Lagoons and Backwater
If Kerala was not real, someone would have to invent it. It is a myth, a legend, a dark God’s presence of the past; it is the clashing, confused India of today; it is the proud thrust of a Thumba rocket streaking into the cloudless dawn.
Here, dead centre on the state coastline, the mainland is holding the morsel that is Willingdon Island. The new town on one pincer is Ernakulum; its twin across the water is Cochin. The old pincer used to be known as British Cochin and, though the appellation has been lost, the atmosphere has not.
A five minute walk up the road brings you to the mouth of the channel, where the backwaters empty into the sea. Here, standing at the waters’ edge like enormous prehistoric monsters, are the Chinese fishing nets, lumbering constructions of creaking wood and pliant bamboo formed in calendar art throughout the world.
From Kottayam, with its white church spires jutting out of the green palms, take the rising, winding road to the mist covered Cardamom Hills. You will have to drive through the tea garden hamlet of Peer on your way to Thekkady, the game sanctuary. If you have the time, stopover in the hamlet; there is a comfortable tourist bungalow, called the White House, perched on top of a crest. Peer may come as a shock to the average Indian who considers Kerala to be a land of flat, hot palm whispering plains. Kerala’s rain–washed mountains rise close to the sea, accounting for its limited irrigation and power potential. Premade, 75 km from Kottayam, is a cool pleasant hill station with long, quiet walks disturbed only one by the occasional rabbit hopping across the road or ambling herds of deer.
Munnar is an attractive hill retreat about 148 kilometers from Kottayam. Its elevation is about 1524, meters, giving it a cool, bracing climate. Here, the tourist has a chance to look at Kerala’s dollar-earning plantations, mainly of tea. A pioneering power project, the Pallivasal hydroelectric works is located here.
A drive of 51
km from Trivandrum along the road to Quilon in the north, with a slight detour
to the left, takes the tourist to Varkala. From the tall massive cliffs along
the sea coast trickle out rich mineral springs. A sea bath followed by a fresh
water wash in the springs is an exhilarating experience. Near Varkala the
fortress of Anjengo built by the early English settlers can be seen.
Tags: Lagoons , Backwater
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