Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trip to Kerala - Part I

I am blogging on my trip to Kerala. Since I don’t want to miss any detail, I am serializing it into 3 parts. This is part I.

Last December 27th by now we had packed our bags to India’s most celebrated vacation spots- Kerala. The land known for panoramic backwater stretches, highlands, islands and the swaying palm (coconut) fringed beaches. This in fact has lent the state its name Kerala meaning --The house of coconuts.

We boarded the Sabari express from Secunderabad and reached Ernakulam next day noon. We were accompanied by another family whose children were shreya and sharun’s age . So needless to say we had an entertaining and comfortable journey. Next day we checked into Bharat Tourist Homes at Ernakulam. (Our friends alighted at Palakkad). Dumped our belongings into our rooms, refreshed ourself went to the reception to book a cab to Cherai beach. The reception guys at the hotel suggested we take a boat jetty instead of a cab. We walked half a km on the marine drive to the place where the jetty’s took off. We rode in the jetty to Vypeen Island. The half an hour ride costed us just 2rs/head.

Vypeen (also spelt vypin) is an island in Ernakulam district of Kerala. The island which is about 27 km long was formed in the year 1341 after a heavy flood. It is known to be the island having highest density of population in the world. It is connected to Kochi by a bridge from Kalamuku. There are regular boat services from Fort Kochi to Vypin Island. Narakkal is the business capital of vypin.

From Vypeen Island we took a local bus to a place close to Cherai. It was Christmas time; almost all houses were big and had a Christmas tree, star and nativity scene in front of their gardens. As we narrowed closer to the beach, we crossed many picture post card places. In some places there were no streets but only canals. So if one had to cross to the house on the other side they had to row in a boat. In variably most houses on either side of the canals had a vallom (boat like structure made from wood) tied to a tree. After an half an hour ride we were dropped a km away from the Cherai beach. From there we took an auto and reached Cherai beach. Cherai beach is called the princess of Arabian Sea. (The queen being Cochin).

Cherai Beach is a beach in the Cherai village of Ernakulam district of Kerala, south India. Cherai is a part of Island. The 15 km of long golden beach is very clean, shallow, and attracts swimming and sunbathing. This is one of the few places where we can see the lagoon (poyil) and ocean separated only by a few hundreds of meters. One of the main events in this beach is the tourism fest during December.

The beach which is usually not crowded was an exception during that time since it was Christmas vacation and moreover there was a 10 day annual cultural festival which highlighted the culture of Kerala. Shreya and Sharun enjoyed with gay abandon on the beach, there was no stopping them. I/ Bala took turns to accompany them on the sea and film their joy on our camcorder. It was delightful to see them prancing in the water and build sand castles. The setting of the sun also made a beautiful picture for a post card.

Late in the evening, we enjoyed the Kathakali dance drama on the beach. A little later we realized we had to rely on public transport so hurried out of the beach to take an auto. We were dropped at the local bus stop. Enroute to the bus stop we had to cross a narrow road whose edges on either side touched with the back waters. Here, the land was on par with the sea level. The fishermen on either side carrying lanterns and fishing made a beautiful sight.

From the bus stop we took a bus which took us directly to Marine drive in Ernakulam (Vypeen is connected to main land Ernakulam by a bridge and this was constructed in 2004). Alighted at the high court building and walked more than a km and half to our hotel. We also never realized the wariness since the whole road was full of activity as it was the fortnight preceding Christmas & New Year.

Reached the hotel and ordered dinner to the room. Mean while we refreshed ourselves from the beach sand, had dinner and snored away to deep sleep. Another sightseeing day awaiting us.

Await Part II.

Text in bold italics courtesy: Wikipedia
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