The inspired owners of Neeleshwar Hermitage also have their own rice barge and The Lotus is undoubtedly the most beautiful boat in the unexploited backwaters (a network of canals and rivers) of North Kerala. This glorious vessel has all the outward traditional looks of a rice barge whilst the wooden interiors are bright, fresh, colourful and contemporary.
The Lotus provides a diverting alternative to the hotel for long staying guests who’d like to go and cruise the backwaters for a day, a night or more. These backwaters remain totally unexploited and guests are unlikely to encounter virtually any other boats. The area stretching down much of the Malabar Coast, just inland, is known as the backwaters.
On the water people fish, work and punt their narrow dug out boats with tall poles, whilst boatmen carry loads of coir, copra and cashews. They comprise a myriad network of canals and lagoons, at times only a few yards inland from the sea, and stretching for miles.
The Lotus is state of the art and immaculate, having being done up in the same style and to the same high standards as Neeleshwar. It is a new interpretation of the traditional Kerala houseboat but it has all the amenities of a first class hotel and the boat has been designed to give guests a feeling of light, luxury and space. With clean lines and much use of teak, it is bright and fun and fresh. It is fully staffed and managed by the Neeleshwar team and the chef on board will serve you up delicious meals, often fresh from the sea or river. There are two large bedrooms with teak floors, cheery colours, large observation windows, i-pod docks, mosquito netting, fans and silent air-conditioning. Each room has a private sit-out and en-suite airy bathrooms (showers).
There is then a spacious indoor sitting room, a bar, a modern kitchen, and a glorious large sun deck for al fresco dining and soaking up the sun - a perfect vantage point for watching a way of life that has changed little over the years. Undisturbed by the sound of traffic, the birdlife is exceptional and dining under the stars feasting on delicious, freshly caught seafood whilst listening to fish jumping, is magical. The Lotus is 2½ hours from Mangalore, 30 minutes from Neeleshwar and provides the most fabulous base for a 1 or 2 night cruise down these beautiful waterways, making shore excursions on foot or by bicycle.
There is no better way to explore Kerala and its hidden secrets of the waterways than by boat. The Lotus offers 1 or 2 night cruises with part of each day spent gently cruising and the rest of it ashore, visiting otherwise unreachable temples, villages and local cottage industries.
Mindful of Kerala’s pollution problems, the boat is pollutant free and they also have an eco-friendly ‘no-plastic’ rule. Safe and pure drinking water is supplied from the latest ‘reverse-osmosis’ purification system, rather than from indestructible plastic bottles. No waste is discharged into the lake.
Being a houseboat which cruises the waterways and with just 2 bedrooms, this is really only suitable for a very small, intimate, low key celebration perhaps between couples or a family. Entertainment possibilities and space will be limited.
For reservations please contact your tour operator, your local travel agent,
or the hotel.
Swim in the warm, clear waters of the waterways and absorb the peace.
By air to Mangalore followed by a 2 – 3 hour road journey.
By train to Nileshwar from Mangalore, Cochin, Calicut, Tellicherry, Cannanore, Trichur followed by a 10 minute road journey.
By road from Mangalore, Sultan Battery, Tellicherry, Coorg, Nagarhole and Mysore.