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Spice Coast Cruises

On a Spice Coast cruise, your world is a spacious houseboat all your own, your senses filling with silence and space, at their purest and most alluring. So lean back on a cushion and glide beneath the inverted bowl of the sky. Look outside, look within. Look beyond both. And its available here at your leisure.

Close your eyes a minute, and imagine. It is a clear evening on the Vembanad Lake, the stars already burning bright in the brief tropical twilight.
The lake's waters are an identical shade with the sky, creating a seamless blue world edged with the bursting green of shoreside forests, thick with coconut, cardamom, cinnamon and teak.
Wait long enough and you'll see a cluster of lights looming up. Dancing fireflies that grow larger and resolve into a string of hurricane lamps. The plump lines of a 'kettuvallom' take shape, its cane-and-rope awnings flying rakishly, its silent hull gliding past as if on wings of air. You catch a brief glimpse of yellow light and warm interiors. And then the vision is gone, melting back into the evening.
The 'kettuvallom' is the queen of the Kerala backwaters. And on a Spice Coast Cruise, it becomes your floating home, providing the best means of experiencing them that can possibly be imagined, combining holidaying, pleasure-boating and ecological living in an exhilarating way.

The backwaters have been marveled at by visitors from Vasco da Gama onwards. Thick as a patchwork quilt around the port towns of Allepey and Quilon, thinning out into liquid spears north towards Calicut, and with the vast freshwater sea of the Vembanad as their centerpiece, the backwaters are an ecology like no other on earth.

Some are no wider than an armspan, navigable only by canoe. Others are dual carriageways, deep and rippling, sometimes broadening out into vast misty lakes, sometimes curling into twisting wormturns, hemmed by paddy fields and fed by a thousand fat streams from the high ranges of the Spice Mountains to the east.

The culture and lifestyle of the backwaters is as unique as the ecology. Habitation is everywhere, but in such harmony that it it seems inseparable from nature.

Wood and slapdash plaster huts are scattered on both sides, with an ever-present complement of pigs, chickens and buffaloes. Rice fields stretch like large lawns, laid out amidst thick with coconut, cashew , guava and mango. Fishing boats with home-made patchwork sails the canals. A little hut turns out to be a coir factory, with women spinning and knotting busily. A man stands still as a yogi, neck-deep in the canal, waiting to catch a prize fish with his bare hands.

And there, sitting in a Planter's armchair, a coconut cocktail conveniently to hand, are you. Gliding gently along through it all, witness to this mystical passing show.