The first day is spent in the Valiyaparamba backwater, a large inland. The journey begins from Lotus Point, a small jetty about ten minutes drive south from Neeleshwar Hermitage. Once on board The Lotus and having enjoyed a welcome drink, you will be taken to your room to relax and settle in. Not long after we leave the jetty a small cluster of brightly coloured boats announces the Snake temple, dedicated to the fierce Goddess Badarkali. The nearby fish-landing point attracts flocks of sea-birds that wheel and dip overhead. These are the first of many that will accompany on your trip: black snake-necked cormorants , elegant white Great Egrets, orange-breasted kingfishers with iridescent turquoise wings and more. As verdant islands appear ahead of us, colourful houses can be seen peeping through the dense fringe of coconut palms that lines the waterfront.
The further south you go, the quieter the scene becomes; soon the only sound is the lapping of water or the occasional jumping of huge red snappers. Day one ends with a short walk and guided visit to a small scale Women Khadi handloom, then back to The Lotus for high tea before we anchor in the middle of the lake for the night. Enjoy the sunset with a drink before a delicious dinner under the canopy of stars.
The day begins with Bed Tea served with flowers. Watch the changing light from your private veranda as the day awakens. After breakfast we move south towards the softly rolling contours of the Ezhi Elimala range. Next to the boat whole shoals of tiny fish leap together to form a shower of silver sparks; further away fishermen wade up to their shoulders setting their nets. On land, the occasional minaret rises up above the coconut palms. After an hour or so we reach Kotti jetty, from where a three-kilometer auto-rickshaw ride takes us to the remarkable temple dedicated to Lord Subramanyam which dates from about 800 AD . This is in Payyannur, a town famed for its expertise in the sacred science of astrology. The elegant building has fine carvings in wood and brass and you can see the daily ritual when the silver image of the deity is processed three times around the compound. Then, quench your thirst with chai from an open-air tea- shop by the temple before heading back to The Lotus.
Finally disembark and continue your journey: southwards to Kannur (c.1 hour) or north back up to Neeleshwar.
Add an extra night on board and visit the Shri Mutthappan temple, then return once more to the Lotus for drinks and dinner before transferring onwards the following morning.
Nearest Airport: Kannur, (daily flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Bangalore) then a 90 min transfer to the hotel in one of our cars.
Nearest Railway Station: Nileshwar, 6kms from the hotel.
From Bangalore: Distance by road is 360 kms, a 7/ 8 hour drive (including stops) through the breathtaking scenery of the Western Ghats, surrounded by gentle hillside slopes with tea and coffee gardens, spice plantations and virgin forests.