Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Munroe Island – A Beautiful Landmass in Ashtamudi Lake

Introduction

You might have passed by the Munroe Island or Thuruthu when you traveled in train towards Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram stations. This island is found at the confluence of two water bodies. They are Ashtamudi Lake and Kallada River.  This beautiful piece of land is located in Kollam district of the southern state of Kerala. This island can be accessed by road, railwaynavs and backwater. The island covers a total area of 13.4 square kilometres.

kallada river

Geography of Munroe Island

Munroe Island is located in a larger water body in the Ashtamudi Lake near a point where Kallada River drains its water into the lake before its movement towards the Arabian Sea. It is basically a cluster of eight islands. This island is nearer to the Kollam city centre. It is just 25 kilometres from Kollam city and 12 kilometres from Kundara in the Kollam district. Another district centre Karunagapally is about 25 kilometres by road from this island formation. This beautiful island can also be approached by rail and water. There is an inland navigation system in place that takes the visitor to the heart of the island.  According to the most recent available data, the island has a population of 9599 people.  The administration of this island is under the control of a village body. This administration has control over a few smaller islands in its vicinity.

munroe island

History of the Island

The name of the island is derived from the name of a British Administrator who ruled the former Princely State of Travancore. The name of the person was Colonel John Munro. This island is not a naturally formed one. Rather, it was created when some portion of the lake was reclaimed as land mass during the time of Colonel Jacob Monroe when he was the administrative head of Travancore. The land was reclaimed to boost agriculture. During his time, a study conducted revealed that the reclamation of land at the delta formed by the mixing of the Kallada River with Ashtamudi Lake would boost the agriculture and secure the princely state.  That is the reason why the island is named after him.

munroe island

Monroe Island as Tourist Destination

This island has become a tourist destination for a variety of reasons. On this island, one can see the processing of raw materials for making the coir. The various stages of coir making could be seen in this beautiful island. The various steps through which the coconut husks pass through include coir retting and weaving. This island is also known for fishing activity. The most prized catch on this island is prawn. There are many prawn feeding and processing plants on this island. The visitors of this island can also enjoy the nesting and breeding of migratory birds. The bird watchers will have a ball of time watching these birds and understand their activities from close quarters. People who like cruises can go for navigation through narrow canals and waterways to reach the interior regions of the district where one can reach only by water. While traveling through the water, one would come across numerous coconut farms on either side of its shore. While traveling through the canals, one would also come across lagoons and mangrove plants. If the visitors are inclined to do some fishing activities, they can halt at lagoons and shore up to find an ideal spot for picking up fish from water. The romantic couples can go into the shades of mangrove plants for some private time together!! By means of boats, the travellers can also go to the tiny islands of Pathupara. These islands are renowned for offering beautiful scenery in the backdrop of the Ashtamudi Lake. The island is a witness to a famous boat race. This race is normally conducted at the time of Onam festival. The name of the boat race is Kallada Boat Race. Over the period of years, it has become one of the famous boat races in Kerala. This team effort on canoe is usually organized at Karuvathakadavu. The race starts at this point and goes up to Muthiraparambu on Munroe Thuruthu or Island.

house boat navigation

Other Attractions

Apart from the highlights that have described above, this island has few other destinations where the tourists would like to go during their one-day visit. They are listed below.

  1.  Mulachanthara Temple:  This is one of the famous temples on this beautiful island. The deities of this temple include Goddess Bhadra, Lord Krishna, Goddess Durga and Lord Vigneshwara. The major festivals at this temple are Pradishta Varshikam, Sapthaha Maholsavam and Thiru Ulsavam. The visitors can time their visit in such a way that it coincides with any of these festivals to see the grand celebration.

    temple

  2. Kalluvila Temple:  This is a waterfront temple situated in a place called Panamp. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Krishna.

    temple

  3. Christian Church: This is a lakeside church. It was built in 1878 AD. This pilgrim centre has some unique architecture. Of late, this church has also become one of the tourist attractions on this picturesque island.

    christian church

  4. Palliyam Thuruthu:  This is another beautiful island in the centre of Ashtamudi Lake. It can be accessed by water from Monroe Thuruthu. The island offers the unfettered view of the horizon in the backdrop of the lake.

    kallada river />
  5. Backwater Canals: Ashtamudi Lake has a network of canals and backwaters.  Due to this reason, it provides the most navigable routes in backwaters of this southern district of Kerala. Many backwater tourism operators have set up kettuvalloms or houseboats to help the tourists to savour the lifestyle of people in the backdrop of this beautiful lake and its canals.  Tourists primarily go for the stay on board for a day or two so that they can fully imbibe the beauty of the nature.
backwater canal

Thuruvananthapuram Kollam, Kerala, India
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