Getting from one place to another involves crossing several
mini bridges. A truly romantic destination, some of the
accommodation has its own private, small swimming pool,
as well as facing the lake over which one can usually see the
most beautiful sunset. Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word meaning
‘the study of prolonging life’ is the traditional method of
healing in India, and is used in many of the spa treatments.
Some people come for help with their ailments, but the
majority just enjoy the wonderful massages. The rejuvenation
one I experienced was different to anything I had had
previously. It is in various stages starting with the head then
in a sitting position, after which two ladies in unison do
a full body massage.
Other activities in this paradise include bird and butterfly
watching as well as being a spectator, while some of the staff
practise martial arts. There are also yoga classes, which unlike the
UK, emphasise the meditation aspect. The movements made
are to make you breath correctly, and in doing so ensure that
you concentrate on yourself rather than the outside world.
What must be the most idyllic ending to a fascinating trip
was in the final 24 hours, which were spent on a traditional
backwater kettuvallam, on the 96 km lake. Designed to carry
cargo, with its arched, palm-covered canopy that has a curved,
double-ended prow, many of them have now been converted
into comfortable houseboats complete with air-conditioning.
With the boat entirely to myself and a lady companion, we
were looked after by a cook and two boatmen.
There is absolutely nothing to do but enjoy the beautiful
scenery which includes pretty coloured flowers growing
in clumps in the water. The boats come in various sizes, and
I was fortunate enough to have one with its own en-suite
shower room and excellent plumbing. Watching the sunset,
and then waking to the sound of singing birds and also
singing voices in the distance, part of the Hindu culture, is
only a small part of what can only be described as magical.
One of the ways of experiencing the nicer side of Indian
life is to have a ‘homestay’. This is, as far as I am aware,
mainly offered by the well-to-do families who have spare
accommodation. Unfortunately, our itinerary did not include
this, but we dined at the home of the Kurian family, who
own the Kalaketty Estate, primarily a rubber plantation.
A Tettuvallan, a boat
made of straw
Web site created by Mark Griffin