I could barely move from the table, but forced myself up from the table to the waiting van. Next stop was Alleppey which was about another hour from Kottayam. I could tell I was entering backwater-country, as the glistening Lake Vembanad (one of the largest lakes in Asia) came into view. We negotiated some narrow alleys to get to our homestay, aptly named Vembanad Homestay. The setting was spectacular. Straddling two palm trees, the hammock swayed gently in the breeze, patches of water lilies floated magically on the lake and the smell of incense wafted out of the homestay. We were greeted by the smiling faces of Sandhya and Balakrishnan, the owners, and their delightfully cute son, Danush. We were adorned with garlands and a tikka and welcomed into their house.
The sun was going down, so we crossed the stream in front of the home and hopped into waiting dug-out canoes for some night lobster fishing. We were three to a boat and gingerly sat ourselves down. One false move and we’d all be in the water! It really was a magical setting. The Hindu festival of Navratri was going on so I could hear the sound of Hindu bhajans (hymns) being sung against the backdrop of bells. Stars lit up the night sky and there was a calm serenity across Lake Vembanad. Skilled fishermen showed us the art of supreme balance as they shone their torches in the water hoping to catch the reflective eyes of the lobsters, then tossed their nets into the water and scooped up their catch. When we got back to the homestay, our hosts prepared a mouthwatering meal using the freshly caught seafood. Being a veggie I had to settle for appams and vegetable stew again! It was time to call it a night, but from the few hours I’d had in Alleppey I could see why Kerala is dubbed as ‘God’s Own Country’.This blog is part of an Off-The-Beaten-Track Travel Diary. Click on the links below to navigate through this journey.