Arvo to the Backwaters of Alleppey! – Things to do in Alleppey
Wading quietly through the lake with the wind whooshing past my face, I wished this cruise would never end!
12 June 2017,The night of 11th June witnessed a sudden downpour. The dew lit grass, the clouded morning sky,
did make me wonder how our family getaway, the boathouse experience at Alleppey, would turn out to be!
Shooing these sceptic images we packed ourselves ready for the day.
DESTINATION- PUNNAMADA JETTY
Pairing up with one of the oldest and reliable tour agencies, Bethel Tours, we prearranged our pick-up location at the Punnamada Boat Jetty. To know more about Bethel Tours- http://www.betheltours.co.in/.
Even though all routes are known to be equally pretty… pretty with a capital P! you might want rummage through different websites or even talk to your tour planner before choosing the ride. Or maybe you could just let them plan it for you as we did- Punnamada, Kainakary, R-block ( I do not remember the whole list, I know… bad blogger right!! The panorama was so good that I forgot my duty calls!!).
Nearest airport to Punnamada Jetty:
Cochin International Airport – 47kms
Nearest railways to Punnamada Jetty:
Alappuzha Railway Station (around 8km), Cherthala Railway station (around 23km)
If it is not the boathouse ride that you want, there are variety of other options to choose from, like- a visit to Ravi Karunakaran Museum, Krishnapuram Palace, take a kayaking tour on the backwaters, or may be go for a stroll along the shores of Alleppey/Mararikulam beach. The place is also crammed with old temples and churches.
Best time to visit Alappuzha:
Alleppey showcases its best during the off rainy seasons, i.e, from August to March. The months from June to August can be well utilized for Ayurvedic treatments.
A DAY WELL SPENT
We chose a one-day package (though there are different packages available, we felt this one was more than sufficient for a day off with relatives). The boat was scheduled to leave at 12 noon from the Jetty and was to be back by 5 pm. The timing for a two day package is as follows: starts at 12 noon, halts for the night at some place by 5/6 pm and back to the jetty by 9 am the next morning.
One can avail for first class, deluxe or budget class boats. Shikara boats or canoes are also available.
Setting the co-ordinates to (9.522265, 76.356128) in google maps, we set out for the days event- off to Punnamada Jetty- an hour long journey! These co-ordinates landed us straight in front of a pay and park area, easing that job for us 🙂
Roving my cam lens around in search of a good scene I could capture, was when our boat arrived, it was 12’o noon and we were finally on the cruise.
We had hired a double deck boat which comes with a dining cum sitting area, a bedroom (provided with an air conditioner which is allowed to be put on after 6 pm) with an attached bath, a kitchen and of course the top deck where all the ladies cosied up for their “gupshup”!!
19 June 2017,It is 1:04 am and my eyes are all so droopy, trying to figure out how to pen things down! About a week has gone past,
leaving my mind almost washed clean from the Alleppey scenes, that I have to count on the photographs for assistance...
From our guide, Mr.Vinod, I learnt that our first stop would be at a small stretch of land, sort of a dorp, naduthuruth (I couldn’t actually locate this on g-maps later! ), where I was told I could spot some paddy fields- June is the time when most part of the field is completely filled with water. I was also enlightened about the “ naalu maasam kappa” – how the farmers here harvest tapioca in just four months, just before the clouds begin to pour!
It is when we made this stop that the decision was made to add tiger prawns to our lunch menu.
We pulled up for lunch at our second stop.
Lunch alleppey style!
Lunch was served with much excitement:
We had the option of choosing between plain rice and biriyani.
Veg- Sambar, thoran, salad, and paneer
Non-veg- Duck, fish fry, and tiger prawns
After about an hour of hitching and exploring we started back, wading through narrower channels, quite calm and serene with paddy fields on either side, through R-Block, where land is below the sea level (about 2m), the Nehru boat race point and back to Punnamada Jetty.
PICTURE CRUISE :
“get the boats, get all the boats…” she wanted lots of boats in the background! All I could manage was four 🙂
The entire stretch of the lake rimmed with coconut trees was just whizzo, that I was left confused on what to click. In this frame, the man selling ice-cream on his canoe caught my attention.
Do stop at one of these places for “Nadan Kallu” ! 😉 I was told these are pretty cool eateries too… Tapioca, fish fry along with fresh toddy…
A small snippet of my confabulation with our guide- “Boat is the local bus for natives of Kuttanad”, he said. “They depend on it to reach the town. Most of the people own canoes for navigation through these channels, it’s just like how people own cars in cities!