With the alarming rate of drying up of rivers and a water crisis that’s only getting larger by the day, Muziris Paddle attempts to make a difference in its own way, one kayak at a time. By Shrimayee Thakur
Muziris Backwater Paddle is a two-day kayaking expedition through Kerala’s backwaters. It is being organised by Jellyfish Watersports and the Muziris Heritage Project, on January 4 and 5, 2020, along the National Waterway 3. Paddlers will begin at the Kotturpuram Jetty in Kodungallur district, and will then paddle 40 kilometres (20 kilometres a day) to the Bolgatty Island in Kochi, where the journey ends. Over 200 people participated in 2019’s event, and the organisers are expecting similar numbers at the 2020 event.
Muziris was an ancient port in India, with a history dating as far back as early 3,000 BC, when the Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians came searching for spices to the Malabar Coast. As tales of its superlative spices spread, Arabs and Phoenicians joined the expeditions to Muziris, and the port gained a position on the world trade map of the time. The trade centre, frequented by Buddhists, Arabs, Chinese, Jews, Romans, Portuguese, Dutch and even the British, was also known as Murachipattanam, a place that also finds a mention in the Ramayana. The port city, however, disappeared when floods and earthquakes destroyed it after water bodies in the Periyar River basin underwent major transformations. The ruins of the former trade hub were discovered when rains in Pattanam, a small town in Kerala, unearthed the debris.
The two days spent in the kayaking expedition will take you through the fascinating history of the land, while simultaneously engaging you in river cleaning activities. The event organisers hope that two days spent on the water, along with an active effort to clean the river, will help the paddlers form a bond with the rivers and instill in them the urge to protect and conserve these precious water bodies, of which Kerala has 41.
Both beginners and expert paddlers are welcome to join Muziris Paddle 2020. Certified kayakers will be provided with sit-in kayaks, while beginners will be safe with the sit-on-top kayaks. All the information about the tour, along with tickets can be found on the Jellyfish Water Sports website.