While in Fort Kochi, Kerala, we took a day trip over to Alleppey and did a house boat ride for the day. With a not-quite-2 year old, we declined to do an overnight ride.
Also called Allapuzha, Alleppey is the oldest planned town in the region and the 6th largest in Kerala. Its backwaters are very popular with tourists and they have a big boat racing festival each year. It is covered in lagoons, rivers, canals, and lakes. Water plays a very big role in this region!
It was very pleasant watching the other boats and people on the shore. Boats provide most of the transportation here—you had school kids using boats as school buses, boats taking people from one side to the other, boats transporting goods, and of course, houseboats with tourists. Much of what we saw were narrow strips of land with houses right up against the rivers or canals or lakes with watery rice paddies behind them. There were roads and bridges in a long strip by the houses, but I didn’t see many cars. Most used boats, or perhaps bikes.
Every house had steps leading down from the wall to the water. People went in the water to bathe (women fully clothed, men were shirtless) and do laundry. Kids splashed and played in the water. We also saw a lot of people fishing from shore.
We also saw a massive school structure and churches and temples. Some buildings were obviously shops, including one where we stopped at to buy the most massive Tiger prawns I have ever seen. Three prawns were 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs)!!