When I went to this small island called Nedungad and asked some of the locals what to see here, most of the people had the same answer. ‘There is nothing here but this backwater to see..
They were right, the locals don’t see anything special here. But for people who come from outside, can see only beautiful views wherever we look. Nedungadu was the place I found to spend an evening.
Kochi, the lovely daughter of Vembanad Lake and the Arabian Sea, has a great charm. Nedungad is one of the scattered cousins of this beautiful Kochi who was deprived of sleep by many foreigners centuries ago.
Nedungad is a small island about 8 km in circumference near Nayaramabalam in Kochi. It can be reached by about six small bridges and crossings. Vembanad Lake is famous for its beautiful scenery, rustic rural life and serene atmosphere. It is a village that is intertwined with a lake with lots of prawn cultivation and other fishing grounds. The influx of tourists to this small village opposite Kadamakudi, which has attracted a lot of tourists. Nedungad has not yet started on a large scale tourist visit. Most of the visitors come in here for search of the location of the Mammootty movie Madhuraraje.
There are many ways to reach Nedungad, my friend and I used to reach here by bike via Paravur. As we cross a small one-way bridge from the mainland, we are greeted by a sprawling field of course.
First the bike ride around the island for around 8km.
The first was a bike ride through all the roads on this small island. In the evening sunlight, small intersections of middle-aged people, groups of children playing football, and groups of young people can be seen along the way. The locals are not aware of the hustle and bustle and fast life of the nearby city of Kochi. The place is a quiet, secluded place. When we reached Nedungad boat jetty at the end of the day, the evening sun had the highest saturation of its glare. The boat jetty is only in name, and its boat service has been discontinued for a long time. The main attraction of the place is the one kilometer long road from the main road to the Nedungad boat jetty. On both sides of this black tar road leading to the backwater are shrimp nets as far as the eye can see. Both sides of the path, which is adorned with flowering plants, are in the shade of numerous palm and coconut trees. The view from the road coming from this road, which ends at the boat jetty just in front of you, is beyond words.
The boat jetty where the boat did not come.
The beaks waiting for his food with the gentleness of the sages on the edge of the backwater, the sounds of hundreds of birds, their flocks, some collapsed buildings, the barns next to the lake, and all those sitting on the shore with their heads tied and bait, will take us back a little while.
From time to time, boats pass by, giving life to the still waters of the lake. The evening sunlight presents a beautiful canvas over the lagoons that make up the boat’s cruise.
There were very few tourists when the boat reached the jetty area. A few young people and two families are spending this beautiful evening in their world. Then there are a few local fishermen and shrimp hatcheries who are busy with their work in many places.
Centuries-old abandoned waterway.
This is a waterway that was used by many passenger boats and cargo boats years ago. The Maharaja of Kochi at that time traveled to Paravur and Alappuzha by the same route. This river joins the Vembanad Lake called Veeran Puzha. Veeranpuzha, which flows through many small island villages in Kochi, finds refuge in the Vembanad Lake and the Arabian Sea. New transportation studies suggest that this abandoned national waterway could easily connect several places, including Vipin and Paravur, with Cochin City. Therefore, discussions are underway at the government level for a Metro waterway through Veeranpuzha. All the paddy fields here that used to be full of paddy have now been transformed into shrimp farms. The cement floor where the paddy was separated and the small dilapidated buildings that were kept can be seen in many places as memories of the past agriculture days. There is almost no one in the village who owns his own shrimp farms, works in other shrimp farms, or sells river fish. The life of the people of Nedungad is related to fishing.
The technique of catching fish with lantern.
I went to a rough man to ask a few questions about shrimp farming. The middle-aged man, who was busy working on a small wooden gate between the shrimp pond and the lake, did not like any of my questions. After examining the normal case of who I am and what I am, I sat down and introduced myself, the name Augustine is the one who looks after all the things in this prawn cultivation. My doubts were about that gate mentioned earlier, albeit a little rough, but Augustine cleared up all the doubts.
In all these visible shrimp nests, the prawns are taken back after each harvest for the next harvest. But most of the young prawns that are kept for breeding will die due to various diseases and bird flu. Farmers make up for such losses by loading shrimp and other fish from the backwater lake into their shrimp farms. During spring tides the water level in the lake also rises. Later, at neap tide, the water enters the lake through a net attached to the trunk so that all the fish can be caught in the shrimp trap. This wooden gate is called ‘Thoombu.’ Farmers use this traditional system of thumping during each tide. The fish in the lake flowing through the gorge
A lantern, also known as a ‘ Koodu Vilakk’ in local language is hung near the stump to attract fish. This traditional method, which is years old, and the dim light of the hive lamp at dusk took me back to some time.
Invitation to the rough fisherman’s hut…
When darkness began to engulf the Nedungad boat jetty and the lake, I started to go back and Augustine stopped me and kept telling me many stories. He talk about the village where he was born and raised and the backwater. He started to told me lot of old stories in Nedungad and Vypin area. Augustine is angry that after becoming the shooting location of movies, a lot of people come to Nedungad boat jetty and its surroundings and most of them come here with liquor and drugs. Darkness spread throughout the area. Augustine invites me to visit is little barn on the ridge near the shrimp farm. I respectfully declined his invitation and says thanks to him. At that time the lights were on in the many shrimp nests spread out as far as the eye could see. In the dim light of the hive calls, can see some of the attics. I’m slowly returning from this world of quiet to the world of noise and busy days.
If you want to watch the video of Nedungad Island visit my YouTube channel.