Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Honeymoon - Kumarakom - part 2

continued from here

Reached our cottage, refreshed ourselves, came out and settled in the ever present hammocks. Soon hot tea and spicy savories were served and we just laid there lazing in the hammock watching the sun set. Since we were the only guest, the service was very good and quick. Retired for the day and the next day greeted us with a gentle shower. It was just awesome to sit by the lake during the rain. Had our breakfast by the lake side and got ready for the houseboat trip. The normal boat ride is between 12 noon - 10 AM (next day). The boat had two well furnished bedrooms with attached bath, a kitchen, a drawing room with sofa and TV and also a small balcony in the upper deck. We were accompanied by three guys out of which one is a cook and two guys steered the boat. They explained us more about the place, their culture, business and everything. We went past many big and palatial houses which had the lake front as their main entrance, agricultural fields, some natural and artificial islands. Soon, the boat stopped in a small island filled with coconut farm and had our lunch. Soon, many boats were lined up there for the lunch halt. This island had a small shop selling cooldrinks, snacks and more importantly 'toddy', the local drink of Kerala. A must stop place for bachelors.

After the lunch, we took a small nap and when we were back, it was raining again. To add to the awesome weather, our friendly cook served us with super hot tea and pazhampuri. The lake was very very vast and at times, we could not see the shore at all. The guide informed us that at some places, the width is even close to 15KMs. We soon stopped and visited a small church. Went via the Thanneermukkom bund, which separates the sea water and the fresh water and eventually came to a halt along the shore around 6 PM. The boats are not allowed to sail in the lake after 6 PM, unless without prior permission.

With the help of the boatmen, we went out on a small ride in a small boat parked in one of the houses. After dark, we came back to the boat, put on the curtains in the drawing room to assure privacy and watched a couple of movies, had a sumptous dinner with 'karimeen' and retired to bed, with the gentle rocking of the boat to put us to sleep. The next day, we again set on the sail, had breakfast and reached back our resort around 10:30 AM, settled in the room, finished our lunch by the side of the lake, packed our things and set out to the railway station.

Thus ended a long, interesting and absolutely fantastic honeymoon trip. After days of relaxing and watching endless tea estates, rivers, lakes, waterfalls we were back to the pollution filled city and busy life of Chennai.

Points to note

1. Access : Road /Rail : Kottayam is the nearest city, which is very well connected to other parts of the state. Air : Cochin is the nearest airport.
2. If you plan to visit both Munnar and Kumarakom, i suggest you to go by cab so that you can enjoy the scenaries around. There are direct buses too.
3. In the boat and also in the resort, specify the style of cooking that you prefer. By default, they cook it Kerala style, which some of them might not like.
4. The boat people do not provide 'karimeen' by default. Hence, ask them to buy and prepare it for dinner. They do a very neat job.
5. They do have life jacket and you can swim if you want. Tell them before hand, so that they will stop in places conducive for smimming.
6. If interested, tell the boatman to arrange for a ride in the small boat.
7. Staying options are available aplenty in Kumarakom.
8. The boat house, if booked through resort might cost a bit more. If you want to save some money, go directly to the boat jetty, stike a deal with the local boatman and choose a boat of your choice.
9. The best period to visit it August-November, which is the lean season. You will have a very good climate and the resorts will charge a bit less.
10. Avoid going during December-January when the rates are at their peak.
11. You have the option of AC boats and if you wish to stay overnight, you can also opt for the boat to be parked in the middle of the lake. In such case, you have to inform the resort/boat office before hand, since necessary permission has to be got from the government.
12. Some places of interest are - Bird sanctuary, Parithimanal.

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