A Scenic Village Cruise : Munroe Island

Like a sharp beaked water bird that gracefully floats on the tiny waves, the boat slowly sailed away in the canal. It was a calm, leisurely ride without disturbing the beautiful pictures created on the surface of water by the slanting coconut trees and the lush greenery in both banks. The boat proceeded serenely, making way amidst the branches of trees that reached out to touch the water. The whole experience was bringing tranquility on the faces of our foreign fellow travelers, who had come here to escape from the hustle and bustle of busy Western urban life. The journey is along the canals at Munroe Island, Kollam. The ride was a soothing experience for us too, entirely different from the daily routine of adventurous travel on the congested roads of Kerala.

The foreign tourists were having a great time, enjoying the glimpses of rustic life on either side. After some time, the boat stopped by for them to have tea. On the shore, local people were making coir and the foreigners watched the whole process in awe. Then came another boat, carrying a couple. Sitting on the chairs they leisurely sipped the tea and enjoyed the breeze, trying to forget the chaos back in their native land. We continued our journey. Now there are two country boats in the water. They are carrying travellers to exquisite vistas of incredible beauty. The boat is heading towards the prawns hatchery, past the scenic temple courtyard and the banyan tree platform. The journey that starts at Karoothrakkadavu, concludes at the same place. We the travellers wish the journey would never end. The canal ride in Munroe Island is a tour package that has become super hit within a short period of time. Most of the visitors to this place are foreigners and North Indian tourists. The tourists will be taken to the Munroe Island in a Tempo Traveller from Kollam Town. The boat ride would start from Karoothrakkadavu and end at the same place. It is a 6 Km journey through the canal. Tourists can choose from two timings­ one that starts at 9 am and ends at 1.30pm or the other that starts at 2pm and ends at 6.30pm.

In 1795 the British established their supremacy in South India and the princely state of Travancore came under their governance. From 1800 onwards, East India Company as administrative head of Travancore appointed a Resident. The first Resident was Colonel Colin Macaulay, followed by Colonel John Munro. During his tenure Munro oversaw the land reclamation efforts in the delta where Kallada River joins Ashtamudi Lake and the reclaimed island was named after him as Munroe Island. The Dutch Church here in Munroe Island is one of the ancient churches in Kerala. The Dutch built it in 1878. The red brick church is a blend of Dutch-Kerala architecture on the scenic banks of Lake Ashtamudi. The villagers depended on coconut coir manufacturing as livelihood. The island village is a tourism destination where one can see the coir retting process, coir-weaving, fishing, prawns feeding, migratory bird watch, narrow canals and waterways, coconut farms on the lake shore, lagoons, mangrove plants and the beautiful tiny islands of Pathupara. Kallada Boat Race, which is one of the famous boat races in Kerala, is at Karuvathrakadavu- Muthiraparambu nettayam in Munroethuruth.

 

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