The feeling you experience once you’re in Alappuzha is a concoction of placidity and enchantment of the serenely quiet backwaters and the different hues of the skies. Lush green waves of paddy fields on either sides of the roads cools ones eyes to pure bliss. Here is where nature runs free and lullabies you to peaceful living. Not to fail to mention, a paradise for the epicurean with a rich and varied menu and for me particularly because I have a fondness for the creatures of the sea!
The largest backwaters, the Vembanad lake is kissed by a breathtaking scenic beauty and along this beautiful stretch of backwtaers is the fully fledged Punnamada Resort. As I entered this Keralan architectural grandeur, the splendid décor and wooden works amazed me. Each step I took witnessed the traditional Kerala style cottages with walls adorned in typical mural paintings conveying stories of the many gods, its heavy timber doors and ethnic wooden furniture. This is where tradition meets modernity yet providing with the utmost level of comfort. Our room was furnished with four-poster bed and classic interiors and the elegant balcony opened to a breathtaking view of the tranquil lake view. I relaxed on the lounger for a while and watched the local fishermen fishing and my kids waving at other houseboats cruisers. To add-on to the romanticism is the partially open bathroom so as to feel one with nature.
Once settled, we went to explore the grounds in and around the resort. Alapuzha being the pioneer of coir products, you get to see how it is made inside the resort itself. Just to feed on to my curiosity, I tried a hand in making a coir rope myself, and it was quite exciting! They had a sunset cruise on a shikara boat, but since we had plans for a Houseboat or Kettuvallom cruise the next day, we gave it a pass and thought we could rest for a while. But the irresistible activity hall with indoor games and a swimming pool kept me and my boys occupied for the rest of the day. After a quick shower, we went on to watch a cultural dance of Kerala nadanam and Mohiniattom. I should say, I couldn’t help being mesmerized with the moves and the story they depicted.
The multi cuisine restaurant is an effortlessly refined traditional heritage experience. Serving us beautifully presented authentic Keralan dishes, I was told that the resort takes pride in cultivating their own vegetables and using fresh produce to prepare meal. Here is the crème de la crème of the restaurant: an amazing view of the lake and the islands beyond and we opted to dine out under the tall mature trees. As the breeze escaped through my hair satisfying me with a cheerful mind and filling my belly to glory with the local food.
The next day, we boarded on one of the Punnamada Luxury Houseboat, locally known as the ‘Kettuvallam’ for an overnight cruise through the famous Vembanad Lake. And once you step foot in one of these, you will be taken back by the traditional construction of the interiors and the furniture used. It was like a comfy home inside a boat – a living room, bedroom with attached toilet, kitchen, outdoor deck and all. Totally feeling pampered and spoilt; I make the best of my time spent here. The shimmering Vembanad lake beckons you with its swaying palm trees, the rippled pristine waters and the river banks showcasing the way of life of the commoners. There’s no doubt of that ecstatic feel you get when you are carried along with the smooth ripples on the waters. For lunch we were served with a traditional kerala meal on a banana leaf, truly king size and finger licking. We whiled away in the boat with long stories of our days and telling the kids of the habits and cultures of the people here, all the while watching the stunning tapestry of the sunset view. At night once docked, after a sumptuous a dinner, we headed back to our rooms inside the kettuvallam. Soon enough we were drifted off to slumber and dreams afloat.
Breakfast was served onboard with Puttu and Kadala (the famous breakfast of Kerala) and fruits. After an hour more of cruising on this exquisite beauty of a lake and being treated as royalty with mouth-watering food and excellent services, we checked out from the houseboat.
Cultured and historic, exotic and tropical, couldn’t ask for anything more on a holiday and Punnamada Resort and their luxury houseboat promised me with all of what my heart desired for a relaxing, enjoyable and memorable days. What more can the Venice of the East delight you with?