Backwater boating

Alleppey Travel Blog

 › entry 13 of 22 › view all entries
Along the canal

Alleppey is in the centre of the Keralan backwaters, a huge area of lakes, waterways, small canals and rice paddies. We boated three ways - on a small motor boat, on a paddled boat and on a public ferry. The whole area is well populated, with houses lining most banks, some very new and brightly painted. Women,waist deep in the water, beat laundry and washed pans and washed children. Kids splashed and bathed and men cleaned their teeth. Old women paddled small canoes from one bank to another on errands. Larger boats, low in the water, passed by carrying building materials. The paddle boat glided along narrow canals and we stopped to look at the vast expanse of rice paddies and great flying fox bats in the trees. Our boatman pointed out mango trees, cashew trees, kingfishers and cormorants.

No, a real bridge, not a game show
He presented a beautifully scented jasmine flower to Hilary, but only conversed with Mike. The public ferry was busy, standing room only for some of the hour and quarter 5rp ride. It stopped at little landing stages where people - literally - jumped on and off. The engine was in an open pit in the middle of the boat, not far removed from the "African Queen"; and some vistas where the palm trees leant over the canal and the vegetation was thick and water hycacinths drifted by was a bit African Queen - like too. On the return journey, we moored at the Indian Oil station and filled up with diesel while we passengers all watched.

About 20% of Keralans are Christian. Just round the corner from our homestay (Palmy Residency - lovely place, 500rps a night, Sacred Heart picture in Reception) is St George's Syrian Orthodox Church.

In the rice paddy
As we looked in the Deacon came to talk to us. The cloth hiding the high altar (representing Mt Sinai he told us) was pulled back for us to see. He told us that the 2 hour Sunday service (just finished) was in Syriac, the language of Christ he said, as well as in the local malayalam language. The chants have a Jewish resonance, reflecting the founding of the Church. The Metropolitan - the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, now based in Damascus, - had recently visited. The congregation was flourishing. Apparently the St Thomas Christians - they trace their founding back to St Thomas's arrival in India in 54AD have a firm place in Keralan society.

Curiously, Kerala also has an elected communist State government. Elections are looming and red flags with hammer and sickle are evident everywhere. On one canal, with the local communist leaders' portraits, was a huge picture of Che. Contrasting India again!

munnarguide says:
kerala was a nice destination and your photos are looking fine.Alleppey backwaters was really a amazing experiance for travellers with the houseboat ride and staying close to backwaters of alleppey in kerala.
Posted on: Aug 23, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Along the canal
Along the canal
No, a real bridge, not a game show
No, a real bridge, not a game show
In the rice paddy
In the rice paddy
The builders merchant
The builders merchant
The ferry
The ferry
And inside the ferry
And inside the ferry
Syrian church
Syrian church
Che in communist Kerala
Che in communist Kerala
Alleppey
photo by: Stevie_Wes