A cruise along the backwaters of Alappey (also called Alapuzha) in Kerala, South India.

alapuzha Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
Kerala, the southernmost state in India is nowadays known as "God's own country" around the world. Alappuzha is a place in the southern part of Kerala and is also known as the "Venice of the East". It was "Aleppey" in English and called "Alappuzha" in Malayalam, the local language of Kerala. (Just an interesting fact - "malayalam" when spelled in reverse ends up being the same !). Aleppey is now the hub for backwater tourism in Kerala. House boats locally called "Kettuvallam" are available on hire on a daily basis as well as for longer durations to take visitors on the old waterways. These house boats in general have 2 bedrooms and attached bathrooms. Some of the boats have the bedrooms fitted with air conditioners.
A routine trip includes food cooked on board in the traditional "Kuttanad"  style.

Very good information on  Aleppey is available here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alappuzha

We were a group of four families - about 12 people. A houseboat had already been booked for backwater cruise. We reached the boarding point at about 9:00 AM. The houseboat was already parked in the jetty. These houseboats are comfortable for long journeys - they have air-conditioned rooms, toilet/bathrooms etc. and a spacious "sit-out" in the front where sofa sets are arranged. There is a refrigerator also on board. The whole package includes the cruise, lunch and dinner. The modalities (like what dishes you prefer etc. have to be settled at the time of booking. Our trip cost Rs.
7,500/- all inclusive.

The tour started along with all of us in good spirits! The main idea is to just laze around and watch the super green nature passing by and also other boats along the way. There are lot of shacks along the route and if you feel hungry, just ask the attendants (there are about four including the driver) to park at one of these places. The most famous treat available here is the fried fish called "karimeen varuthathu" - the shape is similar to the pomfret but this one is really thorny. You have to be very careful when you try it - but the taste is super! And to wash it down, you get the "toddy" - a fermented drink obtained from coconut trees. So, with both these ingredients inside your tummy, the spirits really start to soar.

The cruise also gives you a fantastic chance for photography.
Go on snapping left, right, centre - do not worry if the camera is digital - you can delete :-) when you want - and by the end of the day you will be surprised at what you got !

Slowly it is lunch time and you have rice with fish curry and other delicacies (veg and non-veg) - chicken, veg. curry etc.. And if you want to have the ethnic cuisine just park at one of the shacks on shore and ask for "Tapioca" (boiled and made into a dry dish) preparation called "Kappa" in the local lingo along with a fiery spicy fish curry called "meen curry". Of course you can wash everything down with the toddy you purchased or the beer that is stored in the refigerator on-board.

Then it is siesta time or you can continue taking the photos or just gossip or enjoy the greenery around.
By tea time you have travelled along a bit and slowly turn around for the return trip. For tea you will get ripe banana (called nenthra pazham) slices fried in coconut oil with a coating - and this is called "pazham pori".

On the way, there is a small chapel at a place called Kainakary - the birth place of Blessed Kuriakose alias Chavara. He was the co-founder and first prior-general of the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate and of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel.He was beatified, along with Saint Alphonsa on February 8, 1986, by Pope John Paul II at Kottayam, India. His memorial is celebrated on January 3. The ancient chapel here is dedicated to the saint, built on the site of his birth enclosing his ancestral home. It is a place of worship where thousands of devotees gather for prayer and is believed to receive numerous favours.
You can visit this link for more information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuriakose_Elias_Chavara. We got down at this place and spent about half an hour walking around and then it was time to get back on the boat.

You won't know how time passes and slowly dusk starts settling in. You have the option of drinking tea or the toddy/beer :-). Depending upon the scheme you selected at the time of booking, you can have dinner (a little early at about 7.30 PM) and then it is time to end the trip.

Remember - there are lot of other interesting places/events to see other than the backwater cruise in Alappuzha. You need about 2 to 3 days to really enjoy them. There are famous Boat Races during August/September when tourists from all over the world visit. Then other places to be seen are Alappuzha Beach, Krishnapuram Palace, Mullakkal Rajeswari Temple, Pathiramanal, Ambalapuzha Temple, Arthunkal Church, Champakulam Church, Edathua Church, Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, Mavelikkara, Karumadikuttan, Mararikulam etc.. etc..

When we climbed ashore from the houseboat, I made a mental promise to come back sometime again to repeat the backwater cruise and also to see the other missed out places and enjoy it all over again!!

Africancrab says:
Well written, I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing
Posted on: Mar 04, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
408 km (254 miles) traveled
Sponsored Links
photo by: tholath