Some journeys and experiences make us forget all daily worries. It is as though time stops and we become just passive onlookers, gazing at the beauty around. Alappuzha houseboat overnight experience, where I enjoyed with my family, was one such for me. From the time we stepped into the cozy looking houseboat to the time we finished the trip, I was in a wonderland. Not just I, my wife and kids too enjoyed it thoroughly.
Boarding from Pallathuruthi
We boarded the boat from Pallathuruthi. Welcome drink of sweet and sour lemon juice was quite refreshing. It was a deluxe category houseboat. When searching for a houseboat cruise, we come across several categories such as deluxe, luxury, premium etc. The one we selected had two bedrooms and a comfortable sitting area. Kids were ecstatic to have an entire boat just for themselves. Though they had traveled by boats before also, this was the first time they could run around the entire boat! Little joys of childhood.
Start from the finishing point
When I got friendly with the captain of our boat, I asked him where he was taking us first. When he said ‘finishing point,’ I was a little surprised. We had booked for an entire day which included Alappuzha backwaters tour too, and here he was speaking about finishing the matter. It took me a while to realize that we were going to the finishing point of Nehru Trophy Boat Race. It was an essential aspect of Alappuzha houseboat overnight experience, they said.
So we go, to watch the spot where a thrilling boat race culminates every year. Nehru Trophy Boat Race, as we all know, is an event that everyone in Alappuzha looks forward to. All have their favorite boats and root for them like anything. Kerala houseboat experience is best in Alappuzha, no doubt.
Sumptuous lunch and siesta
As a foodie, I had explored the kitchen of our boat, right after we boarded. A good food treat had to be included in our Alappuzha houseboat overnight experience. I was not disappointed on this aspect. They had a full course traditional Kerala lunch ready for us, with fried fish wrapped in banana leaf as a special dish. All dishes were delicious. We had our tummies full.
You may also love to read about our Breakfast at Brothers Restaurant, Alappuzha and about the interesting LUCKY ROOM 19.
After lunch, sitting lazily on the deck, I watched the shores. A houseboat cruise was a tryst with natural beauty, no doubt. But what touched me the most was the life of ordinary people around. They seemed to have no eyes to enjoy their surroundings. All were busy with their daily chores, some were washing clothes, and some were fishing, or taking their products to markets. What was beauty for me, was just a daily affair for them!
St. Mary’s Basilica, Shrine supreme
In the evening, our boat took us to two most revered places in Alappuzha. The first was St. Mary’s Basilica in Champakulam. This is one of the oldest churches of Kerala. Alappuzha houseboat overnight experience is incomplete without a visit to this church. Ancient architecture of the church, and the way it is preserved even to this day, is quite remarkable. There is a stone cross on the church ground that dates back to centuries. After offering our prayers at the altar, we headed back to the boat, to continue on our Cruise Land Houseboat .
Our next halt in Alappuzha backwaters tour was Chavara Bhavan, the ancestral home of Saint Kuriakose Chavara. The house was a bit away from the shores, and there was a mud road leading to it. An electric auto rickshaw was available there, only for carrying passengers to and from Chavara Bhavan. We were welcomed by the priest who is charge of its upkeep. Saint Chavara was a person who dedicated his life towards serving his fellow beings. He has several firsts to his credit, which include setting up the first boarding school for girls, first old-age home, and so on. The priest went on elaborating the life story of the great man, and we stood with stars in our eyes. Little did I know that my Alappuzha houseboat overnight experience was to have such an inspiring story too.
Though I love eating fish, I am definitely not proud of my fishing skills. Still, water was close, weather was good, and I was in high spirits. How could I not try a hand with the rod? I swung the rod, held to one end, and waited for a long time, but with no luck. So my houseboat cruise turned to have no effect on my fishing skills. One of my other dreams as part of Alappuzha houseboat overnight experience was to gaze at the open sky in the night, lying on the deck of the boat. I would say this was an unforgettable experience for me. Lying under the starlit sky in the quiet of the night, I transcended the limits of my senses!
Alappuzha backwaters tour in country-boat
After Alappuzha houseboat overnight experience, the next morning we set out on a country-boat expedition. Small canals of Alappuzha are beautiful havens of nature. It is difficult for big houseboats to navigate through these canals. So we got into a long, tiny country-boat. As it was too narrow, all four of us could not sit together. I sat near the front edge, and others were behind me. Crossing wider canals, we entered small streams, and the scenery started changing. On both sides, there was grass and bushes, pristine greenery! The sound of the oars was the only thing that disturbed the tranquil atmosphere. It was a fitting end to our tour!
Thus ended our Alappuzha houseboat overnight experience. In one day that we spent in the boat, my family came much closer to nature, and to each other. Kerala houseboat experience is one which all of us must try at least once.