Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One day at Kuttanad... Venice of the east...

"Inner Peace... Inner Peace... Inner Peace..." remember this dialog from Kung fu panda 2? Ever tried it out? Has it ever worked?

Now imagine this... clear blue skies, calm waters, swans swimming, birds chirping, a soft breeze caressing you as you cruise through the backwaters of Allapuzha towards the Vembanad Lake in your house boat. "Inner peace" finds you without you looking for it!


Scene 2: Now go back to your day right now. Most probably you are in office, have a deadline but frustrated and taking a break. Where would you want to be?

Guess I have given enough reason for you to go on reading my post.

On 8th October, 2012 we decided to make an early start so that we reach Allapuzha by lunch time. So we started driving north from Trivandrum, took NH1, crossed Vattapara - Pirappancode - Vayakkal - Adoor - Chengannur - Thiruvalla - Changanassery, took left and went on the Allapuzha-Chenganassery Highway and finally reached "Muthoot River Escapes" around 12pm. (Route Map)

We had booked a 2-bedroom houseboat, after checking in we set sail towards the Vembanad Lake. We had taken a single night package, which included all meals and also a boat ride into a small village in Kuttanad.

*Interesting Fact* The backwaters of Kerala is a misnomer, they are not formed by the sea flowing back into the land but are formed by rivers which are flowing towards the sea.

Our Houseboat

Muthoot River Escapes...

Our Houseboat being steered, as we head toward Vembanad Lake

Everyday life in Kuttanad

Another photograph depicting the daily life here in Kuttanad. Fresh fish and other produce being taken to the local village to be sold.

With all meals included, the house boat comes with a crew of 5. This includes an in-house chef and others for steering, cleaning and maintaining the houseboat. Its a custom made menu based on our preferences. And if you a non-vegetarian don't forget to try the Fish Fry. If you want to try your hand at fishing then go for it, but don't ask your chef to wait for your catch. Sorry to break your heart but it might not work out!

 They dock the Houseboat for lunch, a meal which would be quite memorable. Away from all the hustle and bustle of the city, all you can hear is the trees swaying because of the breeze and the occasional sound of some bird chirping. Another sound which you would definitely hear is your munching and slurping on some very delicious Kerala food!
Houseboat building

 Once lunch is done we are back on track to cruise through the various canals of Kuttanad. The Government has set a rule that the houseboats are not allowed beyond 5pm in order to enable fishermen to go about with their business without any hindrance. So around 3pm, we docked and took a smaller boat to go see a small backwater village. A village which cannot be reached by road. A village where people have to depend on their boats for every since need in life. It seems very surreal to see a place like this. The calmness and the laid back nature of the place is very different from what we had seen in life! 

The night on the houseboat is altogether a different experience. The pitch darkness outside with only light coming from the other house boats or the occasional light coming from the local fisherman's boat. A nice way to catch up with the other members of your family, with no internet, mobile network and television to interrupt you. Get a drink or two, stare into darkness and discuss philosophy... question what you are doing in life... and see the big picture!

All houseboats docked for the night

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