We rolled along. And as we drove, the landscape changed – the densely packed houses making way for coconut trees and smaller houses for as far as the eye could see. Tall coconut trees swayed in the breeze. Though the sun was bright, it was not unbearably hot. The road led to a small market place and still we could not find any signage to our destination. We asked one of the locals who told us “go straight down the road and you will reach Vellikkeel.”
We were headed to Vellikkeel, a village in Kannur which was being developed as a tourism destination by the District Tourism Promotion Council. Vellikkeel, we were told, offered boat cruises through a mangrove forest and amazing local food. And when we reached, we discovered that it was a beautiful place.
We spotted a long walkway along the lake, solar lamps lighting up the place, seats to rest and a playground for the kids. Beyond that was the jetty from where the boats started. To enjoy Vellikeel it is mandatory to go on a boat ride. The ride takes you through a mangrove forest and you can even touch the roots that grow so close to the water.
But, before you go on a cruise, we suggest you order food. For when you return, you will be hungry and it is a crime not to indulge in the amazing local cuisine that is offered at a restaurant by the water. We suggest you order the local delicacy called the 'uruliyappam' which is made from a paste of rice, coconut and onions. There are different types of puttu (steamed rice cake) that is served here. Indulge in the unique crab puttu, squid puttu and the prawns puttu that will make your tummy happy.
(This article was first published in Manorama Traveller)