We slowly row away from the shore towards the canals of Kollam, sun shining brightly up our heads, striking a balance with the canoe, to the chirping of birds in the distance on a hot Friday afternoon.
Cruising through the narrow waterways with almost 3-4ft in depth, the ubiquitous greenery of this location fascinated me. The moving canoe disturbed the clear reflection of the trees in the water, forming ripples.
We passed through plenty of archways devised by the abundant coconut trees. Stretches of land were covered in nets dedicated to prawn feeding. And tiny fishes swarmed to eat the tiny lumps of coconut flesh in masses.
Between the village kids playing by the water and the villagers striking a pose for us, the journey continued with cow dipping itself in the rejuvenating waters, kingfishers perched on tall coconut trees, eagles flying high in the clear blue sky, dover of ducks by the shore quacking around and an abandoned fellow canoe enjoying it’s moment of solitude, all engulfed in a green cocoon of nature. Just what I needed to transcend myself into the mystical backwaters.
More than once, lost in my own world of photography, I ducked just about time before hitting the low bridges and branches. The friendly villagers gave us a demo of the coir retting and weaving process. The coir is then used to manufacture carpets in industries.
Sitting on a canoe, sipping on the sweet tender coconut and devouring on the flesh made my day. To shake things up a bit, I even tried rowing the canoe by myself. FYI, not as easy as it looks!
I found myself in Kollam for a friend’s wedding. Willing to capitalize on the situation, we contemplated on making a short visit to Alleppey backwaters. Just then, our hotel owner informed us that Kollam backwaters is just as beautiful. Surprised by the new found information, we decided to check it out. And now, I would have to concede with the hotel owner. Kollam backwaters is just incredible!
The canoe tour takes place in Monroe island. A quaint island located at the confluence of Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada river at a distance of 25km from Kollam. KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) organizes a list of backwaters tours through the canals of Kollam including transportation to and from Monroe island by auto. Make sure you request for the village backwater tour.
We also went through a public ferry, for a short distance in the interim, carrying locals and vehicles since there is no direct road access. Such is the way of life in Kerala! The journey lasted for about 2 hours through the village backwaters and every moment was a bliss.
Although, a trip to Kerala would be never complete without a backwater tour is a cliched one, I was completely in awe with the backwaters and found it a thoroughly satisfying journey. When in Kerala, definitely hit the backwaters!