Magnificent Twenty Hours in Houseboat in Kerela
Backwaters are what we had come to experience in Kearala. Formed by innumerable canals, lakes, estuaries and lagoons, this is a intricate network of lush green waterways that presents you a sight you will savor forever. These backwater alleys are like road networks and are lifelines for the people living around them. Motor lunch and boats transport people from places to places along the backwaters. Add to this landscape of daily life, the numerous houseboats, traditionally called the Kettuvalloms, ferrying tourists presenting them 22 unforgettable hours of life in Kerala backwaters.
Houseboats are bery comfortable
We had booked a houseboat from Allepey which is the hub of backwater cruises. On our arrival from Periyar, our boat was waiting for us at the Nehru Boat Trophy Finishing Point on the sprawling Vambanad Lake. This is where the famous Snake Boat race on the Vambanad Lake concludes. On entering the Allepey town you will finds boats in all shapes and size everywhere. They were virtually jamming the canals inside the town. There are boats and houseboats of all varities to suit your budget. You will get houseboats in one bedroom and two bedroom combinations with attached bath. Each has own unique style of construction and tastefully decorated. In addition to the bedrooms, there normally are an open dining hall and also an open balcony on top. There is a small cabin cum kitchen on the back for the crew. Solar panels are fitted on top ensures uninterrupted electricity at night. Rooms are equipped with lights and fans. Mosquito nets, which are a must, are wrapped nicely on the ceiling. Most houseboats are powered with a single speedboat engine that produces just enough power to push the massive boat slowly. However there are houseboats available, which are run by manpower rather than horsepower. Some foreign tourists prefer them. Besides there are boats with chairs only available for a tour of the Vambanand Lake and its adjoining backwaters. But book a houseboat. It is worth every rupees you spend for it. One day in houseboat means 12 pm on the day of boarding to 10 am next day. The package is inclusive of lunch, evening refreshments, dinner, and breakfast next morning.
Into the Backwaters of Kerala
Our houseboat was named the Lake Beauty. We bade goodbye to Kumar, the driver of the car we were traveling for the past 3 days. The boat set sail shortly after we came overboard. The boat was taken to the middle of the Vambanand lake and was anchored there for lunch. Cooked in the traditional way to give us a taste of local flavours, the lunch was delicious. Once the lunch was over, the boat sailed again, slowly taking us deeper and deeper into countryside through the interlinked backwater alleys.
We sat on the balcony to have a good view of the surroundings. The boat was traveling at leisurely pace providing us the magnificent view of the lush green backwaters surrounded by coconut grooves. It cannot be described in words. It has to be seen and felt.
On the houseboat you had nothing to do but to relax and enjoy the nature’s spectacle. By evening, the boat reached a point where it was anchored close to the bank with many other houseboats. Most of the houseboats had foreign tourists. The sunset created another spectacle of colour around us. As the evening set in, the captain of the boat light up the lanterns in the dining area which added to the charm of the boat. But it also invited the insects and mosquitoes. Dinner was served. You do not get a choice of food. They have their own menu and you have to take the traditional Kerala food they serve. We slipped into the bedrooms for spending a memorable night in backwaters. For your safety, they park the boats at nights away from the banks.
Almost everything was picture perfect except the water. Water is greenish in colour. This is pumped onto the boat for toilets. Once you see the algae and other floating objects in the buckets, forget about having a bath, you will not even like to wash your face with that water. You are served mineral water for drinking as much as you need. But they will not give you bottled water for toilets. It is worthwhile to carry enough bottled for washing face etc. Further, after dark, it was a bit boring, as you have nothing to do in the boat other than waiting to have dinner and go to bed.
Boat race for early return
We got up early next morning to catch a glimpse of the rising sun in backwaters. The boat started its journey back at around 8 am. Soon we were caught in a virtual houseboat race as houseboats coming from different directions keep getting converged onto the main canal on their way back We enjoyed this spectacle from the breakfast table. Finally we got back to where we had started the day before at around 10 am bringing an end to this unforgettable trip. We will not forget this 20 hours in houseboat in the backwaters.
Our trip was conducted by GlobalHop Travels