A ‘Water Bus’ Journey – Part 1

Hello Fellow Gallopers,

I was in Alleppey recently to see the famed Snake Boat Race (Vallam Kali) that is held every year on the second Saturday of August and when I was there I seized the opportunity to explore the intricate network of backwaters that flow in and around Alleppey.

Alleppey (Alappuzha – ആലപ്പുഴ) is a town with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons in the Alappuzha district of Kerala State in South India. It is one of the places that is referred to as the Venice of the East and one realises how it got that title when one sees the myriad canals that meander  through Alleppey town.  Alleppey is bordered by Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts in the East, Kollam district in the South, Ernakulam district in the North and the Arabian Sea in the West. Alleppey is also said to have had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome in the Middle Ages.

The best way of exploring the backwaters is by taking a boat ride and that is exactly what I did. One can easily hire a private boat for any period of time or one can take a government boat run by the Kerala State Water Transport Department from the many boat jetties (piers) just off the town High Street. Boats leave at regular intervals from Alleppey to various destinations and the one I took was from Alleppey to Kottayam. I like to think of the Government run boats as a ‘water bus’ of sorts as it is exactly that – chugging along the National Waterways (Backwater Motorways!!) and stopping at regular intervals at jetties (bus stops) that dot the route, these boats serve as the transportation lifeline for people living in small towns and villages along the backwaters – their only link between the serene backwaters they call home and the hustle and bustle of urban life.

In addition to being rewarded with spectacular and breath-taking views of the backwaters, you also get to meet people from a cross-section of society as well as folk from all over the world while on board the ‘water bus’. The young, the old, the farmer, the businessman, the clerk, the student, the person who gets on board with just a bag tucked under his arm to a person laden with sacks of provision. You find them all on the ‘water bus’ – a truly serene, slow and leisurely way of navigating through the backwaters in God’s Own Country.

To see all the images in this set, kindly click the link below:


Please do join me in a week’s time for the conclusion of this journey.

Till then, take care and gallop free.

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