Dec 30, 2007

The Backwaters of Kumarakom

Kumarakom is considered to be the epitome of Kerala's backwaters. I always had a fascination for Kumarakom: having read about the time former Prime Minister Vaypayee spent there penning his famous muse, having seen nice pictures of the Taj Heritage resort and having heard about Arundhati Roy spending time there getting inspired for book 'God of Small Things'.

We had some filler time after our trip to Sabarimala and before our journey back to Cochin to get to Hyderabad and headed straight to the Taj resort after a brief search for other options. They had a 2.5 hour trip through backwaters that was very expensive but we went ahead being a bit misled by the Arundhati Roy village story. We quickly realised early on in the trip that there was no separate destination and that all the nondescript things we saw were already part of it. Though our enthu was down, we went ahead but decided to cut short the trip by an hour or so.

The backwaters were idyllic with paddy fields on either side of the canals and lots of kids having fun in the water. I noticed several not-so-poor-kids asking for pens (used to asking the phirangis I guess). There were several houseboats of various sizes and hues. Some very four bedroom mansions on waters (costing 60-70 lakh rupees and rented out for Rs 30k per night) while others were more modest. We soon hit upon the open backwaters which was actually a huge lake that separated Kottayam district from Alleppey. The huge lake was like a sea and the boat sped like an arrow. We spotted sea birds too in addition to the cormorants and snake birds we saw earlier. The view here reminded me of the boat ride near Clearwater Beach in Florida, only thing missing was waterfront mansions owned by the movie moguls.

Once we were back the Taj staff were gracious enough to refund some of the money since we came back earlier. Overall it was a short and sweet trip leaving me longing to come back once more, this time to spend a leisurely day on a house boat.

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