The tourism industry in and around the scenic town of Alleppey ( which includes the famous Kumarakom Lagoon and Kuttanad - the largest paddy fields in the world below sea level ); was revolutionized with the advent of House boats. Originally, these house boats were meant for transportation of goods between various towns in southern Kerala.
Alleppey ( or the more politically correct Alapuzha) is known as the Venice of the East due to its well connected (but unfortunately weed infested) water ways. Its vast expanse of greenery and the broad waterways makes it ideal for a vacation spot. Even though a house boat trip is quite expensive by Indian standards, the Western nationals find it much cheaper.
Personally I found the trip very enjoyable and refreshing - Worth the money paid. I testify that I will go again if an opportunity comes.
A typical house boat journey starts from the Punnamada jetty on the banks of Punnamada Kayal ( Back waters). Depending upon one’s need; one can hire a boat ( 1,2 or 3 bedrooms or conference halls) and also for the number of days ( one day ie 6 hrs, two days ie overnight or even for a week). Depending on the size and facility the cost also varies ( for a 6 hr trip we paid around INR.5500/ just for the 1 bed room boat and the special cuisine of 3 non-veg dishes including sea food. The boat has got a TV, double bed ( aircon) and a washroom.
Punnamada Jetty itself is a great view – as one can see unending rows of house boats of different decoration, size and capacity. The boat rides start around 11.00 am. Moving away from the crowded marina, the boat cruises leisurely to the broader back waters. The cool breeze and the greenery is really soothing. Slowly the boat wades its way to Kuttanad ( known as the rice bowl of Kerala)– the place with coconut tree lined paddy fields. One will wonder how the paddy is cultivated in the fields which are much below the water level - yes it is really wonderful. One can see the government transport boats picking up and dropping people at the boat stops at different island blocks in Kuttanad ( just like we move around in city thru city service buses); as boats are the only means of transportation to most of them.
The boat crew typically consists of a guide, boat driver ( the pilot or captain) and a chef.
A brief stop over at the toddy shop( coconut beer) is an opportunity for the adventurous to taste the heady stuff. One can alight there and taste the cuisine – typically sea food( kanava, varaal and konju) preparation – cooked to order. The friendly boat crew made things easy for us.
Enjoy these Toddy shop ( kallu shaap ) photos !!!!!
Kuttanadu R block toddy shop
Fresh varal fish
Toddy shop kitchen--fish curry's getting ready in Meen chutty
Fish curry & kappa vevichathu
View from Toddy shop
For Houseboat booking
Rajeev # 9496230498 / 9847428893
Babychan # 9446855833 /0477-272249
Visit here for Alleppey Houseboat cruise