The Dilemna & the Solution
It is sometimes difficult to choose between two equally popular choices. For us this came in form of Kumarakom and Alleppey. A couple of years back, we were planning a backwater cruise in Kerala and had to finalise one of the two. For us both were equally attractive, we wanted to do both, but time constraint meant that we had to choose one. Advice from locals, at this point, dragged us out of our dilemma. It had to be Alleppey, for it was here that we could enjoy better views.
So that was it! Alleppey backwater cruise was finalised and the rest fell into place. We opted for a day cruise and booked our houseboat accordingly.
Beginning of Alleppey Backwater Cruise
Warm smiles welcomed us on board our houseboat. The captain of the boat briefed us about the backwaters, the history of the houseboats in general and introduced us to the cook who was supposed to prepare our lunch and evening snacks. We listened to him patiently and then asked what interested us more. Would he allow us to steer the boat for some time? ‘Sure’, he said, ‘but only after we have reached the broader part of the lake’. We threw in our next demand. ‘Was it possible for him to arrange for a ride in a smaller boat?’ He thought for a while and said that he would try. Satisfied, we now sat back to enjoy the journey which was about to begin.
Natural Beauty With Worldly Views
The wide expanse of water spread out before us, the shores lined by tall coconut palm trees and green paddy fields – a perfectly idyllic setting into which we surrendered ourselves happily. Our peaceful visuals of nature were accompanied by more worldly ones. There were other houseboats, shikaras, and kayaks carrying more tourists. There were ferries carrying locals from one place to another. More locals on country boat carried construction material, vegetables and other items of daily needs. Then, there were shops selling soft drinks, snacks, fish and other such items. Together, they successfully transported us to a time when life was far more slow paced and relaxed.
A little later, we were at the steering wheel trying to appear in charge of the boat. Fortunately, we were not! The captain, standing right behind, gave out quick & clear instructions – ‘right…. left… centre’- and we simply followed. The humongous boat moved giving out very little hint of the direction in which it was moving!
Exploring the Interiors of Alleppey Backwaters
When the houseboat took a break for lunch, we hopped into our canoe and sailed to explore more of Alleppey backwaters – narrower areas that are difficult to reach by big houseboats but easily accessed by a small boat. We were closer to houses and could see the residents going on with their daily household chores. At one place we stopped to have coconut water to refresh ourselves. Rowing the boat along with the main boatman had left us a little tired but the overall experience far superseded the exhaustion.
A Sumptuous Lunch & The Return Journey
Back at the boat, a sumptuous lunch awaited us – chicken, fish, two kinds of vegetables, raita, salad, fruits, papad and of course rice. We feasted on our delicious meal. A motorised boat in close vicinity of our boat was selling ice creams. We availed the opportunity and bought some from the vendor who, it appeared, was in a big hurry to reach somewhere, or simply run away from us. Anyways, with our sweet delicacy in our hand, we slumped back into our sofas and looked around. It was tranquil all around.
We had a couple of hours left before our trip ended and we wanted to enjoy them entirely. So keeping aside all other thoughts, we immersed ourselves into the beauty that surrounded us.