Kerala is bestowed with a long sea coast that virtually extends all along the State and a meandering network of backwaters, canals and rivers, which makes it a perfect destination for water tourism and leisure activities.
Kerala has asked The National Institute of Water Sports (NIWS) in Goa to chart out a detailed project report. Once the policy clearances are obtained , water sports and other leisure activities will be taken up in a phased manner. Kerala holds an enviable position for a range of water sporting options like windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing. The ethnic water activities of Kerala including house boat cruise and snake boat racing could also be included in the activity list to ensure a diverse fare. The main objective of this plan would be to promote new water sporting destinations apart from the popular spots like in Kerala like Punnamada, Ashtamudi, Kumarakom and Bakel.
Apart from enhancing the tourism potential of the State, weather sporting events would also ensure the protection of water bodies in the State, which are facing a high risk from the spiraling commercial and developmental activities in the State, which has taken a heavy toll over its natural resources.
Kochi: A great corporate get away is an ideal bet to chuck out the work pressures and to keep the team in good spirits. The team at Karma Kerala also took a cue from this popular holiday option when they charted out a great house boat cruise trip in the enchanting backwaters of Kumarakom.
Saturday, 26th April was the D-day and our team of 15 members set out by 9.30 am in a mini bus. The party mood was very much in the air as music and dance lend an air of celebration to the milieu as the vehicle hummed its way past the stunning coastal roads dotted with mangroves and backwaters. After over 2 hrs of drive, we disembarked at the Cheepunkal Jetty near Kumarakom.
We were excited to see our house boat laying in wait for us at the jetty. This full fledged single deck boat had all modern amenities including an air conditioned bedroom with an attached bath with all facilities like WC, shower bath, and high quality fittings like mirrors. The spacious living area in the front has comfortable sofas apart from the wooden sitting spaces that stretch all along the length of the boat in the model of the seating arrangements in a typical Kerala homestead.
The bedroom has beautiful wooden ceiling that gives the classic feel and richness. The glass windows were just right to steal a glance of the enchanting backwaters while traveling. The lighting in the living area of the houseboat is provided with dim bulbs fitted in hurricane lamps to add a retro twist and a romantic flair to the ambience.
The owner of the houseboat took time off his busy schedule to explain the attractions on either side of the backwaters including the fabled Kumarakom bird sanctuary and many hotels and resorts of some of the big names of the industry such as Kumarakom Lake Resort, Coconut lagoon, Raddison Plaza, Taj Garden Retreat , Golden Waters and Abad group among others. The traditional fishermen were easily picking up pearl spot fishes from the mud after driving the fish using ropes and nets; the fresh catch was being used in the house boat in preparing the culinary delights to be served to us.
Soon after the cruise started, we were offered the traditional Kerala breakfast of boiled tapioca, fish curry and fried clams. The boys were more interested in savoring the freshly tapped coconut toddy, which would be sweet like milk. The boat was seamlessly cutting across the water currents to reach the wider and deeper backwaters. The wind swept interiors offered a cool respite from the scorching sun outside, as songs, photo sessions and animated banters gave the interiors a distinct party feel.
The sumptuous lunch underscored by chicken dishes and the signature dish of pearl spot was well complemented by the vegetarian curries to make up a typical Kerala cuisine. After enjoying a breathtaking view of the sunset, we enjoyed a swim in the backwaters with most of us preferring to keep the swim suits on. The supper was rather heavy with chappathi and chicken after which an exciting game of rummy followed. The night was cool and pleasant and we enjoyed a sound sleep to the lullaby of nature.
At the crack of the dawn, we set out on fishing and we could even catch a few! By around 9am it was time for us to bid adieu to this enchanting place and the majestic floating abode, which offered some of the happiest moments in all our lives.
As they say all good things must come to an end; so did our wonderful trip; but, not before offering a relaxing weekend to enable us all to face the Monday Morning madness with enhanced vigor.