If you are visiting Kerala, a state in south India along the coast of Arabian sea, your itinerary is incomplete without a boat ride in its picturesque backwaters. The Kerala backwaters are a network of inter connected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets which cover virtually half the length of the state and run parallel to the Arabian sea coast. In the midst of this lush green landscape surrounded by coconut trees, there are a number of towns and villages where fishing and farming is the main source of livelihood.
The Alleppey backwaters in Kerala have been used for centuries by the local people for transportation, fishing and agriculture but these days it draws thousands of tourists especially in the winter months of November to March. One can see hundreds of houseboats, ferries, launch, fishing boats etc. plying on the rivers and lakes. December in Kerala is the festive season and even the backwaters are buzzing with tourists from across the world.
I wanted to relive the memories of the backwaters, having been there as a child. So back in Kerala, I had to do this. I opted for the Kollam to Alleppey journey which covers a distance of around 80 kms. in approx. 9 hours with a lunch and a tea break. The Kollam to Alleppey cruise is a one way ride and it crosses the famous lakes Vembanad, Kayamkulam, Ashtamudi etc. and also passes through narrow canals. There is no pre-booking of tickets and the same can only be bought on the boat. So basically, it’s on a first come basis. The journey started at 10.30 am and the ferry was packed to its full capacity.
In a while we came across numerous fixed fishing nets which are commonly called as Chinese fishing nets. In India, these nets can only be found in Kerala.
Once the ferry moved out of the river into the narrow channels, the view offered by nature was amazing. The sight of coconut trees and small establishments along the coast of the channels was a treat to watch.
We also came across a marriage party who were crossing the river on a boat. The temple where the marriage took place was on one side of the river and after tying the knot, the bride and groom with their families were returning to the other side.
At around 1 p.m. we took a 30 minutes break for lunch at a small restaurant along the way. The afternoon sun glitter made it hard to look at the water, so I utilized the time to take a short nap and energize myself for the journey ahead.
Once the sun started setting, the reflections of the coconut trees on the water looked amazing.
As I thought about the stories I had heard about duck farming and the fact that I hadn’t sighted even a single duck since morning, out of nowhere, I saw thousands of ducks in front of the ferry crossing over after grazing for the day. Hurriedly, I managed to take some shots.
About to reach Alleppey, we saw lots of houseboats with tourists waving at each other, some already having parked for the day.
The sun had almost set, and it was dark. However, unexpectedly, we came across an open patch on the west offering a breathtaking view of the sky. The end to an amazing journey could not have been better than this.
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