Continued from Coastal Kerala – Alappuzha (Alleppey)
Day 2 at Alappuzha
I had to explore the backwaters, see the rural areas of Alappuzha that I had heard so much of. So you would take the huge house boats right? Yes, it could be a good decision, and you may stay in luxury, AC rooms, nice food and all. But if you think it is the best think again. My room mate and I decided to take a canoe ride. Canoes or the Shikara boats are those small boats which sail through smallest of the canals. The countryside, the food, ride through canals all for Rs.1000 is worth it. Well, the canoe ride was the highlight of the visit to Allappey.
Had to wake up early and get ready by 7.45PM. Exactly at that time a tour guide came over and took us to the waterway and had us wait for a public boat which was to take us the village where our canoe was waiting. A Chinese tourist joined my room mate and I. There were two more British women who joined us and had a canoe for themselves.
‘Thought we should take the canoe instead of the house boat’, they said.
The public boat ride was fifteen minutes long. We reached a village where our canoeman’s house was located.
The canoeman (Sorry canoeman, don’t remember your name)
The canoeman led the way to his house. We followed him on the small bund walls that separated the waterway from the irrigated crop fields on the other side. It was a five minute walk to his house from the public boat stop.
An awesome breakfast of Puttu, idly and sambhar was served by the canoe man’s wife.
The canoe ride started after the breakfast. We passed under bridges, entered many small canals, visited an isolated church too.
That was our canoe. Took this picture when we stopped for a break.
Boats are the best way to travel from Allappey to villages surrounding it. There are boats parked in front of the house like this one.
One of the houses by the canal
People take their boats, sail to some distance, and catch their fish. Fishermen traverse these canals selling their catch at houses, and to people on other boats. Old ladies washing clothes at one of these platforms was a regular sight, and they are used to tourists in these parts while the tourists savor the sights.
Incredible experience watching life on the banks go by. Quite, peaceful, and relaxing. City boys will not experienced something like this. You’ll wish you’d have a place to live here. It is a different experience using a boat to get to work, or travel to the city to buy your groceries.
After few hours of our boat ride, the canoeman took us back to his house where we had our lunch. A French couple joined us at lunch. They were to stay in the canoeman’s house for the night and leave the next morning they said. After the lunch, we spent the next two hours at the canoe man’s house. The canoeman showed off his collection of letters, and photographs the visitors to his house sent him and his wife. Many visitors would have taken pictures with him and his wife, and sent it to them, and wrote to them after they got back to their country.
The visitors dining area at the canoeman’s house
After the long lunch break, we had a ride around in the waterways, and then by the time we reached the public boat stop it was 4.30 PM which was used to get back to town to our hotel rooms.