Alleppey, Arabian Sea, backwater, bamboo, Bamboo Fresh, beaches, coconut trees, Ernakulam, Ettikulam Beach, Ezhimala, ferry, God's own country, Ibn Battuta, Kavvayi, Kerala, Kerala meal, Matool, ocean, paradise, Payyanur, Perumba, sunset, Valiyaparamba, virgin island
Truly referred as ‘God’s own Country‘ Kerala is a paradise with the panoramic stretches of backwaters, the lush green swaying coconut trees, the beautiful sandy beaches along the Arabian Sea, the hill stations, the exotic wildlife and the birds.
For many travelers backwaters of Kerala means Alleppey, Ernakulam and Kochi district of Kerala. While these places offer one of the most beautiful views of backwaters and the Arabian Sea, we planned to ditch these popular tourist destinations to explore few of the untouched beauty of Kerala.
No Travel Guides for Kerala mention the name of Payyanur in their itinerary. If you want to experience this untouched part of Kerala you would have to go on your own or we can organize it for you ;). Located in the northern end of Kannur district in North Kerala, on the banks of Perumba river, Payyanur is replete with beautiful stretches of backwaters.
Here is my pick of the 5 must visit places in and around Payyanur:
Close your eyes and picture yourself living on a beautiful small green island with roaring ocean on one stretch of the island and the placid stretch of backwater on the other side. It is really hard to believe even with your eyes wide open that such beautiful wonders of nature exist.
Valiyaparamba, 15 kms from Payyanur, secluded from the main land by the backwaters will give you such beautiful views that would take your breath away. Access to the island is by the ferry through the backwaters. The stretch of green palm trees along the sandy beach on the shores of the Arabian sea is a perfect composition of beauty by nature.
We spent a surreal evening sitting on the shores of the Arabian Sea, observing the waves hitting the shores washing away the sand and leaving behind a variety of sea shells, enjoying the only sound of roaring of the oceans and of the cool winds swaying the coconut trees. As the time for sunset approached it was a beautiful display of colours by nature with the red ball of sun in a backdrop of blue and red sky, the black shadow of the returning fishing boats in the blue ocean, the white sand and the green coconut trees.
This virgin island was so magically enchanting that it makes you wish to stay back. But the experience would have been incomplete without the return journey by the ferry which would give you goose bumps when you sail through the backwaters with darkness all around, under the beautiful moon lit sky with millions of stars and peaceful sound of backwaters. It had a nice soothing effect on my heart and mind. It was an ultimate bliss!
I was really blown away by the virgin beauty of this part of Kerala with its picturesque backwaters, the stunning coastline along the Arabian Sea and the green palm groves. Another hidden treasure of North Kerala is Matool. A half an hour drive from Payyanur along the Beach Road revealed before us a beautiful view of calm backwaters and the roaring ocean together.
The view point which is the end of sea wall on Arabian Sea gets revealed through Biryani Road (I have no idea why the road was named as Biryani Road). The sea wall separates the Arabian sea on the right from the backwaters on the left. At the end of the sea wall is the viewpoint where one can see the sangama of the sea with backwater.
As mentioned by the locals the name Matool was given by the famous Arabic traveller Ibn Battuta after he had landed here. Ma thool in Arabic means narrow and if you check the map, Matool is a narrow piece of land surrounded by backwater and Arabian Sea. The smell of the drying fishes on the shoreline might stop you from stepping ahead but be strong enough to fight those smells to view the mesmerizing scene of the confluence of backwaters and Arabian Sea. You can’t afford to miss this beautiful tryst of the backwater with the ocean.
3. Ettikulam Beach
A 30 minutes’ drive from Payyanur the Ettikulam beach affords gorgeous view of the ocean, the rock mound, the sunset and the green Ezhimala hills at a distance. Expect huge waves hitting the rocks on the beach, colourful crabs, and beautiful structures on the sand made by the constant hitting of the waves. The way to Ettikulam beach is through the narrow hilly roads, small villages in between with shops where you can stop to have Pazham Pori and tea, lush green open fields, chirping sound of birds and many temples. It reveals the amazing coexistence of hills, open fields and ocean. And if you are lucky enough you might get a chance to watch Theyyam performance outside some temple on the way.
4. Kavvayi Island
Kavvayi is another small island near Payyanur. Unlike other island this island is connected by a small bridge on the Kavvayi River. You can walk from one end of the island to the other end in just 15 minutes which leads to the placid stretch of Kavvayi backwaters. Kavvayi Island is surrounded by many more small islands which are accessible only by ferry or boats. Time didn’t permit us to explore other islands but it sure gave us a reason to visit again. You might also get a chance to experience the hospitality of the natives of Kavvayi Island as we did.
5. Bamboo Fresh – An Eco Friendly Restaurant
A trip to Kerala is incomplete without relishing the local cuisine. You might not find many restaurants in Payyanur. Bamboo Fresh came as a pleasant surprise in this small town of Payyanur. The restaurant has been fully made and decorated with bamboo. The interiors have wall hangings, menu cover and other decorative items made out of bamboo which surely impresses you.The food is not that great but good enough to try out a Kerala meal and if you are a non-vegetarian do not miss the fish and beef delicacies.
Although there are many more places nearby that are worth visiting you should not miss visiting the ones we have recommended. If you are interested in bird watching you can pay a visit to Chembalikund where you can get to see some migratory birds during the season.
Enjoy the photos of beautiful Payyanur at Flickr
Update We are glad to let you know about the latest campaign on Kerala Great Backwaters. To promote this unique water stretches, the Kerala Tourism Department has started a campaigns on digital platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Visit http://greatbackwaters.com/ and be fascinated with the 8 Lakh fans of God’s Own Country from world over. 44 rivers, a vast network of lakes, 1500 kms of labyrinthine canals, snake boat races, over 300 species of birds, floating markets… showcasing the magnificence of Kerala backwaters.
Drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want us to plan your trip to this beautiful place.