The best things in life come for free or rather almost free. I spent 2 days in the Backwaters, the first in a home stay (Breeze Backwater Homes) by the waters in a small sleepy village in Kuthiathode close to Cherthala mid way between Ernakulam and Alappuzha; and the other in the backwaters of Alapuzzha. Backwaters is a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes that are connected by canals which in turn are fed by rivers flowing down to the Arabian Sea.
Solo Ride in Backwaters
I spent Rs 1200/- for a 3 hour canoe ride all by myself chaperoned by 2 boatmen who kindly took me through the narrow passage ways, patiently paused as I clicked pictures and also showed me life along the way. What turned out to be a unique experience for me was actually life as usual. Women went about their daily chores, fishermen went about their livelihood, children were going to school and the infant was safe and warm in her father’s lap. We passed by green paddy fields lined with coconut and palms with gentle drizzle for company. Soon we reached the mouth of the canal which merged into a large lake. It was green all around, and I spotted a bunch of yellow birds who flew by before I could even press the shutter. After a while, we docked and walked through a slushy path jumping over pools of water for the rocky beach in Pallithodu.
Backwaters in a local Ferry
The next day, I spent in the backwaters in Alappuzha (Alleppey). This time, I wanted to do it different and instead of a private secluded trip, I opted to do it the everyday way. I took a 2 hour ride this time boarding a local ferry from the jetty which was going to Kolath. For a princely sum of Rs 14/- for the round trip, I traveled with the locals observing life as it showed up at the window. As I seated myself next to a bunch of giggling children, I realised I was returning home with them. From practicing their conversational English with me, to telling about life and school and showing me sights on the way, and teaching me a word or two in Malayalam, they made me realise that the best things in life are almost free. We passed by the Nehru Stadium where the prize distribution for the annual boat race is held. The large houseboats -Kettuvalams passed by with couples, familes and myriad groups on board. Most people appeared to be bored, they were observing from seclusion while I was in the middle of it all.
Soon there was a splash of red in the middle of green and blue waters. The local team attired in red T shirts were getting ready for the annual boat race to be held on 8th August 2015 (2nd Saturday of August every year). Watching them row in unison as they screamed out for power brought a smile to my lips in praise of their team spirit. The ferry had turned around for Alleppey and the golden glow across the distant green soon changed colors to make way for the moon.
If you are a solo traveler on a budget and you want the best of backwaters, take the local ferry and may be get off in some village, walk around for that rustic local experience and then move on to the next point. I can assure you that you will not regret any moment on this journey !!
Annual Snake Boat Race is going to be held on 13th Aug, 2016.
Somewhere deep within I was remembering Dal Lake, the glimpses of life of Dal right here in Kerala !! More about the Kashmir connection in Kerala in a later post.
- Beach Hopping in Kerala
- Foodie Trail in Kochi and Backwaters, Kerala
- Tryst with the Dance Forms of Kerala
- Inspired by Birds in Kerala
- Many Moods of Dal Lake, Sringar