To God's Own Country in the Mercedes B-Class

Varun Anchan Updated: September 26, 2013, 12:10 PM IST

I woke up to a polite announcement, "Please fasten your seat belt, we will be landing in Kochi shortly." I turned my head to gaze out of the window to find we were flying over a bed of coconut trees and snaking river channels. This brought back the memory of the last time I was surrounded by such plush greenery and water; in the early '90s, sitting with my grandmother wearing a white kurta pyjama. I was surrounded by such serenity, but I never fully appreciated it as a child. However, growing up in a bustling and crowded city like Mumbai, where your eardrums are subjected to constant noise, revisiting the same tranquility gave me a chance to make the most of this environment this time around.

7T4G1384The final 15 minutes of the journey to the resort is by boat

As I drove onto the narrow bumpy roads of town towards Alleppey with Ashok, our Mercedes B-Class battled the rough, unfinished roads with great comfort and ease. Navigating through the red soiled city in style, I couldn't help but admire the B's classic design, trademark tail-lamps and plush interiors.

7T4G1390A traditional Malayali welcome by the staff at the Coconut Lagoon

Within 50km of our drive, we arrived at a jetty, from where we were whisked onto a ferry that led us through the beautiful Kerala backwaters, sailing past the iconic houseboats. Our journey concluded when our boat docked right in front of the rustic Coconut Lagoon resort reception, fully decked with wild flowers.

7T4G1519Live music as you arrive, leave and even when you eat

7T4G1551The private pool villa gives you this view at the front and green paddy fields at the back

A floating island, Coconut Lagoon is situated on Vembanad Lake and surrounded by shimmering canal waters that are intertwined within this charismatic property. Exuding an old-world charm, this resort is a perfect getaway from hectic city life.
Coconut Lagoon is located in Kerala's district of Kuttanad, or the land of the short people. Legend has it that this name came about because the folk here are always knee deep in paddy fields, hence they look shorter than normal. Its distinctive architecture too has tales to tell of restoration and conservation of a fading world. The resort has preserved the vast heritage of the old feudal villages of Malabar by rebuilding their mansions credited to the dedication, skills and devotion of the Aasaris, descendents of the master craftsmen who had originally created these dwellings.

7T4G1397There are a lot of options for rooms but the lakeside villa is among the best. Unless you want to go all out and spend on the private pool villa

Not restricted only to visitors, their property is open to villagers for rice cultivation and fishing. They also have a resort shop where guests can pick up handicrafts, jewelry, local dresses and assorted bric-a-brac. Many of the screw pine, coir and coconut-based products made by the local village women are also on display.

7T4G1399The lakeside villa we were staying at had a nice view of the river and the bird sanctuary

7T4G1438Take in the sunset from the lakeside or head out on a sunset cruise on one of the resort's boats

While here, you cannot miss the Sacred Groves, which is an old Kerala tradition involving a form of nature worship, where part of the natural habitat is left untouched and allowed to thrive on its own through the course of time. The beauty of this space is that while you can't enter it, you can immerse yourself in its peace and serenity even from a distance.

7T4G1442Imagine reading a book with this as your view

Upon arrival, we decided to unwind by their lovely pool that overlooked the lake. We were lucky enough to catch the sunset and couldn't have asked for a better setting.

The next day began with a luxurious drive in the B-Class along the backwaters of Alleppey. A houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a delightful experience and a must-do when you visit. Alleppey is also the access point for the annual popular snake boat races in India.

7T4G1446Another great way to watch the sunset - while chilling in the beautiful pool

As we drove past some houses, the aroma of traditional Kerala fish curry being cooked drifted towards us and made our stomachs crave some local food. So we made our way back to the hotel and indulged in a Kerala fish thali. The traditionally prepared rice plate consists of tandoor baked scampi, meen moolie – a traditional fish dish, local veggies cooked the customary way, and the very famous rice papadum. I can safely say that this was one of the best meals I've ever had anywhere in the world.

7T4G1454The resort really comes alive once darkness falls and the lights come on

Energised by the hearty meal, the next order of business was canoeing through the canals spread across the hotel. For someone who has always wanted to try this, I couldn't have picked a more apt location – amidst the lush greenery and calm environment of The Coconut Lagoon. After an enjoyable yet tiring experience, we decided to get some much need R&R with a conventional Kerala Ayurvedic massage. The specially chosen herbal oils and experienced hands soon managed to breath life back into our tired, stressed bodies.

7T4G1465Another frequent sight in Kumarakom - the houseboat

7T4G1510You can even take a ride in these country boats. Maybe even try to pilot one yourself

As the trip came to an end, we found ourselves wanting to stay a little longer, soaking in the calmness and serenity and we left looking forward to our next tryst with God's own country.

Trip to Kochi image gallery

7T4G1568If you really want to relax, head to the ayurveda centre and get a nice massage

7T4G1580So much green all around with a dash of blue thrown in

7T4G1583The Vembanad lake in all its glory

7T4G1734Houseboats - here, there, everywhere

7T4G1932A traditional Malayali lunch spread. Just look at the size of that Scampi











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