Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Summer House of Kollam

It was late afternoon when we reached Summer House. But the whole setting refreshed us
How about staying at a place where only a two-foot high wall and a short length of stone platform separate you from the sea and salty droplets wet your face every half-minute or so? Sounds exciting, no? Well that was at Kollam where I had a cottage on the sea-shore for two days.

In fact, Kollam is a place that offers one of the best backwater experiences in Kerala. The backwaters of Kerala indeed have a charm of their own. The narrow water-lanes meandering through villages; ethnic household situated on their banks; and finally those lanes emptying themselves into salty lakes! It is surely a not-to-be-missed experience to witness the rural life of Kerala flourishing along these water-lanes while sitting in a long narrow boat. But, what I didn’t know was that my stay at Kollam was also going to be an equally memorable experience.
The sun was vibrant and furious but the cool misty breeze was quite relaxing and refreshing
After spending two blissful days in the beautiful beach-town of Varkala, me along with my parents headed towards Kollam situated at a distance of 24 kms from Varkala. We had booked a room at one of the three Summer Houses in Kollam. All the three holiday homes are private properties having a total of nine bedrooms, though are duly recognized by District Tourism Promotion Council. Kollam has three beaches namely- the main beach called Mahatma Gandhi Beach, Tangasseri Beach and Thirumullawaram Beach. All three summers are situated on Tangasseri and Thirumullawaram. We had booked at House no. 3, which was on sea shore at Tangasseri.
The house is surrounded by coconut trees. The verandah is large enough to have long strolls
The magic of Varkala had not completely left our mind when charm of the summer house captivated us. The moment we stepped into this lovely holiday home situated at one corner of the city, we felt refreshed. All the stress seemed to vanish away in thin air. Suddenly, we were far away from the din and bustle of city life, and before us was the sprawling Arabian Sea hitting against the outer wall of the house. And we had reached an almost perfect place to watch sun immersing itself in the sea waves in the evening.

The place is surrounded by coconut trees all around. The courtyard is spacious to relax in the evening. While I was making the reservation, I was apprehensive how we would do without an air-conditioner in warm month of March. Kerala becomes quite warm by the start of March. But, believe me it was so breezy at the summer house that we had to switch off the fan even during the day time. The sound waves were noisy during the day, but they seemed to be chanting in a rhythm during night.
The  bedrooms with private ensuite are basic in design but quite comfortable to stay
The summer house was being attended by a caretaker named Ram, who was always there to fulfill every need of ours with a smile never leaving his face. There was warm water in the private ensuite, tea and coffee making facilities in the kitchen, and a refrigerator stuffed with beer and packaged water. Ram made tea for us whenever we asked for it. The best part was the food, especially the seafood. They didn’t prepare the food there, but it came from a restaurant being run by the owner of the summer house. The food was fresh and yummy. While we paid for the lunch and the dinner, the afternoon tea and the breakfast were included in the room rent.
There is an area in the sea that is marked safe for bathing. Currents are non-existent there
So serene was the atmosphere that my parents couldn't stop themselves from meditating
Spending two days in the wooden cottage house was nothing short of being in paradise. There is cordoned off area in the sea that is safe for having bath. The house also provides fishing rods to keep you engaged. And above all, it was an awesome idea to sip ice-cold beer while sitting in the verandah in the dim lights of evening and gradually slipping into darkness of night, with water drops flying in intermittently to wet you all this time. And what’s more, we had the entire place almost to ourselves, as a Tsunami warning had resulted in a few cancellations.

How to Reach Kollam
Kollam is a district headquarters and is very well connected through rail and road. It is situated on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake and is approximately 71 kilometres from the state capital city of Thiruvananthapuram. The nearest railway station is Kollam itself that is connected through broad-gauge railroad to almost every nook and corner of the country, and the nearest airport is at Thiruvananthapuram.

Whom to Contact for Reservation
The soft-spoken Mr. N. Sasi is the owner of all the three summer houses. For reservations and inquiries, he can be reached through e-mail at contactsummerhouse@hotmail.com or at +91-9895662839 or +91-474-2794518 on phone. For more information, one can visit the website of Summer House.

Text and Photos by Ajay Garg

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