Hello Fellow Gallopers,
The ride on the ‘Water Bus’ from Alleppey to Kottayam takes a good two and a half hours one way and the leisurely pace at which the ‘bus’ navigates the backwaters gives you ample time to sit back, relax and ‘take in’ the real Kerala; the real beauty that has rightly earned Kerala the title – ‘God’s Own Country’.
Kerala’s backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (also known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala in South India. Five large lakes linked by canals, manmade and natural, are fed by 38 rivers and this is what makes up the backwaters of Kerala. National Waterways (Backwater Motorways!!) have been set up that help to navigate this intricate backwater labyrinth hence offering a mode of transportation for the people living in the towns and cities along the backwaters. Vembanad Kayal is India’s longest lake and the largest of the backwater lakes and is bordered by Alleppey, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts and the Port of Kochi is located at the lake’s outlet to the Arabian Sea.
A common sight as you cruise along on the backwaters are the House Boats also called Kettuvallams. Traditionally used as grain barges to transport the rice harvested in the fertile fields along the backwaters, the thatched roof covers over the wooden hulls provided protection from the elements. Today these boats have been converted into floating cottages that come complete with air-conditioned bedrooms, toilets, dining areas and sit out areas on the deck and these luxurious floating accommodations can be hired out for one’s cruising pleasure – just recline out on deck as you get bathed with the tropical sunshine and get caressed with the gentle tropical breeze as you slowly glide down a corridor of tall palm trees that extend into the horizon. And if you think I just made all that up, why not have a look at the images that accompany this entry and some of the images will really make you wish you were there!! 🙂
As we approach the hustle and bustle of Kottayam (കോട്ടയം), a major city in Kerala we leave the open waters behind us and we start navigating through canals that finally lead us to our last stop. On both sides of the canals are houses and one gets a flavour of life in this part of Kerala. As we slowly navigate our way to Kottayam, we are greeted by the curious looks on the faces of children looking at yet another ‘water bus’ bringing its cargo of foreigners and locals. Women are busy washing their clothes or cleaning utensils in the canal waters while men are either bathing or going out to sea. Life goes on and while these activities seem novel to me, I, with my camera, my modern attire and my peculiar accent seem novel to them.
I would highly recommend this journey on the ‘water bus’ to anyone visiting Kerala. As you cruise along, you get to see the real Kerala and you get a chance to be a real citizen of God’s Own Country.
To see all the images in this set, kindly click the links below:
Till next time, take care and gallop free.