We took ourselves down to Alleppey (or Alappuzha) with a view to spending a couple of nights on a rice boat in the back waters. Little did we realise that it was a national holiday in India and the place would be heaving. After elbowing our way through the other tourists along the quayside where the houseboats were moored and speaking to a couple of captains, we agreed that it may not be quite the unique, romantic, enlightening experience the guide books would have us believe and therefore, opted out.
The host at our homestay had said he could organise a day with a backwater village guide and so we arranged that instead. And, what a pleasurable experience it was. My only regret is to not have spent more evening and morning time on the water when the villagers are going about their daily chores on the rivers.
Taking his human for a walk
Going about their business
Converted canoes for the tourists
Waiting to be hired.
Houseboats converted from traditional rice boats – Kettuvallams
Choose your houseboat.
The pollution from boat motors is a little disquieting.
Footpaths and waterways through the villages – away from the tourist trails
So many butterflies but mostly too quick for me.
Our guide and his canoe
Traditional Keralean banana leaf meal at the home of our guide.
The grandchildren of our backwaters village host and his wife.
The grandson having his lunch
canoes in all shapes and sizes
Sheltering from the midday sun.
Family of water buffalo
Local wildlife – kingfisher
All life happens here – quietly.
Serene and calm
But I feel they are playing.
Should be bathing…
Daily chores at the riverside for villagers
Bathing for all
Loads of river traffic on this national holiday.
Traditional house boats in a queue.
A big responsibility for a small boy.
Late afternoon on the canal in town.
Boats to service the tourist trade
In town, the bustle is intense.
Retro cast advertising figurines.
Recycled rice bags.
Retro shop mannequins.
The electricity system frightening.