Sambranikodi, a paradise in Ashtamudi Lake

An enchanting spot in Sambranikodi is an island where pearl spot, clams and mussels grow abundantly | Photo: Rajan M Thomas

Sambranikodi is a picturesque village in the Ashtamudi backwaters situated close to the Arabian Sea. However, it is facing official neglect. The village falls in the area of ward 13 of Thrikkaruva grama panchayat and is at the southern tip of Prakkulam.

It was along this coast that small ships from China anchored in the past. Local people referred to these ships as 'chambrani' and the place came to be known as Sambranikodi. Another local legend says that the area once had many 'sambrani' trees.

The residents of the place are now fisher folk and people leading ordinary lives. However, attracted by the natural beauty of the area, hundreds of tourists arrive in Sambranikodi every day. The region is accessible by road from Anchalummoodu as well as the backwaters.

The first sight that greets visitors at Sambranikodi is the fish auction hall. A wide variety of backwater fish are available here from 6 am and all the catch is sold off within an hour.

Though scores of foreign and domestic tourists arrive, Sambranikodi lacks even a single public washroom. The only facility available is at a restaurant named 'Kayaltheeram.' The Tourism Department had sanctioned an amount of Rs 7 lakh to build public washrooms but the panchayat authorities have so far failed to identify land for the purpose.

The Kayaltheeram Restaurant, which is owned by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) but is run by a contractor, serves a grand feast of backwater cuisine.

An enchanting spot in Sambranikodi is an island where pearl spot, clams and mussels grow abundantly. Called 'Sambrani' Island by the local people, the place can be reached by boats arranged by the DTPC. Chinese fishing nets are a sight to behold here, especially at night when they are illuminated.

Sambrani Island was formed when soil dredged for work related to the national waterway was piled up in backwaters. During high tide, water would be knee-high on the island and when low tide is experienced, the ground is exposed.

Travellers can get down at a floating jetty on the island and wander across the shallow waters. Meanwhile, they can also enjoy the stunning scenery of the Ashtamudi backwaters all around and the Arabian Sea nearby. Houseboats heading to Munroe Island pass along this route. Nine rare varieties of mangroves can be seen on the island, including the yellow mangrove.

Travellers taking the Kollam Bypass route can get a distant view of the island from the Kureepuzha bridge. Visiting time at the island, which is managed by the DTPC, is from 10 am to 6 pm. Though it is a good spot to watch the sunset, all tourists have to leave before evening.

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