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Day 3: A backwaters boat ride at Alleppy

The cheapest way to reach Alleppy from Kochi is the best way

The simplest way to reach Alleppy from Kochi is to take a KSRTC bus from Vyttilla Mobility Hub. For just 40 rupees, one can comfortably reach Alleppy in one and half hours.

Vyttilla Mobility Hub [1]

Vyttilla Mobility Hub

In this brief journey, I cam across two interesting things. The first one was a couple of lorries transporting elephants. The second was a board advertising “Shaolin Jackie Chan Matial Arts Academy”, with the trainer’s face Photoshopped on the billboard. The trainer looked more like a South Indian politician than a sensei. Sadly, the bus moved too fast for me to capture these gems.

Trip around the backwaters

It might have been a good decision to book a motorboat for the trip and reserve a homestay for the halt. We had a motorboat at our disposal for over two hours during the pleasant evening. We would have loved to go around a bit more but there is a restriction of 6 O’Clock from the police.
Our boat driver explained a lot of things to me:

  1. The hulls of these boats are made elsewhere. In Alleppy, the cabins are built.
  2. The driver as well as the cooks (crew) need license.
  3. Every boat has to be registered and insured. The numbers are of the format KIV/ALP/<TYPE>/<4 digit reg. no.>/<YEAR>. For <TYPE>, it can be either HB for houseboat or MB for motorboat.
  4. Two years ago, the owners had to go to Kochi to get all the paperwork done. Nowadays, a sub-office in Alleppy takes care of the local needs.
  5. The small islands have inhabitants and they usually use personal kayaks and canoes to transport themselves and goods.
  6. There is a safety line marked by buoys that cannot be crossed. Police regularly patrol the areas looking for non-conformists.
  7. There is also a speed limit of about 15 km/h. I couldn’t find the actual values but on our boat, that corresponded to first gear with 25% of throttle.
  8. The small islands grow paddy. These paddy fields are at a mean level that is lower than the water level of the canals!
  9. There are a few man made islands, too. Most of the newer ones are being built by big shot companies. These will become the foundation to luxurious resorts. The locals aren’t much happy about it.
Houseboats parked at Alleppy backwaters. [2]

Houseboats parked at Alleppy backwaters.

The finishing point of Nehru Trophy boat race. [3]

The finishing point of Nehru Trophy boat race.

Cabin overhauling of a house boat in progress. [4]

Cabin overhauling of a house boat in progress.

Island restaurants like these offer refreshments to the tourists. [5]

Island restaurants like these offer refreshments to the tourists.

Our driver Babu. He allowed us to steer the boat for sometime. [6]

Our driver Babu. He allowed us to steer the boat for sometime.

Island extension in progress for some upcoming luxury resort. [7]

Island extension in progress for some upcoming luxury resort.

Locals transporting hay on canoe. [8]

Locals transporting hay on canoe.

Sea birds taking refuge on a floating log. [9]

Sea birds taking refuge on a floating log.

Sunset at the backwaters. [10]

Sunset at the backwaters.

A night at the beach

Alleppy beach is beautiful at night. The municipality and police have taken good care of it. The rusted remains of a sea bridge looked like a haunted relic against a pitch black sea. There are quite a few restaurants lining the beach. If the lights of these places are dimmed, the beach would have truly looked haunted.

Camels at the beach. [11]

Camels at the beach.

A rusted beam of the destroyed sea bridge. Series of rusted beams made the scene quite mysterious. [12]

A rusted beam of the destroyed sea bridge. Series of rusted beams made the scene quite mysterious.

We were greeted by a sudden downpour. [13]

We were greeted by a sudden downpour.

The ambience of Dreamers Restaurant and Cafe at the beach. The food was good. Their veg momo had a very peculiar taste. Not bad, but very unique. [14]

The ambience of Dreamers Restaurant and Cafe at the beach. The food was good. Their veg momo had a very peculiar taste. Not bad, but very unique.

Day 4: Making our way to Thekkady [15]
Day 2: Fort Kochi is no more a fort [16]