portraits of people. I make dubsmash videos which made me popular on the social media. Yeah! That’s why I am here! Haha.

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Akhilshah with the portrait of Malayalam Actor Jayasurya

Let’s talk about art first. Okay. Who was the first person who found your talent to become an artist?

Finding out the talent in me. Yes, I would say my parents are the one who found my talent in arts. My mom, she always encouraged me to pursue my interest in arts from a very young age.

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His galore of art collections

Have you had any formal training in arts?

No, I haven’t. I could say I always loved drawing on papers and that is how I grew a passion for it. Like the more you practice the more perfect you get. I figured out the ways in which one can create a great art. During school days, We have an hour dedicated to the arts. My school art teacher helped me during that hour giving me certain guidelines.

A young man who graduated from high school. Right? What are your plans for the future?

Yes, graduated from high school. I wanted to be an Architect. That’s my ambition. I have taken NATA exam to qualify for Architecture colleges in India. Yea, waiting for the allotments to be published. I would definitely work on creating more sketches.

Akhil at this young age you were able to meet a lot of celebrities but tell us how many celebrity sketches have you done so far?

I have sketched a lot of celebrities portraits, I haven’t taken the count but in person, I got the opportunity to create portraits for nine celebrities. They include actress Sruthi Lakshmi, Nyla Usha, Surabhi, Abhirami, Rimi Tomy, Bhama, Honey Rose, Mamta Mohandas & Chakochan (Kunchako Boban).

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Akhilshah with Mamta Mohandas and Kunchako Boban

Who is the dream person that you want to present a sketch for?

I have been a hardcore fan of our ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar since childhood. I would love to meet him and gift him one. If it happens I would be in cloud 9.

Recently I saw your performance on the television in which you created an art within the limited time period of a song! Which is absolutely mind-blowing. How challenging was it?

Yes, I drew the sketch of Lalettan. It’s called stencil art. It was my first time performing on stage, I was very nervous as well. The audience was so supportive that I completed it on time. I hope I did my best.

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Presenting an art to actress Surabi

Amazing talent in acting as well. Do you wish to try your luck in the film industry?Yea I love to act in films. It’s been one of my dreams from childhood. I am not much into lead roles in a movie but I would love to play a role of a supporting character in which I can explore more in acting. Yes, I love to, let’s see wants in stock for me. Haha.

Which was the video that led to your popularity?

My first video that went viral was the one I did from the Malayalam sitcom M80 Moosa. I enacted the characters of Pathu and Moosa in a double role. When I posted it on Facebook I realised that it was gaining many views in a short span of time. Later, it started circulating on Whatsapp and Youtube. The lead Actress Surabhi who plays the role of Pathu, Indian National award winner by chance saw the video and shared it on her fan page.

In most of your Dubsmash videos, your sister had a huge involvement? How fun is it to make videos with her? What does she do?

Haha! Yes, We always fight each other and the only time we stand cheek by jowl is when making a dubsmash video. She is in 5th grade and I love collaborating with her. She has a whole lot of a humour in her and the positive vibe we get when we spend time with kids is boundless.

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With his sister during the making of a dubsmash video

To watch dubsmash click here: Dubsmash

Who is your biggest support or the backbone who drives you to move forward creating videos or draw sketches?

I have to thank my parents first for helping me pursue my passion along with my studies. Then comes friends. I have to mention my uncle, he has been a constant support, encouraging me to do more arts and videos. He is always there for me.

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A portrait of Neymar and Messi

Before we wind up the talk Akhil what do you have to tell to the people who supported you by sharing your videos and made it a great hit?

When I did my first video I never imagined that people would appreciate and promote it. I am so grateful to everyone who helped me come to the limelight.  Thank you so much and I wish to have them in the future as well. 

Thank you so much for having your time. Wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Blogwithgokul©

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You can follow Akhilshah on his social media handles:

Facebook: Akhilshah


Hola! So keep reading as I bring new guests to the hot seat of GV’s Talk. You can also write to me on gokulvijay484@gmail.com for business inquiries and suggestions.

Make sure you also follow me on my Instagram, Facebook Page & YouTube Channel.

So How Long Can You Tolerate The Nasty Airliners ?

So, first of all let me tell you it took four years for me to write this down. The reason is nothing  but i ignored it to my best. But recently again disputes have started from the national carrier as well as the airport officials. You might have heard the news a week ago that the renowned South Indian singer M Jayachandran was ill treated when he stood up for his rights at Karipur International airport.

He also stated that pravasi or the Indians residing in the Gulf countries are more the victims to this harassment by these airliners. What if it be our own national carrier ?! Pretty shame.

Ohkay ! The story begins like this. Me along with my family was travelling back to our hometown Kochi, Kerala for the summer holidays. We booked Air India due to unavailability of tickets in other carriers. As you know the airline is the king of delays ! So we try our maximum not to book them. So, this time we had no choice, we went forward with it. Hopefully thinking we would have a safe and a comfortable journey.

We had our flight scheduled at 7:50 am in the morning. Got up a bit early like 4:00 am, did our routines and packed the remaining bags and by 5 quarters started the journey to King Fahad International airport which is like about 50 mins travel from home.

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Driveway to Airport.

We arrived on time, checked in our baggage’s and took our boarding pass.

And the first thing we did was to check the flight information screen. Yeah ! Flight on time.

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Entrance to airport.

So we did our emigration processes and waited at the terminal.

Time flew and it was 8:10 am, suddenly the “on-time” sign changed to “delay”. Sheeeesh ! we kept our hands on forehead and sat with a sigh.

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Endless waiting !

God this is never gonna make it on time !.

After an hour the board showed three hours delay. Thanks to the free WiFi network, I connected my then Nokia touch express music onto it and kept myself busy. Me and my sister kept sharing it in turns. Well three hours  past, its 11:30 am still no sign of the aircraft. I started feeling hungry, we actually had our breakfast early early morning. So we went to the Coffee talk and had something light to keep our tummies filled.

Its now 12 in the noon. OK, now we don’t see a sign on the information board. No airport officials at the gates too ! Now the passengers got impatient and started inquiring. The airport officials showed no response at all. They said “we are not getting any information from the airline staffs” as simple as that.

it’s 2:00 pm ! what about lunch ?! i was literally starving as hell ! They were so many families among passengers including infants.  After a lot of pleading the airline staffs showed up. They said they will provide us Lunch within an hour. At last by 3:00 PM we had our worst lunch ever !! stale chapattis and curries which sucked to the core !

Nevertheless, we had them. Now it’s 5:00 PM, imagine we were supposed to go on the 8:00 am flight ! and now it’s 5:00 PM !! i am already on the edge of my tolerance because i had nothing to do except keep staring at the Arabic MBC Channel which kept running all day long.

Again rushed to the Coffee Talk for a cup of cuppa chino.

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Love you coffee talk . You saved my day !
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Stranded AI passengers.

Now that passengers started yelling and shouting at the officers demanding to meet the Airline manager. Then came the manager, and he said that the aircraft is facing some technical issues that in substitution to that another aircraft has been sent from Delhi !

Delhi ?! I was wonder struck, it takes around four and half hours for that aircraft to come. I could not even wait a minute longer in that airport.

It’s 8:00 pm, All our cell batteries started draining. To our horror the charging points require an adapter to convert into two pin and we did not have one. Done with it ! No cells and Laptops too. Keep staring at that television or sleep on the couches. When it was 10:00 pm !! They said the flight is not going to make it today. Wow ! wonderful i said to myself.

Why the heck can’t these people tell earlier. Instead they said they would take us to a hotel for the night.

But there is a rule in the Kingdom. Those who are travelling in exit visa will not be able to re-enter the country at any cause. We were travelling on Exit- Re entry visa. So that does not imply to us. But !! a family with a toddler and months old infant was travelling on Exit visa.

The airline did not show any courtesy towards them instead they allotted the prayer room for them to stay without bed and other facilities to spend the night with just carpets spread all over the floor.

We where taken to the SAPTCO bus waiting outside the airport.

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SAPTCO

We left the airport and reached the hotel by 10:00 pm. We where made to stay at the Al-Hamra Golden Tulip hotel in Ad Dammam.

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Flickr Image

We checked in at the reception, handed over our passports at the reception and went to our rooms.

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Rooms were Cozy and warm, but all we wanted was to go home! Dead tired.

We had dinner at the restaurant down stairs.

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Multi Cuisine Restaurant

Jumped over the beds and went onto a deep sleep.

But at 3 am in the morning, the phone rang and we were asked to report at the reception as our flight will be in an hour, by 5:00 AM. Woohooo ! But was sleepy has hell.

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Way back to airport early morning!

Reached the airport and boarded the aircraft and flew !!

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Hmmm..the interior

We touched down at Calicut (Karipur) International airport. Actually the passenger to Cochin as to remain on board and the aircraft was disembarking the passengers to Calicut. We waited for the flight to take-off. Then we noticed that it was getting hotter inside the carrier. It looks like the engines is turned off. Passengers started to inquire and came to now that the pilots were on strike that they are not willing to fly the aircraft unless they are paid the remaining salary ! The air hostess gave a frown look to us. Okay ! what on earth should the passenger do ? Why should they suffer for this ?

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Karipur Airport

We were made to get down the aircraft. We haven’t had breakfast. The Karipur staffs came with a bread sandwich which was totally cold. The children started crying they haven’t had a proper food for a day now. Know Passengers started arguing with the staffs and and they said they will arrange a bus to Kochin without compensation when we paid the air fare till Kochin. No way !! Even the airport officials in Karipur were befriending them and they behaved in a mean full manner. They did even consider the female travelers as well. Finally, some passengers entered the managers room and caught his collar (that is what i heard) and suddenly from no where the flights were arranged.

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Kochin Airport (Illustrative Pic)

Finally, we landed at Kochin around 12 in the noon. Coming to an end to this tragic travel. We were welcomed by a group of medias to explain to them about the Airline experience, well whatever is done they remain the same !!

Well, this was the worst air travel i ever had in my entire life. AI plays cheap tactics to earn profits, it’s not that they can’t find a solution. They don’t try to find a solution. I cannot say their long haul flight to US ans UK are similar to this but the Middle East sector sucks !

At least the staffs have to learn hospitality before they work in a hospitality sector. Well, made a decision to never ever opt this again !

Fingers Crossed !

 

Have you had similar experiences ? Share it on the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Love Gokul.

 

 

 

Here Is What Folklore Tales From Kochin Has To Say !!

That feeling when your taken back into the strange and beautiful era of past ? I got those feel on my visit to this place in Kochin. Yes, i am talking about the Folklore Museum at Thevera.

 

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Folklore Museum at Folklore Junction, Thevera.

 

The first aspect that captures everyone’s notice is the appearance of the building, built in rich Kerala ethnic style.Then what to expect in the interiors ? Yep, Smoothed wooden flooring adds to its beauty and tradition. Great ambiance and the building has made utilized the space to its maximum without causing any discomfort to the visitors by proper displays and labels with descriptions.

 

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Beautifully maintained interiors. 

 

Some of the artifacts are really awe striking. Indeed, some displays the richness of the Kerala as well as the Dravidian culture and traditions.

The single sculptured lion was one of my favorite. It’s got a unique attractiveness 😉 here is the image below.

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Beautiful yet, ferocious Huh?

 

In the ground floor you can almost cover the sculptures and wooden artifacts.

 

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Ground Floor
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Elegant.
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Masks depicting various facial expressions.
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Olden potteries at display.
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OMG!! Hundreds of artifacts like beetles boxes,instruments etc glassed.  
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Guess what ? Ancient measuring tapes !
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Kathakali art-form costume
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Miniature house boats at souvenir shop.
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String Puppets
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Traveler’s Choice

These galore of artifacts can be visited with a entry of Rs 200 for adults and Rs 100 for children. For video and photography an additional of Rs 100 has to be paid at the ticket counter. The museum is open on all days from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm. For contact: Phone no: 0484 266 5452.

Eminent personalities have visited this museum including Prince Charles on his visit to Kochin. A must visit place to look back into the prolific history.

Cultural custom stage shows are also organised for a minimum of 100 members which is booked well in advance.

For queries drop it below !!

Journey Begains……….

Vacation !!! so i am in much in need of an adventurous journey somewhere worth going…..! The place which came into my mind is none other the Athirapally waterfalls.What place is more exciting and rejuvenating than the waterfalls in Athirapally located in the western Ghats of the Gods own country Kerala.It is also nicknamed as the “Niagara of India”.This place belongs to on the top of the list to any tourist who visits Kerala.So we got our Mahindra all ready and begain our trip to Athirapally falls…. 🙂