By: Prasenjit Sen (LT MHPS)
Kerala in Monsoon??? No way. It will be raining like hell. Tha was the expression of my friends when I was chit-chatting with them. But decided to give it a try as we thought off-season will not burn a whole in pocket! Utilising the long weekend, we made a 5N/6D plan for a monsoon extravaganza in God’s Own Country. We took packaged trip from a leading online tour agency at a rock bottom price. Nice deal, we wonder!!
Our journey started from Kochi-The bustling port city of Kerala. It is also known as queen of the Arabian Sea. Kochi airport is located far from the main town, which is around 40 km away. Contrary to our expectation, we find Kochi is dry, hot and humid. The sky was full of white clouds hovering aimlessly in the lush green horizon. What a relief for the eyes!! After having lunch and much required refreshments, we went for site-seeing. We sent to see the famous Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi beach. Their unique geometrical shapes was giving a totally different dimensions to the beach. There was a small concrete walkways along the beach. Roadside vendors were selling snacks and souvenirs and also fresh fishes. Next went to Dutch cemetery but we found it closed. From that place we went to visit two churches. One is st. Francis Church and another is Santacruz Basilica. The Churches are quite picturesque and well maintained. Our next place is Dutch Palace which is a beautiful but very simple palace. It has ancient wall paintings which resemble Chinese or Buddhist touch.
The Famous Chinese fishing net near Kochi beach
Kochi to Munnar:
Today we started our journey for hill station Munner. Munner is 151 km from Kochi and around 5 hour’s journey. After leaving Kochi, the road becomes greener and beautiful. En-route we crossed small towns which are full with daily chores. The roads were good but curvy at some places. We had encountered heavy showers before reaching Munnar which was just awesome. It was raining like cats and dogs and nothing can be seen through the car window. As we have started climbing, we can fill little chill in the atmosphere. We stopped at beautiful cheyappa Falls en-route. The mountains in this region are full with spice plantations. We have seen many spice Garden entries on either sides of roads. They also organises half an hour educational tours in the spice gardens. You can also buy spices from there.
Munnar is truly a serene place. Occasional clouds hovering around the mountains which are blanketed by lush green tea plantation. One can find many shades of green in Munnar. The curvy raods through the tea garden will surely rejuvenate your mind and soul. We went to Madduputty dam and a local tea museum. The dam is very large and picturesque. In the night, we enjoyed kothu parantha-a local delicacy.
Munnar to Thekkedy:
Though there are many more sight-seeing options in Munnar, but we did not venture into those and went straight to Thekkedy. Thekkedy is a small town in Kerala, known for its traditional arts and wholesale spice market. One can go for a ride to periyar national park from this little hamlet. Thekkedy has lot of good hotel and a vibrant market. Once should buy spices only from this place as there are lot of wholeseller who gives best quality price at reasonable rate.
Thekkedy is also known for its traditional dance (kathakali) and martial art (Kalari). There are few groups who perform these shows every day. Both of these cultural programme are highly recommended.
Thekkedy to Allepy:
Thekkedy to alleppy is quite a distance to travel. However, once you reach near to allepy, you are sure to get delighted. The treasure of backwater is stored here. The vst paddy field and numerous canals run through the heart of alleppy. The best way to enjoy allepy is either to stay in Houseboat, or hire a shikara in the afternoon.
Alleppy is all about tranquillity and purity. The backwaters in the vast greenery are a perfect postcard picture. The blue sky was striking a perfect balance with the landscape. The banks of the canals were ornamented by coconut trees which were drooping lazily over it. The beautifully crafted houseboats were surely heightening the ambience. Once you travel through the backwaters, you get to know how these canals are playing a pivotal role in the daily lives of local people. Children returning from schools are waiting for a little ferry at the edges. People are sleeping, cooking and gossiping on the boats anchored at the sides.
We floated around 3 hours in the backwaters and probably explored every canals in Alleppy. The pleasant breeze and soft light of the setting sun was a heavenly experience. The soft light soon became golden hue and sun bid goodbye for the day. So did us by saying Goodbye to an unforgettable Kerala tour.