I know exactly how clichéd it sounds to call Kerala God’s own country, and yet after being there, I will have to say I have never seen anything prettier, more serene and peaceful than the calm and rested backwaters of Allepuzha, and since God would need a peaceful place to run his processes from, the place would definitely fit the bill for his abode.
It was an ad hoc plan to hit Kerala. We had wanted to go to Leh/Ladakh after the convo, but the roads didn’t open early enough while I was saddled with an early joining.
So after a bit of a sales pitch from a friend from kerala, and with our intention to take the cruise to Lakshadweep, we ended up going to this place that I have wanted to visit for a long time and haven’t found the time and opportunity to do so.
We took a nice long train from delhi on the 3rd of April, that would reach Trivendram only 2 days later on 5th. I can write a whole blog on the 52 hours spent on the train, as it was one experience I was having after a long long time, and one that I don’t intend to have for quite sometime. Though it was not even half as bad as all the dread I had put to it, it did get long and monotonous at times, especially since the landscape across the track was dull. However, after hitting Kerala, the coconut trees and the criss-cross of streams made up a beautiful sight. We spent most of our time reading and chatting, and I finished one and a half book, which was good.
We landed at Trivendrum, went to a friend’s place, enjoyed a warm hospitality from both her and her parents, and set off to Covallum in an hour. Covullum is supposed to be one of the finest beaches of and is second only to Goa. We reached there only half hour before sunset, and seriously, there is nothing like watching a sunset on the west coast. It was very beautiful. There is serenity in Kerala that extends beyond the backwaters and has even perhaps sobered the seas. Even though the waves rock the sands, the motion seems more gentle than harsh and almost becomes musical. And right there, as you turn your back to the world and stare at the vast ocean gulping the huge sun, there is not one bother than can put a frown on your head. Next day was the backwaters day. And what better place to go than the famous Alleppy backwaters – the so called Venice of India. In all fairness, I think it should be the other way round, and I admit that I am saying this without seeing Venice for myself. Anyways, on to the train we sat again to Alleppy where another friend had booked us on a houseboat. And was the boat a luxury! Even though it costed us 5000 rs., it was worth much more than the money we paid for it.
To begin with, the backwaters were the real green of emerald. Whether it is the shadow of the green coconut trees lining it or the weeds within the water or both, backwaters are most beautiful in their sprawling greenery. They start off with narrow lanes that meet out to wider lake-like waters. The houseboat is a luxury suite floating on water, with two bedrooms and kitchen and a nice open balcony & seating area. And they treat you nothing short of a five-star, what with frequent meals served hot on the balcony, a dose of the local liquor (which tasted bad to me by the way) and nice coffee. As you cruise through the backwaters, the breeze is soothing and amazing, and you just have to find a corner on the boat and lose yourself in the surroundings.
And the backwaters are not just a relaxing pool for tourists mind you, even though a majority of revenue probably comes to that. It is often a means of transport, a place for fishing and also for rearing ducks. Overall, they are the backbone for many a family’s income, and you can almost feel the reverence that the boatmen and other people feel for them.
From the green waters, we came out back on the roadways and took a bus to Cochin as our cruise was to begin from there the next day. And again, with all its humidity, I would say Cochin is still amongst one of the finest cities of the country to live. It is a mix of opulence and natural beauty. For instance, you see some of the best hotels even as you enter the city. You see a multitude of clubs that will be difficult to find in another town of its size. We had our dinner at one of such clubs -the Yatch club. With a big and very clean & clear swimming pool and a dining area right next to a big lake (in which you can incidentally do boating as well) the evening was rounded off with just the right kerala touch.
The next day we set off to Lakshadweep on our cruise from a place called Wellington Island. Cochin has about 3-4 islands joined to mainland by bridges and all of them are pretty and well-equipped places. On our way back, we stayed in a 320 year old beautiful wooden house in one of these islands and that was a great experience– so was having a cup of Barista coffee followed by a nice long walk on a lakeside.
So that was it – my short and much awaited tryst with God’s own place. I sure plan to follow up with a cozier and longer vacation there, being lulled to sleep in a rocking houseoat on the backwaters, living in a beachhouse in Varkala and trekking over Munnar hills. It will happen soon.