KOCHI: The water lilies in bloom at Malarikkal, near Thiruvarppu in Kottayam, is a sight to marvel at for anyone who loves the wonders of nature. Picturesque views and serene ambience the place offers seem to have a magical power to soothe the weariest of minds.
Paddy fields have now turned a pink carpet, and the annual Ambal Fest is on till October. In the previous years, the fest attracted thousands of nature lovers, and soon the region was trending on social media. The flowers start blooming by 8pm and wither by 10am. So, the best time to click those postcard pics is between 6am and 10am. “You can witness the magnificent sunrise here,” says Ashokan V.C, a native boat skipper. “Malarikkal sees waterlilies cover about 600 acres. This year, due to the heavy rains and flooding, the area has come down.”
Nearby, he adds, there is Valiyaveetil Ambalam, where about 300 acres of fields are covered with water lilies. “You can see different varieties and colours. People can reach Valiyaveetil Ambalam by boat,” says Ashokan.
Kottayam DTPC secretary Robin C Koshy says the water lilies fest is now managed by a registered society of native farmers, boat owners and the Thiruvarppu panchayat. “In the past years, that place was packed with tourists,” he adds. “This time, however, there has not been much of a rush.”
Another DTPC official, Nitish K V, says the fest would end in 15 to 20 days. “After that, the farmers will clear the water lilies, drain the fields and resume paddy cultivation,” he explains.“The fest became popular as visuals went viral on social media two-three years ago. Currently, the managing society has been promoting Malarikkal village tourism.”
In fact, Malarikkal has much more to offer, beyond the pleasant shades of pink. A feel of village life, seafood and boat rides make the destination a perfect one for a weekend cutoff. Malarikkal, I must add, took me on a nostalgia trip to childhood, days of innocence. The boat ride through the water lily fields and villages is an experience to cherish for a lifetime. And shutterbugs can click away to glory. Those who wish to wander a bit more can head to Kumarakom, about 13km away.
Where: Near Thiruvarppu in Kottayam
60km (approx) from Kochi
Homestays, hotels and resorts are available in Kumarakom and Kottayam at prices ranging from D1,500 to D30,000 per night (may vary according to demand)
Kumarakom - 13km
Thaneermukkam - 15km
Pathiramanal Island - 23km