Kerala Wanderings: The Peculiar Cherai Beach.

By Anisha Jayadevan.

Nature is such a wonderful cabinet of curiosities. I love coming across little oddities in the geography of a place that make it magical. Two months ago, we visited such a place in Kerala. It was sliver land called Cherai, that had backwaters on one side and the sea on the other. What a feast for the eyes it was. Turn one way and you saw the waves crashing against the beach, turn the other and you saw the calm stillness of the backwaters, and look straight ahead to see a narrow road snaking through little beach side shanty restaurants and coconut and pine trees. 

Cherai beach, beaches of Kerala
A nook from a story tale.
We were going to Kerala to attend a wedding and my father thought we would make the most of it by staying in Cherai which was close by. We reached Erunakulam Junction at 4.30 in the morning. I stood at the door of the train when we were a few stops away and looked out at the scenery that was unmistakably that of Kerala's; luscious green everywhere and embracing everything, and old houses with sloping tiled roofs. We paid Rs. 3 for a train ticket to Aluva, from where we bundled into a car that my uncle had rented for us, and drove off to Cherai. As we were nearing it, I could smell the beach air and I stuck my head out the window with a big smile on my face and gulped it all in. 

Then suddenly, we were driving down this road:

Cherai beach Kerala,
The road leading up to the beach.

It had the backwaters on either side and was beautiful.

We stayed in Amrapaly Beach Resorts which looked over the backwaters and the sea. It was a nice hotel with thatched roofs and friendly owners and we paid Rs. 2000 a day for an A/C room. 
What I loved best was a little gate right opposite the hotel which you could swing open and then hop onto the beach. 

Cherai beach India
What greeted us when we stepped out of our rooms.

The beach starts getting quite crowded after eleven in the morning and stays that way till around 8 in the night. I really do not like crowded beaches, but I found the atmosphere in the evening to be quite lively and high spirited, with lots of food stalls and people merrily walking down the beach road.
I loved Cherai best early in the morning and late at night. I would wake up with my Dad at five in the morning and we would go for a quiet walk along the beach, which would, at that time, be completely empty, save for some happy beach dogs, a few crows trying to worry little beings out of the sand with their beaks, and the fishermen.

beaches of Kerala
The beach by the morning.

The happy beach dogs played with crabs and chased each other and trotted amicably beside us. The crows would hop quickly towards the sand exposed by a receding wave and stick their beaks in and hurriedly hop back before an approaching wave could reach them. We saw the brilliant blue of White Breasted Kingfishers and I strongly suspect we saw a White Bellied Treepie in flight. Far away in the sea, silhouettes of fishing boats came closer and some went farther.

The first day we reached, we drove along the sea, past little dwellings, mounds of mussels and so much green (of the trees) and blue (of the sky and the sea) that it made our hearts swell. Less than half a kilometer away from the hotels, everything is very quiet except for the waves; the beach widens out and is shady under the many pine trees.

We ate sea food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A plate of prawns or mussels was just Rs. 90 and so fresh and so tasty I almost cried. We tried mussels, kari meen (a variety of river fish) and mackerel with puttu (ground rice which is steamed) and appam. We always ate at the tiny beach side restaurants and the owners were always chatty and friendly. A lady in the kitchen of one of these restaurants smiled at us broadly, as though we were long lost relatives.

I sat by the backwaters in the late morning and evening and saw many Grey Herons perched on Chinese fishing nets and a tiny swift-like bird which I could not identify. Our room looked over the backwaters but if you craned your neck a little you could see the beach. The backwaters were like liquid mirrors and reflected many colours. Every time we stepped out of our rooms, the backwaters were a slightly different shade of blue. It looked like the prettiest during sunrise and sunset.

Cherai backwaters, Kerala backwaters
Fishermen fishing for kari meen.

I found that the coconut trees were either allured by the sea or the backwaters. Some of them would lean towards the sea and the others towards the backwaters. We couldn’t take sides as easily.
It was a wonderful three days away and I happily told everyone once I was back about the beach with the sea on one side and the backwaters on the other.

Author Bio: The author likes to think she is something of a wild animal. She likes the moon and the ways of the weather gods and the wind in her hair. When she feels more human, she likes to write and draw and explore and chuckle at silly things. She also happens to be an engineer who works for a software company. Check out her blog at

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  1. Very very nice Anisha. I felt as if i am there with you. Your lively, simple descriptions took me there with you.
    I will surely go there..
    ashta uncle

    1. Thank you so much ashta uncle! :)
      We should definitely plan to go there soon.

    2. Thank you so much ashta uncle! :)
      We should definitely plan to go there soon.

  2. good article and brilliant shots.

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