Day 6: Alleppey – The Venice of India

As usual, I started the day early from Cochin and my next destination was Alleppey, the Venice of the East. We stopped at a road side shop and had parotta and we didn’t get beef curry today. When I left the hotel, I realized that the roads looked like it was not well lit. The light was different. Only then did I realize the Annular solar eclipse. But we kept on driving. First destination for the day was the Vinnaithandi Varuvaya church.

Have you heard of the Vinnaithandi Varuvaya church? Yes, the church where the protagonists meet each other. My friend wanted to visit this church and I decided to go along. The road from Kochi to Alleppey is very beautiful. It turns very beautiful when we started exploring to Pulinkunnoo.

Pulinkunnoo is an island village. The village is part of the many islands, a network of lakes, wetlands, and canals crisscrossing through the state. The St. Mary’s Forane Church is our destination. To enter the island, we had to cross the Pulincunnoo Bridge. The road leading here is very narrow and it makes the drive interesting. The bridge is a narrow one way bridge. There is a traffic signal and a police post here to regulate traffic over the bridge. Traffic is allowed only in one direction at a time. Crossing this bridge was itself an experience.

The church is on the banks of the river. The structure is gothic and it stands majestically on the banks of the river. When I reached, there was a photoshoot happening there. Given the beauty of the church, guess there will be a lot of photoshoots happening here.

We parked the car and walked around the village. While taking my stroll, I noticed a guy coming in his small canoe,parked it near the bank, went to a nearby shop and then returned with his items in the boat. It felt like the boats here are like the cycles in other Indian villages. I also noticed three young girls walk in the streets and chill on a bridge nearby. Again not a scene that I can see today in my hometown.

We walked along the road, capturing scenes and found a jetty where the government runs a boat to cross the river for free of cost. I boarded the boat not knowing it was free. I was wondering why no one asked for tickets. We walked on smaller, narrower roads and then decided to go back to the church. We went back to the other side on a small canoe for a smaller price.

We went to a small shop nearby and had parotta and beef curry. The best I had in the whole trip. We went back to the church to find a couple of Tamil guys there. Next we took our car and reached the jetty.

Parotta and Beef curry

The boat can carry at max of two vehicles. The platform to carry vehicles was made of wooden floor put together on two longer boats and tied together. To get into the boat one has to climb on a small strip of metal piece which is movable. One has to adjust the strip to get the car into the ferry.

I got the car into the ferry and only then did I realize, I can’t make a U turn in the ferry, I will have to get the car down from the boat reversing it over the small metal strip. Once that is done, the vehicle is on the other side and too free of cost. It was a nice experience.

Our next destination was the The Bucket List backpackers hostel. I checked in and then parked the car and went out to explore the place. Alleppey impressed me a lot, and so I decided to stay here for one more night. So, now that I know I am not going to drive the next day, there is something which I had in my list from the start of the trip. I wanted to try toddy. Today is the day. I inquired with the locals and found a shop nearby. So I tried toddy for the first time in my life. To be frank, I did it the wrong way. I had toddy like someone has beer in Bangalore. I was aware that toddy in the evening is not the best and the place also didn’t have anyone inside. So I wanted to try it again the next morning.

Toddy shop
A luxury water boat

It was almost time for sunset, and I started looking for a sunset place nearby. I took an auto to Alleppey beach. The sunset here was amazing as is the case with any beach on the west coast. After watching the sunset, I took another auto to reach the hostel. The hostel was filled with travellers from across the world. I spend time speaking to them and understanding their lives. Meanwhile I also registered for the kayaking session the next morning. I have done kayaking before in Rameshwaram in the sea and I had enjoyed it. I thought I am going to invest time in kayaking but that was some two years back and never got into a proper kayak after that.

So I was looking forward to the next day. To the kayak session.

This post is part of a series of posts. Do check the whole series here.

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