13 April'07 :
Left by road @5.00 am for Kottayam on a days visit. Took the usual route upto Angamali and then veered to the left via Kalady (left of Kalady junction leads to the birth place of Adi Sankara as well to Malayatoor), crossed the bridge over the magnificent Periyar river (turn left at this point for Koovapady), into Perumbavoor- the place to which my grandparents had migrated from Koovapady, settled, lived & died. Before Perumbavoor there is a turning to the left towards the Kodanad Elephant Kraal or training Centre(10 Kms). I had visited this place a few times when I was young. From Perambavoor a left turn takes you to Kothamangalam, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary(30 Kms) and to Munnar (96 Kms). I however proceeded via Muvattupuzha, towards Ettumanoor & Kottayam. Around 30 Kms of the route was ghat road. The countryside was dotted largely with rubber & spice plantations and to a lesser extent with chakka(jack fruit) and banana plantations. And of course lots of coconout palms everywhere.
I had a busy schedule at Kottayam; however I managed to squeeze in some time to visit the Lake Village Heritage Resort for lunch and to look around. It is a lush green planet of shimmering lagoon, meandering canals, herbal gardens & whispering palms. Amongst this stands the traditional Kerala style cottages- alongside the backwaters giving you the feeling of being in a Kerala Houseboat. There is lush green lawn all around the cottages interspersed with multi coloured varieties of flowers in bloom giving a riot of brightly hued colours in sparkling sunlight - predominant of these are hibiscus and "tecchi".
The Lake Village is an inspirational reproduction of bygone Kerala characterised by backwaters, boating, fishing & traditional fishing nets,wooden houses, garden bathrooms (open to sky). The Village also has facilities like the Mandapam-the culture centre, Ettukettu-the tradional cultural eatout, Nalukettu-the authentic Kerala restaurant, the Koothambalam, the Temple pool,The Banyan Island,the Dhanwantari-Ayurveda Centre. There are a number of fearless resident geese which live in the campus. I could get close enough to some to take some wonderful snaps.
The buffet lunch was a veritable feast - a combination of North Indian & Kerala cuisines topped off with ice cream,choco sauce chocolate cake,badam halwa and semiya payasam. After the heavy meal I was tempted to enter one of the wooden cottages, bolt the door from inside and take a nice long nap. Alas that was not to be as I had a meeting set up with the company lawyer immediately thereafter.
Here are some resplendent photographs for the connoiseur & nature lover. Good place to plan your next pleasure and leisure vacation !