Mararikulam Beach - Visiting my favourite bits of Kerala has turned out to be more exhausting than I’d anticipated. Azheekan’s certainly has left me a bit emotional, so I’m glad we’d had the foresight to choose Mararikulam as our final stop on what has turned out to be a fairly epic Keralan holiday. The drives through the hills, though not overlong, have been a bit tiring as well and so we’re happy that only a few kilometres separate the Azheekan family home from Marari.
We’ve decided to treat ourselves after the somewhat meagre creature comforts offered by Azheekan’s and booked ourselves a cottage with a living room and verandah of our own at the Casino Group’s Marari Beach.
A sprawl of a property, with a choice of restaurants, slightly manicured-looking gardens, a volleyball court and a Jacuzzi, it is undeniably a resort but not an antiseptic one. And a bit of a release – Kerala can sometimes be very, very Kerala, if you know what I mean, with constant reminders of where you are, so we’re secretly glad to have an airy cottage after the dark wood interiors of traditional Keralan homes: sunlight floods white rooms, and it feels like a holiday here. And the open spaces the hotel offers are great for children and grandparents, alike; by itself, Marari Beach could feel bland, but, at the end of a charged trip like this, it’s much needed. Walk along sandy paths, heave a happy sigh after a few minutes in the pool’s Jacuzzi end, get beaned by a casuarina twig – as a final stop before you have to head back home, this works well. It’s worked for me, certainly.
We head back to Kochi on our final day, revived by the inertia of the last few days of the trip and laden with bags bearing mementos of our experiences: clothes smelling of the vanilla and cinnamon we bought in Thekkady, sepia-tinted photographs of nameless families that an antique shop in Mattancherry was hawking, a stray wildflower from Munnar pressed between the pages of a book. We’ll be talking of this one around the family table for years to come.
Where to Stay
Marari Beach has spacious, terracotta floored cottages with separate dressing and TV areas and often feature open-to-sky bathrooms. The resort offers a number of activities such as cooking classes, a bird watching walk, massages and a village tour, but as none of them require you to be very energetic. They’re all worth doing (00-91- 478-2863801; cghearth.com/marari-beach; Mararikulam-North; from Rs. 15,000).
Where to Eat
Chakara Restaurant is the main eatery at Marari Beach and serves a variety of foods as part of the buffet or à la carte. Its local Keralan food is, however, the best (meals for two for about Rs. 800).