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The backwaters & houseboats has helped Kerala much to attain its tourism 'Super brand' status. The hub of backwater tourism in Kerala is Aleppey (Alappuzha) with 'Vembanad Lake', the largest lake in Kerala, along with the canals and rivers of 'Kuttanad'.

Aleppey is about 150 km from the state capital of Trivandrum. The nearest International Airports are Nedumbassery (Cochin-100km) and Trivandrum-150km.

Aleppey and the backwaters gets a lot of tourists, international as well as domestic. This is off season, but now the people here are smart enough to market it as the 'Ayurveda season' or 'monsoon magic'.

We thought that the rains may spoil the trip, but luckily the day was clear. Lets have a little back water cruise.:)
 

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Lets start with Aleppey (Alappuzha) town. The town is termed as 'Venice of the East' due to its intricate network of navigable canals. These canals open to the lake and are used for transportation.

The canals are now muddy after the rains.







 

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The House boats are anchored at the 'Nehru Pavilion' at Punnamada. It is the finishing point for the annual 'Nehru Trophy' boat race. This year it is on 11th August. 'Vallom Kali' or boat races are normally associated with festivals like Onam.

This was the Double deck boat which we travelled. Looks very rustic from outside, but insides are neatly done. The houseboats gets facelift after the monsoon, just before the season starts by October.

This boat has four bedrooms with attached modern bathrooms. The bedrooms have airconditioning, eventhough it may not be required most of the time.









View from the bedroom window

 

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Thanks greatshankar:)

More houseboats lined up, there were around 30 docked up. These houseboats contribute to the livelihood and economy of the region to a great extent. The houseboat we had hired cost Rs.25000 for 6 hours including food.
Small twin bed room boats start with some Rs.5000/- or so..







Most houses in the Kuttanad region would be having own 'vallom' (country boat) or mechanised boat. Here just like parking a car infront of the house, a boat is parked.

 

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Nice pics Sudheesh. Thanks for sharing. :cheers:
 

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Thanks Cov boy, sun and vamsi..:)

Lets move on..



Hope this boat was better maintained. The Driver's (called locally as 'srank') cabin is at the front. Most of the boats, driver's cabin is at the top.



Here comes another one, with driver's cabin at the top. Passenger capacity is 104. The route is Alappuzha to Kottayam.





 

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^^ Thanks all:)

@Prakash, hope you will not miss a stay next time..

@ R21Chennai, btw everything that comes under tourism in Kerala is generally expensive, when taken in INR. Most of the resorts/houseboats etc would be booked out by foriegn tourists, who pay in dollars. And to maintain the level of standards and quality, the rates have to be like what is now charged. During season, of October to March, it would be difficult to get bookings esp at Kovalam/Poovar, Kumarakom etc.

BTW Rs. 25000/- for the houseboat we had taken is not expensive, if you take 'percapita' basis. There were 42 of us in all, so including sumptous lunch, tea and snack, percapita it was well within Rs.600. That boat could carry about 60 people, and suited mostly for day trips. There are generally two types of trips, day as well as day& night. In the latter case, the boat will not return in the evening as in the former case. It will anchor in the mid lake for the night, and come back in the morning. Generally small groups or single or a couple of families will take such cruises. For a day trip in a single deck two bed houseboat, I think the rate would be around Rs.6000/-.
 

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The peculiarity of this Kuttanad Region is that cultivation is done below the water level.



Plenty of houseboats passed us, in various sizes and shapes. Yes of course ours was the only twin deck big boat seen that time.



This boat had one family, enjoying very much their ride. The kids were dancing and their papa was filming it.



 
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