Thursday, 21 June 2012

Romancing Kerala on Our Honeymoon: Thekkady to Kumarakom (Part 3)


Houseboat - KeralaWe reached Kumarakom around 12:30 in the afternoon after a 4 hour drive from Thekkady. Kumarakom is located near the city of Kottayam, in Kerala and famous for its backwater tourism. It is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala. We were a bit tired after the drive and the houseboat waiting for us was a welcome sight to our tired bodies!!
The houseboat was a big one and was exclusively hired for us for one day and night. It had an AC bedroom with attached toilet, a separate hand wash and lounging cum dining area in the front. It was equipped with three staff to navigate and serve us.
Luxury HouseboatWe received a warm welcome from the houseboat staff and after shifting our luggage, the boat started on its journey through the backwaters. From the first view, the backwaters took our breath away with their almost surreal beauty.
Kerala BackwaterBackwaters The Backwaters of Kerala are a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets, a labyrinthine system formed by more than 900 km of waterways.  In the midst of this landscape there are a number of towns and cities, which serve as the starting and end points of backwater cruises.
Our houseboat travelled at a leisurely pace through the backwaters of Kumarakom, while we lounged around to soak in the lovely views and relax. The staff on the houseboat was friendly, helpful and the service was efficient.
The cook enquired with my husband if he wanted to taste fresh sea fish for lunch and my husband being the foodie promptly agreed. So, we had a brief stopover at a fish market, which was also on the bank of the backwaters and bought some fresh fish. Then, as the boat travelled from the backwaters into the Vembanad lake, a sumptuous lunch was being prepared for us. All this while, we just sat back and enjoyed the lovely views; fishermen fishing, other houseboats passing us, birds in the sky.
Soon, it was lunch time and the boat moored us on a tiny mound of land (it cannot be called an island, it was so small!!) in the middle of lake!!
Lunch in HouseboatThe lunch was served and it was delicious and it was the best lunch date we ever had as a couple….both us alone, in the middle of the lake with awesome views, soulful breeze and delicious food!!!
We were so full after the lunch that we simply lied down in the lounge area itself for a siesta. In the late afternoon, the boats again began to travel within the lake providing us some more awesome views.
Kerala BackwaterThis time, the adventurous husband asked the cook if he could sample coconut toddy (a local alcoholic beverage) and all the three staff members readily agreed!!! They moored the boat to a local toddy shop located in the backwaters and bought for him, coconut toddy and fried shell fish. As he enjoyed his toddy & shell fish and I enjoyed my evening tea, it was nearing sun set. The view of the sun setting down amongst the coconut trees was an amazing experience for us.
Sunset - HouseboatAfter dusk, the houseboat moored on a grass land, which seemed to us was a mooring place for a number of houseboats carrying other travellers, we got off the houseboat was walked around, exchanging pleasantries with fellow houseboat travellers and taking in the views before nightfall.
At night, we were again served to a delicious dinner and after spending some time watching the star studded sky, we decided to sleep.
We woke up early morning to an amazing sunrise!!….We thought we has seen all the beauty of the backwaters yesterday but morning brought some more amazing views…the bright blue of the sky reflected in the calm waters and the air was soothingly cool on our skin.
Sunrise - BackwaterAs we had our scrumptious breakfast of idli sambar, we enjoyed the spectacular morning views; small dinghies with fisher men passing us by, school of birds flying past and white washed churches glimmering in the morning sun at a distance.
Kerala BackwaterChurch - BackwaterBy the time we finished our breakfast, had bath and packed our bags, the houseboat had come to a stop at a local jetty and it was the end of our houseboat trip.
Our driver was waiting for us at the jetty and promptly shifted our luggage back to the car. After saying bidding farewell to the friendly staff of the houseboat, we now headed for Cochin.

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