|Kettuvallom/ Kerala houseboat|
The backwaters of Kerala is a chain of brackish lagoons, rivers canals and lakes lying parallel to the Malabar coast of Kerala state. This extensive network of waterways provides livelihood for the locals and its natural charm has brought tourists flocking to Kerala.
The boatman took charge of the 6 seater country boat. Being smaller than the big houseboats, it can traverse the narrower canals.
We left Kumarakom Lake Resort situated on the shores of Lake Vembanad. Sitting in the boat, Lake Vembanad looks like a vast sheet of glassy water, serene and tranquil. The big houseboats, small and large ( 6 rooms and other amenities to boot) were already 'skimming' the surface and going to the backwaters of Alleppy and the numerous canals. These Kettuvalloms are really traditional grain and spice barges that have been converted to houseboats. A tourist from USA told us she wasn't sure how to cope with the idea of 3 attendants for the 3 days she was the sole person staying on the houseboat. It seemed so sinfully luxurious to her. Well, we both agreed that while it lasted, just yourself enjoy before reality hits !
Before long we were in the backwaters. I plonked myself on the front wicker chair, eager to catch the view and the sun ! We drifted along. A new world opened before our eyes and thoughts of sailing on the Mekong some years flashed through my mind. The waters lapped as the boatman took us on easy, slow ride. Nothing comes closer than this - having clear images of the engaging rustic life of the people who live on the banks. We passed through rural settlements sited on narrow strips of land between waterways. 'Hello, world!' - the hive of activity with villagers going about their daily lives is a reminder of the importance of waterways in civilisations gone by and the present.
The lush greenery greeted us everywhere. Swaying coconut trees, mangrove swamps, palms, bananas, pandanus, leafy plants hug the banks and mango trees already laden with flowers, so many familiar plants that remind us of our own tropical vegetation back home. 'This Kerala) is India at its greenest and no other state can beat it', my husband hastened to add .Water hyacinths bobbed and floated effortlessly in thick clusters here and there.
Bird life is plentiful and without binoculars, we could seen their plumage as their hovered and flew above our heads.
|There's also a place called home in these boats|
Think you can float effortlessly on this glassy Vembanad Lake?
Lush greenery on either banks of the canals. The coconut trees lend such elegance to the scenery. Beyond lie paddy fields resting before the next cultivation.
Women power by the banks
In flight , the white heron is part of the avian population. As we passed by in mid morning birds were aplenty flying past. The famed Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is nearby.
The daily chores go on. Men transport goods from one village to another in their low slung dug out canoes.
The steps leading down to the waterways where daily activities take place. A school in the background.
Recyclables - waste not, want not
Astounding varieties of architecture in the numerous churches in Kerala. None are the same!!
Wouldn't I want to be in one of these when I visit again!
Comorants perch and watch keenly for their feed
|The country boat that took us to the backwaters|
Sailing away from Kumarakom Lake Resort where we stayed for 2 nights.