Kottayam has always been a land of serenity and beauty offering the visitors picturesque backwaters, never-ending paddy fields and vast stretches of plantations. Kerala, being one of India’s most popular tourist destinations, has always been at the top of my travel list. Once I had to visit Cochin on an emerging project, and I realised that it had been quite a while since I enjoyed a good holiday. So I wrapped my work early and the final day of my visit was dedicated to exploring Kottayam- the ‘land of letter, latex and lakes’.
The drive to Kottayam
The ideal time to visit Kottayam is from January to March, and I was feeling extremely lucky to have made this trip in the best of climates.I chose to book a ride to Kottayam so that I wouldn’t get tired. I left from Cochin airport at 8 am and reached Kottayam around 11 in the morning. The distance is around 87 km by road and the roads are well maintained and comfortable. The drive was extremely pleasant and the driver suggested excellent restaurants and food stalls on the way. I thoroughly enjoyed the authentic Kerala food enroute.
Where Did I go?
As soon as I reached, I checked into a hotel to freshen up and quickly had some food. I made a decision to rent a car in Kottayam with an expert driver who would know the best spots and hence, help me get the best experience possible in the city. The driver was extremely friendly and offered me multiple suggestions. Together, we came up with a detailed list of features, pricing and timing of different places to visit.
Exploring the Backwaters
After a quick discussion, my driver first took me to the Chandragiri backwater cruises in Kottayam. This place offers excellent ferry rides in Kottayam’s backwaters as well as a sailing experience in the traditional kettuvallams in the Vembanad Lake. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen in my life. We explored a couple of woodlets during the experience. The key factor that helped me execute this visit was the fact that I booked a reliable taxi in Kottayam; this not only enabled me to travel faster but also provide me information about the place.
Going a Little Past Kottayam
My driver then suggested that I make a short visit to the Kumarakom Backwaters. I was quite apprehensive about travelling again, because I had to reach my stay of place, which my company had booked, by 7. It was already 2pm and I’d just finished lunch and wanted to rest. But the driver insisted, and I’m so glad I went because the Kumarakom Backwaters simply blew my mind. It was a comfortable hour long drive to Kumarakom Backwaters. The bird sanctuary at Kumarakom was so beautiful and it really felt ethereal to reconnect with nature. There were so many species of animals I didn’t even know of, and at that moment I really felt quite grateful for all that I had.
As I’d checked out after lunch itself, I booked a ride back to Cochin from Kumarakom. We passed through a different part of the Kottayam city as we drove back, and this time I could see the heritage and culture of Kottayam through the ruins of forts and palaces. I made a quick stop at one of Kottayam’s famous publishing houses to buy a book as a reminder of this wonderful trip. This trip was short and unplanned, but I’d do this all over again to be a guest to Kottayam’s beauty.