Call it Alleppey, Alappuzha, Venice of East or the land of snake boat race, the place is enchanting on a different level. Kerala has numerous spots to see the backwaters but none of them is as soothing & beautiful as Alappuzha. The place gets the best of backwater lagoons with widest coverage, well planned surroundings and the most peaceful spots.
Even as a kid I had a sharp memory about the massive boat races which were held in Kerala, I think everyone used to fancy them as a kid but later with so much more on the television, the regional thing got lost; for me personally, it was the cartoon network that took over.
The town is supposed to be the third biggest and one of the most well developed ones, all thanks to the old sea trade route. It looks like a very easy going place, maybe it’s the air in Kerala or its something supernatural. Kerala has something that soaks everyone into it’s tranquility. God’s own country is really the best name for the down south beauty where everything slows down.
Reached here one early morning and all I had on my mind was the backwaters ride, so many people tried to offer a deal. I finally found mine with 1500 INR for 6 hours of ride on an individual boat, which I think wouldn’t have got any sweeter. The ride started and within 15 odd minutes, I was in a state of Nirvana. With pin drop silence as you look around you see some other boats, some boat-repair shops and a few makeshift eateries with whatever fresh catch they can lay their hands on. A ton of mangrove, coconut trees and miles and miles of endless water and a remarkable peace that makes up for the Backwaters.
I don’t think I would have even talked in those 6 hours, I only answered when the boat driver asked a question that too in specific. He asked if I was hungry and wanted to eat and my answer was “Yes”. After a while he parked the boat near a shop which looked shabby with tin top and bamboo but had amazing catch from backwaters for a meal. I chose the jumbo prawn which was maybe 9 odd inches and wholesome meaty treat and costed me only 100 INR. I cannot imagine a better, cheaper meal being an Indian too.
The backwaters are a labyrinth in itself, with so many curves and ends; you need to know the way exactly, when it all looks the same. There is also an exit to the Arabian sea where you can feel the water current picking up and pulling you into itself.
Alleppey is one of the top destinations for honeymoon couples, considering the houseboat stay they offer. Dal Lake in Kashmir has the same setup but it’s not accessible throughout the year plus it has security issues which pushed a lot of Indian tourists down south to opt for a little more expensive Kerala. Every second Saturday of August is the day for Nehru Trophy Boat Race of the Snake boat race which is a magnificent view of 90 to 110 rowers on a single boat racing to reach the finishing spot first. Quiet like a drag race on waters with no wheels. This and Onam are 2 times when Kerala flocks in most of crowd.