Alappuzha trip was planned with the purpose of visiting Mannarsala, Ambalapuzha and other near by temples and a boat ride through the back waters. Satish said the priority is for temple visit. So if time permits, can consider boat ride. I had done enough googling and knew all these could fit in our schedule and just nodded to what he said.
As decided, we got into the Chennai-Alleppey express from Palakkad junction at 5:45. It arrived 20 minutes late. Till Ernakulam, the train was packed. After that, it was almost empty. We had arranged for rooms through a friend in a hotel. Took an auto to the hotel. It takes less than 10 minutes from the station. The first thing you notice is that the roads are straight and cuts at perpendiculars. I am seeing that for the frist time in Kerala.
Checked in and refreshed. It was 12:30. Had a chat with hotel manager regarding the sightseeing places etc. He immediately arranged for a cab and it was to arrive at around 1:30PM. Meanwhile we finished our lunch. The cab driver was Raju, an ex-serviceman and gulf returnee, in his early sixties. We told him our priorities. He suggested we go for a boat ride the same day and arranged a motor boat for about 4 hours at Rs.1000/-. Considering the usual rates they charge, this was cheap. He agreed to drop us near boat jetty and also to pick us and take to the Mullackal temple after the boat ride.
We paid the money to the motor boat owner,Jayan, prior to the ride. Abhilash, 20 something guy, was to drive us through the backwaters. He is an expert driver. Took us along the interiors and made us watch the sunset. Surprisingly, there was one house in the interiors of the backwaters which has the vast stretches of paddy land behind and the endless backwaters as the fence on the front side. the poor man ekes out a living by selling mineral water,biscuits and tender coconut. We stopped there. Had tender coconuts. Went around the paddy fields through his backyard. The floor of his house is at the same level of water in the lake. On the arrival of monsoon, his house is surely to be flooded with the first rain. He smilingly replies that they shift to the relief camps opened by government during those periods. He has emotional attachment to the house which is more that 75 years old. The ride through the quiet backwaters was very enjoyable and relaxing. It soothes your mind and body at the same time.
By 7:30 we returned back to the shore. Raju was ready to pick us up. We went to Mullackal temple, the famous temple of Alappuzha. Had nice darshan. Raju, then just took us along the beach front and dropped us back at the hotel.
Date of visit - 15,16,17th Jan,2009