Sailing through the backwater

Tripoto
6th Jun 2017

Kerala holds a special place in my heart and its backwaters, make their place right at the core. The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast of Kerala in southern India. An interconnected network of canals, rivers, rivulets, and lakes create the Kerala backwater.

Photo of Back waters at Kumarakom, Kumarakom, Kerala, India by tanwistha gope
Photo of Cocobay Resort, Chakrampady, Kumarakom, Kerala, India by tanwistha gope

Alleppey and Kumarakom are the two most prominent places to visit if you want to experience Kerala backwaters. With the former being a more crowded option, I chose to visit Kumarakom.

In this blog, I will refresh you with the beautiful stretches of the Kumarakom backwater and give you my inputs on the boat ride. Inputs that will fit your budget and be viable for a luxury stay.

Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope

Sailing through the backwater on a shoestring budget

We were a group of two and hiring a houseboat wasn’t in our budget. But the thrill to experience the backwater had just started budding in our mind and was slowly growing to spread all over our heart. So, we found an alternate option.

Photo of Kumarakom, Kerala, India by tanwistha gope

Right near the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, was a docking port that housed almost all kinds of boats; houseboats huge, medium, and small ones and also the shikaras or motorboats. Having done with the breakfast, we set off to explore the option. The road to the boarding point was beautiful and with the Kumarakom bird sanctuary falling on the way, our deal was already looking good!

Photo of Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kavanattinkara, Kumarakom, Kerala, India by tanwistha gope

We inquired for the shikara ride (or motor boat) and bargained for a great deal. Rs. 750 per head for a 2-hour ride through the backwater; yes, that was our deal.

Photo of Kumarakom, Kerala, India by tanwistha gope

Our deal was advantageous over the massive houseboat ride. For it took us through the small lanes and passages of the backwater, right through the backyards of houses in both the side. Houseboats are huge and hence usually can’t sail through this narrow passage.

Photo of Kumarakom, Kerala, India by tanwistha gope

Watching the localities carrying on with their daily chores, washing and cleaning by the bank, kids playing around, few taking dips from time to time, and fishermen passing by every now and then. It was once in lifetime experience for us.

Photo of Vembanad Lake, Kerala by tanwistha gope
Photo of Vembanad Lake, Kerala by tanwistha gope

Crossing the lanes, we reached the Vembanad lake, saw some beautiful resorts situated on its bank, and even managed to find some huge flocks of migratory birds near the sanctuary.

Not to forget the sudden lashes of rain coming in from nowhere. With raindrops making patterns on the water and sudden splashes of that water coming inside the boat, it was a wonderful dream that we were leaving.

But, as I watched the massive houseboats plying round, I immediately made a promise to experience them soon. Not alone though, but with my family.

Photo of Kumarakom Houseboat, Mullakkal, Kottayam, Kerala, India by tanwistha gope
Photo of Kumarakom Houseboat, Mullakkal, Kottayam, Kerala, India by tanwistha gope

Luxury stay at a houseboat

The second time around when visiting the Kumarakom backwater with my family, I chose the Ker Kerala houseboats. Got its reference from one of my local friends and I immediately booked them.

We were put up at Cocobay Resort that was located right on the bank of the Vembanad lake. With the hotel compound having a docking port, the houseboat came to pick us up right from there. It was a 2 bhk houseboat with amazing staffs. The ride was for the entire day, starting from 10 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock in the evening. It included a delicious lunch and an equally refreshing high-tea. It cost us approx. Rs. 10,000 for the entire package.

Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope

We mostly sailed across the Vembanad lake but just in the beginning of the trip, we made sure to stop by the local fish market. Tiger prawns and crab were the fresh catch for the day and we instantly made a choice to buy both.

Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope
Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope

Taking some amazing pictures was a must. So, watching the Chinese fishing nets standing all along the bank on one side, I made sure that the moment is captured. Sitting in the open area and soaking in the gorgeousness of the Vembanad lake, our sail continued.

Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope
Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope

Lunch was ready in a jiffy. Rice, daal fry, some authentic Kerala vegetarian food, Karimeen fry, Prawn masala, Crab roast, Duck roast, Appam, and the delicious jackfruit halwa.

Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope
Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope
Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope
Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope
Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope

The best moments came post lunch. We were sailing right through the center of the Vembanad lake. A huge flock of birds flew in for their catch. Wow! what a sight it was. Birds flocking around, busy pecking into the water to catch a fish, water lilies blooming all over, sea-weeds scattered here and there, the evening sun kissing the water, the beautiful layer of waves taking our houseboat ahead.

Photo of Sailing through the backwater by tanwistha gope
Photo of Vembanad Lake, Kerala by tanwistha gope
Photo of Vembanad Lake, Kerala by tanwistha gope

With high-tea, our houseboat ride came to an end. They dropped us back to the hotel and sailed away. It was an amazing day with family getting to sail the beautiful backwater.

Hope this blog serves useful to you while planning your ride!

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