Kerala is one of the most picturesque and beautiful places in India, and requires at least one compulsory visit. I had been to Kerala when I was very young with my parents and back then we covered Kochi, Trivandrum, Munnar and Thekkady. But I’ve always felt that I missed out on the typical house boat experience in Alleppy, until a year back.
Now, Alleppy is one of the most crowded and touristy spots in Kerala. A calm and serene alternative to Alleppy is Kumarakom, which has the same beautiful backwaters and house boats, along with a lot of peace and quiet. Kumarakom has a few luxurious resorts on its lakeside shores and the one we opted for is the Karma Chakra resort which is part of the Karma Group of properties.
Now the Karma Group is a membership only luxury holiday brand with some amazing local and international destinations under their belt. None of their properties are open to non-members but we happened to get a chance to explore this particular property for an incredible 7 night stay!
Kumarakom is about 80km from Kochi airport and it was a pleasant and quick 2 hour car ride. The resort is built on the side of the Kumarakom lake which is India’s longest fresh water lake. It is enormous and is surrounded by the Kumarakom bird sanctuary on one side, and a maze of canals towards another.
The resort is built on stilts on the backwaters from the lake offering a perfect location to gaze at sunsets every evening.
A lovely welcome from the staff with cool drinks to quench our thirst after our car ride.
Since the resort is built on stilts, there is a constant soft sound of waves and water lapping against the pillars. Definitely very soothing to listen to when walking around the property.
They also have a couple of picture spots, like the little hut in the above pic. That’s the closest you can get to the lake, and is a perfect spot for a romantic meal for two. We basically spent our evenings sitting at that spot, chatting, having drinks and watching the sunset together.
They also had this swing and a hammock right next to the lake, which gives you a perfect photo-op against the setting sun.
The resort has a small but well maintained pool overlooking the lake. So if you don’t want to grab a spot in the hut or the swing or the hammock, you can always take a dip in the pool, and watch the sunset from there!
The colours of the sky were so different and gorgeous every single day. With nothing obstructing your view for kilometres at a stretch, it was surely a gorgeous way to spend our evenings.
See what I’m taking about??!!
The house boat
While you can rent any of the houseboats from various travel companies at the pier, Karma Chakra resort has their own houseboat which you can book for a 2 hour ride, 5 hour ride or for an entire night. It comes with a fully equipped bedroom, kitchen and staff who will make sure to cook you some freshly caught fish and sea food. We opted for a 2 hour ride because honestly an overnight stay on a house boat makes sense only if you are into sea food.
So we opted for a sunset cruise instead and watched the setting sun from the middle of the lake. Most beautiful sight ever!
A little into Kumarakom town, you have many people offering boat rides in long tail boats through the backwaters. It is a super slow ride that lasts almost one and half hours. They take you through the main canal which branches off into smaller canals, and as you go through them, you can spot a glimpse of the small town life, kids returning from school, farmers walking back, women clustering together with their feet in the water catching up on the evening’s gossip, you can spot cute little houses and you feel like time has slowed down. It’s a welcome change from our fast paced life. The first couple of minutes felt so slow, but then slowly, your mind adjusts to the rhythm of the boat, chugging along silently, hardly creating any ripples in the water, gliding effortlessly from one canal into another.
Finally the boatman comes back out into the main canal, and you can see the dense growth of trees in the bird sanctuary. Suddenly village life fades away, and you feel like you’ve entered a jungle with only bird calls and insect sounds around. The bird sanctuary is a favourite haunt for migratory birds, but sadly we didn’t get a chance to visit it.
Through the main canal, he goes onto the lake, and as you go deeper into the lake, you can feel choppy waves that feel like you are out at sea. And this is definitely more fun in a smaller boat than in a house boat!
The resort itself is not a bad place to spend your day, but after a few days there isn’t much to do, except eat, go out for a boat ride, and watch the sunsets. It has only one restaurant and a bar, with a decent menu. But I still wouldn’t rate the food as first class.
But it’s a great place for a romantic weekend, or a few days of calm and serenity where you want to relax and unwind!