Travelling continued… Part 2: Alleppey

Exploring the Kerala backwaters by kayak

Exploring the Kerala backwaters by kayak

I left Cochin under the cloak of darkness, at 6.00 am in the morning, to start my journey to another tourist magnet: Alleppey.  I travelled by bus, not air-conditioned, but in the freshness of the early hours before sunrise, all that was needed was the cool breeze generated by our travel speed. Whereas the city of Cochin tempts visitors with yarns of a colourful past intertwining European and Indian history, with the hustle and bustle of fishermen on the beach, with a vibrant spice trade via its centuries’ old port, Alleppey is famed for its palm-lined backwaters and the surrounding lush paddy fields.  People flock to Alleppey to take to the rivers on shikaras, canoes and houseboats to delight in the peace and quiet of village life as it has existed for centuries along the riverbanks and lake sides.  And it feels a little like voyeurism…

But its secret has long been spilled and the once tranquil waters are congested with boats navigating carefully amongst each other.  Whereas this did not seem to affect me too much on day one as I had chosen to take a trip  on a shikara, a covered motorboat with comfortable recliner seats to relax in, it was a little more unnerving on day two when I did a similar trip in a kayak.  Bigger boats caused giant ripples for us to combat and we had to push hard to stay out of harm’s way.  Kayaking is still relatively new on the tourist scene in India and there is not yet a huge uptake – well, as you can imagine if you need to use a motorbike to cover the mere distance of a few hundred meters, kayaking for five hours may well be an effort too far. So whilst I had come to enjoy the spectacle on the banks and beyond, Indian tourists found pleasure in taking photographs of the one bobbing kayak amongst the swarm of bigger boats and I suppose I could not begrudge them their amusement as I was equally snapping away at what I perceived as ‘interesting’ sights .   See some of the pics below…

And to top it all, Alleppey saw me once again on motorbikes…  not something I will get used to, but as it was the only form of ‘pick-up’ on offer from my ‘hotel’, I went with the flow and hoped to miss all the potholes and bumps in the road, because I have no idea how all these women and children manage to stay on as pillion passengers.  It is an art I have not yet mastered, needing to hold on to everything for grabs to stop  me from falling off.  I think I must try to avoid a repeat of this; some things you only need to experience once in a lifetime….

Alleppey in pictures:

on the river

houseboats waitingphoto 4

daily life on lake

general 5

general 1

paddyfields

general 4

photo 5

wood in canoe

fish haggling

woman fishing

photo 1

daily chores - washing

photo 2

washing line

photo 3

daily chores - washing up 2

hair washing

river fun during the hols

12 thoughts on “Travelling continued… Part 2: Alleppey

  1. andy pickersgill

    Great pictures and a nice reminder of my house boat trip and the dreaded mossies-damm things. Glad you made the trip as found it a wonderful spot to spend a bit of time. Need to practice the motorbike a bit more and maybe have a go yourself-can recommend it.

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    1. lievelee Post author

      I forgot you were a keen motorbike rider… I am sure the experience is completely different when you are in the driver’s seat, but as a passenger, I cannot say I enjoyed it. But who knows, if I stay here long enough and have a few more opportunities to try it out, I might just get the hang of it…

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    1. lievelee Post author

      It would not have made a lot of difference, as I was soaking wet at the end of the kayaking anyway. The holes at the bottom of the boat to let water out, are also very efficient at taking in water especially when going over the huge ripples made by the other much bigger boats. But I thoroughly enjoyed it – exercise!!!

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      1. elisabethkhan

        Lieve, by asking around and scouring the local bazaars I found a “bakery” (more like a crazy, mixed-up grocery store with a baked-goods counter) in one of Bhopal’s many markets that sells…ground coffee (brand: Bru) and excellent Darjeeling tea (Lapchu Estate, which I sometimes buy in the USA.) All of them came in 500 gms. packets only, so I’ll happily share with you. I have two kinds: Golden Orange Pekoe and Flowery Orange Pekoe. I can also send you some Café Coffee Day Arabica that is not bad at all (have not tried the Bru yet. Mail me at khan.elisabeth@gmail.com

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