Rustic Kottayam rolls out a pink carpet

Water lilies have begun to bloom in the backwater landscape of Kottayam. A scene from Malarikkal.

Water lilies have begun to bloom in the backwater landscape of Kottayam. A scene from Malarikkal. | Photo Credit: VISHNU PRATHAP

Gorgeous water lilies have taken over the backwaters of Kottayam, throwing tourists an irresistible bait. Visitors have started trickling in to catch a glimpse of the sun rising over a sea of pink blooms. Cashing in, Malarikkal village, the epicentre of the bloom, has launched preparations to organise a tourism festival. The event, which will coincide with the upcoming Onam season, is being organised by the Meenachil-Meenanthara-Kodoor river relinking programme, in association with the Thiruvarppu panchayat, and the Malarikkal tourism society.

According to K. Anil Kumar, convenor of the river relinking programme, the festival will be held in about 1,000 acres of paddy fields in the village's interiors. Boats will be made available for ferrying tourists to the flowering locations, which are best visited before 10 a.m.

Best is yet to come

“The lily bulbs, which are now waiting underneath the water, will come out in full force once the third wave of floodwater washes these polder networks clean. This pink carpet will stretch throughout the region and visitors can make their way among these flowers,” he said.

The festival at Malarikkal will be followed by similar events at Ambattukadavu in the Puthuppally-Panchikkad panchayats. The flowering locations in Kottayam were partially opened to visitors last year in line with the COVID-19 restrictions while in the previous year, these destinations were completely off-limits to visitors.

Record footfall

With road connectivity improving and the pandemic wave subsiding, organisers expect the tourist inflow to break the record set in 2019. The flowering season in Malarikkal became a rage on social media during the period, recording around 80,000 arrivals.

Buoyed by the visitor influx, the State government too had announced its plan to organise a pink waterlily festival along the lines of the Tulip Festival in Amsterdam. The plan, however, is yet to take off.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 7:51:22 pm |