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This is a blog website for backwaterbreaks.com. BackwaterBreaks.com is an online market place to book Kerala houseboats directly from authentic owners.

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Best Place for New Year’s Eve in Kerala 2018

Kerala – Greet 2018 in the Kerala backwaters

New Year
Alleppey

Absolute greenery, fresh air, pristine nature, and welcoming hosts :what better way  to party away on the New Year’s eve and welcome 2018 .The beach parties are as exciting as ever. You can book a houseboat and enjoy personal time in the backwaters of Alleppey.

An ideal destination for New Year, Kerala is a real beauty for beach lovers.Main Attractions: New Year party at Holiday Inn, New Year celebration Crowne Plaza, Welcome New Year at Ramada Resort Cochin, New Years eve at Le Meridien, The Raviz New year party, New Year party at Windsor Castle

The Famous Cochin Carnival

New year
cochin carnival

The vibrant city of Cochin showcases one of the state’s largest carnival during the festive month of December. The advent of December is accompanied by the preparations in the entire city of Cochin building up to the final grand events of the 31st. The fest which commences on the day of Christmas continues for a week and is signed off by the silent prayer to the martyrs of the land. The origin of this grand carnival can be traced back to the Portuguese roots, when Portuguese New Year celebrations were held during the colonial days. The carnival includes a plethora of event and rides and adventure sports like Beach Bike Race and swimming races. Apart from that, there are Beach Football, Shuttle Badminton, Beach Volleyball and Ball Badminton Tournaments, organized during the course of the festival. The entry to this carnival is absolutely free for all and the venue for the carnival is at River Road, Fort Kochi.

CAMPING NEW YEAR AT KODAIKANAL – 2018

Camping In The Wild: New Year Party Night -With Adventure
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About The Campsite:- one of the highest Place of south India Campsite almost 2100 feet which is located at the top of the hills at Perumalmalai in Kodaikanal, its a private property of 3 Acre Land in the midst of Eucalyptus trees with the unique view of clouds & Hills where you can find a Nature As your companion.

Earlybird Offer:- INR 3499 for couples / 1749 for Singles

https://allevents.in/kodaikanal/camping-new-year-at-kodaikanal-2018/300660157106953#

New Year Weekend Camping at Vagamon

New year
new year at vagamon

Sleep Under the stars, spend the night at scenic Vagamon Mountains and enjoy natures company with music, campfire & buffet dinner. Camp equipped with all the necessary creature comforts (Modern restrooms & Comfortable tents) exoticampadventures@gmail.com

https://allevents.in/kochi/new-year-weekend-camping-at-vagamon/166269977292653#

Sunburn New Year Kochi w/ Rave & Crave

Party away into the new year at Bolgatty Palace, Cochin, Bolgatty Island, KochiNew year

 ‘ROCK THE BLU’ 2018

New year
rock the blue

Attend the Rock the Blu party at Radisson Blu Kochi, S.A. Road Elamkulam Junction Kadavanthara, Kochi, India. Featuring International artist DJ Laune #28 Top Female DJ in the World, Indian Playback singer Suchith Suresan, State Award Winner Flautists Music Director Vishnu Vijay and Playback Singer Madhuvanthi. Also featuring Pistol Heads . Along with Crystal Dance, Aerial Acrobatics, LED Dance, Face Painting Surprise Gifts etc

TRIPPY KERALA

New yearStay in a waterfront homestay; stay in a luxury houseboat; camping in a 300-acre plantation nestled in a forest; coastal Kerala cuisine; beautiful hills and grasslands, rides around backwaters, paddy fields, and tea estates.
‘Trippy Kerala’ is segment 1 of our unique 3 segment itinerary in Dec’17, coursing through the breadth of southern India from Alleppey in the West to Dhanushkodi in the East. This coast to coast epic journey presents south India in its many hues, cultures, landscapes and its diverse, intriguing history.’Trippy Kerala’ spans 4 nights, 4 days, with ~170km riding in Alleppey, Vagamon and Idukki. Event Queries : 09731280808

 

Why Backwaterbreaks.com is the best website to book Kerala houseboats online?

Kerala, God’s Own Country, is famous for a multitude of things. One such thing that pops up into any traveller’s mind when they decide to pursue a vacation in this beautiful land is the cruise on the invigorating backwaters of Kerala. But then one simple search on google, “best place to book Kerala houseboats”, throws at you a zillion results; a plethora of Cruise operators who offer different kinds of service,and different kinds of houseboats. This is where backwaterbreaks.com steps in. We make your life simpler by filtering through all of these Kerala houseboats and converging the best of the service and boats available onto a single platform for your deliberation.

What do we actually do?

Backwaterbreaks.com draws together the best of the Kerala houseboats, owned by different cruise operators, in the Kerala Backwaters onto the online platform. This makes available to you the prices, the services, the facilities and so on available on each of these boats for your careful scrutiny and comparison. The different certified cruise owners list their houseboats on the website with the pictures and relevant details pertaining to the listed houseboat such as the facilities, availability, seasonal rates, and so on. These details are cross verified by the backwaterbreaks.com team to ensure the authenticity of the cruise owners.Once you find the cruise option that fits your criteria, we let you book it online using your debit/credit card through our secure payment system.

What is the booking process?

The process is simple and requires you to open backwaterbreaks.com, enter the date you wish to commence your travel and the number of fellow travellers. Our efficient search engine brings you the required details at the click of your finger. If the dates don’t work for you or the number of people travelling went wrong; you can always modkerala houseboatsify your search on the results page. Once you have finalized your criteria, the click on the “Request Booking” sends your request with the specific criteria to the corresponding houseboat operator to check for availability.

Once the availability is confirmed by the cruise operators, you may choose to pay and book it or reject it and look for other options.

Why should you book with us?

There are a zillion cruise operators who offer houseboat services. They often offer it as a part of packages via tie ups with tour operators or directly lease out right at the deck or by providing information online. The prices usually varies according to season and festivities. Backwaterbreaks.com makes your life simpler in a lot of ways.

Authentic houseboat owners

kerala houseboats

One of the common problems faced by travellers worldwide is the disparity between the details provided by the individual cruise operators and the actual services provided especially in regard to the photographs of the houseboats and the actual houseboats they receive when they go on a cruise.

Not only does Backwaterbreaks.com perform a strict verification process to confirm the validity of a cruise operator, but Backwaterbreaks.com also ensures that “what you see is what you get”.As per Backwaterbreaks.com policy, it is mandatory that  the owner provides the exact boat he/she confirmed on the website.

Houseboats at local market price

At BackwaterBreaks.com, the owners of the Kerala Houseboats, who register with us are required to add the original running(seasonal) market prices of each houseboat they own. Hence the prices are the original ones without any inflation or hidden costs. The hefty cuts that may be cut otherwise with the involvement of middlemen is completely eliminated.

Highly secured payment gateway

kerala houseboatsBackwaterBreaks payment is backed up by one of the most renowned payment gateway in the world, Stripe (https://stripe.com). With Stripe, we accept payments in more than 130 currencies. You can make a booking in your local currency  and we will do the hard job of converting it to INR and transfer it to the houseboat owners.

Book in the comfort of your home

BackwaterBreaks offer a hassle-free and honest Kerala Houseboats booking experience. Book your next Kerala vacation in the comfort of your home. You can book it through your laptop, tablet or mobile, whichever the device your booking experience will be seamless.

Read more about us: Backwaterbreaks.com- The Best Place to Book your Kerala Houseboat

 

What should I expect on a Kerala houseboat trip at Alleppey?

The first visualization that would pop up into the mind at the mention of a houseboat trip or a cruise would probably be the sparkle off a modern cruise boat but add Kerala in front of the “houseboat” or “cruise” and you have a novelty promising a spiritual and rejuvenating journey. India is a land of chaos and mystery, so it is only natural to wonder what is actually going to happen in one of the famous ” backwater houseboat cruises” of Kerala.

So what exactly is a houseboat?houseboat trip

Originating from the need for transporting men and materials on the Kerala backwaters, the houseboat has its origins in the “Kettuvallams”, made from local and eco friendly; bamboo poles, coconut fibre, ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc. The onset of modern transportation  soon turned these into remodelled luxurious houseboats that are now one of the chief attractions of the tourists.

What makes it special?

While there may be five star resorts and other luxurious accommodations for experiencing a tranquil vacation, the houseboats offer a rustic experience, bringing the travellers in touch with the grandeur of nature.

What kind of amenities do I expect on it?

houseboat trip

Most of the latest designs incorporate bedrooms with toilets, a living space and kitchen. There are several variations ranging from lesser rooms to large living space and maybe a deck balcony at the roof level. Normally, the platforms that cantilever from the hull are used as balconies. Innovative changes have beenhouseboat trip made to accommodate modern fittings. The amenities vary depending upon the kind of package that you have chosen. Some of the facilities include dressing mirror, luggage compartment, writing table, wardrobe, attached bathrooms,television, music system, and air-conditioning.

How long do the cruises last?

There are two types of cruises: day cruises and overnight cruises. Usually the overnight cruise is suggested by most people. Check-in time for day cruise is approximately 11 am while checkout time is 5:00 pm. For overnight trip check-in is usually around 12 pm while checkout is next day 9:00 am (the timings vary with cruise operators). According to Govt regulations, Houseboats are usually not allowed to move from 5:30 pm to morning to allow fishermen to work, hence they are usually docked, near the banks, for the night.

What kind of cuisine does the Houseboats follow?

houseboat tripKerala houseboats in particular are famous for its reputation for good sea food. Of course, sea food anywhere is expensive but because of the proximity of the state to the seas and oceans, sea food tends to be cheaper in Kerala. But depending on your budget and liking, food served in Kerala houseboats can vary. However, most often the houseboat foods includes fish and vegetarian food because that is what is most often demanded by the customers. Breakfast in houseboats in Kerala mostly comprise of the quintessential south Indian houseboat tripfoods such as idly, dosa, sambar, with hot tea or coffee. During lunch most of the times, the menu will include foods such as different kinds of fish fry and they are also accompanied with different kinds of chutneys, papad and different kinds of sweets. During most evenings in the house boats, the passengers are given tea and other snacks which may or may not be south Indian. They could be from different parts of the country depending upon the kind of Kerala house boat package you have chosen.

 Do I get alcoholic drinks on the Houseboat?

The stringent licensing requirements by the Kerala State Government has its effects on the houseboats and consequently the boats do not have a bar or stock alcohol. Some cruise operators maybe okay with you carrying your own alcohol , or buying (at request) you beer from the local shops.

Which is the best time to go for a Houseboat Cruise?

houseboat tripThe pleasant and equable climate of Kerala makes it a favorable place to visit throughout the entire year. Winter and summer (October to March) are the peak tourist seasons. A cruise in the houseboats on the backwaters of Kerala, or experiencing the beauty of sunset over the Arabian sea from Kovalam beach during summer and boating in the Thekkady lake, or trekking the highlands of Kerala during winter,all are sure to be experiences worthy of being cherished throughout life. But for those, who really want to enjoy the day under the cloudy sky, and feel the bracing scent of the wet soil, revitalizing the body, mind and soul, monsoons are meant for you.

 

Book your houseboat cruise with: https://backwaterbreaks.com/#/ 

Read more about Kerala Houseboats:  https://backwaterbreaks.blog/alleppey/kerala-houseboats/

 

 

10 Authentic, Must Try Kerala Dishes

Kerala, ‘The land of spices’, has no paucity when it comes to delectable varieties of authentic  Kerala dishes. With copious amounts of spices and seasonings topped by the touch of coconut flavor, each dish vies for the attention of a traveller’s taste buds.  

Here are 10 of the must try dishes of the authentic Kerala Cuisine:

Appam with stew

kerala dishesAppam is one of the famous Kerala dishes made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk. It’s similar to a thin pancake with crispy edges. These crepe-like bowls are made from fermented rice flour, coconut milk, coconut water and a little sugar. Ishtu or stew is a derivative of the European stew and consists of coconut milk, cinnamon, cloves and shallots, eaten with appams. The stew may also feature mango pieces, vegetables, chicken or lamb. The addition of aromatic whole spices, ginger and fresh coconut milk enhance the natural flavor of the vegetables. The crucial ingredient is fresh coconut milk, which lends a sweet flavor.

Karimeen pollichathu (fish)

kerala dishesThis is one of Kerala’s traditional delicacies. Karimeen or pearl spot fish is a speckled fish commonly found in the backwaters of this state. This is traditionally a Syrian Christian delicacy but has become part of Kerala’s rich cuisine. Pearl spot fish is marinated in a mixture of lemon juice, red chillies, and other ingredients, wrapped and baked in plantain leaves, giving it a unique flavour.

 

Puttu and kadala curry

kerala dishes
This is a breakfast staple eaten all over the state. Puttu is a cylindrical steamed rice cake cooked in a mould with grated coconut. It’s usually served with kadala curry, a dish of black chickpeas made with shallots, spices and coconut milk, that can also be served with ripe bananas and grated coconut.

Erissery or pumpkin and lentil curry

kerala dishesThis is a popular curry in Kerala, made from either raw plantains or sliced yams. It also usually includes slightly sweet pumpkin that has been boiled in water with salt, chillies or pepper, dried lentils, grated coconut, turmeric powder, cumin seeds and garlic, served on a bed of rice. It appears on most menus at religious festivals like Onam.

Palada payasam (dessert)

A sweet rice kheer prepared with palada is a delicacy made in almost all Kerala households during the festival of Onam and many other special occasions. There are many variations of it, however, the traditional recipe uses only basic ingredients like rice ada, milk, sugar and ghee. Rice ada is easily available in Indian Kerala grocery stores.

Malabar Parotta with Kerala beef curry

kerala dishesLayered flat bread that originated in the Malabar region called Parotta is made by kneading maida (plain flour), egg (in some recipes), oil or ghee and water. The dough is beaten and later shaped into a spiral with thin layers. The ball is rolled flat and roasted into a Parotta with ghee. This is then eaten with beef curry – pieces of beef simmered in a curry made with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices like bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns and star anise.

Kerala prawn curry (chemmeen curry)

This is a signature dish of the state – a prawn curry from the Malabar region made with a blend of fenugreek, black mustard and fennel seeds, coconut milk and green chilli. It also includes a special ingredient called kudampuli (also known as brindleberry) to give it a sour taste, plus it uses marinated prawns, drumsticks and raw mango to give it a spicy, tangy flavour.

Thalassery biriyani

kerala dishesA rice biriyani is the most common dish of the Muslim community. Thalassery sea port was a centre for the export of spices where European, Arab and Malabar cultures came together and influenced the cuisine. Thalassery biriyani uses a unique, fragrant, small-grained, thin rice variety named kaima. The biriyani masala and cooked rice are arranged in layers inside the dish. Meat is cooked with the masala on a low heat and layered with rice before the lid of the container is sealed with dough. Hot coal or charcoal is then placed above the lid.

Fish moilee

kerala dishesOne of the most well known Kerala dishes, the fish stew is a dish made with coconut milk, which is a typical Syrian Christian delicacy. The curry is usually prepared in a traditional manchatti (earthen vessel) and stews lightly fried fish in coconut milk, and spices like turmeric, pepper, cinnamon and cloves along with fresh green chillies to give it a tangy taste. The fish (usually kingfish or seer fish) is marinated with oil, turmeric, red chili powder, lemon juice and salt for 30 minutes before being used in the curry.

 

Banana fritters (dessert)
One of the most common tea time snack in the variety of Kerala dishes available, 
Pazham pori
or Ethakka appam or juicy banana fritters feature as a kerala dishestraditional tea time snack. They’re available throughout Kerala and are simply ripe bananas coated with plain flour and deep-fried in oil.

 

Some famous Kerala breakfast dishes: https://backwaterbreaks.blog/kerala-houseboats/5-must-try-authentic-kerala-breakfast-dishes/

Get the ultimate rustic experience of the backwaters of Kerala: Book now at: https://backwaterbreaks.com/#/

Top 10 Ayurveda Centers in Kerala

Kerala’s ideal climate and unparalleled herbal wealth makes it perfect for the Ayurveda Treatment. Monsoon is determined to be the best season for Ayurvedic rejuvenating therapies. During Monsoon, the atmosphere is cool and dust free. Body is said to absorb the herbal oils and medications better during this season since body pores open up at this time.

Read More about Ayurveda at : https://blog.backwaterbreaks.com/2014/10/31/ayurveda-the-ancient-medicine-system-that-heals/

1.Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort

ayurvedaThe Carnoustie Ayurveda and wellness Resort is nestled among the palm groves alongside the stunning backwaters of Kerala. The resort  not only prides itself on its scintillating location but also its calm and peaceful aura and the facilities.  It has a lavishly appointed spa, outfitted with traditional architectural touches and lovely fountains where guests have access to experts in yoga, Ayurveda, and naturopathy, and treatments that seek to assist with everything from purification and detox to anti-stress and relaxation techniques.

  1. Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village Health Resort

ayurvedaThe Kairali Ayurvedic center is not only well known for its impeccable treatment and facilities but also its characteristic blend with nature.  The resort is set amongst 50 acres of lush land in the Palakkad district of Kerala. The highlight of the resort are the streams running alongside each cottage. According to the treatment rules, only vegetarian food is served, and no alcohol. Guests are encouraged to participate in early morning meditation and yoga . The resort has its own organic garden, and swimming pool.

  1. Kalari Kovilakom

ayurvedaKalari Kovilam is a palace belonging to the ancient Vengunad Kingdom in Kerala that has been converted into a palace for Ayurveda by CGH Group. It takes its treatments quiet seriously with strict diet rules  excluding meat, leather footwear, or alcohol. There’s no TV, or any entertainment for that matter. Hymns are chanted in the evenings. Every therapy is personal and customized, often combined with yoga and other methods to provide deep healing from within and without. Even the food is served according to individual requirements. The aim, according to the resort, is to give guests a chance to start their lives over again and be reborn.

  1. Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort

ayurvedaSomatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort which offers a wide range of Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation is located in Kovalam. The resort offers complete mind and body revitalization. The resort also offers soothing and peaceful cultural trysts in the Guests can enjoy cultural performances in the tranquil evenings. Its close location to the beach proves it even more attractive.

  1. Beach and Lake Ayurvedic Resort

ayurvedaThe serene and exclusive Beach and Lake Ayurvedic Resort is hidden away on an island between the Arabian Sea and the Karamana river near Trivandrum is a scenic splendor with backwaters on one side and the beach on the other. The rooms have a majestic view and the resort is bursting forth with the beauty of Yoga, Kalaripayattu martial arts, and Ayurveda

  1. Shin Shiva Ayurvedic Resort

ayurvedaShin Shiva is a budget resort with a cosy yet professional service. The resort was birthed by a doctor with the lineage of 400 years in Ayurvedic treatment. Located atop a cliff at Chowara, overlooking the ocean and close to Kovalam beach, the resort offers a spectacular view worth seeing.  It’s around 30 minutes drive from Trivandrum airport. A wide variety of packages are offered.

  1. Sarovaram Ayurvedic Health Center

ayurvedaLooking for a budget ayurveda resort, then this is one of the resort worth trying. The resort is located along the backwaters of Kerala providing a serene picturesque view. The resort is spread over three acres of garden, right on the water’s edge near Kollam. Family owned, it’s run by third generation Ayurvedic doctors. While there you can enjoy activities such as a houseboat ride along the backwaters, evening dance performance, or visit nearby villages.

  1. Ideal Ayurvedic Resort

ayurvedaAnother affordable option for Ayurvedic treatment in Kerala, the Ideal Ayurvedic Resort is located in Kovalam. It’s situated on the edge of a small village within a canopy of coconut palms, five minutes’ walk from Chowara Beach. Although not as luxurious as other Ayurvedic resorts, treatment is still of a high standard and is administered by doctors. Yoga and meditation complement the wide range of packages available.

  1. Ayurveda Yoga Villa

ayurvedaLocated in the lush Wayanad district of Kerala, where nature abounds, the Ayurveda Yoga Villa offers a unique blend of Ayurveda treatment, yoga practice, and training in Kalari martial arts. The comprehensive Seven Days to Inner Peace package is worth trying. Shorter three day packages for those who want a rejuvenating escape are available. Treatments can also be tailored to your needs. Guests tend to find the atmosphere really special at this place. There’s a herbal garden and shop on the premises.

 

Top 8 Places to Eat in Alleppey, Kerala

Thaff

Alleppey restaurantsThaff Restaurant, located on the Punnamada road is renowned for serving authentic Kerala cuisine and has four different branches within the district itself. This particular outlet is located near the Ganapathy temple in Mullakkal Road. Karimeen Pollichathu, Chicken Kothi Varuthathu, Prawns Roast, Chicken Biriyani are the main dishes worth trying here.

Cassia

cassia-Restaurant-@-Lakdi-Ka-Pool1Cassia is a premium restaurant located right in the heart of Alappuzha city . The hotel includes an artistically designed fine dining hall, a clean and hygienic kitchen. The varieties of food served in the restaurant makes this hotel a favourite hang-out spot for lovers of yummy food. The menu includes wide varieties of delicious sea food, Italian cuisines, North Indian dishes and many more to turn you a giant, when it’s eating time. The hotel is located close to the network of waterways.

Mushroom

MushroomAn open-air restaurant, Mushroom is a great favourite with locals as well as tourists. A comprehensive menu that includes its much famous mushroom soup, tandoori specialties, ginger chicken, chilli mushrooms, chicken kali mirch and more, well complemented by cups of masala chai. Its proximity to the beach makes it more of a favourite for late night hunger pangs and a beer or two.

Toddy Shops

If you are looking to have authentically prepared Kerala food especially sea food like prawns and fish along with the famous alcoholic beverage made from the sap of palm trees then the toddy shops are a must visit offering some of the scrumptious dishes prepared in the real Kerala way. If you are picky and choosy about ambience and finesse then this definitely is not the place for you.

Dreamers cafe and Restaurant

47691953With a beach side location, roof top terrace styled in the unique Kerala way, this restaurant provides exquisite Kerala food. Dreamers also offers  a laid back homely ambiance with friendly warm staff.

 

 

Kerala Houseboats

food0The Houseboats of Alleppey not only provide a scenic tour of the scintillating backwaters of Alleppey but also provide some of the authentic mouth watering dishes of Kerala. One of the highlights of the cuisine available on the houseboats is the freshly caught fish cooked to perfection.

 

Halais Restaurant

g3Situated in the heart of Alleppey Town near South Police Station, Halai’s Family Restaurant established in the year 2000 has become a favourite for the fine dishes it offers. Specialized in Chicken Biryani and a variety of Chicken dishes. The date pickle is another worth trying. They provide awesome food and good value for money.

 

Kream korner Art Cafe

kream-kornerThis cafe not only offers elaborate food menu but displays beautiful art exhibitions as well. One of the high lights of the place is the locally brewed toddy along with delicacies like fish cutlets, masala peas, beef fry, Malabar parotas, mochoo noodles. The restaurant also offers you a great cup of filter coffee.

 

 

Tourism Seasons In Kerala

139-Boat-Race

where serenity meets excitement

 

Kerala is a land of evergreen tourism, with various things to do and places to visit all around the year. It is a land bountiful in natural and cultural beauty. Its allure is stretched across its scintillating backwaters, vast serene beaches, colorful wildlife sanctuaries, picturesque hill stations, indigenous ayurvedic treatments and so on.  

Kerala entertains visitors throughout the year owing to its pleasing weather conditions and multiple events and festivities filling its calendar over an entire year.

backwaterbreaks.com

On a general note, Kerala has mainly three tourist seasons. The Peak Season which usually ranges from September to March, the Off Season in Kerala which is from April to May and Monsoon Seasons from June to August. Each of these season offer a variety of experience for travellers travelling for varied reasons. Each season holds its own attraction and experience.

The Off Season (March – May)

The off season which falls in the Summer season in Kerala begins in the month of March and continues till May. This season sees some occasional rainfall as well as some amount of hot and humid weather. Yet the cool winds from the Arabian Sea manages to tone down to climate in a large way. This season proves the best time for visiting the beaches of Alleppey and Thiruvananthapuram as well as enjoying the hills of Wayanad.

The Monsoon Season (June – August)

The heavy showers of the Kerala Monsoon season start pouring in ,in the month of June and continues till the end of August. The rains literally do a makeover of the land making it glisten and shine all over amongst the waving greens. Earlier, the monsoon season was not considered a very important tourism season,but in the recent times, its alluring and enthralling nature has been captivating everyone around the world. This season also marks the perfect time to let yourself experience the benefits of the Ayurvedic treatments. ( 5 reasons to go to Kerala during the monsoon by Abigail Hole (Lonely Planet Author) July 13 2013 )

The Peak Season (September – March)

The peak season kicks off with the advent of the Winter season in the month of September and ends before the summer in the month of March. The weather during this season is cool and ideal for spending the perfect holiday. It is a great time to explore the breathtaking beauty of the state. It is the right time to visit viewpoints at hill stations, take a stroll on the beaches or lay back and enjoy at the backwaters of Kerala.

Book Your Kerala Houseboat cruise with Backwaterbreaks.com and set adrift on the scintillating backwaters!

https://backwaterbreaks.com/

 

PARVATHY-A woman’s take on bringing  you perfect houseboat Cruise

cruise op of the month.jpg“I really feel that people must, they just, must take a whiff of this amazingly fresh air. It is nothing short of magical! In a world that is fast paced; with vacations that can end up leaving you more tired than you were before, this fresh air rejuvenates. It really is not just about the scenic beauty, it truly brings tranquility to the soul!” Parvathy , the backbone of the Pournami Houseboats of the Alleppey backwaters, says with her eyes gleaming with childlike excitement.

parvathy.jpg

Parvathy is an exemplary image of the modern woman entrepreneur in an area that is largely driven by men. Having completed her Masters in Computer Applications and worked in the corporate IT world, she is one among the very few men and women who have sought to discover their individuality and create success from scratch.unnamed.jpg

Pournami Houseboats which now branches out under the Spring Bay Holidays Pvt. Ltd. is located at the Finishing Point Road, OPP KSRTC Bus Stand in Alappuzha, Kerala. What began as a new venture in the year 2007, has, after many ups and downs, become one of the sought after cruise operators (with amazing reviews in tripadvisor) in the backwaters of Alleppey with several Houseboats under them.

How did it all begin, the houseboats, Pournami…cruises…?

I believe that it all sort of started unraveling in front of us from the point in time that we came into a bit of ancestral inheritance. There was a lot of talk about building a house and the usual stereotyped things. Having come across Dr.Spencer’s “Who Moved My Cheese”, the idea of taking risks and putting money for further growth sprouted in our heads.

We got a two bedroom houseboat back then and initially it was actually given out for rental use by cruise operators already in the market.

What made you go from rentals into a full-fledged cruise operator?

Owning a houseboat might sound cool but trust me when it comes to maintaining it, it’s not all that a colourful picture. It’s simply a regular life situation, nobody is going to take care of your stuff as well as you might. At the end of the day, we were stuck in a real fine mess of repairs and the fact is maintaining a house boat consumes a fair amount of money. Soon we were losing more than what we were investing. That’s when we figured out that we were going about it the wrong way and it’s time to step up and do things differently.

Did you face difficulty when you started renting out the houseboat yourself, or was it an easy ride?

Oh definitely! Some major hurdles did come our way. One of them stemming from the fact that we were utterly new in the business. There were already a lot of people in the market and it was really a mammoth effort to figure out how to reel in the customers. At the particular time, word of mouth was the definitive approach for promoting the business. It was in fact a major low point in our lives too.  We have our manager Vinod who is the pillar of Pournami right from the beginning, he gave the momentum to Pournami as he was experienced in hospitality. The best thing is we still have all the employees that we started out with.

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Things have undeniably transformed over the past years.But those were years of sleeplessness

Is house boat tourism an easy business once you cross the initial hiccups?

“I wish I could tell you that it was all hunky-dory” says Parvathy laughing out loud. Till the previous

year I used to sleep with the phone constantly next to my pillow. Running a houseboat is nothing short of taking care of a baby. It’s really important to make sure the customers are satisfied and there is a lot of background work that goes into it. The AC might not work suddenly due to power hitches, or there may be several similar minor issues that might require getting a technician to the spot to fix it, be it in the middle of the night. One thing everyone has to remember is that ultimately this is a structure that stays on water at all times; problems are bound to occur but the effort is in making sure that the customers are provided perfection.

What kind of concerns do travellers usually have regarding booking of a houseboat and how does it affect you?

Most of the times the problem arises if the photograph that the travellers have seen do not match the houseboat actually provided to them, so we usually put in a lot of effort to maintain the standard and appearance of the boat and also to provide an exact match. Being unpredictable as it is with inanimate things there are times when there may be issues with a provided houseboat and we may have to replace them with another. Not everyone is ready to adjust even if the quality is exceptional. Other issues involve high expectations like enquiries about a Jacuzzi since the rate is high.

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Nowadays there are many agents offering the same things in the package like a menu for much lesser rates but lesser quality as well which the customer is not aware of; so it’s always a matter of concern for the customers as to why the prices are more here.

What are the high points and low points that Pournami Houseboats has faced in its journey?

The low point would probably be during the last June-July period. The heavy monsoon rains caused a lot of customers to turn away from this region. Monsoon time being an off season is usually a pretty tough time since the expenses keep popping up along with the salaries whether sailing or not.

The high point was a recent trip that was booked by a factory owner in Coimbatore for his family and employees with around 125 people. The success of this trip was that it came with no complaints and no issues.

How has the houseboat tourism transformed over the years?

As I mentioned earlier, the business usually came locally especially through walk in enquiries when we started off but the present scenario has changed drastically. Online enquiries and booking have become the trend. People’s’ expectation in terms of comfort and requirements have changed.

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Everyone has a website and booking system irrespective of whether they are houseboat owners or not. The competition in the market is high and everyone is in their best of forms.

What makes Pournami different from others?

I really believe that the quality that we provide comes in a big way from our staff. Our staff is the

biggest asset we have. We make it a point to provide the most cordial service to the travellers. It’s a mood killer if the facilities are good and the staff are bad. We consider customer satisfaction to be our prime objective. The reviews that they give matter to us a lot, we try to improve upon every aspect with every suggestion and opinion.

What are the things you feel, needs to be addressed for the smoother movement of houseboat tourism?

I genuinely feel that there should be a clear discrimination between houseboat owners and brokers. Usually the owners have licenses registered that can be verified.

The second major trying issue at hand is the liquor ban in Kerala. It is adversely affecting the backwater tourism especially in terms of domestic market.

There should also be measures to check the bird flu scares that put off a lot of travellers from visiting here.

I also think that a few sloppy houseboat owners or operators who do not pay attention to maintenance apart from employing inexperienced staff affect accidents on the backwaters resulting in a lot of negative impression in tourists’ eyes. Stringent rules should be taken against such people.


How do you think the houseboat tourism is affecting the environment and how effective is ecotourism?

Having grown up in Alleppey, I can proudly say that the presence of houseboats here has definitely not polluted the waters of Alleppey. Waste management is of the utmost priority when anyone sets adrift here.

With the influx of huge number of tourists into the regions, how do the native people perceive and feel about it?

Oh the change has been truly overwhelming. The financial state of the people in and around the region has shot up. Most of the homes here have transformed into homestays, parking and so on.

People are looking ways and means to profit from the boom.Another notable transformation is the presence of Tourism police in every nook and corner. People can walk around anywhere, any time with their eyes shut.

How safe do you think Kerala is in comparison with the rest of India in terms of tourism?

In the initial days, tourism was something new for the natives here. They were seeing different cultures, different sense of dressing and kinds of people from all over the world. It did create quite a raucous amongst the localities. The curiosity and the problems lasted only while the whole concept was new. Now everyone has understood the importance of tourism for personal progress and have started acting accordingly.

A pleasing personality accompanied by an ever ready smile, Parvathy is filled with passion for the backwaters and wants the world to see the beauty and the overwhelming serenity she perceives. At the same time, she manages to create a realistic angle when it comes to the hard work and effort that goes into putting out each of these majestic beauties out on the water.

Book Your Kerala Houseboat cruise with Backwaterbreaks.com and set adrift on the scintillating backwaters!

https://backwaterbreaks.com/

Travelling Safe in India

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India is a land of boundless cultures, flora and fauna, languages, attires and so on with a dash of unpredictability and uncertainty added to the mixture. It offers the world the adventure of a lifetime ranging from lifestyle to natural splendour.

And just as you would pack your safety gears on your other adventure trips, India requires a certain amount of safety measures for those coming from a more predictable and routine life.

Because India, you would find is far from what you can ever imagine to be ‘predictable’.

High Risk Areas Advised Against  Travelling

As per the government guidelines  issued on Thursday, 26 March 2015, places like State of Jammu and Kashmir (except Ladakh region, Jammu and Srinagar) and India-Pakistan border (except Atari crossing) are not allowed for travelling.

The government recommends reconsidering travelling to locations like North-eastern states (Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur) and Chhattisgarh and the border areas of neighbouring states owing to unrest in the region.

Awareness About the Locations

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India is a vast land stretching across  3,166,414 square kilometres and the number of locations worth visiting and near to infinite with the prevailing diversity in regions. Hence it is very important to have a very good idea and knowledge about the climate, terrain and facilities in a region you intend to visit apart from the necessary knowledge about the lifestyle and beliefs of the people there.

Health

It is generally advisable to get vaccinated for some of the known tropical viral diseases prevalent in the said geographical conditions. In addition to it, carrying a first-aid kit is always a sensible way to travel in case of emergencies.

The quality of medical services and facilities varies throughout the country. Medical facilities are generally good in major centres, but are usually limited or unavailable in rural areas. Private facilities often provide a higher level of care, which can be expensive. Most hospitals require up-front payment or confirmation of insurance coverage prior to commencing treatment. Government hospitals provide services free or at minimal cost.

Transportation

It’s always advisable to book prepaid taxis from known taxi companies in the country  if you intend to travel by a cab.

If you are looking to get a real feel of the land by travelling by public transport, then it is best to use trains for long distance travelling.

Almost all the places are connected by plenty of buses as well. The time chosen to travel usually determines the rush in the buses. It is essential to take good care of your valuables as the buses and trains are usually pretty crowded and there’s a lingering threat of pick pocketing and thievery.

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Auto rickshaws (three wheelers) are another common mode of transport used quite frequently and a ride worth experiencing. Though these should be given a second thought when travelling at night particularly if you are not aware of the route to be taken since rickshaws function independently and not under a company like cabs excepting the prepaid ones at the Railway station or airports.

If you value your personal space when travelling, then public transports are definitely not for you as this is the last thing that a crowded train or bus would ever offer you in an India.

Personal Safety

There are numerous incidents and stories circulating in the media regarding the safety of tourists in India especially women. It is necessary to know that all of India is not the same, nature of the people and the security and protection available from the police varies from region to region. Having said that it is a must to take some basic precautions against any such unpleasant situations.

The body language and mannerism in addition to the attire in India varies considerably from cities to villages and region to region hence its safer (especially for women) to dress up a little more conservatively as per the norms of the land so as to not attract any undue attention. The Indian cotton ‘kurtis’ form one of the most comfortable ways to tolerate the climate as well. Loose fitting cotton garments form the best option in this regard.

It is not uncommon to find yourself being stared at by every second person in several locations but sometimes these are usually harmless; although its best to ignore and not respond to avoid miscommunication.

It’s important to be alert at all times, especially when travelling alone and to keep emergency numbers at hand to call for help at any point.

Avoid travelling late in the night, and if there is a necessity travel in groups if there are people accompanying you or using recommended and registered transport system like the prepaid cabs who are accountable.

Southern India including states like Kerala are generally safer in comparison to the Northern states

Eating Right in India

India is ridden with numerous mouth watering cuisines and drinks; all the more reasons to be careful about what and where you eat from since it’s hard to resist the delectable looking food. Make sure you eat from good reputed restaurants if you have weak stomach. Not all places offer hygienic and fresh food. Its best to take recommendations and opinions before having food or water at any particular place.

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Its best to always carry bottled water whose seal you should check before buying from a shop.

Other Tips and Points to Keep in Mind

Beggars are a common sights in the streets of India and their condition and poverty very heart wrenching but it’s crucial to harden your heart to such sights as they are usually part of intricate web of a network which usually forces children and women to go begging . The people begging might not even get the money that you give them. The networks are often run by petty criminals who harass the children and compel them to begging.

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They also involve a large number of people who have no interest in working and make a livelihood by just begging. Women with babies in the scorching heat is usually a heart wrenching sight but these babies are most often borrowed and drugged for the sole purpose of begging by gaining sympathy.

It is also important to stay on your toes dealing with friendly strangers; some may be good but there are plenty who may be up to no good.

Book Your Kerala Houseboat cruise with Backwaterbreaks.com and set adrift on the scintillating backwaters!

https://backwaterbreaks.com/

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