When I reached Oloppara around 4 in the evening, Kandankutty was busy arranging the toffees and salted gooseberry on his small pull cart stall.
“A little later people will start arriving. Everyone loves these. I started the business since the place has been transforming,” he said. There are three four people along with him engaged in chit-chatting.
There are two to three stalls on the shores of the Akalappuzha river. Young people in groups, families and many more reach here when the sun slowly started to set. This is one of the familiar sight at Oloppara in the evenings.
With the ongoing process to convert Olappara, Kachira bund and nearby areas in Chelannur into an eco-tourism project, many transformations have taken place. The project is being implemented in phases.
The beautiful way in
The ride through the shores of the Akalappuzha, gives you the sights of mangrove forests on one side and small but beautiful houses on the other sides. There are some small bamboo huts constructed into the water. These are not part of tourism but built by locals here.
Children playing around and cattle roaming around can also be seen here.
“We don’t find this anything out of ordinary. Many people are arriving here, especially on holidays. We grew up bathing and playing in this river. I think this is why we don’t experience the speciality,” a local said.
On both sides of the Oloppara - Kachira bund road there are hand rails installed and there are steps at intervals to descend into the water. Cement benches are installed on one side.
Children are seen playing in the water while parents are restraining them out of fear of falling.
“Even the middle of the river is only below 10 feet and hence no accidents occur here,” said the locals.
There are plenty of fishes in the river and are so tasty. Within minutes of reaching the shore the fishes will be sold out.
Boating and park
The Oloppara tourism project is taken forward by the Chelannur panchayat and minister AK Saseendran. The masterplan of the project was prepared by the Revenue, DTPC and Harbour engineering departments.
The beautification is proposed without adversely affecting the mangrove forests and the shores. A park and amphitheatre are proposed on the land owned by the panchayat near the river. Pedal boating service is also proposed. A temporary hanging bridge is also under consideration to enjoy the scenic beauty here.
Chelannur panchayat vice president P Vijayan said that measures are proposed to conserve the birds and environment here. The hand rails were constructed using the funds of the district panchayat.
Many meetings have been convened under minister Saseendran for the implementation of the project and a detailed project plan has been prepared. Minister’s office informed that the project plan will be submitted soon after the elections.
How to reach
There are two routes to reach Oloppara from Kozhikode town. One is from Kakkodi via Cherukulam road and the other is through the road on the left at 7/6 near Chelannur.