Kerala is a surprise package neatly bundled with art, history, architecture and divine natural beauty. My longing to visit Kerala finally materialized in August 2013, and I set on the trip with my close buddies. Our plan was to explore Kochi, Alleppey, and Kovalam. Kochi welcomed us with the perfect weather (much to our relief and surprise as it is monsoon season in Kerala). The day was well-spent in enjoying the quaint towns of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. Ambling on the European style streets, we had no recollection of time. The setting sun reminded us that we had some place to be: Allapuzha- Venice of the East.
On the way to Alleppey from Kochi, is the beautiful Mararikulam Beach. We got down here to see the Sunset. As the last sun-rays filtered through the cloudy sky, we friends stood on the beach, the cold Arabian sea throwing us an inviting look. The Marari Beach is unlike most beaches I have seen. Coconut trees are neatly lined up on the beach, the water is pristine and beaches very clean.
A lovely houseboat was waiting for us on the banks of Lake Vembanad. It had three comfortable bedrooms with a dining area on the terrace and a fully equipped kitchen. The owner Mr. Jose was a very friendly man who had made all arrangements for a comfortable stay. As the cook got busy preparing dinner for the night, we sat in the dining area chatting and joking around. The cool breeze relived me of any memories left of my work-life. Spicy, Kerala style Chicken and Fish Fry prepared in coconut oil, and Toddy was a treat for us.
Early next morning our houseboat started on a lazy sail on the Vembanad Lake towards Kumarkaom, on the other side of the lake. It was pure bliss as we sat on the balcony, sipping hot teas, watching the calm waters, lush-green islands, and other houseboats pass-by. The house-boat experience surpassed all expectations I had come to Kerala with. Freshly caught tiger-prawns were prepared for lunch. It did not quite go well with some of our stomachs, though.
After a small tour of Alleppey, we started for Kovalam. The 3 hours in train whizzed pass us as we sat playing card games and uno.
Kovalam is well-known for its beaches. We had chosen a resort in Poovar beach in the south of Kovalam. The resort is located in a tranquil environment, with backwaters meeting the sea and the resort has its own private beach and backwaters. Beautiful heritage cottages and landscaped gardens were a delight to the eyes. We treated ourselves to a sumptuous dinner of Kerala dishes. The morning was dedicated to splashing and swimming in the sea. As we prepared to check-out, we saw this huge elephant, all decked-up and nodding to drums at the entrance. It was a sight indeed!
Our final destination for the trip were the famous Kovalam beaches- Hawa and Lighthouse beach. Although the beaches were not extraordinary, the view from the Lighthouse surely made the trip worth hundred times. It was s-p-e-c-t-a-c-u-l-a-r! The old lighthouse on the beach has an unearthly charm, but the view from the top is simply surreal.
We found ourselves a good shack, from the many shacks available on the beach. We had some snacks and enjoyed few last moment jokes, and before we knew it was time to say adieu to Kerala and each other. Great bunch of friends and Kerala made this trip to be remembered and cherished always. I no more wonder why Kerala is called ‘God’s own country.
This trip was originally published on Travel with Swagatika