There is something about nature that attracts everyone into its folds. The lush green and blue colors of outdoors are a balm for sore city-bred eyes. The ideal place to escape to for a break is the famous Ashtamudi Lake in ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala. You will need to go to the coastal city of Kollam, which is nestled on the banks of this magnificent lake.
Ashtamudi is a palm-shaped lake that is also compared to an 8-headed octopus as it’s fed by 8 creeks or channels. It covers a surface area of 61.4 sq km and forms the scenic gateway of the famous backwaters that lead you through sun-dappled water channels all the way to Alappuzha. The best way to enjoy the flourishing beauty of this lake is to go for a cruise on it in one of the locally-made traditional wooden houseboats. Though these boats are made entirely of wood, they come fully-equipped with classy air-conditioned bedrooms, bathrooms, and a sundeck as well as a dining and kitchen area where delicious fresh meals are served as per your palate.
You could go for a rejuvenating day cruise or a romantic overnight cruise all the way to far away Alappuzha. This is the best way to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of gliding over the lake’s silken blue-green waters with nothing to disturb the scenery except the startled flight of some water birds. The lake is dotted with numerous islands beckoning you to come to explore, with the largest one being Munroe Island. It consists of 8 smaller islands and your boat guide might even take you for a closer look if you ask nicely! Another important island here is Thekkumbhagom which has a 1000-year-old temple and a 200-year-old church.
If you are staying over at the classy Raviz Resort and Spa located on the banks of this lake, their friendly staff can also arrange a houseboat trip for you. This is the most visited lake and backwaters in Kerala and Kollam sees a high footfall of tourists every year. Its exotic biodiversity, lush splendor and numerous other activities keep people coming back for more.
Some of the other sightseeing activities around the lake include the peaceful Ashramam Picnic Village, the Mahatma Gandhi Beach, Thirumullavaram beach, Neendakara estuary, a lighthouse built in 1902, the ruins of a Portuguese Fort built in 1517, Palaruvi waterfalls, Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, etc.
Getting to Kollam is also easy as the nearest airport in Trivandrum is a breezy 75km drive over the new highway and good roads and railways also connect to Kollam.