Saturday, 26 September 2009

Coconut Lagoon, the eco-resort

After a blissful 24 hour stay aboard a houseboat we were dropped off at Coconut Lagoon, a beautiful eco-resort near Kumarakom. This resort is just a few miles outside Kottayam, but can be reached only by boat. Normally the guests are picked up from one of two jetties (piers) and brought by boat right up to the hotel's reception block. But, since our houseboat was too large for the channel leading into the hotel we had to alight a short distance away.

We were received with sandal paste and flowers by a young & pretty lady dressed in traditional Kerala style. She was accompanied by a musician playing a welcome tune on a flute. We discovered later that the musician, when not engaged in receiving guests, was on hand to give the guests free lessons on how to play some of the instruments.

The buildings in Coconut Lagoon are all over a century old, and some even date back to the 18th century. They have all been dismantled from their original locations from all over Kerala and painstakingly reassembled at this resort.

The reception block for example, is a "nalukettu" design with a central four-cornered open courtyard. It was originally built in 1860 and located at a place called Vaikom. It was purchased by Coconut Lagoon in 1993 and was re-assembled at its current location with the help of a master craftsman.

The dining block is a larger and more imposing structure. It is an "ettukattu" design, and has two courtyards. This is the oldest building on the site.

Most of the buildings at Coconut Lagoon are representative of several types of traditional Kerala architecture and have all been reassembled conforming to the "thachu shastra" style of carpentry. All these buildings are very tastefully located amidst coconut groves and a network of irrigation canals.