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The Women Brigade
Travel with companions to Gods Own Country - Kerala
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It was my second holiday with Hammock and on the ‘Women only tour’ to Kerala. There were six of us including myself. I had registered online and opted for a sharing room type accommodation for the tour that was scheduled in early September.  While four of us were from Bangalore, two were from Chennai.  

 

Hammock representative, Padma met us at Kochi airport and we were off to our first stop, Fort Kochi. It was an hour’s drive from the airport and we arrived at our hotel, a 110 year old heritage property that has been carefully restored to its original glory. The restaurant was on the ground floor while the rooms were all on the upper floor. 

Fort Kochi is part of the old Jew town and the neatly maintained streets have small shops and eateries selling curios, antiques and of course, a variety of food (from various cuisines). The cobble stoned promenade area was good for a relaxing walk.  

Greenix Village’ was a location that we visited in the evening..  A traditional Kerala styled building that houses a museum and a performing arts studio. We were treated to an introductory performance of ‘Kathakali’ – a traditional dance drama, which was followed by a soothing ‘Veena’ recital.

The next morning we were off to the backwaters of Alleppey, which was an hours drive from Kochi. The houseboats were waiting for us.  The boats were actually quite larger than I imagined.. Each of the boats had two bedrooms with attached washrooms, a large lounge with a dining space and there was a mid-sized kitchen too.  There was a cook, a steward as well as a driver for each of our boats.

We all got in and our boats moved off on the cruise.  Lunch was served on board and the cruise continued through small canals beside the green paddies.  We could see small islands with small houses, people actually living in the backwaters, children waving their greetings.. a postman going about his work in a small boat.. Vegetable vendors zipping past in their tiny boats overloaded with an amazing variety of greens and veggies… 

After dinner and a pleasant overnight stay in the air-conditioned houseboat, we moved out the next day to the hills -  past Vagamon and on to Kattapana. The drive was exhilarating! From the plains we were going up on the mountain roads.  Coconut groves gave way to rubber plantations, to spice gardens and finally the manicured tea gardens that looked like someone purposefully coiffured the green mountains!!

Our accommodation was at a sprawling bungalow within a 600 acre estate near Kattapana, with a bubbling mountain stream flowing right under the living room of the huge bungalow. The bedrooms were large and comfortable with a lovely fireplace in the living room. The food was fresh, wholesome and home cooked. 

It was the most relaxing two days in my life – walking the green trails with strands of sunlight shafting through the opaque mist, listening to the bird song, watching the bubbly stream, swirling, turning and cascading….

There was a pleasant surprise waiting for all of us that evening..  our host had arranged for a local cuisine cooking demo of Aappam & stew. It seemed to be the easiest thing to rustle up and was truly a delicacy.  

Already into our fifth day of the tour, the days were going by fast..  We were all enjoying every bit of it and here we are packing our bags once again..  Cheerio to Kattapana, next stop Thattekad. A drive down the winding mountain roads, down to the plains.  

The small eco resort at Thattekad had Swiss tents for accommodation, each with a small porch looking out across the broad River Periyar and the island of Thattekad, described as the richest bird habitat on peninsular India.

Two of us opted for a conducted bicycle tour to one of the nearby villages and there after joined up the rest of the group in the evening for a walk along the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary.. It is actually a flat plain piece of land slightly higher than the water level on the River Periyar.

There are also many water based activities here at Thattekad.  I mentally put in a ‘tag’ to bring my kids to this eco resort on our next family vacation.  I am sure the kids will love this place. Late the next evening we were all dropped off at Kochi airport to connect our respective flights.

Thank you, team Hammock for a wholesome experience. Well done… yet again :)



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