Entertainment, Experience, Photography, Travel

A road trip on the Malabar coast

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On a casual day Ravi came home, he was in Hyderabad for some time earlier. We had lunch and sat in my home office discussing about how work goes on and all. Suddenly we talked about a trip for a week long or so. We earlier had also talked about this thought of going to Varanasi, North east states and finally everything distilled to Kerala for a week. I have had an aversion to goto kerala due to previous bitter experiences with few people. Hei, I have good friends in kerala even now. So, finally in less than 24 hours we decided to go to kerala and Ravi booked train ticket for the same in tatkal.

After booking the train ticket ravi called me for to check about the umbrella we have, I told I need one, the one I had was lost somewhere. Ravi said; Ok, will buy at Cochin. I said; no, There will be very limited brands and the quality would be of mediocre only, i told him based on my earlier experiences in kerala. And I have said to him, if you could find a brand here itself named “Happy” I would be happy. Quickly Ravi ended up to the nearby shopping centre and found that brand. He bought 2 umbrellas for me and himself.

Day-0 | May – 21 Thursday, plan was to meet at Tambaram railway station at 6:00 PM, promptly Ravi shown up there and I was bit late around 10 mins. We quickly got into the local train to park station, from there one can cross the road to central station,  where our cochin train was scheduled at 19:45 hrs. We thought of buying dinner in the station itself, but few shops were closed for renovation. We entered central station at 19:30 Hrs and we quickly grabbed some food pack from the nearby hotel and found our seat in the train. Train started promptly, we were just on right time, return ticket was not booked and our agenda was kerala; frankly we had no idea what we are going to do there.

We reached Ernakulam Station at sharp 6:30am as scheduled with no itinerary in place.Somehow Ravi looked into few websites while on the move and he told let’s go to Fort kochi where we could visit many places nearby. We took an auto from the railway station to the near by bus stop where we could board the bus to Fort Kochi. We reached the bus terminus of Fort Kochi by 8:00 and we trying to find a home stay near by. There was a board stating about a homestay at third level near by to the bus terminus. We climbed up and knocked the door, no response we came down. One guy came to us, probably a middle man, told us that “I will take you”, we again went up and found no response. Finally we came down, it was bit heavy you know going up to third level twice back to back with our bags. We finally found a place named “Fort square Homestay” which has good reviews and rating online. It was a neat & tidy place to stay for bachelors.

Spices in Jewtown.

Spices displayed at a shop in Jew town.

We freshen up and decided to go to the Jew town, a nearby market sort of place in Fort Kochi. We took a bus to reach there after having breakfast in a near by restaurant from the homestay, I had parotta and kadala curry, Ravi tried his luck with Appam and Kadala curry.

Jew town is full of arts and artworks everywhere on all the streets and there is a street only for spices. May be because of the ancient times. In the broad noon sun on our back we walked on the jew town streets and somehow got tired during the lunch time and decided to head back to room and start again by evening. We reached our homestay and enroute had our lunch.

Started around 4:30 PM to visit the chinese nets on the Fort kochi back water shores, it was a wonderful sight, it’s different you know. The way they catch fish itself is entirely different, they make the net drown inside the water and then they lift the net up with the help of the ropes tied on the other side of the net. A group of 4-6 people pull the rope, so that the net comes up from water with fish in it. Had a long walk along with the water, the activities are mainly fishing and selling the same, we could see local people and few tourists as well. On the way to room we thought of having beer and checked out the nearby bars and they were kind of overpriced which was not in our budget because we planned for a budget trip. After reached our homestay we asked our receptionist, where to buy beers? He promptly responded to approach the Beverages shop which was located about 2 kms from where we stayed. We ended up with Budweiser and while we return we bought dinner for us. The day ended up smoothly.

Sleeping Buddha

A statue of Buddha in a shop in Jew town

Day – 2 May 23 | Saturday

Started from the room for a walk on the same beach till Vasco da Gama square, it was a wonderful morning walk on the back waters shore. Our camera bag for local roaming is having the camera, lenses, few plastic bags to protect the gears if it rains and umbrella as well. Due to the yesterday’s sunny effect Ravi told me to keep the umbrella at room, why to carry unnecessarily and we both kept our umbrellas at room. After visiting the fishes, morning walkers, group of friends came for fun, fisher men, we were taking photographs of our interest and the sky turned to be dull and dark. Immediately started raining, because of Ravi’s advice me too kept the umbrella at room and we both were helpless walking in the rain with our gears protected, fortunate that the rain was less and we reached back room, freshened up and Ravi told let’s go to the Model fishing village built for tourists.

After having breakfast around 10:00 AM we took a local bus to reach the place, Unfortunate or fortunate we were in a place called Kumbalangi, exactly on Kallancherry. This small fishing village is full of chinese fishing nets (small though) and a wonderful place to live, one single road in this village.

Once we ensured that we don’t know where we are, we decided to go back to the stay. We did reached the room enroute Mattancherry and had lunch there. Once we reached the room Ravi found a nearby place where they are renting out bikes, we quickly headed there and grabbed a Suzuki “Swish”. It was good to have a two wheeler to roam around in a new place especially.

I catch sea, not fish.

A fisherman catching fish from the shores with cast net at Puthenthode Beach.

We started to Puthenthodu beach at the south of Fort Kochi and even further till Velankanni church. It was a wonderful ride, where both sides are water and there is a road in between to ride. We had a wonderful ride and visited the beaches all over there, few beaches are deserted and few were with limited no. of people. We came back in the evening and decided to go to Marine Drive, have parked the bike in the parking and started walking on the corniche. Pretty crowded place though,  it was a wonderful day ended up nicely by crossing all the bridges to take up the ferry to reach Fort kochi.

A cute kid and father walking on the beach

A father and his cute little kid on cherai beach.

Next day is Sunday, planned to go to Cherai Beach, we woke up early and took the bike and crossed the backwaters by ferrying. Regular service connecting all the near by lands in cochin is an interesting travel. We took a internal beach road to reach Cherai beach, the ride was wonderful on the road which is used only by the locals.

The beaches on this stretch were clean and neat, significantly less crowded too. Due to the broad sun we returned soon to room. We returned back the bike and planned to go to Alleppey. Packed up our bags and had a Ok ok lunch at Ifthar restaurant at Mattancherry and took the bus to Alleppey.

The bus took 2 hours to take us to Alleppey and we were there in Alleppey Bus terminus by 4:30 PM. Ravi was looking at his smartphone for where to stay and places to visit and all. I said Ravi, here there are few good restaurants which we need to check for sure, Ravi said, we don’t have any idea where to stay for tonight and you are talking about food. I kept mum, probably ravi was bit anger due to my love towards food. 😉 Finally we decided to goto “Lemon dew” home stay, it was nearby from Bus terminus a 6-8 minutes walk.

Boat ride at Alleppey.

Magnificient Alleppey backwaters

We booked a room and immediately started to visit the Alleppey beach. It was pretty crowded due to sunday. We had a walk along the beach and ended up staying for long time at the broken pier, where Ravi was capturing long exposure photographs there. Due to the heavy weight of my Manfrotto I had not carried my tripod with me, but ravi have a lightweight version from Manfrotto and significantly small as well. Ravi suggested me to buy one of Befree series tripod, the talks largely surrounded with gears and as the day passed by we ended up at sitting at “Harbour Restaurant” with a beer each. After that we headed to Hassan’s restaurant where the Tandoori’s are special based on wikitravel. To check this we went to Hassan and found to be true, Hassan restaurant is nearby from Beach as we had a beer, it was good to have a walk. After having Dinner we took an auto rickshaw to reach room. Wonderful day it was.

Day 4 | Monday

Our plan was to take a boat to backwaters, after having breakfast in a near by hotel at Bus terminus we choose to take the government operated boat(which is primarily meant for public transport) to Kuttanad. Ravi was buying the tickets to travel, I went to buy water bottles and biscuits, when I comeback Ravi was on the boat and I was at the shore. I started shouting, the boatmen told the boat is changing the direction, will take you for sure. We went to the first level to experience the backwaters at the best, as the boat started going inside the backwaters the view gets very interesting and as it go deeper and deeper houseboats were everywhere. It is a wonderful sight I must admit, after visiting the villages surrounded by water and their lifestyle we headed back to alleppey via the same boat (no other option though), we were dropped back at Alleppey at noon.

Again we headed to Hassan’s restaurant for lunch, had fish Biriyani and took another boat to the other side of the backwaters, the boat was actually planned till Kottayam, but due to the bridge works it reached till kanjiram village only. The entire route was awesome in this summer, how awesome it would be during season times.! Beautiful villages, surrounded by waters, house on both sides of the canal. The boat stops at Kanjiram village, if one needs to go to kottayam they can take the bus from Kanjiram which waits till this boat reaches kanjiram. The boat starts back to Alleppey after 1.5 hrs they said, we started exploring the village and returned back to the boat 20 mins earlier hoping to have awesome sunset views.

Backwaters of Alappuzha..

A view of Alleppey backwaters along with the numerous houseboats

The boat had started as announced, before we reach the flocks of house boats the sun went down and we were not able to see/capture a awesome silhouette of houseboat along with coconut trees. As we reached Alleppey it was dark and time for dinner is approaching fast. In the time we travelled on the boat Ravi had found a place where we could get bikes for rent like in Fort Kochi. The place was almost opposite to the bus terminus, we took the pedestrian bridge to cross the canal and collected the bike from Antony. We took the bike back to Hassan’s restaurant for dinner.  At Fort Kochi we found difficulty to get good food and if there were some restaurant also, it was exorbitantly priced. Here at Hassan the price were decent and the food too.

Day 5 – Tuesday | May 26

The plan was to visit Karumadi kuttan temple and the 100 AD church. We took the bike and rode through the village roads to reach Karumadi kuttan. En route we have visited the church and had to ferry the bike and ourselves to cross the River Pamba. Took the roads which are capable of going by foot only, reached karumadi kuttan by noon and was too sunny that day. Had lime juices everywhere and headed back. On the way there was a place where the road was fully engulfed by water from the side lands, everywhere was water -it was a good sight. We stayed back there for sometime for the sun to get down to have some good shots. After that by the very same route we reached Alleppey and returned back the bike to Antony. Had dinner at Mushroom and returned to room and hit the sacks.

Ticket was booked to home by Ravi by tatkal system, train starts from kollam on 27 at 10:30 PM. The plan was to reach kollam by the boat service from Alleppey, the travel time was 8 hours – we thought it would be fun to travel in boat for this long. Morning we settled the bill at Lemon Dew, had Breakfast and reached the jetty and we were informed that the service had been stopped due to less no. of passengers.  We were disappointed to know this and decided to reach kollam by bus and see what would be possible there to do.

We boarded a bus and the bus dropped us in kollam in one and half hours, we don’t know what to do, time for lunch. Had enquired about the boating schedules and we were informed that a boat will start at 2:00 PM and will be back at 4:30 PM. Quickly we left our bags at the cloakroom at the bus stand and had lunch at the opposite hotel and caught the boat. All our destinations in a boat while taking the ticket was “last stop”. 😉 A young about to be couple was also with us travelling till the last stop and coming back, good get away from the town it appears.

We reached back kollam and Ravi had decided to visit the Lighthouse at Thangacherri. When I organise I use to have less idea about what is next, when someone else is taking care means to me it’s like complete freedom. I was travelling with Ravi this way only, no idea what is next, my only worry was where and what could be the food next. 😉 We took an autorickshaw to reach the Lighthouse, enroute I had enquired about the best restaurant in Kollam and kept in mind for dinner.

Thangasseri Lighthouse

A view of 100 years old Thangasseri Lighthouse on a Golden evening.

The Tangasseri Lighthouse was brilliantly constructed and commissioned in the year of 1902 with 193 steps to reach the viewpoint. Once you reach the viewpoint you can view the entire kollam town and the Tangasseri fishing village as well. The view of the sea and the 100’s of boats heading into the sea itself is a wonderful sight. We talked with the operator at the top of the Lighthouse for sometime and we came to know many things, we were the one who came down with him even after the closing time. The operator was a very enthusiastic person about his work and have some clear opinions about life. It was a nice conversation altogether.

Once we came down we had a walk at the walkway which is taken deep into the backwater side, one can have a relaxed walk here. Ravi set up his tripod for long exposures and I was talking with him continuously, he must have been tired. Once the clock ticked 7:30 PM we started heading to the town. We were very thirsty, had water from the village shop and took an auto rickshaw, first collected the bag from the cloak room and went to Hotel Thushara’s , had a decent food and took the train to Chennai. Despite carrying the umbrella after the second day we did not used it anywhere. 🙂

Have I said who is Ravi, a silent person most of the times I would say, a passionate photographer who likes to travel and photograph. His works can be seen here in his website. He left to Hyderabad immediately after we reached Chennai, so I am unable to insert any of his photographs here. When you find time visit his website and let him know what you felt with his works.

Have you travelled along with us? Take a second to let me know in the comments.

About the author / 

Navanee Viswa


  1. Dhanalakshmi Viswanathan June 5, 2015 at 7:40 am -  Reply

    Wonderful travel..the way you explained was excellent.waiting for your next travel.:-);-)

    • Navanee Viswa June 5, 2015 at 10:18 am -  Reply

      Hei Bro, Thanks for your time to read & comment. 😉 Yeah sure sure. 🙂 Will definitely let you know. 😛

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