#ComeToKerala: Kumarakom Lake Resort

cometokerala
Photo by Mary Narvasa

One of the most memorable parts of the trip to Kerala has to have been the houseboat ride through the backwaters from Alappuzha to Vembanad Lake where we stayed one night at the peacefully secluded Kumarakom Lake Resort.

After a long drive up from Kovalam beach, we hopped onto a beautiful houseboat that took us to the resort. The sound of the water lapping over the sides of the boat as well as the humming of the engine momentarily brought me back to my blissful summer of sailing in Sardinia earlier this year. Before boarding our houseboat, some of the guys and I bought a couple of Kingfisher beers to compliment the delicious seafood lunch that we ate as we meandered up the shimmering backwaters.

Along the way, the palm trees were aplenty and we saw a couple of lakeside churches that cater to the small communities which live in the area. Some chapels were so small that only the priest could fit inside it! Speaking of churches, I previously had no idea what a large Christian community exists in this part of India. Our tour guide told us that around 20% of the population in this state is Christian which is down to the arrival of the Portuguese followed by the Dutch hundreds of years ago.

Shortly after checking in, and a quick Skype call to my dad to express just how overcome with delight I was, Mary and I hurried off to the infinity pool overlooking the lake where rays of the golden-hour sun coated the swaying backwaters. As darkness covered the lake resort, and after a few attempts at taking underwater selfies which turned out less than flattering, we got ready to have dinner at the Ettekettu Restaurant where we also saw a short Kathakali performance with elaborate make-up which reminded me a lot of the traditionally Japanese theatre, Kabuki.

We did not have that much time to enjoy all that the resort had to offer, but amongst the activities that they offered was fishing and pottery making classes - a nifty way to have a special souvenir to bring back home. They also had a seafood restaurant on the compound which I can only imagine would have been absolutely mouthwateringly delicious. You cannot #ComeToKerala without having a seafood meal!

The following day, I decided to spring out of bed extra early to join a 7am yoga session at the Pool Pavilion with a view of Vembanad lake. I was in such a beautiful part of the country so I wanted to soak up every possible moment. After breakfast, the team and I headed on over to the small village of Aymanam which is also where Arundhati Roy's Booker prize-winning "The God of Small Things" was set. We had such a lovely afternoon discovering the livelihoods of people living there. We were shown how Toddy (palm wine) was made and we even got to have a sip. If the fermented sap is extracted earlier in the day it tends to be sweet whilst if it is left until the evening the taste is a lot more bitter. One of the highlights of the day was being able to try out palm tree climbing. I didn't go to the very top and I certainly was not as skilled as the local man who speeded to the top as briskly as walking up a flight of stairs.

Those 24h that included the houseboat tour, staying at Kumarakom Lake Resort and discovering the village of Aymanam was definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Kerala. I would definitely recommend including these things on your itinerary if you ever plan an escape to this part of the world!

*************

Un des souvenirs marquants de mon voyage au Kerala a été le transfert en bateau de la ville d’Alappuzha au Lac Vembanad, où nous avons logé une nuit – au calme et à l’écart – au Kumarakom Lake Resort.

Après être arrivés en minibus en provenance de Kovalam, nous sommes montés à bord d’une embarcation splendide qui nous a amenés au Resort. Le rythme apaisant du clapotis de l’eau le long des côtés du bateau et le ronronnement du moteur m’ont rappelé les moments heureux que j’ai passés à la voile en Sardaigne il y a quelques mois.

Au cours du voyage nous avons vu au bord du lac de nombreux palmiers, et aussi quelques églises qui servent les petites collectivités de la région. Certaines chapelles sont tellement petites que seul le prêtre peut y entrer! Je ne savais pas auparavant que cette région de l’Inde abrite un grand nombre de chrétiens; le guide nous a dit que le 20% de la population du Kerala est chrétien, conséquence de l’arrivée des portugais et ensuite des néerlandais il y a quelque centaines d’années.

Après être arrivée à l’hôtel et après avoir parlé par Skype à mon père - je voulais lui expliquer mes sentiments de grande joie! – je suis sortie avec Mary, un de mes compagnons de voyage, à la recherche de la piscine à débordement à côté du lac, où les eaux tranquilles avaient une teinte dorée au coucher du soleil. La nuit tombait et nous avons essayé de faire des photos – peu flatteuses – sous l’eau de la piscine. Pendant le dîner au Restaurant Ettekettu on nous a présenté un spectacle Kathakali, dont le maquillage élaboré m’a rappelé le Kabuki, théâtre traditionnel japonais.

Nous n’avions pas assez de temps pour profiter de l’éventail d’activités offertes par le Kumarakom Lake Resort. Parmi ces activités il y avait la pêche et aussi la poterie, moyen astucieux de se procurer un souvenir un peu différent. Il y a aussi un restaurant de fruits de mer, qui offre des mets succulents. On ne peut pas #ComeToKerala – venir au Kerala – sans manger des fruits de mer!

Le lendemain j’ai sauté du lit très tôt afin de participer à la séance de yoga au bord du lac. Le Kerala est tellement idyllique que je voulais absorber chaque moment de mon séjour. Après le petit déjeuner nous sommes allés au petit village d’Aymanan, endroit où se déroule l’action du roman "The God of Small Things", œuvre pour lequel Arundhati Roy a décerné le Prix Booker. Nous y avons passé un bel après-midi en découvrant les métiers des habitants. On nous a montré la fabrication du vin de palme (toddy) et nous l’avons aussi goûté. Si l’on extrait la sève au matin, le goût est plus doux et sucré; si l’on la laisse jusqu’au soir, le goût devient plus âpre. Un des moments marquants de la journée, c’était ma tentative de monter en haut d’un palmier. Je ne suis pas arrivée au sommet, et certainement je n’avais pas l’agilité de l’homme du village qui a grimpé en haut comme s’il montait un escalier.

Pendant 24 heures j’ai fait un voyage sur le lac, logé au Kumarakom Lake Resort et découvert le village d’Aymanan: souvenirs inoubliables de mon voyage au Kerala. Je te conseille fortement d’inclure ces activités dans ton programme si jamais tu as la possibilité d’aller là-bas.

cometokerala
1. Sipping on a Kingfisher beer // 2. Lunch on board the houseboat // 3. Heading out to the pool

kumarakom lake resort
4. Chilling in a hammock // 5. Sunset over Lake Vembanad // 6. With Mary visiting Aymanam

kumarakom lake resort
7. Catching fish (photo by Melo) // 8. On the backwaters // 9. Climbing a palm tree (Photo by Kim)


7 comments:

  1. Awesome post and your pictures make me sooooo jealous! You seem to have had a great time over there.!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thank you ! I definitely had such a lovely time xx

      Delete
  2. Cool that you've been here Karina. As a photographer I expected a huuuuge photo story ;((((( !!! Hrrrrrr

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is just one post about 24h that I spent in Kumarakom. I was there for 8 days. I'm sure people would not like to see a post of over 300 photos! :) also, it is Christine who is the photographer out of the two of us.
      xoxo

      Delete
  3. The pics look so gorgeous! I'm sure it was a great experience :)
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the photographers are doing a pretty good job and I say that as a photographer :-) and I agree, too many pictures or to long text and people get quickly bored and stop reading

    ReplyDelete