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Vanchiyatra
No. Of Days: 3 days

A cruise through the canals of Alleppey (Alappuzha) - Venice of the East , is enchanting. Especially when one passes through Kuttanad - the natures wonderland which lies below sea-level. With its own farming techniques this region is famous as rice bowl of Kerala.

Rivers, Canals and Lakes all together makes continuous vegetation from one end to the other of the State. So our transport system mainly depend on waterways till modern fast road movement overtook age old sailing system.

We modernized our good old canoes to suit Tourism industry. Thus born a demanding product that could generate employment to those discarded oarsmen /sailors. This two in one House-boat or Rice-boat provides one a luxury home stay together with conveyance.

Rice - boat has a well furnished bed room with attached bath, spacious sit-out and kitchen.

A local cook at disposal to fulfill ones taste bud, second member to operate an out-bound engine and the third to steer the big canoe. What more does one need, other than willingness to enjoy the ride.

The Package

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Day 01 Embark on a House boat. You call her by name. Cruise starts. While your eyes explore rustic life that floats by, treat your palate to backwater delicacies prepared by your own personal chef.

See the venue of Snake boat race which happens during our national festival Onam. One of the worlds largest team event consisting of 105 oars-men and another ten singers, believe it they are in one boat. Around twenty such teams come in their own boats to take part in this cultural extravaganza. Anchors for Lunch.

Savour a sadya - full course/multi-course feast of rice and vegetable dishes - Kerala Lunch. Roll your sleeves up and seated on floor to enjoy this feast. Spicy pickles, crunchy banana chips, plantains, crispy papads, unpolished red rice and payasam- the desert. Served on plantain leaf, this meal is eaten with the fingers. No fork, no spoon.

We know u need little rest now.

En-route visit a village Tip-toe across a coconut trunk bridge. Small canals and water bodies have this narrow bridges. Walk through paddy fields. Venture into a narrow dyke. Try not to loose your balance while crossing slushy water passage that run through your mud path.

Visit the ancestral home of father Chavara, the blessed sole, now a spiritual resort. 250 years old beacon of light is preserved in its original and primitive form.

Buy spices from the local shop for dinner. You definitely need it because of the swing of the toddy- Madhura-kallu. Have it in the Kerala way with Karimeen pollichatu during candle light supper.

Bed -room with mosquito-net in the floating house-boat will give u a sound sleep till sunrise.

Day 02 Wake up-to the worlds best breakfast. Appam with stew. (rated by travel and leisure magazine).

Have a swim in the lake. If raining it will cleanse, refresh and wash away stress. Don't sit and listen to the pitter-patter on the roof of your boat. Step out.

Visit a bird sanctuary - an ornithologists paradise and a favorite haunt of migratory birds. Spot birds. Hear them sing. Take their family photograph. Applaud their aerobatic skills.

Next is to an uninhabited Island-Pathiramanal.

Anchored for lunch and rest.

Back to river from the big lake. Watch toddy taping and his peculiar way of beating coconut flower with animal bone.

Have a swim in the river with local crowd. Try to learn Vallappattu /vanchippattu, the lonely entertainment for the sailor. Usually they are good singers. In their typical Oarsman style, both melodies and love songs are there.

Indian bread and chicken/vegetable curry will be served for supper. Pineapple as desert/fruit.

One need not wait for sleep to come. In fact it grabs you unexpectedly.

Day 03 Puttu and Kadalakkary will be served for break fast.

Enter narrow canals. Watch remote village life. They have an entirely different way of water front life. Skiff is family vehicle, here ducks out number chickens.

Children learn to swim even before they walk. Watch for a canoe merchant/policeman/post man in a canoe or an Ambulance/Hospital boat.

Buy juicy sear fish, sardines, prawn, red snappers or crabs from the fresh catch and ask the cook to fry it the local way. Enjoy the same for the lunch.

Visit a home in the nearby village. Relieve the old times in the perfect settings of antique furniture and exquisite wood-work in Kerala's heritage Nalukettu, quadrangular mansions with a central court-yard each more than 70/100 years old.

Go with locals to a village temple where evening prayer is going on. Collect various flowers on your way and give it to the priest. Oil lighted lamps and temple music will create a positive and inviting mood in anyone present over there. Witness Arathy and feel the presence of God in the background of ringing bells.


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