Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trip to Kerala Part II

Part I has already been published Now read part II

Day 2: Got ready and headed to have the breakfast at the hotel. Delicious puttu kadla, appam & stew, idiappam, pazham puzhanghinadu( steamed nendram pazham - a variety of plaintain) , orange/pineapple juice were the menu. We had our pick and waited at the reception. Our friends family were to join us from Palakkad.

Now we hired a Tata sumo to take us on the whole journey. Now we were all set to visit Allepey (called Alapuzha regionally).

Alapuzha is a popular tourist spot. It is famous for its backwater boat trips, house boats,coir products and the world famous boat races held annually during tiru onam. The kuttanad region situated here is called the rice bowl of kerala. It is one of the very few places in the world where farming is done below the sea level. It is also called the venice of the east because of its canals. It also has a peculiar geographical feature of having the water in level with the land because of which we can enjoy the village beauty in close up from the sailing valloms. The primary mode of transport here is vallom(boat made from wood) which most of the houses have. People who can’t afford to have one make use of the vallom stop ( just like bus stop) where the people get on if they have to trade things like fruits, coconuts etc. in the city.

The two hour drive from our hotel brought us to the place(12 noon) where houseboats could be hired . We had lots of choice here. After bargaining we settled for a 4 hour drive on the backwaters. We hired a boat which was like a house( but not house boat*) had a roof of coir, 4 chairs and a bed. For the first few minutes we were all mesmerized by the house boats, the tiny hamlets, the scenic beauty - the beautiful swaying palm trees along the narrow canals winding through stretches of emerald green paddy fields , inhabited houses where clothes were dried outside, a school without children( Xmas vacation.), a resort where santa was put up, we reciprocated all those who waved at us from their house boats. After ferrying for a couple of hours we were now sick of the water smell and also very hungry. Our boat rider took us to a hotel where everything smelt of non-veg food. We could not get ourselves to eat the veg food served there. Finally forced ourselves with some curd rice and started ferrying again. By now we were not in awe any more. We found it boring and so did the children. Thank god the boys ( sharun and his friend) were carrying some video games. Then as we went by we saw a boat building workshop under a tin roof where the builders were chiselling wood and translating their exquisite expertise into beautiful houseboats. Stopped to have a look and then resumed towards the Kuttanad paddy fields soaking the beauty. We saw an islet( hardly 30X40) which had a single house. Finally made our way back to the place where we hired the house boats at 4 p.m.

Resumed our journey back to the hotel . Reached the city by 7.00p.m. Needless to say we were tired, had our dinner(don’t remember the menu) and hit the bed. Another hectic day awaiting

*A house boat has all the necessities of daily life like washing machine(with a clothes line at the rear), cooking range, fridge,LCD tv ,home theatre music system along with Dish network( the front end), an in house cook(if you prefer not to cook) , a generator and also an a/c in your bed room. It looks so similar to your house with modular kitchen etc., Many tourists hire them for 3-4 days. A two bedroom house boat costs 10 -12k /day depending on the facillites available. The biggest houseboat is a 6 bedroom boat.

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