*Destination Feature* House Boating in Alipe, Kerala

by Nanci

During our 6 night stay in Varkala we break things up a bit by heading out for a night to one of India’s most beautiful spots, the Backwaters of Kerala. Kerala is an amazing, lush jungle state on the south west coast of India and was named by National Geographic as one of the ’50 Destinations of a Lifetime’ in a special collectors issue. The Backwaters is a massive water system running parallel to the Arabian Sea with over 900KM of rivers, lakes and canals connecting 5 serene lakes. We spend the day cruising around this amazing area and then sleep peacefully docked at the river side.

We hop on the boat at around noon in Alipe, the most popular destination in Kerala for house boating. From here we cruise out and begin exploring the jungle, villages and rice paddies. Soon we enjoy lunch, an upscale take on classic, very light Keralan food. Historically, the people of North India have had more money than those of the South, so here we find less rich ingredients in the food. Instead of creams and sugars they use steam, water and fresh spices to cook and flavor the food. The people of the south also generally work very hard labor jobs so even the fried snacks are usually made with powdered lentils, brown rice and other legumes or grains.

The beautiful Backwaters of Kerala

At this point in the trip we have been together a couple of weeks so we really have a chance here to unwind, connect and reflect as we cruise down the canals, enjoying the sunshine. Dinner comes as the sun sets and then we have some more time to relax. On the boat there is a large open space upstairs so if the group is feeling it we hold a yoga class; anything from a passive yin experience to Hatha, meditation or some energy work. The house boat experience is very, very ‘shanti’ (peaceful), as the Indians say, and the time here is yours to enjoy as you wish. We wake to a beautiful breakfast and slowly make our way back to dock before heading back to Varkala for a couple more nights.


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