Munroe Island Kollam is one of the most serene tourist spots in Kerala. Quiet banks of Kallada River and the lapping waters of Ashtamudi Lake creates an ambiance of romance around the lushness of Munroe Island.
Holidays are something that all of us look forward to. A few laid-back days with our family, aren’t we all hungry for that? So it was on such a holiday that I explored the serene beauty of Munroe Island, with my family. I had heard quite a lot about this place. Canoeing in Munroe Island was said to be an unforgettable experience. So there I was, behind the wheels, in search of an exotic place. It was Onam, a day of celebration for the people of Kerala, and I decided to celebrate in a different way.
Behind the name
It is my habit to collect all possible information about a place, before starting on a journey. Munroe Island was 170 kilometers from Cochin International Airport, and 82 kilometers from Trivandrum Airport. The name intrigued me, and I searched for its roots. Like many of our historical monuments and places, this island also owed its name to the British rule. It was named after Colonel John Munroe, who reclaimed the island. Located at the confluence of Ashtamudi Lake and Kallada River, in Kollam district, it was touted as a heaven on earth by many. My excitement grew by leaps and bounds.
The early morning road trip
We started off from my home in Changanassery, quite early in the morning. My parents, wife, and kids, were all as excited as I was. It was over 60 kms from our home, and the drive was a pleasant one. The day being Onam, roads were totally empty. Only a few crazy ones like us would venture out on a festive day. When people were getting ready for their grand celebrations, we were on the roads filled with hopes about the wonderful destination. After almost two hours, we reached Munroe Island.
Country boat canoeing in Kallada River
Morning was still fresh when we got into the country boat. The boatman had to be summoned over the phone. He was not expecting visitors on that particular day. Starting from Kallada River, our small boat sailed on. There was only greenery all around, the trees, grass, and even the water looked green. Much has been said about the beauty of blue waters. But here I found that green waters were not less charming. Sitting in the boat, enjoying the company of nature and my family, I was at peace with myself. No disturbing thoughts, no mad hurry, I could not help going into a philosophical mood. Wasn’t life all about these little pleasures?
Canals and mangroves in Ashtamudi
After sailing in the river for a while, we entered the small feeder canals near Munroe Island. We were amazed by the drastic and marvelous change in the settings. In the river, you enjoy the vastness and horizons, but in the canals, it was like a closely guarded secret of nature. Canopies of trees covered the canals from both sides. Branches of small trees were almost touching the water. This was the most exciting part, especially for the kids. They had only seen trees too tall to touch. And here they were touching the branches as they sat in the boat.
We turned back to Ashtamudi Lake. By then, sun had started shining brightly. Ashtamudi looked majestic, totally matching our expectation. The boat sailed on to the mangroves of Ashtamudi Lake. Mangroves are a unique creation of nature. Small shrubs that grow in water, with their roots protruding above the water surface! Though I am not an expert in botany, I found a peculiar beauty in them. Our boat passed the roots and shrubs, and we enjoyed every sight on the way.
My trip to Munroe Island would have been incomplete, had I not got the chance to see the life of villagers up close. From the boat, we saw many rustic sights that no amount of fat cash spent in a city would give you. Morning prayers were being played in a temple on the way. Village kids were playing and boisterously dancing to the Onam songs. Some of them were arranging floral decorations in front of their houses, which was customary in Onam season. City-bred kids missed the fun and frolic of rustic life. In a canal, I saw a man bathing his goat. What surprised me was that, even his dog was enjoying the water, along with his master and his goat. No enmity or competition there. Simple are the ways of nature!
Prawn farms and more you can enjoy
There were a few prawn farms along the way. As we went on a holiday, we could not witness the process of breeding of prawns. The area is also said to be a paradise for bird watchers, but only in the season. This too we missed out. Nevertheless, what we had witnessed, was enough for our hearts to hold on to, for quite a long time.
If you have any plans to visit Munroe Island, you could try staying in some of the resorts of the place. I saw many big and small ones, all in the lap of nature. Love fishing? Here, you can enjoy that also, not in the sophisticated manner, but in the local way, like a village dweller. Ayurvedic massages are also popular among tourists.
The day spent in Munroe Island was one of the most memorable ones in my life. But as a traveler, I am always hungry for more. And will share all of them with you.
Where to stay when you are in Munroe Island?
Planning a relaxed holiday in Munroe Island? You can select from a few exotic middle range resorts to some of the friendliest homestay facilities here. Do not expect any luxurious hotels here, yet some of the resorts offer very good facilities though.
You can also plan for a day trip in Munroe Island and return to stay in one of the hotels at Kollam town. You can also visit some of the interesting places in and around Kollam during your stay here.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com