Named after Lord Willingdon, a former British Viceroy of India, this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The island is the site of the city’s best hotels and trading centres, the Port Trust and the headquarters of the southern naval command.
Kottayam is a vast network of rivers and canals which empty into the great expanse of water called the Vembanad Lake. The lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. The Kumarakom Tourist Village offers houseboat cruises and holiday packages. The serene lake comes alive during Onam with a spectacular water regatta – the snake boat races. It is indeed amazing to watch oarsmen, at least a hundred in one boat, slice their way through the waters to the fast rhythm of their own full throated singing.
Located 30 km from Bekal, Valiyaparamba in Kasaragod district of Kerala, is perhaps the most scenic backwater stretch in the state. Fed by four rivers and dotted with numerous little islands, Valiyaparamba is fast turning into a much favoured backwater resort that offers enchanting boat cruises.
Kannur is that part of the legendary Malabar Coast where King Solomon’s ships anchored to collect timber to build the ‘Temple of the Lord’ and to secure most needed spices. Here in the little hamlet on the banks of the river Valapattanam, is a giant of the modern timber industry – Western India Plywood Ltd., the largest wood-based industry in South East Asia.
The timber industry of Valapattanam thrive on the rich forest resources of the district. Teak,Iruli, Elavu, Karimurukku, sandalwood (Sandalum album) etc. are found in plenty in the forests here. In addition are cash crops like tea, coffee, rubber, tobacco, cashewnuts etc. Kannur is the only place in Kerala where Pukayila (tobacco) cultivation is carried on successfully
Valapattanam is also a famous fishing harbour as well as the main source of the irrigation project in the district. It is a fascinating experience to watch the traditional mode of timber transportation – by tying long pieces of timber together and allowing them to float down the stream.
This serene backwater stretch, enroute to Kovalam, is famous for its canoe rides, kayaking and cruises in kettuvalloms. The Boat Club here organises tours to the nearbyislands of Pozhikara and Edayar as well as visits to coir manufacturing units.
Sasthamkotta, situated about 29 km from Kollam town, can be rightly called the ‘Queen of Lakes’. This vast fresh water lake flanked by hills on three sides is the largest of its kind in Kerala. The ancient Sastha Temple, which lends its name to the town, is an important pilgrim centre. This temple dedicated to both Lord Ganesha and Lord Ayyappa is surrounded by hills and forests, and the monkeys inhabiting the premises are considered holy. The monkeys of Sasthamkotta are believed to be the faithful entourage of the ruling deity, the Dharmasastha and therefore they have a spiritual ambience about them. The monkeys are devotee-friendly, and the thousands of devotees visiting the temple take pleasure in feeding these monkeys with nuts and fruits.
Situated in Kuttanad popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala, QST & R Block Kayals (backwaters) remind the visitor of the famous dikes of Holland. A striking example of the indigenous agricultural engineering know-how, here cultivation and habitation are made possible at four to ten feet below the sea level. For this purpose extensive land has been reclaimed from the backwaters and is protected by dikes built around it. A leisurely cruise along the canals here is a memorable experience.
Kuttanad is the most beautiful backwaters region of Kerala. It is here that most of the snake boat races are conducted and a majority of the rice boat & houseboat cruises are scheduled. Kerala’s network of navigable backwaters stretches to over 900 km. These serene waterways are fringed by palm grove and paddy fields and offer a striking spectacle of the rustic life.
A delightful getaway surrounded by the Anjengo backwaters, this uninhabited isle is accessible by boat from the makeshift jetty at the nearby Nedunganda Village. A 100-year-old Shiva-Parvathi Temple, rebuilt a decade ago, is also situated here. Ponnumthuruthu Island is just 10 km away from Varkala, the famous tourist destination in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Tag with District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) of Kollam and allow them to be your guide, as you glide over the placid backwater stretch of Ashtamudi in Kollam.
Let us check out three interesting houseboat cruise packages offered by DTPC Kollam.
Exotic Blue Water Cruises:
The package has three options:
- Round-the-trip Cruise
- See & Sleep Cruise
- Star Night Cruise
If one opts for the ‘Round-the-trip Cruise’ this full day cruise will cover all islands in the Ashtamudi backwater and the ‘See & Sleep Cruise’ option offers day cruise with overnight stay on the backwater. The third option ‘Star Night Cruise’ will take one for a fascinating sunset cruise and a night’s stay on the backwater.
Houseboat Cruise & Resort Stay:
This package from Kollam DTPC includes a full day houseboat cruise and royal stay in a reputed backwater resort. The options available are
- Majestic Cruise & Resort Stay
- Elegant Cruise & Resort Stay
- Serene & Resort Stay
Opting for ‘Majestic Cruise & Resort Stay’ would take one on a houseboat cruise starting in the morning and reaching the Ashtamudi Backwater Resort towards evening. At the resort, facilities include A/c suite room accommodation and multicuisine dine. Next day morning, the cruise will leave the resort and head for the starting point in Kollam.
‘Elegant Cruise and Resort Stay’ would start in the morning and reach the Palm Lagoon Backwater Resort in the evening. Here, one can relax in the cottages in natural ambience, and can enjoy special seafood delicacies. Next day morning, the cruise will set off from the resort for the starting point.
The third option ‘Serene & Resort Stay’ will have the cruise starting in the morning, which will later head for the Aquaserene Backwater Resort. The cruise will reach the resort in the evening, and after check-in one can relish the multicuisine dine. The cruise will depart the next day morning and would head for the starting point.
Houseboat Cruise & Kathakali Performance:
This is yet another exciting package from DTPC Kollam, offering full day houseboat cruise with Kathakali performance at dusk and a night’s stay on board the houseboat. This cruise usually starts in the afternoon, and returns to the starting point the next day morning.
Those interested in any of the above mentioned houseboat cruise packages, need to get in touch with DTPC Kollam for details pertaining to current tariffs and cruise details.
DTPC Tourist Office
Guest House Complex, Asramam
Ph: 91 474 2750170
Located in the sprawling 200-year-old Guest House campus where Lord Munroe once stayed, this tourist village at Ashramam along the backwater front, is the main centre for recreational activities in Kollam. The place has a boat club, a children’s traffic park and Tamarind Hotel in addition to an adventure park. The Paaramparya Museum in the same premises has on display paintings from different parts of the country including Warli, Kalamkari and Madhubani as well as Kerala mural art. It is located 1 km from Kollam city.
Visiting hours: 1000 – 1800 hrs
Contact number: +91 474 2750322