KOTTAYAM: At this new tourism spot on Vembanad Lake, the journey itself will be the destination.
Unlike structured tourism destinations with five-star hotel facilities, the new destination consists of a dozen inland waterways, lush green paddy fields, miles of unpaved country trails and above all the hospitality of the country folks of this village which is steeped in local history.
The Meenachil-Meenanthara-Kodoor river revival project, which has already led to the resumption of paddy cultivation in over 1,000 acres of paddy land that had been lying fallow for decades, appears to have reached the next logical step: discovery of this virgin tourism destination a few km from Kumarakom at Thiruvarpu at the mouth of the Meenachil river on Vembanad Lake.
The high point of the journey to the village would be a boat service, Vambanadan Lake Circuit, connecting Pazhukkanilam, the spot where the Meenachil river flows into Vembanad Lake, Malarickel, where a tributary of the Meenachil joins Kodoor river, and polder areas such as Thiruvayikkari, Thollayiram Kayal, R Block and Vettikkad.
If one arrives by evening, one can enjoy the sunset over the paddy fields, take pleasure in the hospitality of the local people through local cuisines prepared using locally procured provisions and sold from makeshift roadside cafes run by local people and Kudumbasree units.
The launching of the new destination was celebrated with a four-day festival, which concludes on Sunday. According to the organisers, even after the festival, Malarickal will continue to provide the tourists with facilities. The boat journey also will continue, though water hyacinth is a major problem.