Responsible tourism changes lives of locals in Kerala


Gliding over the serene and magical waters of the Vembanad lake, one of the largest in India and spanning several districts in Kerala, which over the years has become a hot favourite destination for both international and domestic tourists, the houseboat takes me across vast stretches of paddy fields, thick lush greenery that attracts a plethora of cormorants, sea gulls and paddy birds. Across the shimmering waters there are different kinds of boats – from docked and moving large houseboats to racing canoes and small boats.

A gentle breeze seduces the senses, but suddenly the tranquillity of the blue waters and the sky and the gorgeous greenery is shattered by the irritating hooting of a horn… it’s a houseboat navigator protesting against a small boat refusing to make way for the bigger one. My boatman Bahulanandan shakes his head disapprovingly as he expertly navigates the large vessel now entering a narrow passageway. After all this majestic lake is home to many rivers and canals emptying their waters into its vast expanse. The trance is also broken by the beautiful blue and green environs having in their midst garish pink and green houses. The vastu compulsion… of course.


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