Lakshadwip was my childhood dream destination. I made a contact with the local agent of SPORTS, an agency that conduct cruise package for Lakshadwip. We bought train tickets to reach Cochin and air tickets for coming back from Cochin to Kolkata. I included Munnar and Periyar in the same plan. I wanted to go to Aleppy by backwater but my son was not interested in it as according to his opinion after a cruise tour to Lakshadweep it would not be a worthy one to enjoy.
After finishing our Lakshadwip package we went to Cochin Inter-state bus stand and caught a bus for Munnar at 3 PM and reached there in the evening .There are quite a number of hotels in the mall and road side food stall. Munnar is a small hill station in Western Ghat range. Anaimudi is the highest peak of Western ghat. There is Eraviculam National Park. There are several places to visit. The whole area is covered with tea gardens and Sandalwood forest . We stayed 2 nights in Munnar and booked a car for local sight seeing.
Then we went to Periyar. There was local bus service from Munnar to go to Periyar, but we hired a car. The journey from Munnar to Periyar was pleasant due to the scenic beauty. Periyar is also a very nice place with a reserve forest, lake and spice market. We stayed in a home-stay there.
We were on our Lakshadweep cruise package. One day, when we went for dinner on the ship, a Punjabi lady told us that we were going to get Bengali food that day, rice and fish curry. We were not excited because it was expected from previous experiences that it would never be a Bengali cuisine. We took our food items from the counter. My son and I could not find any fish item. There was one non veg preparation which we suspected as meat. It was very fibrous and hard. We had a hot discussion on this issue that what kind of meat it was. Then after finishing the dinner I asked the attendants present there what it was. He informed that it was Tuna fish.
When we were coming out from the dinning hall after dinner, that Punjabi Lady met us again and asked how much did we like the authentic Bengali dish of rice and fish curry. We explained that we mostly eat sweet water fishes and our way of cooking is absolutely different, we could not even recognize what it was. She was a bit disappointed, then she specified that they had come back to the ship from the island Kavaratti on the last boat in the afternoon, and that fish had been carried on the same boat. She was a tall woman, she stretched her hands full to show how big the fish was. I later came across tuna fish at the market of Periyar though they were not that much big.
I had been my father’s advisor about deciding the tour plans and I was always fond of places that were not so popular. After doing the trip to Andaman in 1980, which was a rare destination then, I asked my father if we could go Laskadweep. At that time sufficient information was not available and it didn’t happen. As soon as I revived traveling after a long period, I started planning for Lakshadweep. The package preponed and postponed and ultimately we got confirmation letter from the local agent of SPORTS.
It was an amazing experience to travel on a ship for five days. My son and I both enjoyed extremely. I did not know swimming then, that is why I could not take risk for going scuba diving, just enjoyed snorkeling. I missed it really, so, after coming back I learnt swimming at the age of 48, so that if I get another chance I do not have to miss it.
All the beaches are pristine because it is not as commercialized as Andaman at present and one needs permission of the authority to go there. Alcohol consumption is absolutely banned.
When the ship started everyone was excited. A tugboat pulled the ship out of Cochin harbour. It went through the Vembanad Lake and reached Arabian sea. The night fell on the vast sea.There was nothing except water all around. The ship seemed like an island. At night it was alarmingly beautiful. In the early morning we saw the coast of Kalpeni island. The whole package is unique in its own way. We visited Kavaratti next day and Minicoy on the the 4th day. It was a 5 days and 4 nights package from Cochin to Cochin.