Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
Northampton, United Kingdom
April 10, 2012
From journal India 2011 Pt 6 - Kerala Gen. & the Backwaters
by Sabina Sharma
May 16, 2008
August 27, 2007
From journal A Tranquil Getaway in God's Own Country-Kerala
April 4, 2007
Kerala backwaters are one of the most enchanting attractions of India. I had read a lot on this and was eagerly waiting to see the backwater beauty of Kerala. I landed in Kerala on November 10, 2006 and straightaway got to Alleppey, which is famous for its backwater resources. Alleppey is popularly known as the "Venice of the East" and is famous for its backwater stretches. I also enjoyed the backwater cruise on the famous houseboats. These heritage houseboats are designed in such a luxurious way, that we are always at ease. I actually hired a travel agent Shubh Yatra and it made my trip much easier. I had my dinner that night and that too in the typical Kerala style.
The next day I headed to Kumarakom, which is another backwater destination. I also visited the famous Kumarakom bird sanctuary, which houses some of the rarest bird species. Actually the day in Kumarakom was a bit hot, but the cool breeze from the backwaters was a huge relief. We also had some boating in Kumarakom and after that we left for Cochin. Cochin is the commercial hub of Kerala and also has a fair amount of backwater stretches. After visiting some of the major destinations of Cochin, I left home, carrying some unique memories...
From journal Kerala Backwaters
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
December 8, 2006
From journal To Kerala, From Malaysia With Love
December 30, 2005
It’s a superb way to spot the birds of Kerala and although I’m not great at naming birds even I could not fail to recognise the bright flash of turquoise of the Kingfisher, the Great Egret, Little Heron, Bittern, Cormorants, Eagles, Hawks, Snipes, Plovers and Storks. There were a range of seabirds and at a couple of places we saw huge groups of ducks. It turned out that duck farming is quite an industry on the river and “the duck shepherd” was seen ushering the ducks out of the river by encircling them in his canoe. The ducks obligingly clambered the river bank an the “dry land shepherd” moved them towards their “grazing land. This was a fascinating sight and I was just amazed and how compliant these birds seemed to be.
The riverbanks were awash with bright colours - the vivid flowers of red, yellow and purple, and the vibrant clothing of the local inhabitants set alongside the dowdy flimsy wicker-walled dwellings. Excited school children waved at us from the riverbank and proud parents posed readily for photographs. From early morning to dusk the river openly displayed its micro-culture to us. We saw parents bathing their children in the river and tenderly washing and brushing their hair; women beating clothing against rocks (that’s a real aggressive washing machine!); shiny silvery cooking utensils were scrubbed clean at the water’s edge; adults washed in the river, cleaned their teeth; and we did see evidence of water being taken from the river and drunk. This is a multi purpose river – a working river.
Whilst all the activity happened around us we were being molly coddled on board the boat. There was five staff in total, a couple out front responsible for steering, a cook, a kitchen assistant and the “captain”. For lunch we dined on rice, beans and onion, a couple of delicately spiced curry dishes with additional red hot chilli (our host was horrified as I chomped on one of them), a scented dish with coconut and mustard seeds was a superb accompaniment. We were initially surprised to not see fish but within a few minutes of devouring our first few dishes a couple of large sea fish (the name escapes me) were presented to us. These were mighty fine and the bones were lifted easily from the flesh. Whenever it looked like we were about to finish the waiter ladled more food onto our plate. This was a great lunch – with the perfect setting and food admirably well cooked.
We then settled to being pampered on our river boat. Feeling like royalty as enjoyed the lush scenery with its proliferation of palm trees leaning over the watery route and surveyed the busy rural life around. This is the life!
From journal A River Cruise
December 27, 2005
Backwater cruises are big tourist business in Kerala and although competition is tough there are allegedly countless fiddles that take place. Apparently some don’t include food or mooring costs so you’re constantly being “tapped up” for extra cash. Ours was all-inclusive and I’m delighted to report that none of the 5-strong crew attempted to levy extra charges. Indeed they made no sycophantic gestures to “work for” tips. We in turn felt comfortable and relaxed.
The first view of the boat was positive and it looked in good condition and “river worthy. We boarded our wicker-clad houseboat by timidly balancing on a narrow plank of wood. It was held at the bottom by the foot of one of the “boat boys” whilst another two grabbed for our arms to steady our approach. It actually felt an achievement to have got on board without incident and we were delighted to find that our accommodation afforded us plenty of space. This was a two-bedroom boat with a lounge cum dining area and an upper covered viewing deck. Access to the upper deck was by way of a basic ladder and the roof of raffia and coconut rope ensured protection from the mid-day sun. Initially I thought it was incredibly cramped on the upper deck but when the crew saw we were interested in sitting upstairs the roof was raised, with bamboo canes. It was still not possible to stand fully upright but there were some great of life on the river views from our bamboo chairs on this upper terrace.
Our en-suite bedroom was just big enough for the comfortable double bed and was kitted out with a fan (air-con was an added extra that the guy arranging the trip had suggested was an unnecessary additional cost) and perfectly adequate lighting. The lounge area with its comfortable chairs and coffee table afforded great views of the countryside and a large dining table completed our on-board facilities. All-in-all the facilities were extremely comfortable and we had a great 24-hour cruise down the canals of Kerala.