Much of the popular backwater attractions of Kerala are located in the southern and central parts of the State. Contrary to this belief, Footnotes, this month takes you to a serene backwater network in the northern most district of Kerala - Kasaragod. Here adjoining the backwaters of Valliyaparampu lies a beautiful backwater village of Thekkekadu, which has an inspiring story to share with its visitors. It is all about Padanna's crusader in self-employment, Mr. Gul Mohammed and his backwater retreat - Oyster Opera at Padanna.
Set amidst avenues of coconut tress and crisscrossed by canals and fanned by backwaters the retreat has everything natural at its core of existence and functioning. It is located at Padanna, near Cheruvathur in the District of Kasaragod.
One man's passion to enhance the livelihood of his fellow villagers has now culminated in the form of a retreat, and the first theme village of Kerala. That is Oyster Opera at Padanna with oyster farming as its theme. It is now a source of income to thousands and a destination for those who would love to be part of the very best of available natural settings.
Facilities out here at Oyster Opera reflect the cultural and traditional traits of the local people. Here, the villagers play host during your stay at the retreat. The whole ambience does not have the sophistication of modern day resorts and the visitors are bound to appreciate this aspect the moment they land at Padanna and till they bid goodbye. But saying goodbye to Padanna is never easy. Because such is the kind of satisfaction and pleasure that you get here, it makes you yearn for more.
The resort has, as mentioned earlier, natural interventions in almost all of the facilities offered to its guests. Be it the restaurants, where you get to relish many of the local mouthwatering delicacies, including green mussels and clams or your place of dwelling, toilets and bathrooms. Currently at Oyster Opera, guests have option to go for three Cottages on land, one Float House, one Elevated House with well equipped kitchen, occupancy for two, veranda, toilet and bathroom.
Once at Padanna, one can literally explore every inch of the village on your own. The brackish water of Padanna and its surrounding villages are endowed with great natural beauty. Nearby the retreat one could visit a number of tiny palm-fringed islands and also coconut lagoons and mangroves. Or else, one may engage in tï¿½te-ï¿½-tï¿½te with the villagers as they go by their routine activities of oyster and seaweed farming or else may take a close look at their fresh catch of clams and edible oyster. The nearby vast beach and the estuary here are worth visiting and one could also spot wild beavers in a couple of nearby islands. The backwaters at Padanna are nourished by five rivers, which later join the Arabian Sea.
At Padanna, visitors to Oyster Opera can also go for delightful backwater cruises in houseboats, country boats, feel the sun and the sand on the Valiyaparamba Beach and estuary or opt for rejuvenation therapy by traditional practitioners of Ayurveda, a boat-ride through River Thejaswini passing by the woods and fields, learn fishing techniques by using strings, nets and bare hand, or go for a moonlit backwater cruise in a country boat. Some of the nearby attractions of Padanna include the historic Bekal Fort; the Parassinikkadavu Temple noted for its unique rituals; Karim Forest, a manmade forest owned by a nature enthusiast and during the season, one can also witness Theyyam, one of the popular and resplendent ritual art forms of the region. More details can be had from www.oysteroperaatpadanna.com or via email: [email protected] or call + 91 467 2278101.
Nearest railway station: Kanhangad, about 22 km
Nearest airport: Karipur International Airport, about 167 km