Mankombu: The tourists are abandoning the modernised houseboat and backwater tourisms and moving towards villages. They are now choosing the canoes and country boats through small canals and streams in Kuttanad over the hour-long houseboat rides.
Apart from Shikara boats and motor boats, tourists are selecting small canoes which can accommodate 8 to 10 people. There are around 800 shikara boats, motor boats and around 20 small canoes. Most of the tourists staying in resorts and homestays indulge in village tours.
One-day tour through the villages cost around Rs 1250 to Rs 2500. The canoes are given Rs 500 for the tours.
A Kuttanadan journey
Water transport department boats reach Kuttanad from Alappuzha around 8 am. Most of the travellers descend at Kainakary. The boat drivers then take the tourists to their houses and provide Kerala breakfast. Mostly it would be idli or dosa. Later the tour starts in country boats.
Around 2 pm, they are taken back to the houses and given lunch with fish fry. After lunch, the tourists are taken to rural paths within the villages to enjoy nature and take photos.
Rocha C Mathew, an international Kayaking star, said that Alappuzha and Kuttanad should be included in responsible tourism and natives should be benefitted from the rush of tourists.
At present, tourists are reaching the villages through homestays.
Kainakary native Rajeev, a boat driver, alleged that not even half the amount charged by the homestay for the boat rides are given to the drivers like him. A permanent system would b beneficial, he said.