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COCONUT LAGOON - KUMARAKOM
 
:: Hotels ::
Kerala’s famous backwaters comprise of vast lakes and a system of narrow canals and waterways linking them to one another. Not so long ago, these waterways served as the backbone of Kerala’s transportation.
And Kumarakom is the ideal place to experience the backwaters. Coconut Lagoon has rightly carved its place among the top 10 heritage resorts of the world. The resort is on a small island and can be reached only by boat. The accommodation consists of individual cottages built in the traditional Kerala style, relying heavily on wood and some with private pools. The bathrooms are open to the sky and the restaurant specializes in Kerala cuisine peculiar to the region. Activities here are just lazing in the swimming pool with Jacuzzi, walks in the nearby coconut groves or paddy fields, sunset cruises etc.
Muted as the dawn itself, the alarm cry of a solitary pond heron breaks the early morning stillness as a dugout canoe, paddled by two fishermen, glides across the water at a determined but unhurried pace. The scene is idyllic, the mood dreamlike. Kerala’s back country waterways seem far removed from the universe most of us inhabit, yet they are linked to the rest of the world in a very real way, and have been for at least two millennia. In earlier times, if less so today, these very waterways were the staring point for the transport of South Indian spices, which eventually found their way to the distant shores of Europe and beyond. Formed by the 40- odd rivers that flow down to the Arabian Sea form the Cardamom Hills in the Western Ghats, this network of rivers, canals, lakes and estuaries compromises one of India’s most beautiful areas a rural, river in expanse of verdant coconut groves and rice paddies. In Malayalam, the language of Kerala, the backwaters are known as Kuttanad, "the land of the short people," a reference, perhaps, to the face that the farmers seen working here are often knee-deep in paddy fields, 
Kerala’s famous backwaters comprise of vast lakes and a system of narrow canals and waterways linking them to one another. Not so long ago, these waterways served as the backbone of Kerala’s transportation. And Kumarakom is the ideal place to experience the backwaters. Coconut Lagoon has rightly carved its place among the top 10 heritage resorts of the world. The resort is on a small island and can be reached only by boat. The accommodation consists of individual cottages built in the traditional Kerala style, relying heavily on wood and some with private pools. The bathrooms are open to the sky and the restaurant specializes in Kerala cuisine peculiar to the region. Activities here are just lazing in the swimming pool with Jacuzzi, walks in the nearby coconut groves or paddy fields, sunset cruises etc.
The Accommodation : 14 Heritage Mansions, 28 Heritage Bungalows. Though some of the cottages are of more recent vintage, many are well over a century old and a few actually date back to the early 1700s. The resort can only be reached by boat and its accommodation consists of individual cottages called Tharavadu, the traditional wooden house of Kerala. Coconut Lagoon’s cottages feature ultramodern bathrooms, each located in an inner courtyard boasting its own banana tree. Through all the cottages vary in configuration, and some of the air-conditioned units are newly built replicas in corporation only fragments of old Tharavadu that could not be saved in their entirety, Coconut Lagoon offers two basic types of accommodation: Heritage Mansion and Heritage Bungalows. The former has two stories, the upstairs bedroom gallery offering particularly magnificent views of Lake Vembanad. The latter are more compact, single – level cottages. Both are furnished in Aiyny and Jack Woods, and retain all the charm of original family homes, with thick, solid doors, intricate window carvings, and terra cotta tile floors. Structurally necessary alterations have been carried out with consummate discretion, i.e., in keeping with the style and décor of the era, and great attention has been paid to very detail.

The lamp stands in each Tharavadu, for example, having been carved from old wooden hinges. Traditionally, of course, Keralites bathed in the rivers – in rural areas many people still do – but Coconut Lagoon’s cottages feature ultramodern bathrooms, each located in an inner courtyard boasting its own banana (or coconut) tree, so you can shower al fresco under a starlit sky in complete and utter privacy.

Recreation : The Cashew Shaped pool, slightly elevated to give a commanding view is popular including the honeymoon couples who swim there in the early evening to the sounds of Indian classical music drifting across from the Garden Café. For those who prefer not to venture beyond the bounds of the resort itself, there are plenty of things to do. Simple bamboo fishing poles are available, too, and though the restaurant offers many fine seafood dishes on its ever-varied lunch and dinner menus, the chef nonetheless promises to cook any fish an angler catches from the lagoon. Be warned, however, that no prizes are given for catching a monster from the fish farm within the confines of the hotel, though no punishment is meted out for doing so, either.

Backwater Cruises : A relaxing boat trip through the maze of canals adjacent to Coconut Lagoon is a fascinating experience, and a delightful way to get a closer look at life in the backwaters. One or two hour trips can be arranged in any one of the resort’s several motor launches, ask the chef for a packed lunch and lose yourself on the backwaters for a whole day, if you wish.

Bird Sanctuary : On the southern bank of the Kavanar River, immediately opposite Coconut Lagoon, is a small bird sanctuary, where numerous species of birds, several varieties of Herons roost. Including Darters, Bitterns, Brahminy kites, Marsh Harriers, Teals, and several varieties of Herons roost. Though many of the same birds also frequent the resort’s premises serious bird watchers should carry their binoculars at all times, even to restaurant- it may be worthwhile to visit the preserve as well. A five-minute boat ride (which the Reception Desk can arrange), followed by a short stroll on the other side, will get you there. Walk along the stream until you come to a small log bridge, across it and, presto, you’re in the sanctuary. A 6:00 am start is best.

Sunset Cruise : You can watch the sun set from a hammock near your bungalow or, better yet, from the middle of Lake Vembanad, on board Coconut Lagoon’s beautifully restored Kettuvallam, expressly for this purpose. There can be few better ways to adjust to the pace of backwater life than to spend the warning hours of the afternoon just watching the sun go down. You can do this from a hummock near your bungalow, better yet, from the middle of Lake Vembanad, on board Coconut Lagoon’s beautifully restored Kettuvallam, which has been converted from a transport vessel into a cruise boat expressly for this purpose. Punted by two boatman equipped with long bamboo poles, the boat floats silently out across the waters as flocks of Garganey teals and other migratory and resident birds return to their lakeside roosts in such thick formations they cloud the evening sky. Drinks are served on board, and an extraordinary stillness descends as the sun, a vivid orange orb in its final few moments, slips rapidly below the horizon. 

A relaxing boat trip through the maze of canals adjacent to Coconut Lagoon is a fascinating experience, and a delightful way to get a closer look at life in the backwater. One-or-two-hour trips can be arranged in any one of the resort’s several motor launches., or for the more adventurous, the hotel has two local-style canoes, or vallam, which guests can take out on their own. Ask the chef for a packed lunch and lose yourself on the backwaters for a whole day, if you wish. Or you can make a foray into Lake Vembanad, where the local village men who make a livelihood from the lake bob about in its chest-deep waters, as if performing some strange dance. In fact, they’re trapping freshwater prawns, creating ridges in the mud with their feet to do so, and collecting mussel shells from the bottom to be processed as lime

These include- the Freshwater Swimming Pool and Jacuzzi Spa on the lakes edge, Body Zone – the ultimate gymnasium, Vedasparsh – the Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Clinic, Blue Label, the aqua sports centre where you can tame the afternoon waves on the lake on a water scooter or speed boat, the Clock Tower where you can view stunning sunsets while you sip your sundowner or have an early dinner and stay overnight afloat on board “Arayannam”- the twin bedroom luxury Kettuvallam or traditional houseboat.
Address
Coconut Lagoon P.B. No. 2, Kumarakom
Kottayam-686563,
Kerala, India.

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