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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Road Trips From Bangalore : 01 - Gateway to Backwaters in Kerala - An Offbeat Trip

This Road Trip  is for those who love long road trips , Best planned over a long weekend !

I prefer a lot of sight seeing in my travels but so glad we went on this off the beaten path trip to  gateway of  Kerala backwaters.
Noise pollution in Blore is a serious problem ,this trip is like a good detox trip for that .

Travel Location : 
This Road Trip is mainly about Munroe Island- Backwaters here  is also called the gateway to Kerala backwaters,  little bit of Tangasseri in Kollam & a bit of Varkala

The name Mundro thuruthu (Munroe island ) itself has a happy ring to it isnt it ? 
Munroe Island is located at the confluence of Ashtamudi lake and Kallada river in  Kollam district
This island village spreads  across 13.2 sqm of area. Munroe island , An unadulterated destination in the lap of nature, is a hidden gem  - you can even call it Venice of India. With serene backwaters and narrow canals with backdrops of coconut lined stretches and thick  mangrove plants it is a breathtaking scene and the relaxed laid back  vibe surely grows on you .

Travel Time :
With Breaks 13 hrs of travel –  700 kms one way from Blore  . Great option for people who like long road drives , if you don’t want to drive long distance hire a cab and driver like we did. 

Travel Cost : 
15000 Per person during peak holiday season if you hire a cab for 6 people. 

Road trip in Short   :

You don’t always need a plan , sometimes you just need to breathe , trust , listen to nature , let go and see what happens and most of all seize the day
This was the mantra for this trip and it worked out well .

Since we were 6 and the location was decided already and two of us decided to tag along ,  I thought this trip I will go with the flow and not stress away googling all the things I can do out there . But habits die hard and googled a bit and the top result on google showed Kallada boat race best  seen from Munroe island is around the corner of our visit  and we  managed to combine a laid back trip with boat race experience so I was good to go .

We also ended up going to varkala beach cliff and drove  by Kaapil beach and Tangasseri light house and water break in kollam city which was not part of the initial plan . I am always happy when we can hit two birds in a single stone and delighted when its 3 . 

Road Trip Story :

It was the Dusshera Long weekend( 29, 30 , 1 ,2 oct ) , our stay was 2 days and booked for 29th & 30th Sep due to availability on these dates, so we had to leave the night before(28th ) to cover the 700 kms distance and that’s why we decided to take a  hired cab and driver as bus and train cost was working out same due to peak season charges

Route: We started at 1. 30 am after picking up everyone , we did a stopover at the checkpost at Hosur and then we were on the road and only stopped over around 6 am during sun rise near dundiggal for a tea break .
Madurai falls almost in between BLR and Kollam so we stopped there for breakfast and again were on the road to Kerala.

We decided to take the route which google suggested as the fastest which also happened to very scenic with views of Periyar range of mountains view throughout the journey . The lush dark green mountain range and contrasting mist cover with neon green fields stretching all the way till the foothills  surely added to our road trip experience.
We decided to not have a lunch stop over and do a late lunch at the resort we had  booked .

The Stay :
There are very few home stays and 1 resort called Lake n River which is exactly at the confluence so one side you can view Ashtamudi Lake and the other side Kallada River . 
You can also stay in Kollam city , but staying in Munroe island is what we would recommend to experience the Island village life and go for a early morning canoe ride.

We reached Lake n River resort around 3 pm and wasted no time to go to the dining area for lunch , it was a simple Kerala meal. 
After a long journey we had reached Munroe by late afternoon and didn’t want to waste any time to go explore the island village .

DAY 01:
The resort manager told us about the boat race practice  So we dragged ourselves and to see the boat race practice in the canals of Munroe Island.

We walked around , soaked in some local life scenes , watched the practice at the race location in Kallada river and returned in the night to freshen up and hit the bed after a 4 km walk.
It was a pleasant evening though the feet hurt  to walk around in a lush green  calm place not crowed by tourists.

Day 02 : 

The Canoe Ride – A must do
6.30 am we were to go for the star attraction , canoe ride in and around Munroe island for 2 hrs
But the rain gods decided otherwise and we were relaxing  in the gazebo overlooking Ashtamudi lake with a cup of tea  trying to make best use of the situation . But within 30 mins the skies was clear again and we were ready to go canoeing in the canals
This was a surreal experience , Almost like meditation and yoga but far more  pleasing to the eye and soul. 

The canoe boats don’t run on motor and glide on the water slowly and the canal and backwaters are almost  still without tidal waves , so you are benefited with beautiful reflections in the water , sounds of birds and light breeze which is a very meditative ambiance.
 After a two hour  canoe ride we had worked up a appetite so we had a leisurely breakfast & got ready for the day ahead .

Jatayu Earth Centre :
We didn’t have a concrete plan , we heard of Jatayu Earth centre which is work in progress where asia s largest bird sculpture is on display which is said to be the spot Jatayu from mythology fell to the ground . It was only 25 kms and we wanted to be back to Kollam for lunch .
When we went there we were not allowed inside as work was in progress , if you visit later in the year to Munroe island or kollam do visit this place
We had to keep moving so we decided to travel another 20 kms to Varkala .
Varkala :
We went to Varkala beach cliff , wanted to go down to the beach but it was too hot and sunny so we decided to head back to Kollam for lunch as we wanted to see the  evening sunset from the Tangesseri light house which is in Kollam .

Kaapil Beach :
I am sure Varkala beach cliff  at sunset would be magical , if you have more time in hand – hang out in Varkala also visit the near by Kaapil Beach which has a road passing by with sea on one side and lake on the other , this place is great for insta worthy pictures . however we just drove by and went back to kollam for a late lunch .

Where to eat &what eatables to buy in kollam : 

We ate at All spice , chinakada – The prices were on par with blore prices , service slow but the food was delicious .
Supreme Foods Bakery and supermarket is on ground floor and whatever eatables we got from here was amazing , special mention to Ghee cake it’s a super delicious sponge cake , do not underestimate this sponge cake – a must eat from Kollam
After a hearty meal and bakery shopping we left for Tangesseri light house

Tangasseri Lighthouse:
Tangasseri Lighthouse is  about 135 mts tall that is approximately 13 floors , 4 of us  decided to climb the circular staircase to the viewing deck and two of us ,(no surprises here me and my other half took the lift as we had stuffed ourselves during lunch unknowingly while busy taking pictures of food, classic case in a food bloggers life J)
It was pretty rush  that day, I was least expecting the view deck to be  like it was , it was  nothing but a small balcony projection of not even a meter depth with flimsy short railing from don’t know which century to hold on to . I have a fear of heights and a lot more things . I was trembling and though the views were 360 degreee uninterrupted views I was scared and didn’t allow the  other half to leave my hand and so he couldn’t take pics either , in a minute I got out of there !!
If you ain't a chicken like myself you will love the views and we would recommend you to head here.

Tangasseri Break water :
There is no sea shore here but a raised promenade so we walked up after to watch the sunset and take tons of pictures . 

By 8pm we were back in Kollam market area  for dinner and went to this place called Ramees  . the food here was okay . Better to stick to their Arabic specialties

We were back fully exhausted to the resort at 11 pm , it was our last night there . Next day 12 pm we had to checkout and the boat race was scheduled at 2.30 pm .

Day 03

We had a lazy Sunday morning breakfast , packed up and sat by the lake in the gazebo-
The cloudy weather giving way for  light breeze , expansive view of the water – birds chirping , friends laughing  .In that  that  moment I was in the  present without worries of tomorrow – grateful for it . 

Kallada Boat Race : 

We left a little later for the boat race , it started late and we saw about 3 races as 5pm was our deadline .
Just like its said sometimes journeys are nicer than the destination , same happened the boat race rehearsals were so exciting in comparison to the actual event
By 5 pm we were off and about on our way  back to Blore with a plan to arrive home at 7 am am
So there came an end to our off beat trip to Gateway to backwaters in Kerala 

Road Trip Take away : 

Its good to go off the beaten path sometimes is my takeaway from this trip – Moments in Munroe island will be a memory forever.
There is something about having no plan at times  , going with the flow carefree , arriving in new places where the crowds are less , wandering empty streets .
Brightly colored houses , smiling locals , low lying clouds with unpredictable weather . Coconut trees as far as the eye can see , Labyrinth canals and waterways, lush mangrove plants sprouting and connecting with the water , light entering  through the coconut tree shaded canals and glistering  on the water surface . This road trip to the off beat part of backwaters in Kerala is bound to leave the traveler in your reeling with joy .

Till our next road trip story stay tuned
Cheers from Bangalorexpress

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1 comment:

Happy to hear from you!