Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kerala back waters: a short cruise

Kerala backwaters are enchanting. In fact, a visit to this atheist's own land would not be considered complete without taking a backwaters cruise. From Alleppey to Kollam (erstwhile Quilon) there is a daily cruise. Most people take that and enjoy the experience. However, my case it was different. I wanted to do backwaters as well a visit to the countryside. So the idea was put into an itinerary drawn up by my friend Herbert Peters.
With Herbert Peters

We started at the Alleppey boat club boarding point and stopped at a village Pallathurithy about 30 minutes away. It was a sail through very picturesque landscape. The lake is very wide for navigation and this village is situated on both the banks. I was told the waterway was as picturesque and charming all along as the stretch we did.

People ferry their goods through this lake and their transportation needs are also met through these waters.  


We enjoyed tea and chat at the small tea stall owned by Kannita Raja (pic). The area is called the rice bowl as the fertile fields were full of paddy. The fields being at a lower level from the lake, there is no dearth of water to irrigate. Small boats can be seen moored along the raised village track that is on both the banks. Some are motorised and some others manually oared. We decided to walk along the track throughout the village right up to the other end where there is a houseboat boarding jetty. I spoke to some houseboat people and had a look inside to see the luxurious tourist amenities.
Boats at Alleppey




Paddy Fields on both sides of lake




At the tea stall when we enquired about the time to reach the road-head, they said 10 minutes. However, it was a 45 minutes walk to the Pallathurithy bridge where the houseboat boarding point is also situated. From there it was another 30 minutes or so by road back to Alleppey. Both of us enjoyed it. Herbert is a good walker.










If it was not for the shape of the boats who would believe this was not Kashmir




The Alleppey - Kollam Boat




Glimpses of village life








A villager deweeding the lake



They catch fish using these containers

                        A rationalist's statue in a temple
Narayana Guru's statue installation ceremoney
We noticed that a function was going on in a temple by the lake bank. I was told that it was the idol installation ceremony. Surprising to know that the statue was that of Sri Narayana Guru who, as Herbert told, me was a rationalist. This is how religion hijacks an agenda to make it one of its own. 

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