Kochi

Exploring the hidden isles of Kochi

Picturesque isles surrounded by backwaters dot Kochi’s northern parts. Their tourism potential is yet to be tapped.– Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

Picturesque isles surrounded by backwaters dot Kochi’s northern parts. Their tourism potential is yet to be tapped.– Photo: Thulasi Kakkat

Ernakulam District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) is gearing up to promote boat cruises that call at hitherto unexplored islands in the northern parts of the city.

The silent but picturesque islands include Pizhala, Kadamakudy, Chathanad and Thanthonnithuruth, many of which have traditional ‘pokkali’ farms, apart from prawn and fish farms. Varapuzha, Cheranellore and other major hubs too have their attractions.

“The waterway and isles look much like Alappuzha, a tourism hub famous for houseboats. We will roll out a project to introduce boat services and promote the tourism potential of these isles. The success of tourism in Alappuzha can well be emulated here,” said Suhas S., Fort Kochi Sub-Collector, who also holds the charge of Ernakulam DTPC Secretary. He inspected the waterway and checked out amenities to host visitors in a few isles on Thursday.

The boat cruise titled ‘Exploring the Hidden Kochi’ organised jointly by the DTPC and the Greater Cochin Development Watch was aimed at familiarising stakeholders and tourism officials with the waterway and isles.

A few private operators have come forward with their tourism initiatives and boat services.

The waterway (National Waterway III) was owned by the government and there was no port-related curbs, making them ideal for boating, Mr. Suhas said.

A couple of boating initiatives rolled out earlier in the area failed to materialise due to inadequate follow up action and marketing. Homestays and convention venues too are coming up in a few of the islands.

Speaking about the immense potential of farm tourism in the region, E.D. Joseph, an owner of pokkali and prawn farms, said Kadamakudy alone was a conglomeration of 10 isles.

Ebenzer Chullikat, who has been spearheading a campaign to promote backwater-based tourism in the area, said tourist boats dominated Ernakulam backwaters and they were concentrated mainly in Marine Drive area.

“Due to restrictions and limited berthing space, boat owners are looking for alternative sites to relocate. They need a safe landing place for boats, including houseboats which are yet to make their presence felt in Kochi. Cheranellore, Eloor and Varapuzha have plenty of space for boat jetties and they can in the long run lessen over proliferation of houseboats in Alappuzha,” he said.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 2:57:36 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/exploring-the-hidden-isles-of-kochi/article6915285.ece