Category Archives: News

Exploring Cochin

Exploring Cochin

Cochin or Cochi is a charming place that blends centuries old influences of the Portuguese, Dutch the Chinese and the English. This place is also popularly called, the Gateway of Kerala. Cochin is also an important tourist hub that connects other well known destinations like  Munnar, Thekkady, and Allepey. Read on for information about special places you must visit in Kochi.

*      Kumbalangi Village: Kumbalangi was chosen by the Government of Kerala to launch their Intergrated Tourism Village. Originally, an island, this place is now a model fishing village with thousands of tourists visiting every year. Some of the village’s prominent features include facilities bait fishing, traditional art and dance performances etc. The place also hosts, Kalagraman or Artist Village where handicrafts and fishing items are put on display. Mangroves separate the land from the waters and allow a breeding environment for prawns, crabs and fishes. Chefs at the village ensure that you get the best cuisine that includes coconut milk rice, fish and prawn dishes and the unique Chiiratta Puttu. And at the end of the meal, you can choose to wash everything down with moist and nutritious tender coconut water.

*     Museum of Kerala History: The Museum of Kerala History depicts the glorious past of Kerala showcases examples of the bravery, art and literature of Kerala. The Museum is located at Edapally- a place that’s about 10 km from Ernakulam. The star attraction at the entrance is the statue of Sage Parasurama. He is believed to have created Kerala by claiming land from the seas. The museum is full of statues, sculptures and paintings that describe the history of Kerala, right from the past, to the present.  A must-not-miss tip in the museum is to view the exhibits of Raja Ravi Varma, Jamini Roy and M F Hussain.

A Houseboat Experience in Alleppey

A Houseboat Experience in Alleppey

A visit to Alleppey is never complete without a houseboat experience. Alappuzha was an important trading destination for the erstwhile Travancore kingdom with good being ferried across the rivers in Kettuvallams. These vallams or boats were made of wood and durable enough to carry goods weighing several tons.

Today, these boats serve a very different purpose. They serve as floating hotels to guests who come to admire the beautiful backwaters of Alappuzha. You can either choose from single, double, or triple air-conditioned bedrooms. Tour operators offer a complete home stay experience with a living room, an open air dining room, and a ready to use kitchen. Whilst electricity isn’t a problem, some houseboats make use of the traditional vilakku or lamp to brighten the place.

An average houseboat is about 100 feet long with a maximum width (middle) of 18 feet. The crew includes the captain, life guard, and a chef serving scrumptious Nadan (traditional) cuisine that includes the ‘kuttanad’ special boiled rice, aviyal, and karimeen pozhlichadhu (pearl sport fish friend within a plantain leaf with a medley of spices. Vegetarians don’t have to be disappointed; there are plenty of options for them as well.

You can also choose to opt for a short journey without a night stay.  A typical houseboat tour takes you through the many villages and hamlets where workers are busy making coir products. You can also witness locals going about with their daily life along the lagoon or watch the beautiful paddy fields and temples that cross your path. Guests can choose to board from different points. The main boarding points include Allepey, Kumarakom, Thottappally and Alumkadave. The boat is usually docked at a quiet place during nights to allow you to enjoy the beautiful moon reflecting in the calm waters.

Houseboats are a never-miss charm for both national and international tourists. You can opt for an economic package or decide to go for the full blown experience. This is certainly a once in a lifetime experience that’s not only unique, but also combines the best of both worlds- contemporary and old.

Coir Making and Paddy Cultivation in Alleppey

 

Coir Making and Paddy Cultivation in Alleppey

Situated between the Western Ghats on the East and the Arabian Sea on the West, Kerala is one of the most beautiful states in India. Alleppey is locally known by its traditional name Allappuzha. The name of this town is synonymous with beautiful backwaters, houseboats and the boat race. The backwaters are crisscrossed by a system of interconnected canals. While tourism remains a major draw, coir making and paddy cultivation are also an important source of income for locals.

Coir Making: One of the most common tropical trees is the coconut tree. The present name Kerala owes its Kerlam” in Malayalam which is derived from two Malayalam words Kera and Alam. Kera in Malayalam means coconut and Alam means land. Coconut is an integral part from Kerala’s culture and its cuisine. Although coir making is a centuries old art, it received prominence in the 19th century after the Alleppey was developed as a trading centre. Alleppey’s coir makers are known for their craftsmanship and intricate weaving methods. Whilst on a houseboat tour, guests can witness firsthand the different processes involved in making coir. Different and unique coir products manufactured here include coir mattresses, coir mats, etc. In fact, Alleppey is a major exporter of coir and coir products.

Paddy: Besides coir, paddy cultivation is a major industry here. Kuttanad in Alleppey is famously called The Rice Bowl of India. The place is resplendent with acres of unending paddy fields. What makes cultivation unique here is that the place is actually below sea level. While modern agricultural methods are practiced, farmers here also practice an ancient practice that has been carried out since the Sangam Ages.

Vembanad Lake, Alleppey Beach and Other Must Visit Attractions in Alleppey

Vembanad Lake, Alleppey Beach and Other Must Visit Attractions in Alleppey

Alleppey is popularly known as Venice of the East thanks to the pristine backwaters that surround the town. The backwaters are formed by more than 900 km of waterways. Besides the houseboat experience, there are plenty of other attractions for you to explore. Read on to know more:

Alleppey Beach: The waters of the Arabian Sea are a serene getaway place and one of the best beaches to relax on a quiet evening. They have strong currents during the monsoons. Several freshwater rivers crisscross and waters of the various lakes merge with the beach. The dock at this beach is around 140 years old. The beach is known for its beautiful, vast expanse of sands and turquoise blue water. An impressive lighthouse at the beach offers a bird’s eye view of the sea. The Vijaya Park along the shore is a great place to visit with family and kids.

Vembanad Lake: Vembanad Lake is the longest and the largest lakes in India. It stretch for about 110 km and spans 3 districts. A small island, Pathiramanal, in the lake hosts hundreds of rare birds migrating from across the world. Impressed by the traditional sporting scene witnessed during one of this visits, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru instituted Nehru Boat Race Trophy conducted on this lake.

Karumadikuttan: The black granite statue of Lord Buddha known as Karumadikuttan is located in a small village, Karumadi, near Ambalapuzha. The statue is broken into half and is under the protection of Archeological Survey of India. The statue dates back to 10th century and is found in the sitting position on the banks of Punnamada Lake in the backwaters.

Why Should You Visit Munnar?

munnar trip planning

Munnar is a hill station with as hundreds of attractions that promise to offer an experience of a lifetime. Besides enjoying the waterfalls and the forest area, you can visit sanctuaries, dairy farms, and dams.

The Eravikulam wildlife sanctuary houses rare varieties of animal species, NilgriTahr(mountain goat), especially Atlas Moth. This is located at a distance of 16 kms from Munnar and was declared a national sanctuary to save the rare Nilgiri tahr. This park is the combination of the grasslands and hills. The famous Rajamala hill is adjacent to the sanctuary and offers a vantage point to view the Anaimudi Peak. This is one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats and located within the area of the park.

The Mattupetty dam is another attraction close to the park. It is located 13kms from Munnar. Don’t miss to watch the Indo-Swiss dairy farm with over 100 varieties of cattle breeding here. A wonderful boat ride in the lake near Mattupetty dam gives a great time to enjoy the landscapes.

Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala Lake are close to Mattupetty. The Kundala Lake offers Shikara styled boat ride. Another nearby waterfall attraction is Aruvikkad. The Kundala dam on the lake is constructed in the form of an arc and is the first of its kind in Asia. There is also a golf club for the golf lovers. This place is located on the way to Top station.

Top station is the highest point located at 32 kms from Munnar. This is situated in the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. The view of the Western Ghats view from Top Station is considered the best. The clouds here can be touched             with bare hands.  The rare Neelakurunji flower that blossoms once in twelve years is yet another highlight of the Top Station.

Exploring Munnar: Places that You Shouldn’t Miss When in Munnar

Exploring Munnar: Places that You Shouldn’t Miss When in Munnar

There’s so much to see and experience in Munnar. We present to you a list of the most important places that you shouldn’t miss:

                                            

  • Devikulam: This is one of the must-see places at a driving distance of approximately 6kms from Munnar. It is believed that Goddess Sita Devi along with Lord Rama took bath in the lake in Devikulam. Tourists visit this place not only because of the holy connection, but also because the water is believed to have curative powers. Trekking is a popular activity around the area. Apart from the scenic view of the emerald green water, it is also famous for trout fishing for which permission is required.
  • CSI Church: A burial site of one of the British plantation owners is now turned into a foundation stone of a famous church. Painted stained glass, rosewood benches, and decorative chandelier of the pre-independence era are a treat to the eyes. Now, locals and tourists come here to offer prayers.
  • Pallivasal: The Pallivasal waterfalls are close to the Devikulam Lake. The first hydro-electric project in Kerala was set up here.
  • Attukkal: Situated at 10 kms from Munnar, this is an ideal place for long trekking. Tourists are sure to enjoy the scenery formed by the misty mountains and the waterfalls that flow like a milky foam. Attukal is on the way to Cochin, but closer to Pallivasal.
  • Lakkam: This is the closest waterfall from Munnar and on the way to the Marayoor forests. A perfect place for photography as the place is amidst the dense forests.
  • Marayoor sandalwood forests: The Marayoor Sandalwood Forest is the only place in India where natural sandalwood trees grow in abundance. Located near the Munnar- Udumalpetu route, a major part of the forest area includes bamboo and sandalwood trees. Tourists can observe and understand about sandalwood processing through a depot Stone age paintings and dolmens are also found here.