Kerala : Coconut Lagoon

There are few places on Earth that leave such a lasting impact as Kerala. Fondly known as 'God's own Country' it is hard to imagine a more serene and peaceful place anywhere. After experiencing the often alarming amount of noise and chaos in some of Indias most vibrant cities, the In Clover team definitely felt the need for some down time, and we couldn't have imagined a more perfect place. 

Nestled in the South West of India our hotel, Coconut Lagoon, was only reachable by a water taxi and as soon as we settled on the boat a sense of serenity enveloped us all. As the boat chugged along the canals the volume of people and houses diminished and a peaceful hush came over everyone on board. On entering the narrow canal that brought us into the grounds of the hotel we were greeted with numerous members of staff, all smiling and ready to help us off the boat and into the open air reception which smelt strongly of jasmine and spices from the nearby restaurant. It was difficult to not be impressed at the calm atmosphere and beauty of the buildings nestled on the shore. The hotel comprises of 30 acres of protected land, it prides itself on being environmentally friendly and providing an exceptional experience to those looking to experience rural India. 

A life this remote may not be for everyone, but it is certainly to be experienced. The slowly moving waters never seem to retreat and they give a constant feeling of calm. The climate was some of the more gentle that we experienced and the wildlife was more prevalent. The entire place felt like a sanctuary but as we had been slowed down on our journey to Coconut Lagoon (seriously winding roads) it was a quick turn around to get onto another boat to sail out onto the lake to watch the sunset. Our guides and travel companions from Kamalan had already made the trip spectacular, Joseph (who accompanied us for the last leg of our tour) pulled out all the stops and organised a private house boat for us. It's a really sublime experience to sail out onto the lake and more compelling to witness first hand the simple life that many people around the water choose. Houseboats have become quite the lure for travellers wanting to do something a little different, ours had a bedroom and surprisingly modern kitchen and bathroom. The internal aspect was nothing compared to being sat on the bow of the boat to soak in the atmosphere. We thankfully had a break in the clouds and got to fully appreciate the tranquility of being on the water. 

We had a fleeting visit to this part of India, enough to appreciate everything that Coconut Lagoon has to offer, however you could easily travel solely to the hotel and happily stay for weeks on end. It is one of those places where you'd quite happily pack up your 'normal' life, settle permanently (house boat anyone, yes please) and barely have a backward glance. There's endless quiet places to read all those books you've been meaning to finish, yoga classes throughout the day, wildlife to watch and each room has an open air bathroom - it's amazing. Showering under the stars and brushing your teeth in the open as the sun rises is one of those things you didn't realise you'd need nor appreciate so much. No televisions, limited internet access and all the time in the world makes Kerala a dream destination. 

Interior of the house boat, simple and wholesome living on the water. 

In Clover visited India with Kamalan in 2016. Our full article will be in Volume Four which you can pre-order here. All photographs are by our dear friend and travel companion, Dunja Opalko