17 Dec 2020

Tale beneath the brackish backwaters of Alleppey

Dusk has poured a bluish silhouette over the sleepy yet fringed lagoons of Alappuzha but wait! Fisherman’s hope is still alive for the lucky catch of the day. On the other side; the organic toddy; the traditional drink of Kerala is waiting for him before the shop owner shuts the doors for the day. The watery highway has already nestled the anchored houseboats for the overnight halt. The crew members are busy apprising the onboard guests with the native life of dwindling localities and the chef is ready to treat the impatient taste buds. By now the shady canals are in deep slumber.

I reminisce about my overnight houseboat journey for a very simple reason! There is a lot more than just a houseboat tour through the tropical village life of Alleppey. The vast labyrinthine network of waterways weaving through the villages amidst lush vegetation and nesting the serene Vembanad Lake gives you a perfect glimpse of the local life here. To the right of this lake lies destination Kumarakom, probably coined considering the decade's touristic movement otherwise the few minutes’ drive that brings you the busy town named Kottayam. Kumarakom is nothing but the side-to-side spread of luxurious resorts, dwindling on the right bank of Vembanad Lake. To the left of this scenic lake lies the Alleppey shore again abode to the side-to-side resorts stretching from north to south end.

As the sun rises, day to day movement gathers pace with floating houseboat carrying tourist to the boat jetties. It’s a sight to rejoice in how native folks unfold their day with the treasured chatter while crisscrossing the canals through the day. School kids are uncaringly waiting to board the school boat. By now the anchored houseboats have enough rest and it's a good time to resume the journey towards the final halt.

As you cruise through the Vembanad lake before stepping out from the boat, an inland sanctuary known as the Pathiramanal (means midnight sand) bird sanctuary will call you for a pit stop. An ideal bird watchers paradise, this small island is a safe haven for hundreds of rare migratory birds. Of course, it’s a favorite transit home for migratory birds like the Siberian Stork, Egret, Darter, heron, teal.

While you cruise through, don’t forget to handpick the local seafood and get it cooked on board even though the driver may feel a bit hesitant to break the gained momentum of the houseboat.

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