Wednesday, October 7, 2009

God's Own Country : Kerala

Kerala is called God's own country, and I had always been skeptical of this title somehow, never having been to the backwaters there. Am not anymore! ! I think this term defines this heavenly state aptly!

We went to Kerala in Sep, on a 3 day weekend.. four old friends on a girls weekend out:). We flew into Cochin, and from there on drove to Kumarakom. Its a 2 hour drive, and what surprises you on this drive is the density of population there. You never feel as if you've left the city of Cochin (now called Kochi!), all the way to Kumarakom. There is inhabitation all along the way, and you get glimpses of rural wooden houses with coconut trees next to them, rubber plantations, rice fields.. We actually went through the hinterland, as the direct road to Kumarakom was blocked, so that was good as the drive is quite pretty.

At Kumarakom, we stayed at the Backwaters Ripples resort next to the Vembanad lake.. Its a pretty and reasonably priced resort, with a swimming pool with a complete view of the lake, a clock tower or tree house (couldnt figure out what this was) to get an aerial view of the lake, a library with a good book collection, a health centre, a massage centre and an activity centre... perfect to have a relaxing time, isnt it?

The cottages at the resort are good, each with a lake view or garden view. The service is quite friendly, with a traditional Mallu welcome given to all. The food at the resort isn't too great though. Something notable about the resort though, is that the bathrooms have an open roof, with plantations all around. Quite creepy to be frank, but some people seem to love it!!

Kerala is the place where you should go when all you want to do is relax, completely.. do nothing, just read and think:) And thats what we did! Laze around, talking, reading and nothing else other than that, just taking in the beauty and calmness of the place around.

In the evening, the resort had a ferry ride, which takes you on the lake, where you can see the sunset over the lake.
The lake is huge, though it seems to have deteriorated, due to the water hyacinth floating all over. You will also see lot of houseboats floating around on the lake.. The sunset scenes are stunning too, and all you feel is serenity and calmness..

The next day, we stayed in a houseboat which picked up from the resort itself, and then we floated around in the Alleppey area (now called Alapuzzu). The houseboats turned out to be much bigger than we expected though!
The sitting room was huge, with windows to sit in and admire the stillness of the water outside. With two bedrooms and bathrooms, it was bigger than what we get in Mumbai:). There are 2-3 people on the boat to take care of you, as the boat navigator and the cook but you are otherwise on your own. The meals on the boat were tasty, traditional Mallu food. Everything has coconut and/or is made using coconut oil:D. They just love the coconut, dont they?

The houseboats are floating aimlessly on the lakes most of the day, but moored on the banks for meals and at night.
Just sitting there in the boat, floating on the water, reading a book.. yes that's how heaven must feel like! The houseboat has stars fitted onto the roof which are switched on at night and flicker in different colours. Though you don't need them, the night sky is so sparkling there anyways!!

We also had a funny incident with a cow there! For dinner, our houseboat was docked, and a guy came with a small boat asking us if we wanted to go for a boat ride. One of our friends was enthu about it, and so we also decided to give her company. We got onto another houseboat, then jumped onto land to reach the boat. I was walking in front on the path to the bank, which was quite narrow. My friends who were behind, saw a cow charging at them, screamed, and got back into the houseboat next to them. However, I was already ahead and could not turn back. So I got onto the side of the path, where there were some fields. It was a raised ground and I thought I would be safe there. But the cow who was running on the path, suddenly turned and charged towards me. I screamed and ran into the field, which was like 5 feet lower! So I fell onto the crops and the mud:)))). Thankfully the cow followed only for a bit and then left, guess it did not see me anymore..:). Was quite a scary experience, and I shudder to think what would have happened if the cow followed me?! It sounded very funny later though if you think about it:))

Anyways, the next day, we had to bid goodbye to the backwaters and the houseboat (tearfully), and then we drove back to Cochin, where we had to take our flight from. In Cochin, Kochi fort is apparently good to visit, but we chose to spend our time more productively, namely shopping!!( what else would you expect if four women are on a holiday!). Anyways, the whole market in Cochin was selling only two things, both Mallu specialities: Silk Sarees and gold jewellery! We did some saree shopping and also increased our knowledge about the different types of sarees there are! Choosing the colours for the sarees was tough though, its difficult to be comfortable with the kind of bright colours usually worn in the South!


  1. Moooooo :).....u missed out tht saree shopping took 3 hours! :)

  2. yep, and was one of the most interesting and enriching parts of the trip:)
    p.s. pls to not remind me of the cow...