Monday, 9 December 2013

Kerala "Gods Own Country" - Alleppey


It may not be in one's top ten places to visit, but we decided to visit Kerala anyway. People might be wondering, why Kerala instead of some other 'cool, famous' places... but trust me.. when I walk you thru our journey to Kerala, you'll be surprised with the beautiful creation of this "Gods Own Country".

Kerala is a strip of land between the Arabian Sea and Western Ghats. Kerala or Keralam is known as the land of kera or coconut. It is a never-ending array of coconut palms... sun blanched beaches.. kettuvallams over enchanting backwaters.. misty mountains.. fragrance of spice, magical monsoon showers and the evenings reverberating with the rhythms of a thousand artforms.

We went to the two districts of Kerala; Alleppey and Munnar.

Alleppey




It was a two hours journey from Cochin Airport to our destination in Alleppey - Punnamada Lake Resort. We were greeted by the warm welcome of the resort's staffs upon our arrival until even we wanted to lay our head on the bed. Memang rasa macam VVIP sangat. Our luxurious beautiful villa is surrounded by a carpet of green, tropical flowers, fruits and plants which really soothed our eyes after being so long in the land of brown walls and mountains. The villas have all been built using traditional Kerala architecture. Every part of the rooms has a hint of traditional ethnicity designs with touch of luxury. I just loved the room!



Alleppey (which is also known as Alappuzha) is referred to as the "Venice of the East". We woke up in the morning greeted by the soft breeze blowing off the Vembanad Lake facing our resort. We enjoyed our breakfast and lunch with the beautiful scenery of houseboats continuously cruising down the backwaters. My kids just loved to walk and run around the resorts, appreciate the greens and the view of the large lake. What else could you ask for at that moment..


We also experienced cruising the famous 'houseboat' on the backwaters. Houseboats or kettuvallams are the boats of Kerala that were originally used for the purpose of transporting food grains from one part of the state to another. However, most of these boats nowadays have been transformed into luxurious water vessels. Mostly the houseboats are about 25mtrs long, made of planks of jack-wood joined together with coir. Not even a single nail is used during the construction of the boat. The houseboats have an open foredeck sheltered by a vaulted roof of braided screw pine grass called vembanad.

 

 

Our houseboat took us to the rural lifestyle journey of Keralites. We could see villages with the riverbanks that are embroidered with the palm trees and a cluster of mud houses with thatched roofs. Some houses looked rundown with just plywood as a wall or roof. There were also a few big beautiful bright colour houses that attracted our attention. This I think rumah penghulu or wakil rakyat kut..


We also witnessed women washing their clothes, dishes and even taking a shower. We viewed children running around catching each other in front of their houses and some also swimming splashing water to each other.

You might think that this kind of scenario could only be seen on the TV or probably acting played at some places like Disneyland – NO.. this is real. The boat cruised so close to the riverbank that I could see all of these very clearly.

This is such a valuable experience to me and especially my children. Witnessing all of these from the decks of my houseboat didn't make me feel better than them, but made me appreciate more with what I have now.



Our days in Alleppey mostly spent on relaxing, swimming and enjoying the cool breezy weather. We also had a chance to see how toddy was traditionally made. The process is called ‘toddy tapping’ where a man climbs to the top of coconut palms to tap the trees for their sweet sap.


We were also being entertained by the cultural traditional show over our dinner. Though we couldn’t understand any single words, we still enjoyed the show especially accompany by the delicious Kerala spicy food.. We just love the food!

 


We had a lovely stay here. I would recommend any of you to come to Alleppey and stay at the Punnamada Lake Resort. The resort is gated with tight security and secluded at the end of the village. It is very beautiful, clean and also not to forget the delicious food they have. The staff were very helpful and friendly. My children learned lots of Malayalam vocabs from them. They are everywhere at anytime to greet and assist you.


In this resort you really truly feel like you're in Kerala. It was not just the surrounding or the food but also the people. All the men staff wear their traditional dress called 'Moondoo'. It is a hand-woven cotton cloth that is worn like sarong. Ala.. yang macam mamak2 zaman dulu buat roti canai tu...

When we first arrived at the Cochin Airport, I was followed by a guy who claimed to be a taxi driver. He saw me holding a taxi slip and kept saying "taxi.. innova.. my taxi.." I was like.. biar betul dia ni taxi driver. He was wearing this white 'moondo' yang asyik2 dia duk angkat and selak sampai ke lutut plus with rambut ala alleycat. Macam tak confident je akak..


Well.. actually he was our taxi driver! Hahhahaa... His name is Sebastian. A nice chap though.. very determine to explain and tell us all the places that we passed by although he was struggling to speak English! Along our journey we saw almost all the man wearing this 'moondoo' and ladies wearing their traditional Kerala dress. I felt like watching a life Tamil movie except no action from Sivaji The Boss!

Anyway..   if you want to be treated like a King or Queen.. or probably a “Bollywood Superstar” in India, stay at the 4-5 stars hotels. Forget about what people say and comments about India or Indians. This is my second holiday in India and trust me.. Indians here are very nice, kind and friendly to tourists. You have to experience and see it to believe it.

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