As you cruise along the backwaters and discover hidden watery highways you will fully understand why they called this slice of Venice- "Gods own country". A vacation in India is never complete without visiting Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey located in the state of Kerala in South India.
The Portuguese were the first to colonise this region and to discover the route between Lisbon and Kozhikode in Kerala. The colonial power started to decline in the 17th century, which gave rise to the Dutch who were defeated by Marathanda Verma in 1741. It was he who later established Alappuzha. This gave growth to busy waterways, factories and bustling shops. It became an epicentre for trade to other countries from Europe and the Americas.
While on your custom tours in India, do try the specialty of Alleppey cuisine which is its backwater fish called Karimeen (black pearlspot). Rice is the staple food here, served in various forms such as idli, pidiyan and puttu, to name a few. Keralites use coconut oil, milk and spices in most of their cooking.
A lunch meal would normally include erisherry, kappa and fish curry, vegetable thoran, aviyal, pulisherry and the curd-based moru curry. If you have a sweet tooth, then you'll love Payasam and Unniappam.
Backwaters and Houseboats
The inland canal system leading to the Arabian Sea is known as the backwaters and it leads to beautiful beaches and lagoons along the coast. The river canals weave through the town and are a major transport route.
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held on the 2nd Saturday of August is one of the major attractions of the backwaters and people from all over head to this venue during their vacation in India to witness this spectacle.
The best way to experience the backwaters is on a houseboat cruise. You can book a traditional yet comfortable houseboat which is normally made of wood and coir. There are different varieties ranging from a 2 bedroom AC accommodation to ones that can hold 8 bunks. The boats come with a chef and captail and you can enjoy traditional meals cooked onboard while peacefully cruising the backwaters.