The sleepy island of Valiaparamb in Kasargod district in North Kerala would have got cut off from the mainland but for the determination and grit of a handful of women. When the boatmen of the island decided to strike work citing the reason of fuel shortage to operate the boats, the women took up the challenge by taking the oars of the boat that they launched. The 24 km long Valiaparamb island is accessible only by ferry services along the Kovvai lake, which connects two other islands.
Though the water transport authorities are operating two boats, these are insufficient to cater to the travel needs of the islanders. When this issue was taken up for discussion at the Kudumbashree, a few illustrious women stepped into the scene and decided to throw in their oars into the waters literally. Instead of depending on someone to provide boat services, three enterprising women in their sixties decided to rent a boat and launch their own service which is available from 7.30 am to 6.30 pm every day. These women take scores of men , women and children across the waters to the other shores, everyday. A team of 15 workers from the self help group of Kudumbasree is now operating the service, which has become the life line of the islanders who have to travel to the mainland to eke out a living.
The district administration has made registration compulsory for all the houseboats in Alappuzha and the house boat owners have been given a time of one week for submitting the necessary documents in this regard. The Ports Department will be conducting routine inspections and the houseboats without the necessary certificates will be seized by the police and criminal cases slapped against these house boat owners.Three police patrol teams have been set up at various locations like Muhamma, Punnamada and Pallathuruthy in Vembanad Lake to conduct routine inspections inside the houseboats during cruise.
Though there are over 800 boats plying in Alappuzha backwaters only around 490 boats have registration certificates at present. In the wake of accidents involving houseboats, steps have also been initiated to revoke the license of the houseboat and the crew and to blacklist them if they are found to consume liquor on board during duty time. The Ports Department is also planning to set up a sewage treatment plant for the houseboats to prevent water pollution.
Houseboats are the biggest attractions in any Kerala holiday itinerary and by ensuring a safe and enjoyable cruise, back water tourism in Kerala will indeed get a major boost. These safety measures will indeed make Alappuzha and Kumarakom backwaters which form the nerve centres of backwater tourism more popular than never before among the tourists.
There are countless ways to beat stress; you can curl up with your favourite book, plan a holiday to a beach resort or hit the bars. However, for something truly interesting and new, check out this fledgling outdoor activity of kayaking in the backwaters of Kochi. Yes, you heard it right the unexplored activity of kayaking in the backwaters of Kochi is finding many new takers including high profile professionals like doctors and techies among others. The delightfully quiet isles of Kothad, Pizhala and Kadamakudi near Ernakulam are all well cut for kayaking.
On popular demand, the organisers, Scuba Cochin, have decided to make their two-and-a-half hour kayaking trips into a weekly event, which is open to 20 people at a time. Though kayaking is a popular holiday activity in the backwaters of Aleppey, it is a new trend in Cochin, which is attracting not just water sports enthusiasts but also families and youth groups. The best thing about kayaking is that it brings you closer to nature, and it is something that can be done at your own pace.
Though kayaking is a popular event in overseas holiday itineraries, it is a relatively new trend in Kerala. By creating interest in Olympic events like sailing, rowing and kayaking, Kerala can go a long way in tapping the youth potential in these watersports, as well. So next time when you get stressed up with your workload, all you need to do is to plan an interesting spell of kayaking to get refreshed.
The beauty spot and the green lung of the city of Kochi, the Marine Drive is likely to be extended further to Varapuzha, as per the plans of the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) for the development plan of an emerging Kochi.
The government has already approved the second phase of the development of Marine Drive in principle. The GCDA has been entrusted with the task of preparing a project report and conducting an environment study. In this phase GCDA is planning to set up a world trade centre, International convention centre and entertainment zone. The first phase of ring road to Varapuzha will be taken up soon. Some of the other projects that are being included in the Marine Drive development plan of Vision 2030 include an entertainment zone at Marine Drive, International Trade Centre and a Logistic Centre. The GCDA had already conducted two meetings with regard to Vision 2030, which was attended by delegates who are involved with the city’s development both directly and indirectly.
The GCDA is also going ahead with its plan of convening a two-day workshop later in the month, which would be attended by architects, town planners, political leaders and subject matter experts. The exponential growth of Cochin, the commercial capital of Kerala has thrown open a series of challenges in areas like infrastructural development. Kochi might need more such far sighted and innovative projects that can handle the pressure of a burgeoning population and the corresponding developmental activities to make it a well planned city.
The biggest bane of Kerala is the appalling conditions of its roads that remain in a non motorable state all round the year. Pot holes appear as soon as the tarring is completed leaving the users badly grounded. However, there seems to be some hope for this nagging problem in the form of cotton nets that can be used for reinforcing the roads. The water logged areas of Kuttanad have already made use of this product in strengthening its roads and bunds. The project, successfully implemented in association with the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation in different wards of Edathua last year is primarily aimed at preventing soil erosion.
Soil erosion is rampant in Kuttanad region where floods occur twice a year, which wash off the roads and bunds. The new techniques is expected to strengthen the roads by keeping the soil on both sides of the road tightly wrapped. Recently a stretch of road from Edathua to Puvakkad was constructed using the technique and it is expected to stay in good condition for a minimum of four years.
The cotton nets are first spread on the embankments of the road , which are vulnerable to soil erosion. The nets are then fixed to the soil using bamboo and grass and tree saplings are planted, which keep the net tightly fixed. The need of the hour is to ensure high quality roads, which has a vital role in the economic development of Kerala. These indigenous methods would indeed go a long way in offering cost effective solutions for making the roads stable and long lasting.
When MV Lahore Express, a Hong Kong flagged vessel got berthed at the International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) , it became the first ever weekly direct service vessel between Kochi and the European ports. The vessel that will make service calls to the major ports in Europe such as Genoa, Tilbury, Hamburg, Rotterdam and Le Havre, will ensure a major a boost to the trade and commercial activities in Kochi.
The commencement of this service from ICTT will offer a faster transit option that will considerably reduce the supply chain cost, making Kochi one of the most important ports in the country. With this facility, the South Indian trading fraternity in Bangalore, Tirupur, Salem and Coimbatore among others can directly export goods to Europe from ICTT on a weekly basis without having to rely on the expensive option of transshipment facility. ICIT not only offers the shortest transit time but also the best rates and facilities at par with the best international ports. ICTT,which was set up on BOT basis by the DP World will play a significant role in making Kochi a trading hub of international standards, in the days ahead.
Are you on the look out for a quiet weekend break, away from the hustle and bustle of the city yet not very far from the city? If YES, then , the Matsyafed Milkyway aqua-tourism centre at Malippuram would be a perfect choice. It offers the double fun of a working fish farm along with an eco-tourism experience. True to its name, Milkyway is elusive and secluded that would offer an out of the world experience!
Located at Malippuram in Vypin the Milkyway is about 12 kilometres from the High Court Junction in Ernakulam, and is easily accessible through the Goshree Bridge. No matter whether you are here for a spell of adventure or some quiet moments in the company of your friends and family, Milky way will be an ideal spot. The unexplored charm of the environment and the spectacular natural beauty would leave a soothing effect. Though this farm was opened to the public around 1 year back, it has not become popular yet largely due to lack of publicity and facilities for the tourists.
As it falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone, there are serious limitations in making concrete buildings or structures. So you cannot expect any modern amenities here. However, if you are on the quest of a serene getaway option, then not many places can match the charm of this aqua tourism spot. Options are all yours while you are on this post card pretty tourist spot. Laze in the hammocks and enjoy the unhurried charm of the canoes and the fishermen going about their daily business, savour the fresh fish delicacies at the windswept restaurants or set out on a pedal boat to enjoy the sights and sounds of this farm up close.
A perfect day time picnic spot, this aqua tourism spot will be good choice for anglers. You can try your mettle with the fishing rods, which are available on rent. Check out the restaurants that offer a lip smacking menu of fish and seafood delicacies, cooked in traditional Kerala style by professional women chef. Here, you can even get the fish that you caught, cooked the way that you want it! No trip to Malipuram will be complete without a stopover for the brilliant sunset spectacle at the unspoilt Chappa Beach. Read more on the interesting tourist attractions nearby in this blog, The vypin light house. Try out this brilliant holiday option and you will be tempted to make a comeback soon! If you fancy a virtual tour around this beautiful tourist spot, click here!
A ferry ride is often the most beautiful and laid back option to explore the scenery, the rhythm of nature and above all the culture and way of living of the local populace. There are various types of boats on offer. From small passenger boats to auto ferries to the largest cruise liners that can seat over 3200 passengers, there is something for everyone here . In some villages in Kuttanad where there are no roads, the ferry system forms the crucial water highways for the residents.
Yahoo travels has included the house boat cruise from Alappuzha and Pulinkunnu in Kerala among the ten most beautiful rides in the world. The backwaters formed by a maze of interconnecting waterways are used for ferrying people and farm produce alike. Take a leisurely cruise in these well equipped houseboats, which are remodelled rice barges of Kerala which were once used for transporting farm products like coconuts, paddy, and bananas among others.
As the boats inch its way along the waters fringed with swaying coconut palms, lush greenery and small tiled houses along the water’s edge, you can soak up the rustic charm and the enviably slow pace of life in these villages. The short stopovers are good excuses for you to have a close encounter with the village life. Children swim and frolic in the waters as ladies wash the laundry and men take huge flocks of ducks for grazing. Watch the toddy tapper in action or try clambering up a coconut tree, enjoy one of the most the enchanting sunsets of your life, catch the fishermen in action or join the fun. You can even take some time off to explore the village markets and old religious places on a bicycle or spend some time angling in the backwaters.
There are entertainment options like TV and music system on board, or you can enjoy the beautiful milieu from the upper sun deck to while away time. After an eventful day in the waters, the boat moves towards the lakeside for you to spend the night. After relishing an ethnic Kerala supper enriched by seafood and fish preparations you can enjoy a relaxing sleep in the comforts of the houseboat. Well, does that sound too good to be true? See it to believe it and in case you are planning to have a tropical themed holiday, then a house boat cruise would be the best choice you could think of!
Trichur District is all set to have a Aqua Tourism centre in the form of the Model Shrimp Farm and Training Centre in Poyya. A masterplan is being prepared that would include setting up of a fisheries museum and demo of fish culture and Pokkali farming( a crop pattern that alternates between rice and fish) in a vast area of 158 acres to add impetus to this innovative project .
The fish culture proposed in the master plan involves rearing of prawns, crabs, milkfish and pearlspot, which would be made into traditional culinary delights to lure the tourists. Benny Kuriakose, who was associated with the master plan drafting of the fabled Muziris Heritage Project, will be preparing the masterplan for this aqua tourism project as well. The farm, which is functioning under the Agency for Development for Aquaculture of Kerala can be easily clubbed with the Musiris Heritage in Kottapuram to attract more visitors . This would ensure additional revenue for the farm that would keep it away from the debt issues.
The fisheries museum that demonstrate the traditional fishing methods and gears of Kerala is expected to be a crowd puller. Those who are interested to get trained in these methods will also be given hands on training in these methods that are disappearing at an alarming pace from Kerala. Fishes, crabs and prawns that can thrive in both brackish and fresh water will be chosen for the farm cultivation. Leisure activities like pedal boating facilities are also being included in Poyya to make it a family tourist spot. In case you are planning a laid back weekend break far from the maddening pace of the urban life, Poyya would be a good choice. Aqua tourism is catching up the fancy of tourists just like farm tourism or village tourism. This interesting blog on Ezhattumugham Nutmeg Greens Farm tourism makes an interesting read on the immense potential in these segments.