- Ankur and Soma
A visit to Kerala can never be complete without visiting its backwaters. Since we were in short of time so we were compelled to allot only half a day for Alappuzha ( or Aleppy ). We started from Thiruvananthapuram early in the morning around 6:30 AM to avoid the city traffic and reached Alappuzha by 10:30AM (that included breaks).
Once we reached Alappuzha, there were no markers on the roads as where the backwaters are. The city has so many lanes, bylanes criss crossing each other and running everywhere. Luckily for me, even if I get confused about the directions I don't need to worry. Ankur has a great sense of direction and is very reliable to bank on. The auto drivers showed us the way and we soon reached the backwater side of the city.
We went to the District Promotion Tourism Council Office at Alappuzha. There they told us about the various types of house-boat and shikara packages that they have. A 22 hour package on a house boat can vary from 4000 INR to 65000 INR depending on the amenities, food, number of rooms etc. Since we did not have much time, we opted for a two hour Shikara ride.
The shikara is a small boat with its roof covered. However all the sides are open and there are luxurious reclining seats, couch bags inside. The Shikara takes you leisurely through the backwaters to the Vembanad lake and again back to the boarding point.
Since the temperature was high, we were not sure whether it would be enjoyable in the Shikara for too long. So initially we settled for a two hour ride. Once we got into the Shikara boat, what we got, was a surprise. Since the boat goes through the waterways, the air is cool and and the breeze too relaxing. We had no option but to ask the Shikara driver to increase our 2 hour duration to 3 hours.
Our Shikara driver was a jovial person and a very good guide. We saw many house boats and he updated us with interesting bits of information like how much a 1 BHK/2 BHK house boat costs to the owner, charges for a day package on the various house boats and all. He also enthusiastically shot so many of our photos and was eager if we'd give a "titanic pose" for him to shoot. The calm breeze flowing through the Shikara was so nice... it felt that the last 6 months fatigue has been wiped off.