KOCHI: For those seeking a getaway to the villages, the Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission has launched a package to witness the lives of 45 families in Valanthakad, an island village located on the outskirts of Kochi. Visitors can spend a day at the island surrounded by Vembanad lake.For Rs 2,650, the package includes witnessing clamp processing, fishing, handicraft making, weaving fishing nets, boat ride through a mangrove forest and a wholesome meal.
“RT Mission is a welfare programme for villagers. We have formed a committee to manage the project. Valathankad is inhabited by 45 families who have registered to be part of the RT initiative. Two postgraduate students from the island will act as tourist guides. Arrangements have been made and the villagers are ready to welcome tourists,” said Harish S, district coordinator of RT Mission.
The tour begins at the Valanthakad boat jetty at 9am. Thereon, tourists will be taken in a country boat to the island where a welcome reception awaits. Resident Aravindakshan’s house will be the first stop wherein he will demonstrate fishing techniques from 9.30am to 10am. Priya’s house will showcase weaving pines. Tourists will be allowed to try their hand at the same from 10.10am to 10.30am. Pramod’s house is the third stop.
From 10.30am to 10.55am, he will elaborate on making handicrafts like souvenirs, snake boats and houseboats. Tourists can buy his wares at a reasonable price. From 11am to 11.30am, Sasidharan, a skilled fisherman will train tourists to weave fishing nets. Tourists can visit the Devi temple on the island for 10 minutes.
From 11.45am to 12.05pm, Sreedevi will guide them to make toys using coconut leaves. For the next 20 minutes, beautician Praseeda will teach tourists to wear traditional attire. From 12.35pm to 12.50pm, tourists will be instructed by Anil Kumar on skills required to climb coconut trees. Ambika, an expert in weaving coconut leaves, will engage tourists for the next 20 minutes.
They will then pay a visit to Shobna, who will coach them on clam meat processing. Shobna’s husband collects clam from the Vembanad Lake and separates clamshell and meat at their house. By 1.40pm, the tourists will be served traditional Kerala lunch comprising a fish curry meal.
From 2.30pm to 3.30pm, they can enjoy a boat ride through the mangrove forest. Eventually, they will be dropped back at the Valanthakad boat jetty. Bookings can be made through RT officials. District Tourism Promotion Council is also implementing a project to upgrade tourism infrastructure on the island.