Kochi & Alleppey: Why you must visit them (cont'd)

Monday, April 20, 2015 Rahul Das 0 Comments


<<Continued from page 1 of this post

6. The houseboat experience




Our boat had a living-cum-dining room, 2 bedrooms for the 8 of us (which were air-conditioned after 21:00), a work area for the captain, the cook and the domestic help and another living room a flight of stairs away. Soft drinks, fruits and most importantly, 3 amazing naadan (traditional) meals were all part of the 21-hour 12 pm to 9 am package that cost us Rs 12,000 (Rs 1,500 each).


It felt great for us to have a wonderful time on the boat while the captain guided us slowly through the coconut tree fringed backwaters. We halted near shops located on small islands and witnessed the mesmerizing sunset on the moving boat before it was docked for the night near a village.

Naadan Kerala cuisine


After your boat is docked, you could ask the assistants to get you additional stuff that the cook would use to prepare and add to your dinner.

Banerjee’s birthday celebrations at midnight were marred by an ugly argument we had with the 3 assistants and we left the boat the next morning displeased with the way we were treated. Barring that unfortunate incident, the fun and sights we experienced should be enough for you to know that the Alleppey houseboat is one good reason you must visit Kerala.

Before you read our VTV story, follow these steps and you should be able to book your houseboat without wasting too much time researching the internet.


Five step guide to book your houseboat

1. Visit Nature Vision's site and check out the boats.
2. Clicking on Book Now will take you to a form where you need to type in the boat you require and request the owner for its details. The easier way to get this information would be to simply call them on +91 98479 48049 / +91 93497 73759 / +91 477 320 1249.
3. You should get an email giving you details of the boat including the date, timings, route, food and fare.
4. Click on the link in the mail and pay the advance on the secured payment gateway. 
5. Once your payment is complete, you should receive an email confirming your booking.

Confirmation of booking



7. Our VTV pursuit

The tourism commercials weren't the only thing that had attracted me to Alleppey. The magnificently cinematographed scenes shot for the 2009 Tamil classic Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya (popularly referred to as VTV) in this locale had completely caught my imagination.

A pivotal scene in the movie was shot in a church by the banks of a river and Jestin and I had an impulsive idea to visit this church unknown to us after we left the houseboat. Despite our having only 2 hours before our train’s departure to Surathkal, Thakkar joined us and thus began our quest to find the church. After all, if Simbu was able to find it after going through so much, why couldn't we? :P

A still from Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya

Asking around about the place was perhaps the funniest part of this mini trip. After all that embarrassment, we learnt that the church was situated in a small village named “Pullinkunnu” and inquired about the buses that would take us there.

The bus we boarded dropped us at a place right next to a river from where we were able to view the church at last. The church however, was on the other side of the river bank which meant that we still couldn't get to it.

Looked around, found a boat and paid its owner some money to help us cross the river. Scenes from the film flashed in my head while we did so: Trisha in her stunning bridal gown on the speedboat, Simbu’s elation on hearing her answer at the altar, A.R. Rahman’s powerful melancholy soundtrack…

And finally, in a few minutes, we were in front of St Mary's Church.

Why couldn't you "cross the skies", Jessie? Why?

12 hours on the Netravathi Express and we were at the Surathkal Railway Station at midnight.


*****

The fun at Lulu, the thrill at Wonderla, exploring Kochi, the houseboat and to top it all off, our successful VTV venture: you've seen how magical southern Kerala can get. If you're one of those people who hasn't visited Kerala's backwaters despite its being one of National Geographic's ten paradises of the world, do your research, follow the steps I've suggested and experience it yourself before the monsoon sets in! 

Sadly for us, constraints in time stopped us from enjoying the uniquely Kerala Ayurvedic massages and watching the elephant baths. Another time for that, perhaps? Stay tuned to SoSpeakUpNow! until then!


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