#Its The Way You See It

14 Days . 10 Photographers

Kerala Monsoon, River Nila, Its People, Art & Culture

Monsoons transform Kerala into a state of mind. Making it a perfect time for everything,especially travel.

#ItsTheWayYouSeeIt is a photo journey with travel photographer Ajay Menon along the banks of River Nila during the invigorating Monsoon. It's an opportunity to see the monsoon through a photographers’ eyes, take portraits of real people, document artists in their act and witness how the river and land transform as the monsoon take over.

The trip begins at Silent Valley’s lush rain forest and traverses through lands where Nila is more a culture than a river. Meet people whose livelihood are connected to Nila. Experience the cultures the river has nurtured. Encounter rare art forms and craftsmanship. Spend time with the artists and their families and friends. Listen to magical myths. Be entertained by stories of the river and from the river. Print a visual memoir of the journey through the photographs you have clicked. A story that will stay close to your heart, all your life.

The Journey, a Snapshot

A journey for photography enthusiasts, who have basic photography knowledge

Travel with Ajay Menon, travel photographer and Gopinath Parayil, the storyteller

Experiencing monsoon, mountains, forests, rivers

Meeting artists, craftsmanship, people & culture of Nila


Creating a photo memoir of nature photography, portraits, photo stories

Selected photos from the trip to be exhibited at world's largest Travel fair ITB Berlin 2017

Itinerary - July 20th to August 3rd

The Villages

The trip begins from villages at the valley of Western Ghats in Palakkad. Stay in traditional "botique heritage" properties, eat local cuisines, explore the farmlands and ethnic toddy shops.


The Mountains & Hills

Explore photography vantage points of Nelliyampathy hills and many hillocks doting the river. Take out your wide lenses. Create panoramas.

The River

Travel along the banks of Nila. Meet people ,click portraits. Visit local teashops. Document Nila amidst monsoons.

Temples, Myths, Rituals

There are more than 80 temples in Nila region. Visit temples and listen to the legends and myths from the people of Nila. Experience rituals like Kalamezhuth paatt and Pulluvan paatt which are exclusive cultural symbols of Kerala's rich artistic tradition.


Art, Artists, Craft, Craftsmen

Meet various artists and craftsmen while they perform. The last man who creates Kathakali kopp, the only family who does Adakkaputhur Kannadi, magical shadow puppetry and Glove puppetry performances are just some of them.


Experience the music of the river from mountain to the sea that nurtured this civilisation.


Nature, Landscapes

Follow the river, explore natural ponds, farmlands, mangroves.

Train that takes you to forests

Experience a train journey through villages to reach Nilambur forests. Visit Railway stations canopied by trees and shrubs.

The Architecture

Stay in the largest household remaining in Kerala, study the intricate designs of sustainable architecture.

The Sea

Nila ends at Ponnani, where it flows in to the Arabian sea. Visit villages in Ponnani, which predominantly houses muslim communities in contrast to other villages of Nila.

Why should you take this Journey ?

Experience Nila ; River, Culture, People

Following a river through the monsoons. Travel across mountains, forests and the villages where Nila flows. Meet people, art, carfts and culture from Nila. Experience myths, stories and characters from the region.

Journey with a Travel Photographer and a Storyteller

Travel Photographer Ajay Menon, and Storyteller Gopinath, both hail from Nila. A great chance to sharpen your photography skills with the help of an expert, while experiencing magical myths and stories of the land.

Your photographs at ITB Berlin

"Imagine your photographs being exhibited at the world's largest travel trade show ITB Berlin? Chosen by eminent photographers including Dayanita Singh, 14 photogrpahs representing 14 days of our travel will be exhibited at ITB Berlin in Mar 2017, followed by similar exhibitions in London, Singapore and select galleries in India."

Win a scholarship

This journey is only for a max of ten people. But one person gets to travel for free for 14 days and document mesmerising Nila. All you need to do is to upload a photograph you took and post it on fb, twitter, instagram, pinterest etc with a #ItsTheWayYouSeeIt & #Nila16 for a total of 14 days.


Quick Facts

  • 10 Member group
  • Road Trip
  • Art & Culture
  • Photo Memoir
  • Train and Boat journeys
  • Travel Photography
  • Mountains, Forest, Rivers, Sea
  • Walks & Treks
  • Photo Exhibition
  • Travel, Stay & Food Included

People Behind the scene

Ajay Menon - The Travel Photographer

An eye for a striking frame, they say, comes naturally to some. Ajay happens to fall into that lot. Photography had been a hobby before it soon transformed into something that progressively satisfied Ajay’s artistic ambitions. Having deeply inspired by the natural setting of Kerala, the place he’s from his pictured are a unique blend of raw and fine aesthetics.

The affinity to go experimental whenever he can, has also made him freeze moments that otherwise would have gone unnoticed, may be, forever. Born in the heritage village of Vellinezhi on the banks of River Nila, Ajay currently lives in Cochin and runs a media production house called Papaya Media with his friends. ​ #ItsTheWayYouSeeIt is a journey with Ajay exploring Nature, culture and people. See his work.

Gopinath Parayil, The Story Teller

Gopi founded The Blue Yonder, one of the most awarded responsible travel companies of the world in 2004. A keen promoter of sustainability and a believer in social entrepreneurship, he transformed The Blue yonder into a travel company that creates a positive impact in both hosts’ and guests’ lives. A pioneer in Responsible Tourism, he identifies projects and destinations to work with and then transforms them into immersive travel experiences. Nila is both passion and home for him.

A National Geogrpahic World Legacy Awards jury, Gopi is also a founding board member of Asian Ecotourism Network. Core team member & volunteer of Compassionate Kozhikode, he's is a keen believer in 'Creating Better Places for People to Live & for People to Visit". An ardent story teller, this journey with him and Ajay will be an experience by itself.

The Blue Yonder, a Responsible Tourism Initiative.

The Blue Yonder designs responsible travel experiences that reveal truth about the places you visit. The Blue Yonder was created to provide meaningful travel experiences for discerning travellers. It all started back in 2004 with a small initiative on river conservation in the state of Kerala. From then on, we’ve been knitting together many beautiful and inspirational holidays for our guests.

The Blue Yonder brings together authentic and unique experiences that are intimately connected to the local communities we engage and work together with. We enable travellers to be part of some of the most inspiring stories around – of communities working together to provide unique experiences in some of the most magical places on Earth. #ItsTheWayYouSeeIt is a brand new Photo travel expedition designed by TBY. Know More

Papaya Media,

Papaya Media, is a content creation team from Kerala who believe that nothing communicates like Visual Stories and that Quality never goes out of fashion. Papayans specialise in creating concepts & capturing stories that are compelling with unmatched quality, communicated in the most simple yet profound way, ensuring an emotional connect with the viewer.

A group of Writers, Cinematographers, Film makers, Designers, Editors & Colourists, who breathe in and breathe out Quality, nurturing an intimate relationship with the visual medium and in awe of its power.


For inquiries, please contact Sneha :

Tel: +91 99524 23593 | sneha@theblueyonder.com

Sign Up for News,

Events & Much More!