Alleppy is in the middle of the Keralan backwaters, amidst a huge area of lakes, waterways, small canals and amazingly lush paddy fields, with villages built on thin strips of land that weave endlessly through the valley. Coconut trees fringe every shore and life seems to have been preserved the way it’s been for hundreds of years.
In the houseboat
Tourists loll on the jack wood decks of the kettuvallams or houseboats, which have become big business. Our resort boat had two air-conditioned bedrooms, attached bathrooms and an open air lounge with a Jacuzzi area to relax.
A team of three was sent with us to operate the boat and cook our meals. Our boat went fast enough to generate a luxurious breeze, and slow enough to see around us. It wandered at a leisurely pace through the canals while we sat back and watched life float by over hot appams and stew for breakfast.
We spent the day cruising across Vembanad Lake, towards some of the narrow canals that crisscross Kerala. The canals seemed more like roadways for transportation of food and supplies. It was interesting to watch women, submerged to their waists, washing dishes and cleaning clothes, and the men chopping wood and fixing things. It was rather fun to witness kids in uniform returning home from school.
Next morning before breakfast, we went in for the famed Kerala massage. On offer was an extensive range of therapies such as the Lemon Tree signature treatments to holistic wellness programmes administered by specialist practitioners and their resident Ayurvedic medical doctor.
Phillip Kutty’s Farm
Phillip Kutty’s farm has traditional waterfront cottages amidst the mango, nutmeg, coconut, and pepper plantations. We were welcomed warmly by Anu and her “mummy” and after a quick tour of the plantation, feasted on a Syrian Christian lunch. Some of the specialties that I thoroughly enjoyed were the karimeen (pearl spot fish) fry, fish moilee, and the scampi preparation, and of course the red hot Kerala fish curry.