The backwaters of Thrissur are as beautiful as the one in Alappuzha. However, even seasoned travellers give the backwaters in Thrissur a miss. The reason is that few people know that Kerala’s biggest mangrove forest is at Chettuva in the district.
However, though no Keralites visit the place, numerous foreign tourists arrive at Chettuva to enjoy the boat ride over the backwaters, observe the migratory birds, harvesting of mussels and tapping of toddy.
Chettuva is situated on the south-western part of Thrissur district. It is the water body one can see on the eastern side of the bridge near Vadanappally on the Thrissur-Guruvayur route. It is a backwater that lies adjacent to the Arabian Sea.
A boat trip on Chettuva takes around five hours. The lake is surrounded by places like Manalur, Chettuva, Kandassankadavu and Thriprayar. In fact, there are two separate lakes – Chettuva and Enammavu. The Canoli canal empties itself into these two lakes. All three water bodies together form a wide expanse.
The biggest mangrove forest in Kerala is situated in the middle of the Chettuva backwaters. The presence of Canoli canal and Enammavu lake have contributed to the lush growth of the mangroves.
To reach the place, one has to travel 21 km from Thrissur along the national highway to Engandiyur. From there, take a deviation to the right. Travel 2 km along this narrow road, which ends at Vettakkorumakan boat landing. The boat trip to Chettuva backwaters starts from here.
The boat first takes visitors to an area where fishing is carried out. At Kodam Mukku, a shop sells fresh fish. The shop owner, Unni, says fish weighing up to 50 kg were once available from the lake.
Almost every man in the village is an expert in fishing and can use various types of nets, fishing rod and also harvest mussels. They also know how to extract the flesh from the mussels.
The boat next passes along the deep areas of the lake and where plantations line the shores. The Canoli canal and Enammavu Lake are subsequently covered. Ahead is the Chettuva Lake. The place reminds a visitor of R Block in Kuttanand. From the middle of Chettuva, one can observe the bridge and the mangrove forest.
After stopping the boat near the mangrove forest, a visitor can examine the area closely. The mangrove forest comprises trees that remain partially below water and partially above. One cannot distinguish between root and stem. Inside the forest, it is cool.
During the return trip, the highlight is a visit to the toddy shop at Chettuva. The specials there are tapioca and mackerel curry. Other dishes typical to toddy shops are also available.
Chettuva boat trip
Starts from Vettakkorumakan boat landing.
Timings: First trip at 5.45 am. Its duration is 3 ½ hours. Other trips are at 9 am, 12 noon and 3 pm.
Full day trip: 9 am to 3 pm.
Accommodation is available at Coconut Island Resort. The check-in and check-out are at noon. Booking should be done at least 4 days in advance. For details, contact: 9847178455.