Backwaters in Alleppey, Alleppey Overview
Alleppey is usually and rightfully referred to as the Venice of the East. There is a broad labyrinth of the brackish lagoons and the interconnected lakes. Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha is at par with the well-known European city Venice, be it the historical importance, or culture or the natural beauty.
Alleppey is often considered to be a heaven for the Nature lovers. The greenery and the backwaters calm the nerves and soothe the soul. It is an excellent idea to hire a boat and move along the flow of the stream.
Though the backwaters used to be a channel for transportation, agriculture and fishing in the earlier times, they have evolved into a tourist spot over the time. Journeying in the well-known Kerala houseboats overnight comprises one of the major attractions of the Alleppey backwaters.
The houseboats are, by no means, inferior to a hotel room. Rather, they offer more of luxuries, at times. And what’s more, there would be the open deck and the soft and salty breeze, apart from the beautiful greenery all around.
Moreover, the beautiful sunsets would leave you in awe. There are a number of regions that pride themselves on their expertise in manufacturing something or another, e.g., toddy, handicrafts, coir etc. The village life is unique in its own way. You will never be tired of visiting the village frequently, watching the farmers in the fields and the fishermen at work. Besides, who can run away from the charms of star gazing and bird watching?
More on Backwaters in Alleppey
What to Explore at Alleppey Backwaters?
- Traditional Kerala Village: Whenever you visit the backwaters, watching the rural life including the lower backwaters, is a highly interesting experience in itself. Besides, you would also come across a vast variety of various avian species.
2. Widlife: The bird watchers would find an amazingly interesting variety of various avian species including the kingfishers, hornbills, storks, and swifts, apart from a number of the domestic and also migratory birds. The route you opt may also reveal various beautiful wonders of Nature!
- 3. Sunset: The sunsets are the beautiful sites that should never be missed!
4. Kayaking/Canoeing: Do opt for Kayaking/Canoeing, but be sure that you can control the boat, otherwise you may find yourself unable to move the boat amidst the waters.
Alleppey Backwaters Tour
A boat fare depends on the size of the boat and also from one company to another.
- DTPC Boat:
The government tourism department conducts the backwaters tours. There is an Alappuzha-Kollam trip for 8 hours and begins at 10:30 AM daily. It charges INR 300 per individual and covers a number of areas and attractions including Kumarakody, Kayamkulam Lake and Alumkadavu. There is another tour at 11:00 AM. It heads towards Kuttanad via Kumarakom for INR 150 per individual.
Houseboats in Alleppey Backwaters
The houseboats allow you to cruise along smoothly through the backwaters in Alleppey. And it really is a mesmerizing experience in itself! The maze of the canals running across the town would let you explore almost the entire area while you enjoy the comfort of the houseboat.
Each of the houseboats is manned at least by a guide, an oarsman and a cook. The meals provided serve the local delicacies. The guide keeps you informed of all the landmarks. And it is the job of the oarsman to see to it that the boat cruises along smoothly.
There are various routes to opt from while you visit the Alleppey backwaters and chiefly the Lake Punnamada. Gazing at the stars while you cruise along the route to reach the destination is a pleasant experience in itself. The houseboats are usually boarded at Punnamada Lake that happens to be the venue for the Nehru Boat Race.
The renting charges for the houseboats vary as there are the deluxe i.e., the luxury boats or the more economical budget-friendly ones. The packages available are usually of two types including 2 Nights/3 Days and 1 Night/2 Days.
Best Time to Visit the Backwaters
The boat races during the Onam festivities in the beginning of August are a MUST watch. However, the time in between October to April is also excellent to visit the place. The summers and monsoons should be avoided. With an angry Sun or the raining clouds, you would not be able to enjoy the trip.
Food at Backwaters
The local cuisine can be enjoyed at a number of places at Alleppey. The cuisine of the backwaters including lobsters, shrimps, coconut rice, chicken chettinad, toddy, apart from various other varieties of seafood and of course, the banana chips should not be missed! The seafood is definitely more enjoyable rather than what the most expensive of the restaurants offer.
Nehru Boat Race
Alleppey backwards have gained recognition for the snake boat races during the festive season of Onam. Though most of the boat races are held as per the lunar position, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race takes place on the second Saturday of August as an annual event.
Though snake boat races have been a long tradition, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race had begun in 1952 when the then Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru visited the state and has been held since then.
Snake boats derive their name from their shape. They are very long and each boat accommodates 80 – 100 people. The rowers on both the sides of the boat are equal in number. Each village participates with its own boat. This fun – filled boat race experience at the Punnamada Lake, Alleppey is one of its kind in the entire world and attracts tourists from the entire world.
How to Reach Backwaters in Alleppey?
The nearest rail stations are Kollam, Thrissur and Kottayam while Cochin airport is 75 km from Alleppey. From any of these locations, you may hire a jetty towards your hotel or homestay location. You may also catch an interstate bus from Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, apart from other cities.