Picturesque little villages have a history of their own that can quite astound you. As you drive along the length of Kerala, every turn brings with it a scene that is picture perfect. Whether it is a little stream with the typical red-tiled building, or a bridge across turbulent waters, a rustic thatch house flanked by coconut trees or an old, abandoned boat by the road, every sight is music to the eyes, if one can call it so.
Enamavu is one such hamlet which was once controlled by the Portuguese and the British. The exquisite church of The Lady of Mount Carmel reveals a strong Portuguese influence. Legend has it that, in those days, the locals worshipped the Lady of Mount Carmel, calling her ‘En Amavu’ or My Mother, and this is how Enamavu derived its name.
The Enamavu Lake takes one’s breath away as one drives along its periphery and derives its water from the water of the Peechi Dam. Mother Nature preens in all her magnificence as the hues of the blue lake and the greyish-blue backwaters form a striking contrast to the velvety hills and the lush green paddy fields. The Enamavu Dam or Bund was created by Sakthan Thampuran with a vision in mind, which was to prevent the salt sea water from mixing with the fresh lake water. The Enamavu Lake was also natural boundary separating the regions of Malabar and Cochin.
Kerala has always been known for its secular nature. Here again, temples, churches and mosques exist together in perfect religious harmony, as the inhabitants of the port village believe in the oneness of humanity. As one drives along, one is amazed by the frequent sight of golden domes, imposing chapels and temple art along the way. One can catch a glimpse of the Communist symbol, the sickle, as well. The lake is dotted with fishermen in boats, waiting patiently for a catch, even as they bask in the beauty all around them. Myriad tourists travel along these picturesque paths, putting their cameras to good use, as artists and filmmakers find inspiration for their ventures here.
After a drive along a road that seemed scarily tiny, we stopped at the Good Shepherd’s Church at Mullassery. Oh, what a beautiful sight it was, as it loomed above us, an impressive grey and white structure with little domes in varied hues.
Outside, the statue of the Good Shepherd stood in solitary splendour as though watching over the beautiful edifice. A cleverly wrought basket and a white statue of The Good Shepherd completed the scene.
As we stepped into its interiors, a feeling of utter serenity washed over us. It was as though we had been transported to another world, as we gazed entranced at the stained glass windows, the brilliance of the golden altar, exquisite niches with the statues of various saints and depictions of the life of Christ leading to the crucifixion. The ceilings reminded us of the Sistine Chapel, covered with the depictions of a blue sky with clouds, cherubs and angels.
By now, hunger pangs had set in and we looked forward to a delicious Kerala meal. We did hunt for an elusive Karimeen Resort, but after encountering many puzzled looks and vague answers, finally settled for Thekkini Food Court run by DTPC, Thrissur in Chettuva. The first sight of the riverside family restaurant was a trifle dampening because the so-called riverside view had been shut away by opaque glass windows.
The whole place had a rather neglected look about it. There was a children’s park that was obviously not being used much.
However, once we had got over the rustic decor, the jarring blue chairs and opened the windows out, we found that the food served was well worth the effort. The chicken biryani, the fried rice and the mutton fry were delicious, and the karimeen (fish) fry was one of the best we had ever had. So, by the time we left, the decor had faded away and all that was left was a pleasant lassitude that warmed the cockles of our hearts.
It was time to wind our weary way home, though none of us were really weary. The return journey was as picturesque and as green fields and grey-blue waters whizzed by, with silhouettes of house boats, coconut palms, narrow bridges and interesting houses making interesting conversation pieces. As droplets of rain slid down the windscreen, I suddenly recalled the Longfellow quote.
“For after all, the best thing that one can do when it is raining is to let it rain.”
Enamavu: Distance from Thrissur: 20 km
Distance from Guruvayur: 12 km
Mullassery: Distance from Thrissur: 23 km
Distance from Guruvayur: 9 km
Chettuva: Distance from Thrissur: 26 km
Distance from Guruvayur: 11km 504 metres
Photos: Deepti Menon