Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kerala travelogue - Day 5 (24th & 25th Nov 2011) - Kumarakom - Romancing the Vembanad

Kerala Toursim
Alleppey | Aymenem | Ernakulam | Fort KochiKalariyapattu | Kumarakom | Paranthampura | Thekkady | Vembanad |
Holiday Destinations in India

Left for Kumarakom after having our breakfast at Ambadi. En route, I insisted on visiting Parunthumpara hills and was rewarded. I am sure there would be similar points on the Peermedu hills as well, you just need to know where. On our way to Parunthumpara and ahead, we were greeted by the same lovely tea plantations.
As we reached the cliff of Parunthumpara, also called Eagles Rock, the wind swept us off our feet...literally. There was such a strong and cold wind that a person weighing less than 40 kilos can easily be swept off (am not exaggerating). As the wind pushed us here and there, the scenery kept us glued to the layered mountains and the valleys. Really beautiful. But as usual, one side of the valley was covered with bottles and all that people had remembered to give back to nature...filth. From there, we went to another nearby point called 'Suicide Point' which was seeing the same mountain from a different angle and equally stupendous. Don't miss visiting this spot if you are to visit Thekkady.

Layered mountains from Paranthumpara hills

An ode to the sky

View from Eagle Rock

Valley below (Eagle Rock)
Captain Noby, the Great

Didn't feel like getting down from the Eagles Rock, but we had to to continue with our journey to Kumarakom. The abundant rubber plantations presented themselves yet again as we moved towards Kottayam. Saw a log cutting/sawing factory on the way. Nearing Kottayam, saw a cattle bazaar and it was disgusting to look at around 30-40 cattle stuffed in a single truck with their horns poking each other and hardly any space to breathe.


Had lunch en-route at a regular Kerala restaurant. While we were struggling eating the rice on our plates, the locals had taken another helping of a greater quantity of rice and finished before we did. Do they chew?? The scenery as we carried on was made even more beautiful by the QSQT and Aashiqui songs being played on our car stereo. I hummed along.

You know you are in the Kuttanad region and near Kumarakom when paddy fields fly past on both sides as your car bisects them on the road. We reached Kumarakom in the afternoon at our destination, Coconut Creek Homestay and the first glimpse of it pleased us as well as our local driver Noby. Very nice choice, Sir - he said. The homestay is located 2 mins. away from the lake and has a Church nearby. Inside the compound, you have a nice and clean garden, canal, a bridge over it, a canoe sitting pretty below the bridge, swings all over and all kinds of trees in the backyard. The cottage is a beautiful piece of Kerala architecture and have to say that the owner, Mr Babu and his wife have paid special attention at building this home and have lavished the place with the choicest things. Right from the fish shaped door knob, the marble flooring, the swing, the well maintained garden to the room interiors, everything is something that pleases your eye. We had a couple from England as neighbours who run a traditional golf club in the county.

Coconut Creek Homestay

Sitting pretty

Coconut Creek Homestay

Coconut Creek Homestay

We were welcomed with a nice cool orange drink. The best part about this homestay, other than the hospitality was the the nearby scenic lake. It can easily be called one of the best romantic places. Sitting below tilted coconut trees along the cement parapet lining the lake, as you watch the house boats pass and the birds returning to their homes in swarms and the fishermen leaving for their evening catch and the sun preparing for its dip, your heart will be taken away and you will definitely be at a loss of words. Gods creativity at its best with every nuance captured in the minutest detail. My personal favourite spot was watching the canal flow and merge into the lake, an entwining of two souls.

Soulful Union



Sunset at the Vembanad lake
Go Green
We took in as much as we could and as the sun set, we took a small walk in the country side. It got dark pretty soon and munching bhajiyas we returned to out lovely homestay.

Dinner was crispy Karimeen fry with other delicacies. Enjoyed it. The host, Mr.Babu ensured that we liked our meals and chatted with us during our meals, a very nice gesture. I asked him about nearby places which I had hunted from the Internet, but most of them were a little far and from his look, I could gather that there wasn't much to see.

As I was here to take it easy for the last part of my trip, I narrowed down tomorrows plan to the bird sanctuary and a bit of boating. We dozed of as it started drizzling outside. Aaaaahhh!!! Good night, sleep tight and dream about the amazing sights !!

25th Nov 2011

Had our breakfast of appams and omelettes and left for the bird sanctuary. On enquiry, the gate keeper at the bird sanctuary disclosed that there were not many birds at this time. Hmm, talk about luck. The bird sanctuary is through a dense jungle crowded with swamps. It is a pleasure walk through the jungle, the bird sanctuary being 2 km one way and you have to return on the same path. I had to wait for more than an hour to sight some birds, a green one perfectly camouflaged in the dense foliage. Need to check up the bird names!! Overall I did see some birds, though very few.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary



Spot the bird

Camouflaged

It was funny seeing other people just walking through as if they wanted the birds to surprise them by posing on their paths. You can canoe inside the bird sanctuary for an hour or so. There are houses lining the bird sanctuary, something which shouldn't be there.

Then we went on a boating spree through the canal. I wanted to wade through in a canoe but it started drizzling, so took a covered boat. We had the entire boat to ourselves, which easily could have seated more than 10 people :) Floating through the canal, you can see people least bothered by your presence as they carry out their daily activities, washing, cooking, bathing. Saw lots of birds on our boat trip outside the sanctuary than in it, when I say lots, I mean lots...

Our carrier on the backwaters








Another sight I wouldn't forget was hundreds of ducks wading together. Not one group, but many groups at many places. One of the group of ducks was being herded by a man on a boat - looked funny like a shepherd leading a pack of sheep. The duck farms, violet flowers amongst the water hyacinths, cormorants and storks amongst the water bushes and broken tree trunks are a sight we never see in our busy city - worth much more than money can buy.
Quack quack

Which one's Donald ??

The boat man pulled a common trick on us. We had asked him for a tour of 1 hr. but he took us much ahead and charged us for 1 1/2 hours. No regrets, though!! Back at our homestay, I realised they had pulled the same trick with Vivian, the couple from England :)
On the way back was Driftwood museum, which sorry to say looks hardly like a museum and is so small that we left it alone. Not so very fond of museums anyway. We returned to our scenic lake as we bade good-bye to Noby, our driver as I had booked the car only for 4 days. He wanted us to return and take us to Munnar, which I'm sure we will. It started raining hard, so we had to rush back and couldn't spend much time at the lake and had to call it a day.

Annotations:
  • Don't get carried away by various 'activities' mentioned in some of the sites on the Internet about things to do in Kumarakom. The bird sanctuary, a nearby dam and boating/canoeing are the only things to do
  • Asked many people for the potters village but no one seemed to have a clue.
  • You can visit church in Cherthala, but its a bit far
  • Do visit the lake, if you are at Coconut Creek, it's really beautiful
  • Boating/Canoeing is a must.
  • You will see more birds outside the bird sanctuary than in it. However, the bird sanctuary is still recommended for a morning or evening walk.
  • Enjoy the local keralite preparations wherever you stay (lots of coconut).
  • Even though you see coconut trees everywhere in Kerala, still coconut water ain't cheap, same 20-25 INR as in Mumbai.

10 comments:

  1. Awesome well covered and well written travelogue. And did I mention the professional-class photos of the birds and the geese! Mind blowing! Keep up the good work...and keep sharing.

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  2. thanks for your post about kumarakom and coconut creek kumarakom homestay and houseboats

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  3. There is a potmakers place near Komarakom .. it is in Chenagalam.We used to buy earthen pots from there .. Ullas may know the place it is in Chengalathu Kavu. a left deviation from the Kumarakom road when you return to Kottayam town.

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  4. Thanks Rinku, would definitely be on my list next time...
    Thanks Anand and Ullas for your comments !!

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  5. Hii,
    Its a superb reviews about our small scale business and also our lovely village kumarakom backwaters
    regards
    Babu

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  6. Dear All

    Coconut creek is a home stay away from your home...you will feel the same comfort as you do in your own house..excellent food...specially the karimin fish...yummy.. .
    Mr Babu is very nice....
    I would definately like to visit once more with my wife..I wish all the very best to Mr Babu and his wife...
    Regards
    Lalit Dash

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  7. Lovely images. Kovalam also is one of the top destinations in the world for experiencing the authentic Kerala Ayurvedic massages. Check hotels in Kovalam also.

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  8. Hi..i really enjoyed reading your travelogue and great to know Kumarakom. Be it healing or learning, leisure or adventure, inner peace or thrilling times, Kerala tourism circuit gives you a thousand reasons to travel.

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  9. Nice article describing the Kumarakom tourist attractions in detail. In personally suggest Aruvikkuzhi waterfalls to the same because it is an awesome destination too. Thanks for sharing such an informative article about Kumarakom tourism.

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