God’s Own Country in Sapphire Blue and a bit of Emerald Green

Two of Kerala’s main tourist attractions, the beauty of its backwaters and houseboat vacations come together with the Vembanad Lake shining all sapphire blue dotted by houseboats on a very hot day under impossibly blue skies, with the little emerald green island with its coconut trees standing in sharp contrast to the blue above and below. Paradise is this! Pay a visit to God’s Own Country when you can, to unwind and leave all your troubles ashore! The location is just off the “finishing point” at Alappuzha (Alleppey).

A Lovely Kuttanad Evening in a Typical Kerala Backwater Setting

Kuttanad, that part of Kerala in Alappuzha (Alleppy) world-famous for its backwaters. This is the “backbone” of those backwaters, the Pampa river lazily cutting though its center at Chennemkari in a typical Kerala backwater setting: A wide expanse of clear water flanked by palm-tree fringed banks, reflecting off the lazily flowing water. Taken at water level from a small “shuttle” boat used to cross the river by the local people. Two houseboats can be seen in the distance.

Golden Sunset at Kuttanad in Kerala

On a calm and lovely evening, a golden sun sets over the famed backwaters in Kuttanad in Kerala. Kuttanad in Alappuzha (Alleppey) district is the location of most of the famed backwaters of Kerala, accentuating the natural beauty of the region. This photo is from one end of those backwaters near Kavalam. A row of coconut palm trees stand on a fringe of land (varambu) between two water bodies, their reflections playing on the water painted gold by the sunset. The cheapest way to enjoy these backwaters is by the government boat service.

A KSWTC Boat Cruises Along the Backwaters at Dusk

As dusk falls after the sun had set, a ferry service boat of the Kerala State Water Transportation Corporation (KSWTC) cruises along a picturesque backwater channel near Kavalam in Alappuzha district, Kerala. KSWTC is the poor brother of the KSRTC (which is not rich in any way though) and caters to the local populace living around the waterways of Kuttanad, the mind-blowingly beautiful region of the famous backwaters of Kerala, for whom boats and waterways are the primary means of transport and not roads. Not as glamorous as houseboats but these dilapidated boats are the cheapest way of enjoying the backwaters of Kuttanad. You can board these from Alappuzha to Changanasserry and back.

16041/42 Chennai – Alappuzha Express!

The 16041/16042 Chennai – Alappuzha (Alleppy) – Chennai Express at Thrissur Railway Station, hauled by Erode’s WAP 4 #22232.  The first coach (SLR) with the name board. The Board says Alappuzhaaa Express in Tamil and Malayalam, and Alempi Express in Hindi. Hahaha. The 16041/16042 is the Second Express train ever in Kerala and the very FIRST Express that started running in South Kerala and survives to this date. The history of the train goes back as far as 1944 when it started running as some slip coaches to be attached to the then 12/13 MAQ – MAS Malabar Express. Later it became a separate train and for a time was named the 41/42 Madras – Cochin “Kerala” Express, the most prestigious and premium train in Kerala! Later it was downgraded and now stops everywhere, and even goes to Coimbatore lately!

Diesel WDM Veterans Meet at Alappuzha!

Southern Railways Diesel workhorses, WDM2B #17544 and WDM2 #17805 both of Golden Rock (GOC Ponmalai) shed stand tall, head to head at Alappuzha Railway Station one late evening. The former hauling the Mangalore – Nagercoil Ernad Express arrived first and the latter arrived later with the Kozhikode – Thiruvananthapuram Jan Shatabdi Express, but left first. Poor Ernad and #17544 was stuck at Alappuzha for half an hour .

Both these are veterans and have quite a history behind them. The #17805 was once a Jumbo (here is how it looked like) belonging to the Ernakulam shed and was later rebuilt to look like how it is now. I remember boarding the Vanchinad Express hauled by it, many years back. The #17544 was once with Erode and had an accident after which the cab was rebuilt looking flat. (Here is how it looked) Later it was given raised steel numbers on it’s side. It now belongs to the Tondiyarpet (TNP) shed.