This was one of my most awaited trips. I was planning for it since some time now. My hubby left all planning to me and I did spend quiet some time researching about the place,accommodation as I wanted it to be perfect. Fingers crossed during the trip, but it turned out to be more than perfect. This is so far my best experience. So going to share with you all. Check out the trip photos in my Flickr album.
We started first with Alleppey. Reached there early in morning, we had booked accommodation at Cherukara Nest. This is a heritage homestay 2 mins walk from the Alleppey KRTC (Kerala Transport) bus station. As we reached there, felt like coming to some friend’s home. Tony (owner) was very gracious and helpful. This was the first time we were staying in a homestay, and it was awesome. The rooms were big and very comfortable. The one portion I loved about the house was the courtyard (varendah), which had the dining area, pigeons home at the centre of the courtyard and small sitting arrangements. It was so relaxing and peaceful, felt like sitting there whole day. Thats what we did for 2 days :-). We kind of roamed around the place, as it was near to canal. It is walkable distance to Nehru’s Finishing point( boarding point for houseboats). You just have to cross the canal and ask anyone for the place. It was overall a nice and memorable stay.
We went to couple of places on Day 2. We hired an auto and went to St. Sebastians church, and then went to Marari (Mararikulam) beach. It was one of the most lovely beach stretch in India. Its a fisherman’s village so its not normal beach having any public entrance. There is just a resort there and some small home stays nearby. It was fully isolated and the stretch had coconut trees on the shore making it more beautiful.
On the 3rd day we went for the most awaited houseboat stay. Just one piece of advice for people coming with the Houseboat stay as the focal point. If you don’t book the houseboat ahead of your trip, there may be a chance you may not get to stay(overnight stay), day trips may be available. We met one honeymooning couple, who had come and wanted to take a day trip. But at that time there was some Indian festival, so the local tourist number was also up and all houseboats were booked. It may happen you have to shell out more for the normal stuff. So plan ahead and book atleast that if you want to visit Alleppey/Kumarakom only for the houseboat journey. One more pointer regarding the 1 day trip in houseboat. If you are interested in photography and little bit adventurous go for the complete 1 day trip. The reason you will know reading further. The trip starts at 12pm and ends at 9 am next day. I was very eager to go to our boat when it was nearing 12pm. Finally the time came and we got to see our boat. It was a classic traditional styled one, and had 3 crew members. One the captain,one cook and one helper. I was so excited when our Kettuvelom (rice boats otherwise know locally) started moving on the Vembanad lake. The view was breathtaking, we went to upper deck and could only hear the noise of the boat… but it was kind of a silence and calmness which could only be felt. The vast expanse of lake ahead us and various types of boats moving made a amazing view. The boat will stop at various stops for getting fresh sea food ( if you want anything specific they will get that but with extra charge). The whole day we enjoyed the backwater, view of the small villages alongside the lake, yummy food. Then for the night the halting place was just next to paddy fields. The view of sunset from the lake was amazing, with colour changing sky and reflection in water. As night fell, we were surrounded by a silence and just the noise of insects and water. We had dinner in the boat and at the same time there was fireworks far away we could see from the fields. Was a magical moment. We slept early just to wake up and capture sunrise moments. The early morning view was so picturesque, it can’t be explained. Better keep your cameras ready for that perfect shot. Then the boat started marking the end of our journey. We felt sad within to leave such an awesome place. If given a chance I could stay there for my life anyday.
Then we started for Kumarakom. There are very few direct buses till there from Alleppey. There are 2 options :
1) Allppey to Bund road take a bus , then from Bund road to Kumarakom – you can get frequent buses. Will take around 30-40 mins total.
2) Alleppey to Muhamma boat jetty. And from there to Kumarakom Govt boat jetty. Very cost effective and will take around 20-30 mins.
In Kumarakom we had booked at Tharavadu Heritage home. If you are going to book there I would recommend take option 2 as the heritage home is just across the road from Govt. boat jetty. You just have to cross the Vembanad lake from Muhamma and then cross the road and enter the place. It kind of felt like any normal budget resort, rooms were spacious and scattered in the area. There was a dining room overlooking a temple. (Note : every morning there may be prayers and your sleep may be disturbed due to loudspeakers). I am used to noise so it didn’t affect me much. But overall the place was good and service was prompt.
In Kumarakom we only stayed for a day, and went to see Kumarakom bird sanctuary. Early morning we went around 6.30 am as we had learnt we can see more birds and it will be easy as won’t be that much hot. When we reached the place, there was 2 options
1) Take a local guide who will take us for bird watching in his canoe
2) Take a stroll at actual confined sanctuary.
I would recommend do take the Canoe ride, as the so-called bird sanctuary I felt like just a path for early morning jogging with people staying inside the area with proper houses. The only bird you may see there is crow. I was initially skeptical for the canoe ride, but at the end it was worth it. Our guide was very knowledgeable and local person, so knew a lot about the birds, we spotted quiet a few sitting on wooden planks on the lake. Then we also went to see the birds breeding place (the boundary of the very famous Indian resort chain). People staying there will see birds nesting and breeding on trees from their rooms. With that our trip came to an end.. I am hoping I will again visit these places for sure in future. As I feel every time I visit I will feel a kind of calmness and rejuvenation from within. Just feel the beauty of the place as it can be felt for sure.