Kerala was always on my wish list of places to be visited. This summer finally the trip materialised. We had the flight and the package arranged almost 4 months before. So when the date to fly to Cochin was here, we were all very excited. Soon we touched the south Indian land of kerala.
Kerala is a very beautiful country in itself.... It has the best of India in terms of weather and ecology... It's like this very beautiful and intelligent girl with all her moods...
As we came out of the domestic terminal at Cochin International Airport, there was a hint of light rain. It was April 25th then and I knew this would be a very good summer. Our driver Ashokan was waiting for us and soon we were on our way to Alleppey. The distance of 84 kms was easily covered as we were quiet tired after having started at 4am to catch the flight and hence slept through most of the journey...the final halt came at Cosy Regency which had rooms and houseboats under the name. We were going to spend a day on the houseboat... After being allotted the houseboat, we were transported to it. A new journey was about to begin... Exploring new waters!!!!
We had a cosy houseboat with three staff to assist n cook for us during the stay. At night, all houseboats are stationary... As the sun rose over the horizon next day, we had a breathtaking view of all houseboats bathing in the sun rays..... We soon got over the freshness of the morning and were served idlis with sambhar n chutney and thereafter started for our last hour over the magnificent backwaters. Ashokan was waiting outside with the car to take us to Thekkady- another long journey by road.
At Thekkady we stayed at Holiday Vista... Thekkady was home to Periyar Wildlife sanctuary, Deepa spice world, Elephant junction, Kadathanandan Kalari Center...I enjoyed best my trip to Aishwarya spice world as I relived my gardening experiences in the spice garden. We purchased a lot of spices to carry home.
Soon we were on the road again and headed to Munnar... Munnar is a hill station. We stayed at Hotel T & U. Once settled in, Reyansh my kid was surprised to find no fans nor A/C in the hotel. Soon he felt the chilling cold as the clock struck 4 and realised the reason for their absence. For food, we went to Hotel Saravanna Bhavan for some lip smacking south Indian delicacies. Highlights of our Munnar stay was Mattupetty dam, Attukal waterfalls and dreamland fun park. We skipped the rest as we had the option to stay back in Munnar or travel to Cochin as there was going to be a transport strike the next day and we would have to stay put where ever we are... Our tour manager suggested that we move out to Cochin... And so we hit the roads again leaving behind the Munnar legacy... Carrying with us memories of a summer like never before.
On touching Cochin we were reminded of the development taking place around. So far, we were in the midst of nature which provided us with everything we needed and much more. We checked in at PGS Vedanta. The next day was going to be a break as there would be no transport except KSRTC buses and private vehicles. We learn that this kind of strike keeps happening at least once a few months...but this was an All India transport strike. Our driver returned to Munnar to his family after dropping us to Vedanta as tourist cabs were not going to ply.
We woke up next to the Kochi metro-in-progress. That's the location of the hotel ; After an awesome breakfast we left for a walk to check out the area. It had everything one would need. Also the Ernakulum station was round the corner. The station lane was a flourishing area with shops and banks and other good stay options. We returned to the hotel feeling good about our DISCOVERIES in KOCHI. We relaxed till 4 after which we again started on foot towards M G ROAD for further discveries and soon we chanced upon a rickshaw fellow who said it was OK to ply now and he would take us to THE LULU INTERNATIONAL MALL. And yo, we were there in 20 flat minutes.
LULU is the biggest mall in India. A visit to LULU showed us that people were not ready to give in to the bandh. After a proper survey of the biggest mall, we waited to be picked up by the same rick guy who drove us here... End of day one at Cochin.
Day 2 @Cochin, Ashokan was back from Munnar and drove us to the folklore museum which carried the history of Kerala dance forms and all the ware used in the dances and much more. We moved on to Dutch Palace and the Jewish synagogue - both a great experience for Reyansh.
Day 3 @ Cochin, we visited Wonderla. An amazing entertainment zone with a mix of deadly adult rides, kids rides and family ones too. We finally got our place on the flying boat after a wait of 25 mins... We were offered another ride by the kind boat attendant without waiting in another queue but we refused as one was enough to last us couple of years till we got back !!! The highlight was the musical wave pool where the waves were accompanied by traditional south Indian music dished out by a group of 8 to 10 men. Wonderla was truly wonderful.
So, it was time to pack our bags and fly back to Mumbai the next day. We bid our Adieu to Cochin and Kerala and huddled home with all kinds of chips from Allepy, souvenirs from Periyar, spices, tea from Munnar and lot of other stuff but mainly with memories of beautiful moments spent at a place which was a mini India in itself. Amazingly untouched, technologically advanced yet retaining its heritage and culture....
Kerala is truly God's own country.