Backwater in Alappuzha, Punnamada Backwater Resort
Alappuzha backwaters is an important backwater destination. Noted for its boat races, beaches, marine products and coir industry, Alappuzha is also home to Kuttanad - the Rice Bowl of Kerala. Kuttanad is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.
Alappuzha's fascination is the backwaters. Begin with a cruise from the Boat Jetty and then stroll back into town past the canals covered with mauve hyacinths. While the town's natural beauty leaves you awe struck, look for the heritage structures too; the tales they tell are truly remarkable. Much of the architecture, particularly of government offices, is colonial and it has survived the years and the continuous use very well.
The glorious Alappuzha backwaters
This is a must-do on your Alleppey holiday. A backwater cruise on the Punnamada Kayal takes you along canals past scenic islands offering sublime views of coconut and paddy fields, Chinese fishing nets and toddy tappers at work.
Boats can be hired from the Tourist Boat Jetty near the bus stand. You can ask DTPC for a private cruise at the jetty behind the DTPC office. Kerala Water Transport Department boats cruise the backwaters too, up to the villages all around. Options include an Alleppey-Kollam 8-hour daily cruise and an Alleppey-Kottayam run.
The Punnamada Kayal is the starting point for the annual boat races in Alappuzha. This is where the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, the biggest snake boat race in the state, is held on the second Saturday of August.
Watching the snake boats competing with each other is an awesome sight. There are boats in all sizes, some with as many as 100 rowers and several cheerleaders. Punnamada kayal is also home to many popular resorts like Punnamada back water resort.
R and QST block islands
Alappuzha's beauty is not merely in its backwaters, but in the man-made islands that you will find amidst the waters. These islands are hedged by mud wall, a haven for migratory birds, with paddy fields with water through out the year. These fields stand below the sea level.
R block is especially famous for the fresh toddy served to guests. You could, if you wish to drop in and hang around in the toddy shop till the next boat comes. Try the delicious dishes at the shop, such as crabs, clams, prawns and a variety of fish that are endemic to the backwaters. And if you are keen on taking a dip in the backwater in Alappuzha the R Block and QST islands are the best bet. Kerala Water Transport Department Boat Jetty Counter offer cruises to R Block
How to do the backwaters tour Kerala at Alappuzha
Alappuzha retains some of the charm its history of trade with the world has bequeathed it. However, its everlasting attraction is its location, for Alappuzha, which occupies a pretty thin strip of land between the backwaters and the sea, is the capital of backwaters and the sea, is the capital of backwaters in south India. Many of the famous houseboats are based here.
The boat jetty at Alappuzha is crawling with operators vying for your attention. Ask them for a houseboat and make it your mobile home for as long as you like. Or book yourself into one of the resorts that follow, and get yourself a speedboat or motorboat to get around. What follows are several stops along the backwaters-resorts, temples, museums and villages where snake boats are made.
Fixed itinerary of Alappuzha backwaters tours typically take in a few of the sights that follow. But you can design your own itinerary with most operators. Just factor in the time it takes from point to point depending on how you're travelling-by speedboat, motorboat or houseboat, in decreasing order of speed. Spread these over the days you have for your holiday and that's it. All that remains is for you to make your choice.