Soak up the sights and sounds of life on Kerala’s Lake Verbanad aboard the Oberoi Vrinda cruiser.
Words by Selma Day
If you want to experience the backwaters of Kerala in style then look no further than the Oberoi Vrinda, Luxury Kerala Cruiser.
From the minute you step on board, you feel a sense of peace and serenity as you take in the view of Lake Verbanad – India’s longest lake.
The boat has just eight deluxe cabins with queen-sized beds, shower, wardrobe, television, air conditioning, a small desk with two chairs and large windows overlooking the backwaters.
On arrival you are warmly welcomed by the general manager and shown to the main deck where you are greeted with fresh coconut water.
Floating in peace
Enjoy sunbathing on the upper deck and relaxing in the lounge or bar.
Watch village life on the shores of the lake as you sail along taking in the scenery.
Observe the fishermen diving in for their daily catch, or watch the variety of birds hovering above.
We spotted several kingfishers, cormorants and the snake bird.
The snake bird is so rare that there’s a special “snake bird day” as part of a government campaign to protect the endangered species.
In the morning, you’ll wake to hear the soothing sound of chanting from the local Hindu temple.
During the day, you can get off the boat and onto a smaller rice barge. This can navigate its way through the narrower canals, lined with coconut palms.
This gives you an even closer view of life along the lake. You might spot farmers working in the fields, men on bicycles, women washing clothes or children on their way to school.
Excursions to Buddhist shrines, Hindu temples or perhaps a local market take place in the morning.
You’re back in time for a delicious lunch, for food is central to the experience on this houseboat.
Every evening, there is a cultural performance when the boat is docked. Local artists, dancers or musicians come on board to entertain guests.
They include the famous Kathakali.
This is an ancient Keralan dramatic dance that recounts Hindu mythologies of Ramayana and Mahabarata through movement and facial expression.
Most of all, the service on this luxury cruiser is impeccable. Owned and managed by The Oberoi Group, nothing is too much trouble for the staff.
Find the jetty of this luxury cruiser 85 kilometres from Cochin International Airport.
Pictures: The Oberoi Vrinda.