It all started with an invite to a wedding at Mahabalipuram. Obviously, I won’t go all the way down south and just come back in three days. Obviously. Since my last trip was Munnar and Coorg this time I most definitely wanted to visit at least three new places that have just been exotic stories from travel books till now. Thekkady, Allepy and Kumarakom were booked mainly to satiate three desires of experiencing life in a Tree House, a Boat House and a Canal House. My first and the most pro active stop was Thekkady – a four hour drive from Kochi.
Waking up to the sound of birds and trees is beautiful but I would wake up to a black monkey swinging from one tree to another giving me a mini heart attack with the anticipation of my treehouse collapsing. But it never did and the little guy became my vacation pet. After spending an entire day at the Periyar Lake and getting two-three hour long Ayurvedic massages, coming back to the cosy lodge of Vanya, a property of Green Woods Resort, was all the Indian holiday exotica that I was in search for.
(The coffee fruit that has the coffee bean inside which everyone is familiar with – at the Spice Garden)
A must go is the Spice Garden, rather a spice forest. All the natural ingredients that are beneficial to health is grown there and later made into edibles and ointments. The day I was checking out to start my road trip to Alleppey, I bid farewell to Green Wood’s pet turkey, rabbits etc but my monkey couldn’t be seen. It was unusual but I hoped to see him near the coffee shop tree house on my way to the car. It was then the receptionist broke the news that early that morning the monkey got electrocuted the wires hung from the trees. I could feel my eyes stung with hot tears and within no time the Kerala wildlife department had arrived to further investigate the death of the black monkey.
Alleppey or Alappuzha has been a dream destination since the history of travelling and once could never get enough of the back waters, canals, lagoons and beaches. The experience at the boat house is as picturesque as it sounds. It stops at sunset and lets you wander around the local village. Boat House is best with a few close travel partners who’s company you enjoy but being a solo traveller I decided to explore the villages near . Taking a ride on the fisherman’s boat, I reached a village with neatly planned huts very near to the banks and there I paid a local family to cook me a hot meal of idly, vada and poha with roasted chillies and beetroot pickle. I even bought a Kerala temple sari and learnt how to drape it.
My next stop was Kumarakom, a village on Vembanad Lake.
(The Jeep is the best way to experience Jungle Safari)
Stayed at the KTDC Waterscapes back water resort where each cottage is all to yourself facing the endless lake. In fact even during my stay at Thekkady, I had come across a KTDC property at the Periyar which is also an alternate option if you don’t want to stay at the Tree house. Kumarakom was more laid back than the first two places, so I opted for an Ayurvedic Massage again, did bird watching with some experienced and respected names in the district. I spent most of my sunsets swimming at our private pool attached to the lake right across my cottage.
And to end it on a heady note, we had to try the thodi and fried fish. Thodi is also known as Palm Wine and is commonly found in Africa and Carribean as well. In Kerala it is specifically made from the sap pf coconut palms. This tropical fantasy became all the more a perfect dream that ended in a week. Elephants splashing water on me and then smiling, the hospitality leaving me spoilt, and a safe and comfortable environment at any given time comprised a surreal vacation for BlabberCat.