When I am in billion minds, I tend to think of one place that has exactly healed my mind and that is this picturesque small Kerelaite town called Alleppey down south. Set at a distance of approx. 60 kms from the state’s capital, Cochin, this pristine town is the oldest planned city in the entire region. And for my quest to try something new, I landed myself in Alleppey on a mid-afternoon when the sun was all set to move down throwing its last haze on us.
And there I saw a picture in the sky amazing enough to be a painting meant for the wall, a picture of Alleppey which I recall with fond memories till date. There is some kind of crispiness in the air of Alleppey, something I am devoured of so much. And the best moment was yet to come, and yes it was there when I first visualized the mystically mystic Backwaters, so ravishing, so serene so crystal yet so poignant.
The Southern Railway journeys are pretty clean as compared to their counterparts, of course, this I say from my experience (views may vary). And comparatively affluent train connectivity to this part of the country is an added advantage to the tourism industry which has accelerated its growth as a highly sort after tourist destination, unlike our North Eastern states, which, despite having diverse phenomenal potentials, are yet to make their mark. Things apart, here I am more interested in indulging into the array of diversification that Alleppey stands for.
Our first stopover city was Cochin. Cochin, as I see through my eyes, is more of intellectual, imposing and colonial kind of a city. The firmness of Cochin is indeed mesmerising. We stayed in the hotel The Pride, one of the 4-star deluxe chains of hotels in India. With an upright ambience, I would much recommend this hotel more for its wide range of food; of course stay is not at all a bad option. At dinner, we were served with 5/6 varieties of fish, some grilled, some with curry and rest I just tasted on and on and on and only one word for it “Awesome”. Next morning it was a brief sightseeing of the city which included Chinese fishing net, Fort Cochin, St. Francis Church, the Jewish synagogue and the Dutch Palace, before heading towards the most awaited destination of our trip.
It was almost after an hour drive that we entered Alleppey of Alappuzha district. The highway drive gave me memories back home as it is as green as Assam, mostly covered with coconut trees. It was slightly drizzling during the drive and the cool breeze gave me some really soothing punches. And then the real beauty of the land begins.
The car left us on the bank of the Vembanad Lake and I stood their awestruck witnessing the grand décor of nature that Allepey has been bestowed with. I thought to myself, what a magnificent art portrayed by God. It was all the more magnificent because the resort we were heading to is set amidst water. It is a very small island where the cottages of the resort keep floating. There are about 16 cottages altogether and we were given the suite room which had a small balcony that overlooked the bank at a distance and water all over. I could not move but kept sitting on the balcony and enjoyed the godliness of this place.
And then it poured. The crystallised droplets created subtle waves in the water of Allepey and then we felt some kind of movements. Soon we realised that it was our cottage that was moving with the flushing of the mild wave.
The dusk soon dropped in and the heavenly feel became stronger as the radiance of the last rays created magic in the water as we sat and watched the colour changing. There was some kind of an open stage where one can sit and enjoy a cuppa while relaxing and enjoying the view. And we did the same. As the dark sat in we spotted few fishermen on their boats strolling out for their hunt and their dimly lit lanterns made me crave for a ride to feel the mystic milieu. At the night the place felt extraordinarily silent and peaceful. Allepey has beautiful nights.
On enquiring with the room service guy, we came to know that out of all 16 cottages only our cottage was occupied and a group of around 12 people was scheduled to arrive the next morning. He left me with some kind of adventure being alone with my husband in a deserted island far away somewhere amidst a sea!!! And I really wished we were….But the thought itself was so daunting that it nevertheless gave me some kind of electric pangs.
Dinner was a sumptuous meal with fresh fish caught from the lake. The night felt a bit isolated and deserted and I couldn’t stop peeping around the room at regular intervals throughout the night as it gave us some mild jerks with the wind.
However, the morning splash waved off all the awkwardness of the previous night and I felt myself a fool for doubting (?) this divine place. After breakfast, we took a local fisherman’s boat and drifted away far from the island until nothing was visible except water all around. The feel was exotic and I just can’t describe it in words….
Next, we interacted with few locals who were fishermen by profession and a lot about their daily struggle with life in the backwaters . But they seemed happy and content with their own ways. The evening houseboat ride was also a jubilant moment when it pierced through the lagoon dissecting the hydrophytes. As we were passing by some other inhabited island, we heard someone singing aloud in a language unknown to us. But it did touch my heart and moreover, the gloominess in the eastern sky was well juxtaposed with his rhythmic humming.
Next morning we left Alleppey bidding adieu to a wondrous land but promising its air to come back someday very soon. My heart resonated the versatility of this ingenious land as it smelled its aura everywhere. And of course, Alleppey is too versatile a land.
How To Reach Allepey:
- By Air: Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport to Allepey.
- By Bus: Kerala State Run Transport Corporation buses connect Alleppey to most major cities in Kerala.
- By Train: You can also reach Alleppey from all Major cities in India.