Kerala state in India’s tropical south promotes itself as God’s Own Country. Although the claim to be India’s Venice may be a little fanciful for Kerala’s Aleppuzha (or Alleppy), its annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race and attendant festivities are truly spectacular, and spending time on the adjoining backwaters is a sublime experience.
For visitors, the backwaters are best explored by houseboat, formerly a traditional riceboat (or ketuvellum), now a comfortable, relaxed and gentle glide through the vast Kerala waterways.
The waters are fringed by coconut palms, almost painfully green rice fields, and brilliantly painted houses. The locals go about their daily activities: immaculately dressed children travel to and from school by boat, women (yes, invariably women) wash clothes the old way, rinsing and squeezing and audibly bashing them against hard surfaces, small passenger ferries course up and down collecting and discharging passengers, a man in a small dugout canoe drifts by using his net to catch fish, raising an umbrella to ward off rain, farmers walk to their small holdings to work, and innumerable kingfishers perch high, diving frequently in a blue flash into the water.
This post contributes to Tiffin’s monthly A-Z guidebook Travel link up.