Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Kollam, Quilon whatever!

What do you do when you have just a couple of hours of classes each day and the weather is just so perfect? What do you do when a free weekend and some strikes at God’s own country ensures that you have absolutely nothing to do?

- Movie marathons? Na….
- Rush home? Na….
- Sleep all day? No way!

That’s when some of us decided to embark on a trip to Kollam. Though I have lived in Kerala for a good part of my life, the places that I have visited are so less in number that if I start to count them, I would have finished long before the next strike is announced in Kerala. I am really glad that finally it took these lazy days at an IIM to make me wander around my own homeland.

So why Kollam? The reason was Backwaters!
So why not Alappuzha? The reason was cost!

First major attraction – one day in a houseboat in the idyllic Ashtamudi kayal. A lot of my friends have gone on a houseboat cruise in the backwaters for their honeymoon. But I would never recommend backwaters for a honeymoon to anyone. If you want to enjoy a backwaters cruise be ready to shut your mouth and just sit and enjoy the view. Enjoy I did! 100% unadulterated fun. Imagine a cruise where you jump out of your window any time you care for a swim and where you get to see the ocean pining to reach out into the backwaters and where the breeze caresses you so tenderly that you forget everything else and sleep like a baby.

View from houseboat in Ashtamudi Kayal

But then the spoiler was the i-don’t-care attitude of the KTDC personnel. Though we proposed a win-win business proposal whereby they could have made some good dough during their off-season, the attitude of the personnel made us feel that he would be happier had there been no customers at all.

Another unforgettable experience in the trip was a morning spent in Munroe Island. It’s as virgin as a village can get. It shows in the natural beauty of the place, but then is a handicap when it comes to certain things.

Panoramic view from Munroe Island

It is a place where
- people own islands and not just houses or flats!
- Your livelihood depends on the water body surrounding your home
- The entire village is well connected through small canals.
- You commute using catamarans of varying sizes.
- Your occupation is either fishing or coconut product related or coir making or boat making or a combination of these.
- The market comes in a boat at your home-port!

An island-home and the view that comes free with it

- I saw someone who was into copra business cutting coconuts open and letting the tender coconut water flow into the canal. Yes, actually letting it flow away! – it was a waste and a nuisance for him! I used to pay 10 Rs for a small pack of coconut water when I was in Bangalore and close to 30 bucks for a glass of the same garnished with tulsi in Coconut groove! The world isn’t that flat or maybe it’s not that flat in these virgin villages. Why else wouldn’t this person try to generate some income from this ‘waste’?

- There are a lot of these waterbirds who put up quite a show – but only if you are willing to watch them patiently. There was this Neerkakka (anyone knows the English equivalent of this?) which gave us some perfect demonstrations of how to dive and fish and then finally put up a dance performance while it was drying its wings.

Varkala beach

Other don’t-miss-outs in Kollam would be the green green Thenmala and the so aptly named Palaruvi and the Varkala beach where the waves play with you and try to surprise you by coming in at you suddenly from directions you would least expect them to.

Now that’s a weekend well-spent!


Lost in trance... said...

Boy! That wud b my idea of a PERFECT weekend too...I'd been for an 8-hr ride in the backwaters, and just couldnt force myself off the boat...Was mesmerised...And Varkala was absolutely beautiful, the sunset is still alive in my mind....Maybe coz I was so much in luv on that trip :)

iyer education said...

great post...

great pics...

thats abt all i can think of now (coz i am rerunning all those pics as a slideshow rite now)

Amit said...

Guess these pics are enticing enough for me plan for a trip to GOD's OWN COUNTRY. I guess this is how kerala is being advertised these days. Am i right? But yes trip cant be just a weekend trip, it has to be a weeklong trip:-)

Sumit said...

Superb pics.. I am kinda surprised to see the blue skies with just scattered clouds.. this time of the year.

Girl With Big Eyes said...


You were honeymooning there? :)




Even one week may not be enough to take a look at the GOd's canvas. But then I have to say this, he paints the best during monsoon!


The southern part of India doesn't get as much rains as the northern part due to the presence of Western ghats in the northern part. It was hot in Kollam even at this time of the year!

Anonymous said...

Superb!! What a wonederful Snaps!!

Lost in trance... said...

Whoa! no my dear, I've not taken the plunge yet. But I went with my ex.

Lost in trance... said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rabin said...

Very nice pictures and quite an interesting blog. Enjoyed my time here.


Rabin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Surya said...

Very nice pics and nicely written ..Though I never went in a houseboat (always thought they were prohibitively expensive), have been in boat rides through Ashtamudi Kayal..your writing really make the memories come alive..- I miss home!! =(

Anonymous said...

yea very nice Pics, I know that I am too late to comment, but thought better late that never.

I am also verymuch surprised by the blue sky and the clouds pattern..which is the camera that you SLR??

Anonymous said...


Can you please tell me where I can get information on these boat rides: the cost, schedule, how to book it etc?