Journey through Houseboat in Kerala

 Kerala Houseboat
Kerala Houseboat

My stress took me to rejuvenation! Sounds odd, but true. Once I realized that my work is getting heavies and unbearable day by day, I planned a week-long trip to Kerala. It was the first month of monsoon and Kerala backwaters welcomed me with full enthusiasm. I was booked in a Kerala houseboat. A houseboat in Kerala is a medium that can let you explore all the major parts of this green state and offers true joy of living on waters. Moreover, you can halt at any of the beach resorts to savour lip-smacking Kerala cuisine and a wide variety of sea food delicacies. These beach resorts also offer a wide range of Ayurveda therapies for complete rejuvenation of mind, body & soul.

My sightseeing stated with Alleppey – the Venice of the East. My guide told me that these luxurious houseboats were earlier called ‘Kettuvalloms’ and were used as a medium to transport food grains and spices. My houseboat was well equipped with facilities like spacious bedroom with attached bath, kitchen, dining area, sun deck, living area etc. it was no less than an accommodation unit of a star rated luxurious hotel. The best part with the houseboat was it was completely made of natural products like bamboo mats, sticks, palm leaves and wood. The smooth wooden flooring and coir mats also added to the beauty of my houseboat.

The houseboat took me to places like Kumarakom, Kasargod, Guruvayur, Periyar, Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram. While staying on waters I easily explored all these cities. I wandered across market streets and collected some of the rarest handicraft items. I visited the most ancient Hindu temples. I witnessed the finest of greenery. I spotted the rarest of animals in picturesque wildlife sanctuaries like Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. The best part of my tour in Kerala was a long relaxing nature walk amidst spice and tea/coffee plantations in Periyar.

Posted on August 6th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Honeymoon in Kerala: Rejuvenating Senses

 Kerala Honeymoon Tour
Kerala Honeymoon Tour

While going through the Kerala travel guide, one thing that I noticed was that pick any of the Kerala tour packages – you will find yourself surrounded by serene and picturesque waterways. This is one such divine green land that is blessed with 44 rivers, canals, lagoons and backwaters. I, being there for my Kerala honeymoon tour, was booked in a luxury houseboat.

My Kerala vacations started off with Cochin where I enjoyed my visits to Jewish structures and various churches. The market was dotted with authentic handicrafts and aromatic spices. Next I headed for Kumarakom backwaters through Vembanad Lake – the longest backwater stretch in Kerala. This was the time when I experienced a superb stay in Kerala while living on waters.

After exploring enough of marine life, I paid a short visit to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary that is undoubtedly called as the Paradise of Ornithologists / Bird Lovers. Kovalam Beach, next in our list, was again a splendid place where I could spend some quality time with my beloved cum wife watching the pleasant sunset.

Next day, we headed for the rejuvenating plantations of tea / coffee and spices in Periyar and spent a couple of house enjoying nature walk there. In the second half, after lunch, we decided to step in the thrilling Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. There I came across a number of rarest of mammals and migratory birds.

We both also availed few of the premium Ayurveda therapies on our houseboat. That was completely refreshing and made our honeymoon in Kerala simply memorable for a lifetime.

Posted on May 20th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Periyar in Kerala: Attractions beyond Jungle Safari

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

My insight love for exotic wild creatures and birds was the cause that drove me to the divine dense greens of Periyar. Such places have always fascinated me somewhere in my dreams. “Indian Wildlife” by Rajesh Bedi and Ramesh Bedi had created a great impact on me. So the story continues with my arrival in Idukki district in Kerala that is bordered by the picturesque Western Ghats.

The moment I stepped in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the 27 Project Tiger Reserves in India, the first thing I came across was the rich vegetation that was incomparable. While going through the Periyar Travel Guide, I came to know that this paradise is located about 270 km from the capital, Thiruvananthapuram, 100 km from Alleppey and 120 km from Cochin. Stretching over 777 sq km, the dense greens of Periyar are home to about 60 different species of mammals and 320 different categories of birds.

I spend around four exciting hours there and enjoyed clicking some of the rarest animals like Lion Tailed Macaque, Malabar Squirrel and Sloth Bear. Next I headed for the lifeline of Kerala – the gigantic Periyar River (the longest in Kerala with 244 km length). Luckily I got an opportunity to click Elephants, Sambars, Dholes (Indian Wild Dogs) and Nilgiri Langurs alongside the river.

Finally, when my jungle safari was over after a half day trip, I visited the beautiful Cardamom Hills. This was the time when I enjoyed the best of nature walk of my entire life and realized that Periyar is not restricted to safaris only. Walking through the aromatic cardamom, pepper and coffee plantations was beyond words!

On my way back to the hotel, I spent half an hour in the market street but unluckily it does not offer much except its exotic spices. Even then, I bought some fine quality pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace and anise – as my mom loves to try new dishes with spices of different flavours – and who else than me bear the brunt of those experiments!

Posted on March 27th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Kerala Sightseeing : The Land of Enchanted Beauty

 Cherai Beach, Kerala
Cherai Beach, Kerala

Vibrant pictorial representations of the God’s Own Country in several magazines, newspapers and television enraged my curiosity to visit this land of enchanted beauty. Finally this curiosity ended up with a plan of Kerala Visit with my friends last month. We contacted the Delhi based tour operator Caper Travels Pvt Ltd, which is a National Tourism Award winning company to book a tour of 10 nights – 11 days. The destinations included in this package were Cochin, Periyar Munnar and Backwater Cruise, which were enough to fulfil my desire of exploring beaches, backwaters, hill stations, wildlife etc.

With my friends I boarded the Hazrat Nizamuddin Eravikulam Express from Delhi and arrived Cochin after 51 hours of long journey. During the journey the train passed by many cities which gave us an opportunity to get a glimpse of their culture and taste the different kinds of cuisine. When we reached the Eravikulum Railway Station, a hotel representative was standing with a placard. He greeted and transferred us to the well-maintained hotel where we were booked. At the hotel reception we were welcomed with flower garlands. We enjoyed the delicious dinner which we rounded off with sweetdish. After that we had a comfortable night at the hotel.

Next morning the call from the hotel reception awaken us and soon we prepared for the sightseeing  in Cochin. After having the sumptuous breakfast we with our guide left for the Cherai Beach. This beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala which is ideal for swimming. It is formed by the combination of lakes, lagoons, canals and estuaries. Here we enjoyed swimming, played with sand and quenched our thirst with coconut water. Later, we visited St. Francis Church and Mattancherry Dutch Place which is renowned for its architectural beauty.

Our next destination was Munnar. Here, we stayed for two days. It is one of the most popular and beautiful hill stations of India which is situated at an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level. It is a romantic destination known for its sublime greenery, tea and coffee gardens and pleasant climate throughout the year.

The Mattupetty lake is another major attraction of this place which is noted for alpine setting with green fields. The arresting beauty of this place forced us to capture several beautiful sights in our cameras. After spending the whole day in the lap of nature we returned to the guest house and enjoyed the traditional south Indian cuisine in our dinner.

Next morning, we woke up early in the morning and our guide took us to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary which is located at Thekkady. It is one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries of India which is situated on the banks of the Periyar Lake. This sanctuary is known for its dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grasslands surroundings. According to the census of the forest department this Sanctuary has around 40 tigers, 20 leopards, 900 elephants, 280 gaurs and a wide variety of other wildlife.

The reserve is also known for the Lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri langur, the Malabar giant squirrel, porcupine, wild dog, sloth bear, jungle cat, sambar, palm civet, wild boar and jackal. We enjoyed elephant safari and saw many animals, colourful birds and various species of plants. This slow and steady elephant ride was full of fun and excitement.

Posted on January 4th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off