Backwaters of Kerala: A Serene Escape

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Alappuzha or Alleppy district in Kerala which lies in the south of it, is a coastal region. The length of the coast is nearly 82 kms. It is the land of backwaters.

Backwaters means when there is high tide in the sea the salt water from the sea gushes into the lake which forms the major part of the water bodies in this water logged land.

With the sea on one side and the two different lakes, Vembanad and Kayamkylam on the other side, it looks like a small strip of land which is neither mountainous or hilly, but is mostly scattered with small hillocks. 

For its numerous canals and isles with a number of bridges connecting the small isles with the mainland, it is dearly called the ‘Venice of the East’.

Agriculture is the main livelihood of the small population which occupies this charming land. Agriculture can be divided into three categories based on the region where they concentrate.

Coconut farming is more along the coastal area, rice for the middle land and fish farming is for the water logged areas.

 The geography and topography of the backwaters in Alleppey 

Backwaters in Alleppey is a network of canals and lagoons that meander through the district. The canals are used for irrigation, transportation and fishing. The lagoons are used for duck rearing and prawn farming.

The district is also home to the Vembanad Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Kerala. The lake is fed by several rivers, including the Pamba, Periyar, Meenachil and Achankovil. The lake is also connected to the Arabian Sea via the Kochi estuary.

The ecosystem and biodiversity of the region

Alleppey is a town in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District. It is located in the southern part of Kerala, India. The town has a population of about 150,000 people.

Alleppey is home to the largest backwater in Kerala. The backwaters are a network of canals, rivers, and lakes that flow through the town. The backwaters are used for transportation, fishing, and agriculture.

The town is also home to Alleppey Beach.It is a popular tourist destination and is known for its beautiful sunsets.

The town is surrounded by several villages. The villages are known for their coir products and handicrafts.

The ecosystem of Alleppey is diverse and includes a variety of plants and animals.

Different types of houseboats available for tour

1. Standard Houseboats: These are the most basic and affordable type of houseboat, and are perfect for small groups or budget travellers. Standard houseboats usually have one or two bedrooms, a small living area, and a basic bathroom and air conditioning.

2. Luxury Houseboats: Luxury houseboats are larger and more extravagantly furnished than standard houseboats, and come with additional amenities like air conditioning, satellite TV, and a private deck. They’re perfect for travellers who want to experience all the comforts of home while on vacation.

3. Presidential Houseboat. If you’re looking for a unique way to see the Kerala backwaters, then you should consider renting a presidential houseboat. These massive boats are fit for royalty, and they offer a truly luxurious experience.

The presidential houseboats in Alleppey are some of the largest and most lavish in all of Kerala. They come complete with spacious bedrooms, en-suite bathrooms, and large living areas. Some even have private balconies where you can enjoy the stunning views.

These houseboats are fully-staffed, so you’ll be well taken care of during your stay. The staff will cook all your meals and take care of all the house

Comparing the Pros and Cons of Different Houseboat Tours in Alleppey

Alleppey, India, is home to some of the most unique and beautiful houseboat tours in the world. With so many options available, it can be hard to know which one is best for you. In this blog post, we’ll be comparing the pros and cons of different houseboat tours in Alleppey so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your needs.

Houseboat tours provide visitors with a unique and memorable experience of exploring the local waterways. Tours can be taken in different areas of Alleppey, depending on your preference and budget.

Popular locations include the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Vembanad Lake, and Punnamada Lake. Each destination offers a unique perspective and allows you to get up close and personal with the stunning scenery.

The Type of Boat

When looking at the different types of houseboat tours in Alleppey, you should consider the type of boat that will be used. The most popular type of boat is a kettuvallam, or traditional houseboat, which features two or three bedrooms, an upper deck, and an attached kitchen. Some kettuvallams also offer air-conditioning for comfort. 

Shikara boats are another popular option, featuring one or two bedrooms and a covered top deck. These boats are smaller than kettuvalams but are usually less expensive and more comfortable than traditional houseboats.

Finally, luxury houseboats are an excellent choice for those looking for a truly luxurious experience on the water. These boats have large cabins with en suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, satellite TVs, and other modern amenities. They also typically feature a private chef and full-time crew to provide a truly unforgettable experience.

The Length of Tour

When it comes to houseboat tours in Alleppey, the length of the tour can vary significantly depending on the type of boat you choose.

For a shorter tour, you may opt for a day trip that lasts anywhere from four to eight hours. These types of tours are ideal for those who are short on time but still want to explore the region’s unique beauty and culture.

Alternatively, for those who have more time to spare, there are longer tours that can last up to three days or more. These longer tours provide more flexibility in terms of activities, allowing you to explore the region at a more leisurely pace. 

Regardless of the length of your tour, all houseboat trips include stops along the way, giving you the opportunity to take in the scenery and visit nearby attractions such as temples, beaches, and wildlife sanctuaries. You can also customise your tour to suit your needs and interests, ensuring that you get the most out of your experience.

The Cost

The cost of houseboat tours in Alleppey can vary greatly depending on the type and length of tour you book. A one-day tour, for example, will typically cost significantly less than a multi-day trip, while luxury houseboats with all the amenities can come at a higher price tag.

The cost of houseboats in Alleppey generally includes fuel, staff services, and meals prepared by the onboard chef. However, some houseboat operators may also offer additional add-ons such as guided tours or water activities for an extra fee.

In addition to the cost of renting the houseboat itself, travellers should consider other expenses that may be incurred during their trip such as the cost of transport to and from the jetty or marina where the boat is docked. 

It’s also important to remember that the cost of houseboat tours in Alleppey can fluctuate depending on the time of year, so it’s wise to compare prices between different operators to find the best deal.

The Inclusions

When it comes to houseboat tours in Alleppey, the inclusions can vary greatly from one tour to another. Some of the most common features that you will find on a houseboat tour in Alleppey include an onboard host, bedding, and meals prepared on board. Some of the more luxurious tours may also include a private chef, onboard entertainment, and a full-service bar. Depending on the type of tour you choose, you may also have access to kayaks and other recreational activities.

No matter what type of tour you decide on, you will likely be provided with snacks and beverages throughout your journey. You may also be provided with a complimentary towel, toiletries, and other amenities. 

It is important to note that some houseboat tours may also include overnight accommodations. While these packages are often more expensive than regular day trips, they can offer a unique experience that is well worth the cost. Be sure to check the details of any houseboat tour you are considering before booking to make sure that it includes all of the amenities that you are looking for.

Alleppey Houseboat Tours: Popular Routes & Itineraries

The South Route

The South Route of the Alleppey Houseboat Tour is an excellent way to explore the backwaters of Kerala, India. It offers tourists a chance to take in some stunning views, wildlife and activities such as fishing and swimming.

The South Route begins in the small town of Kuttanad and takes travellers through numerous villages, small canals, and paddy fields. As you move further south, you’ll find yourself in the smaller but still scenic villages of Nedumudi and Champakulam. From there, it’s possible to visit the Alappuzha Beach and see some incredible sights including the famous Chinese fishing nets and the Palm-fringed Vembanad Lake.

The final leg of the South Route takes travellers past picturesque backwaters and on to the town of Karumadi, where visitors can take a closer look at the iconic Karumadi temple. There’s also an option to get off at the town of Ambalapuzha for a tasty treat of the local snack, payasam. The tour then concludes at Alleppey, providing tourists with a wonderful experience and a lifetime of memories.

The North Route

The north route of Alleppey houseboat tours is often the most popular and scenic of all the routes. It takes you along canals, rivers, lagoons, and backwaters, providing stunning views of the Kuttanad region. Along the way, you’ll pass by some of Alleppey’s most renowned attractions such as Punnamada Lake and Pathiramanal Island. You will also get to see many traditional Kerala fishing villages, palm-fringed paddy fields, and quaint churches.

This route usually begins in Alappuzha and goes through the Vembanad Lake and its adjoining canals, where you can see large numbers of migratory birds. As you pass through Payippad dam and Elaveezha Poonchira village, you will come across some breathtaking views of verdant hills and lush green paddy fields. The tour then heads further north and passes through the Kavanattinkara village, which offers panoramic views of the lagoons and backwaters. 

The north route also takes you past villages such as Pallathuruthy, Mannar, Mannarkkad, Neelamperoor, and Thaikkattussery. From here, you can take a motorboat to explore the Thottapally-Karuvatta backwaters before returning to your starting point. This route is ideal for those looking for a relaxed houseboat tour, offering plenty of opportunities to soak up the beautiful sights and sounds of the Kerala countryside.

The Central Route

The central route is ideal for travellers looking to experience the full range of scenery and attractions that Alleppey has to offer. This route starts from the backwaters of Kumarakom and snakes its way through the rustic villages of Pallathuruthy, Kainakary, and Edathua. Along the way, you’ll get an up-close look at local life, including fishermen, snake boat races, and traditional temples.

You’ll also cruise past Punnamada Lake, where you’ll have the chance to stop and take in the stunning views of the region. Additionally, you’ll have the chance to take a relaxing dip in the lake’s clear waters.

As you make your way down the central route, you’ll stop in towns like Vaikom and Champakulam. Here you’ll be able to explore the area’s vibrant culture, bustling markets, and even partake in activities like fishing and bird watching.

The central route will also provide you with some of Alleppey’s most beautiful sights, such as the Marari beach. Here you can take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline and take in all the breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea.

What to Expect on an Alleppey Houseboat Tour

If you’re considering taking a houseboat tour in Alleppey, you’ll find that each tour offers its own unique experience. No two houseboat tours are alike! Typically, the itineraries and routes offered include the North Route, South Route and Central Route, which have different points of interest to explore.

On any of these routes, expect a peaceful journey cruising through tranquil backwaters. You will be surrounded by nature and gorgeous views. Depending on your tour, you may even be able to spot some of Alleppey Is famous wild birds. Many houseboats also come with a kitchen, which means you can enjoy home-cooked meals cooked right on board.

The North Route will take you to the beautiful islands and lagoons of Kuttanad, known as the “Rice Bowl of Kerala.” You’ll also see old churches and temples, including the Mannarasala Temple and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Along this route, you may be able to spot some of the region’s famous bird species, such as ducks, cormorants, herons and kingfishers.

The South Route is ideal for those looking for an adventure-filled journey. On this route, you can spot various species of waterfowl, explore ancient temples and churches, visit fisheries and paddy fields, or take part in an Ayurvedic massage. You’ll also be able to take in stunning views of the Vembanad Lake.

Finally, the Central Route takes you to the largest lake in Kerala, the Vembanad Lake. Here, you can view numerous small islands and bird sanctuaries. You’ll also pass through charming villages, where you can learn more about local culture and traditions. Additionally, you’ll be able to visit ancient shrines and temples, such as the Ambalappuzha Temple and Karumadikkuttan Temple.

Kumarakom

Kumarakom is a beautiful backwater village located on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala. It is known for its serene beauty and tranquil atmosphere. The village is dotted with houseboats, fishing boats, and many other boats that make it a great spot to explore.

Kumarakom offers plenty of activities to keep tourists busy during their visit. One can rent a boat and explore the stunning backwaters of the Vembanad Lake. For birdwatchers, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a must-visit. It is home to numerous species of birds including cuckoos, egrets, darters, and Siberian storks. There are also various species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians that can be spotted here.

The best way to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of Kumarakom is to spend a few days living on a houseboat. You can tour the area in your boat and explore the small villages around the lake. With its lush greenery, it is also a great place for nature lovers to take in the sights and sounds of the surrounding area.

Other activities to enjoy in Kumarakom include fishing, angling, bird watching, and boating. For those looking for something a bit more active, there are plenty of water sports activities such as parasailing, banana rides, and canoeing.

Alappuzha Beach

For those looking to enjoy some sun and sand, Alappuzha Beach is the perfect destination. This stunning beach is located close to the Arabian Sea and is known for its tranquil setting and long stretch of golden sand. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the beach while admiring its stunning views, or explore the nearby food stalls to sample delicious local delicacies.

The beach also has several amusement parks and activities such as parasailing and speed boating. You can also take a boat ride to reach the nearby islands of Vembanad Lake, which is popular for its bird watching tours. Another major attraction here is the beautiful 19th century pier that extends into the sea. A visit to the pier at sunset will be an unforgettable experience!

Mullakkal Rajarajeswari Temple

Located in the heart of Alleppey, the Mullakkal Rajarajeswari Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Rajarajeswari. This temple is one of the most popular religious spots in the city, with thousands of devotees visiting daily. The main deity at this temple is Lord Shiva, while other deities include Lord Ganesha, Karthikeya, Hanuman and Bhagavathy.

The temple complex is huge and beautiful, featuring an array of traditional Hindu architecture. The temple is decorated with colourful flags and flowers, while the main shrine stands beneath a four-tiered Gopuram. Inside the temple, you can witness daily prayers and chanting of mantras by devotees. The temple also has an open courtyard, where performances such as folk art forms take place on special occasions.

Apart from spiritual activities, visitors can also enjoy some local delicacies at the food stalls around the temple. While there, don’t forget to buy a few trinkets from the many shops lined up around the complex. To get a better view of the temple, climb up the 48 steps leading to the top of the temple – a wonderful spot to watch sunsets. 

Krishnapuram Palace

Krishnapuram Palace is located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala. It is one of the most important tourist attractions of Alleppey and a popular stop on many of the local boat tours. The palace was built in the 18th century by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the ruler of Travancore. This majestic structure is constructed in traditional Kerala architecture style with gabled roofs, overhanging eaves, and dormer windows. 

The palace is renowned for its exquisite mural paintings, which depict the various legends and stories of Indian mythology. These murals are painted with vegetable dyes on the walls and ceilings, and they represent scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata Purana and other epics. Apart from these, there are also murals of Krishnaleela, Ragaleela and Shiva-Parvati. 

Krishnapuram Palace also houses a museum that displays several antique artefacts such as coins, sculptures, oil lamps, traditional jewellery, and weapons. A number of stone inscriptions belonging to the 11th century can also be seen here. 

When visiting this magnificent palace, be sure to take some time to explore the nearby areas. A few kilometres away lies the Ponnumthuruthu Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The area around the temple is also home to a variety of birds and other wildlife species, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for them as you explore.

To help you prepare for your houseboat tour, here are some tips on what to pack and how to get ready.

Do your research

Planning a houseboat tour in Alleppey, India can be an exciting adventure. But before you jump in and head out on the water, it is important to do your research. You will want to have an understanding of the area and what types of activities are available. 

Take some time to read up on the local culture, customs, and popular attractions so that you can get the most out of your experience. You may also want to research the different houseboat tours available and decide which one best fits your budget and interests. Reading reviews from other travelers can help you make an informed decision. 

Another important step in your research is to check the regulations and restrictions that may be in place at the time of your trip. Check with your tour provider for the latest updates and make sure you understand all of the rules and safety measures. Knowing this information beforehand will help ensure that your trip is safe and enjoyable. 

Choose the right season

If you are looking to explore the backwaters in the most tranquil way possible, then the winter season (November – February) is the ideal time to go on a houseboat tour. During this time of the year, the temperature is mild, making it comfortable to explore the backwaters while enjoying the natural beauty.

If you are looking to go fishing or engage in other water activities, then summer is your ideal time (March – May). This season is also known as the peak tourist season, with plenty of tourists coming to explore Alleppey’s unique charm. 

Finally, if you are looking for a combination of the two, then monsoon (June – October) is the best time to visit. The temperature is quite pleasant and it is the ideal time for birdwatching. However, keep in mind that there is a chance of some heavy downpours during this period. 

Make a packing list

It’s essential to make a packing list when you’re getting ready for your Alleppey houseboat tour. This will ensure you don’t forget anything important and that you’re prepared for whatever weather and activities come your way. Here are some items to include:

  • Sunscreen: The sun can be strong on the water, so sunscreen is essential to keep your skin safe.
  • Sunhat: A sunhat will help protect your face and head from the sun’s rays.
  • Comfortable clothes: Bring comfortable clothing that can be layered depending on the temperature outside.
  • Swimsuit: You may want to take a dip during your houseboat tour, so make sure you pack a swimsuit.
  • Camera: Don’t forget to pack a camera to capture all the amazing views of Alleppey.
  • Snacks and drinks: Most houseboats have kitchens and food is usually included in the tour, but it doesn’t hurt to bring a few snacks and drinks for the journey. 
  • Binoculars: Pack binoculars if you want to get a closer look at birds or other wildlife along the way. 
  • Towels and toiletries: Towels and toiletries are essential for any trip, so make sure to bring them along. 

Creating a packing list is an important step in preparing for your houseboat tour in Alleppey. With the right items packed and ready, you can enjoy a stress-free journey with all the comforts of home.

Consider your group size

When it comes to booking a houseboat tour in Alleppey, group size is an important factor to consider. It’s best to choose a houseboat that can accommodate your entire party comfortably. You can usually book houseboats that range from one to eight bedrooms, with sleeping arrangements for up to 40 people.

If you are travelling with a large group, you might want to rent two or more smaller houseboats. This allows for greater flexibility and allows each group to customize their own experience. If you have a larger group, you may also want to look into renting a larger houseboat that has all the amenities and space needed for your group.

Check the weather forecast

It is important to check the weather forecast prior to your Alleppey houseboat tour. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can help you plan appropriately and make sure you are comfortable during your trip. The average climate in Alleppey is tropical, hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 18 to 33 degrees Celsius (64 to 91 Fahrenheit). During the summer months, there may be heavy rains and thunderstorms. It is best to avoid the monsoon season (June-August) if possible.

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