Kerala is also known as God’s own country. If one believes World Travel and Tourist Council (WTTC) then Kerala belongs to one of the world’s most attractive tourist destination. Kerala is blessed with undreamt possibilities of natures bounty.
The Indian state Kerala has an area of 38.863 km and a population of 32.802.812 (data:1.January 2006). The capital is Thiruvananthapuram (former Trivandrum). In 1956 the state of Kerala was formed with the union of three former princely states; Chocin, Malabar and Travancore. Literally Kerala means ” land of the coconut trees“. The name is derived from Malayalam, the spoken language of Kerala: kera for coconut trees, which is found in great abbundance all over the state and alam for land.
Due to the dense jungles Kerala had rather late settlers in comparison to other states of India. Contact with the highly civilised north India Maurya dynasty left its mark and resulted in rapid development. Buddhism and Jainism spread all over Kerala. What was earlier significantly important was the trade with Phonecians, Egyptians, Babalonians, Arabs, Chinese and the Romans.
A wide labyrinth of rivers, lagoons, lakes, harbours connecting the heartland of Kerala with the Arabian sea makes the land so fascinating. One can travel in houseboats through this extraordinarylly beautiful landscape , with its rich flora and fauna. This is not only fascinating for nature lovers and bird-watchers but for all those who wish to enjoy and experience something unusual. This so called backwaters with its rivers, channels, lakes connecting the inner land with the sea makes Kerala justifyingly the Venice of Asia/ Venice of the East.
The Houseboats are equipped with modern furnishings and if one does not wish to forgo television it is also available. One can rent a houseboat for 24 hours or more for about 100 Euro per night(2 bedrooms). One must none the less bargain but when one travels during off season the supply is far more than the demand. (main Season is from October till February). The nights can be rather sultry so one should make sure that the air-cooler is functioning properly. There is more than sufficient food supply on the boats and one can even choose what one wants to eat after consulting the cook.
The house boats known as Ketti Vallam glide gently on the labyrinth of water cannals. The tropical air is spiced with the aroma of cardamom, pepper, curcuma and hibiscus bushes inflamed with rioteous colours. On both sides of the cannals daily activities of everyday life moves on as one glides past. One can see stretches of rice fields, small houses, women washing clothes, children bathing, sometimes a mosque or a temple. Time to time the silence is interrupted with the call of a bird or the tinkling of temple bells. The glorious sunset is a spectale; the flaming colours of the clouds are reflected on the rippling waters, everything seems to be a golden red- orange firery paintbrush. A fire that does not scorch but brings a cool breeze that welcomes the night. The black silhouette of narrow boats returning after a days fishing to its hearth and fire reminds one that it is time to retire and relax and partake of the sumpteous meal prepared by the cook on board.
If one does not wish to miss the Ayurveda massages during the Houseboat trip, even this fascility can be arranged. The Ayurveda Centre in Trivandrum can organise this. Pick up contact with the Ayurveda Centre and if you wish the Centre can organise the trip to Kerala for you.
Translated by Paramita Lahiri
Source: Raimund Mueller