Munroe Island—The Pearl of Kerala Backwaters
Posted on July 22, 2018 by Ghoomophiro
The beautiful pearl of an island located near Kollam is a hidden beauty in the backwaters. It is situated between the Kallada and Ashtamudi River, and is not just one island but composed of 8 smaller islands that are separated by lakes and water channels. The island gets its name from Colonel John Munroe who was the Diwan of Travancore. While the islands had no roads or means of transport except for boats before, now there is the main road along with some secondary roads where cars, motorcycles, and buses run. A calm silent and serene place, with birds flying in the sky and slow music coming in from the temple heightening the ambiance of the water while the wind blew our hair was the first impression we had of Munroe Islands. The island has barely a population of ten thousand and it doesn’t even seem like that because the houses are far away. The islands are usually not crowded and very calm.
If you are visiting Kerala, do check out the Munroe Islands. Here is a detailed guide you can follow:
Things to do in Munroe Island and Backwaters of Kerala
1) Canal cruise
The highlight of our visit to the Munroe Islands would have to be the Canoe tour. It was a total delight to explore the various canals, silently gliding through the water, exploring all the islands with a criss-cross path. We left early in the morning and our guide pointed out trees and birds to us. There were fruit trees and prawn farms which we looked at with much excitement. It was a total delight to move through the water like that, absorbing every view with the sun shining beautifully on the water.
2) Exploring the island
We saw fishermen taking their boats and heading off into the river. Some of them dived in to collect seafood. There were people making ropes from coconut fibers which were the wondrous view to watch. The island lives a quiet life, stuck in everyday routines. We also went to the local temple which had a festival going on with people in costumes reenacting Hindu Myths and stories. With drummers and actors acting in a rhythm, it was quite a show for both us travelers and the locals since people were gathered in quite a crowd to witness the whole thing.
We walked around the place, taking in the beautiful views of the water and the lush scenery all around us. The magnificent view of watching the sunset got magnified with the reflection it made on the water. Trips like these make one realize how much beauty there is in the world if one just looks. This was one of the most relaxing destinations we have been to, not just for our body but our minds as well.
3) Other things to see
Animal Life: The backwaters are rich in biodiversity. There were diverse animals, plants, and birds that we saw on our trip. There were eagles, kingfishers, cranes, and hawks and our guide pointed out the various cloves growing around the region. We saw some coconut, papaya and mango trees as well. We also learned that there is a fruit called suicide fruit which is poisonous and looks like a mango. So safety tip, don’t eat it until you know for sure. The place is a haven for bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts.
Water Sports: Though we took to canoeing because we wanted a complete and slow experience of the whole place, there are various sports activities including motor boats and water cycle around the place as well.
We saw the rare sighting of dolphins in the water as well and then resigned for the day, relaxing at the Kollam beach.
Best time to visit Munroe Island and Backwaters of Kerala
Munroe Islands are the kind of place which can be visited any time during the year but for certain special experiences, like Onam (the major festival), if you visit during the month of August or September, you will get to witness the Kallada Boat Race. Also, the damp season during the months of October to May is also considered good for visiting these Kerala Backwaters.
How to reach Munroe Island and Backwaters of Kerala
By Rail: The nearest Railway station is just 3 km away and is the Munroe Island Railway Station. There is also Kollam railway station which is at a distance of 25km from the island.
By Boat: One can take a boat or a ferry to reach the island from the banks of Ashtamudi Lake.
By Air: The only airport nearby is the Trivandrum Airport which is 84 km away from the Munroe Islands.
Where to stay in Munroe Island and Backwaters of Kerala
There are plenty of places to stay in the Munroe Islands and one can choose according to one’s needs.
Munroe Homestay with Vijeesh and Family: There is this homestay which is run completely by family and Vijeesh acted as our host and guide showing us the islands. The place was clean and very nice with good food available. The family had been providing canoe tours for 10 years now and had just recently started the homestay operation as well.
There is so much beauty in Kerala and it often gets lost in the crowded places like Trivandrum. We had beautiful experience during our walking tour of Munroe Island and if not for our habit of planning the travels and having everything in place, we would have stuck around for a couple more days. The place is a true sanctuary for people wanting to take a break from their everyday life to just explore the wilderness and the waters.