Kerala Lakes and Lagoons

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The drive down the coast from Kochi to Alleppey is a transition from more urban life to rural living on the great interconnecting canals and lagoons flowing into the Arabian Sea.   Vembanad Lake is the largest lake in India and on one of its shores we meet our houseboat that will take us to our resort for the next two nights, the Coconut Lagoon, another CGH property.  This particular boat has 2-bedrooms but is more traditional in form than some more modern boats — it has woven mat awnings and top coverings and, being smaller, has the option of entering smaller inlets.  I learn a day later from a naturalist that this lake is part salt water and part fresh water, the relative balance controlled by water barriers built by the government.   The percentage of salt water may be related to the needs for fishing but also is important because the very invasive non-native water hyacinths (introduced for their beauty but now an environmental disaster) can not live in high salt content so the lake itself stays relatively free of the floating vegetation which clogs many small canals.

Our group at the end of our houseboat visit
Bedroom on the houseboat. Note woven ceiling. Room is air condiioned so modern glass in window.

The Coconut Lagoon greets us with drinks and flowers and is a beautiful restful place, our individual cottages each with comfortable beds and well designed bathrooms that are in one part open to the sky above.  

Reception at Coconut Lagoon
Our welcome drink of fresh coconut

We get up early to go on a bird watching tour and although there is a famous bird sanctuary nearby, it is along the road, in the rice paddies, that we see the greatest number of water fowl, egrets and herons of many varieties.   It is a bird watchers paradise.

From the road

After another incredible South India breakfast (dosas, upuma, iddly, sambar, fresh fruit juice), I go for a walk with some of our group down the road to the nearby town.  It is a peaceful walk along the shores of the lagoon and we pass people fishing, bathing, washing their clothes and their kitchenware in the water.  We go past the local Hindu temple and meet a young (about 10 years old) acolyte, who indicates to us what we can and can not do (no photos inside) as we take off our shoes and quietly visit the inside of the colorful temple grounds.

Looking into the temple with the young priest watching us

There is afternoon tea by the pool, a butterfly garden, yoga and meditation classes and an Aryuvedic spa to enjoy on the property. At one meal we ask for fresh mango which we have not been served — so someone climbs up a nearby tree and cuts us a bowl of dark orange fresh mango. Such service!

Afternoon Tea Outside by the Pool


One local egret with swimming pool in background

Although it is cloudy so there is no brilliant sunset, I nevertheless join others from the resort on a “sunset” cruise into the lake where a naturalist introduces us into the flora and fauna of the area.  It is beautiful and peaceful. A good day followed by a very good dinner and restful sleep.

Before we depart in the morning, our host, Platinum by Trans-India, arranged to plant a tree on the property which all of us hope to return to someday and visit as a thriving banana plant. Who would not want to come back to this piece of paradise!

Planting the banana tree
The wonderful staff at Coconut Lagoon wave goodbye as we depart on a boat to the town dock to transfer to our car.