Think Kerala and the mind probably conjures images of white sand beaches studded with palm trees. Yet Kerala’s interior is one of the great and largely unsung treasures of the Indian subcontinent – a richly fertile mix of monsoon forest, iridescent rice paddies, picturesque and mountains and lakes. It boasts no less than fourteen wildlife sanctuaries where you can encounter creatures like elephants, Indian bison and of course tigers, plus there are six national parks! There are the tea plantations of the Western Ghat mountains to explore, sandalwood forests and spectacular waterfalls like the Athirapally falls…
And then there are the inland waterways that wend their way through the countryside – a network of rivers and manmade canals connecting the state’s lakes and lagoons. One such inland body of water is Lake Vembanad – the largest and most captivating of Kerala’s lakes and the location of luxury resort, Karma Chakra. Boasting 24 en-suite guest rooms all of which enjoy sweeping vistas of the lake and its surrounds, Karma Chakra is the ideal gateway to explore Kerala’s interior. And there’s no more serene way to do so than on a traditional woven house boat!
The Kettuvallam is a traditional Keralan vessel made from planks of jack-wood secured with coir knots, then coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels – no nails are used in its construction. Traditionally, these watercraft were used to transport various staples like spices and rice along Kerala’s backwaters. These days they have become a popular way of exploring Kerala’s interior.
Karma Chakra has its very own house boat, which combines time-honoured tradition with 21st century luxury. The boat features all the creature comforts of a good hotel including two fully furnished double bedrooms, fully equipped en suite bathrooms, a cozy living space and kitchen. There’s even a home theatre system! Guests can relax in comfort on the broad deck while the oarsman row through an ever-changing environment of backwaters and palm fringed shores – whether for a day or for longer excursions.
January and February are the driest months in Kerala – the perfect destination for far more than just winter sunshine – this really is God’s Own Country!