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Row Row your boat gently down the stream

Day 13 Periyār Sanctuary > Alleppey > Kerala Backwaters

No morning music as like the wake up call as back in Madurai so that was certainly a real blessing in disguise.

Another bags out by 7am / 07:00 before a hotel breakfast 175 rupee / NZ$3.70 / US$2.70 and leaving at 8am for the guided spice plantation visit in the nearby Cardamom Hills. Similar to the one that I saw in Zanzibar and Sri Lanka. Learnt a bit more about spice of this region.
- 75% world’s cardamom grown in this district. 40 days till harvest.
- Clove harvested annually. Red Clove better quality, black / brown second and most available.
- 100 different varieties of bananas of which 50 are in Kerala.
- Pepper – the same plant produces green (Dec), Black Feb and March and white April / May
- Turmeric used in all (many) recipes. An antiseptic, anti cancer. Mix honey and water.

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Huge lemon

Huge lemon

Cardamom

Cardamom

Pipe cleaner

Pipe cleaner

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Bolivia Flower

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Clove

Clove

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Pepper

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Cocoa

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Cocoa

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Bleeding heart

Bleeding heart

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Passionfruit

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Candy flower

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Pineapple

Pineapple

Orchid

Orchid

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Rajesh - our driver and Augustan his trusty side kick

Rajesh - our driver and Augustan his trusty side kick

A chai stop for 20 rupees/ NZ$0.40 / US$0.30 part way along the journey at Mariya Family Restaurant broke the 4 hour trip and was a welcome break and leg stretch .

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Then onwards and downwards along the twisting hilly roads passing tea and rubber plantations towards the Kerala backwaters.

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Tea plantation

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Rubber trees

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Called another Venice of the east I can easily see how this area deserves this title.

A transfer by small dugout across to the island where the group was shared between 3 houses for our overnight homestay.

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Typical Kerela lunch, dinner and breakfast is to be provided and lunch was no exception featuring the small local fish. A short siesta with chai at 3.45pm before leaving at 4pm for the walk.

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Explored the island with Thomas, a local person who as we walked along the island path under the palm trees, weaving in between the rice fields that cover the island, learnt plus observed more about the lifestyles of the locals.
- The former spice boats were converted into house boats 25 years ago.
- 90% are Indian or domestic tourist who comes all year round.
- 10% are foreign tourists who mainly come December to February being their winter.
- 3 – 5 crew and travels the 20 kms.
- A single room cost 10,000 to 12,000 rupees rupees/ NZ$210 - 250 / US$155 - 190 a night.
- 21C has been the LOWEST recorded temperature at night.
- Two seasons here – 6 months summer and 6 months monsoon.
- Best months Dec to May with just 3 mm rainfall.
- Many islands are 1.5 metre BELOW sea level meaning they need to be pumped out.
- 1,000 sq km has been man made.
- Rice and coconut main crops grown.
- Backwaters means “Back of the Seas”.

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Local tody is sold here

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Prem

Prem

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Ducks

Ducks

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IMG_7473.JPGDenise

Denise

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Thomas

Thomas

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cashew nuts

cashew nuts

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Local ferry

Local ferry

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School children were going home, the house boats passing, local ferry for the school children and another one for the locals crossing canals — it was a great opportunity to see the people go about their normal way of life in this unique peaceful location.

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Prem

Prem

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After a hard day's work fishing, these 3 guys could well be enjoying a local alcoholic tody on board their dugout.

After a hard day's work fishing, these 3 guys could well be enjoying a local alcoholic tody on board their dugout.

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Pump to lift the water from the rice paddy fields up to the backwater

Pump to lift the water from the rice paddy fields up to the backwater

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It certainly reminded me of last year's experience on Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, the peacefulness broken by the sounds of the bird life and the motor of the engine of the passing Kerela house boats.

Just before sunset, stopped for a while to enjoy the golden sunset as it slowly descended on the winding backwaters over the rice paddy fields.

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Kingfisher

Kingfisher

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By now the sun had well and truly set as we boarded 2 dug outs and slowly made your way back to our home stay. "Row Row your boat gently down the stream" was suggested that we sing in reply to a couple of songs sung by the Indian crew but we declined. It was really peaceful being propelled by human effort. Both dugouts rafted together and at the rear the 2 guys used their single oar moving us along the canal with singing and preaching coming from a canal side church ended this part of the evening.

Sophia, Marina, Nina, Prem, Theresa, Henry

Sophia, Marina, Nina, Prem, Theresa, Henry

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Fruit bat

Fruit bat

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Dinner with afterwards a local toddy being an alcoholic drink made from coconut and then it was bed time under the cooling fan. A gap in the mesh meant mossies could enter and sure enough they did. I couldn't hear them but they were around despite the disturbed air circulation created by the ceiling fan.

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Posted by bruceontour 12:31 Archived in India Tagged sunset spices tea_plantation rubber_tree Comments (0)

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