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We visited Ashtamudi about a week ago. It was the first time I saw the scenic backwaters of Kerala. I now know why it’s called God’s own country. The wide lakes lined with lush green coconut trees,  tiny fishes trying to escape the local fishermen,  birds perched on tree trunks singing the local melodies, all come together to create a memorable portrait of Ashtamudi.

We boarded a train from Bangalore at night 10 pm and reached Kollam station at 4pm the next day. That’s like 18 hours, well otherwise its 16 but our train got delayed. I slept through the journey so I don’t remember much of it. One thing I do remember is that there was no pantry car in Kanyakumari express so we got no tea to drink till we got to the resort. Well, I can’t complain as I was hardly awake.

Boat Houses at Ashtamudi

Our Boat Restaurant

From Kollam station we drove 20 kms by taxi to the club Mahindra resort, Ashtamudi. A place totally worth the travel. We stayed in a boat house surrounded by water on three sides. It was a one-bedroom house, made entirely out of wooden planks. The best part was obviously the view from the balcony. As soon as I entered I was like ‘wooooaaahhh’. I gasped. There I was, in the middle of a huge wide lake! There was only water till where I could see. The silence was really eerie. I think living in big cities, in some way, makes us accustomed to background noises. Without them, the silence is awkward. There were different fishes swimming around in the lake. Some where big and silver, some were tiny with pointed noses. The lake was like a huge aquarium.

Fishermen outside our window

Bright bulbs used to attract fishes into net at night

At night we could see the bright bulbs (at the center of the poles) getting lowered towards the water. As soon as the fishes got attracted towards it the fishermen would pull the net up and trap them. There were about 4-5 such fishing nets installed near our boat house. Early morning we were able to see the net right outside our balcony. Jeez! good I didn’t trip over otherwise they would have finally got their big catch 🙂

The rising sun

The next day we went to a village close by. We just walked out of the resort with no where to go. In the forest we saw an auto rickshaw. We asked him if he will take us to the village. He agreed and took us to a hot chips shop for some shopping. The banana chips from Kerala are famous. I picked up packs of banana, tapioca and jackfruit chips. After that, we had our dinner in a hotel. That place is called just hotel as it’s the only one in the village. We returned home having enjoyed our little adventure.

Digging for clay from the lake bed

Day 3 was most exciting. We boarded a cruise boat and sailed away into the backwaters. It was an incredible moment to just speed into the water we had been enjoying from a distance so far. The scenes were breath taking. The greenery of the coconut trees, the local fishermen, the beautiful backwaters together created a painting I would call a masterpiece.

Canoeing through the dense forest of coconut trees

Our motor boat brought us to a village after 30 minutes of sailing. We alighted and got into small canoes that took us to the interiors of Ashtamudi. After rowing for about 2 kms we got off near some small houses. That was the area where they make ropes out of coconut husks. An old lady gave us a demonstration of the same. The rope seemed really coarse and sturdy. I think I could hurt my hand if I tried spinning one, however her experienced hands created it with ease.

Cars, bikes and auto rickshaws being ferried easily

We returned back to the steamer boat and made one last stop to drink some tender coconut water. We then checked out of Ashtamudi and as usual my daughter became depressed at the thought of a holiday coming to an end. We headed off to the station with blissful memories of a beautiful trip.

Janmashtmi celebration at home

The day we reached home it was Janmashtmi. We celebrated with daughters friends. We made a little jhaanki (or set-up) to show the children how lord Shri Krishna was taken from Mathura to Brindavan.

Cake model made out of segregated dry waste

Finally, I would like to share with you the model of a cake I made for the wealth out of waste initiative at our apartment. For Independence day, we had an exhibition were we had to prepare a craft item out of waste materials. My blog finally has a picture of a cake that’s ineligible. Its made out of foam vegetable baskets, sketch pen caps, tea leaves foil and chocolate wrappers.