Walking is tiring. It is. Especially in India where the sun is harsh, air is polluted, surroundings are noisy, roads are not laid out keeping pedestrians in mind, eve-teasing and ogling is a norm and the list goes on. So the mere thought of exploring a town on foot exhausts me, that is unless the town has soul, you know the one that speaks to you. Alleppey spoke to me and made me feel instantly at home.
I have visited Alleppey twice. The first time around, I was traveling solo; and because I was on sabbatical, I had the luxury of traveling at my preferred slow pace. The second time, I was traveling in good company; I was moving to England soon, so a car was hired. In the capacity of someone who has seen Alleppey both fast and slow, I can say with conviction that the streets of Alleppey are very much worth walking on foot.
There is very little ogling and eve-teasing (I say little because solo woman will often catch attention, we live in a sad world); the streets are clean(er), especially the neighbourhood around Alleppey Beach; and every now and then you will turn a corner and find a photogenic spot – I had to buy a spare battery and memory card, I was shooting so much. Having said that, there are people I know who did not like Alleppey very much – I get why, because at the outset it may feel a little like every other commercial touristy town. But once in, I saw why it is different, despite being touristy. Walk through the quiet neighbourhoods, watch the glimpses of Dravidian architecture, smoke a cigarette under the thatched roof of an old house while it’s drizzling, feel the silence of the many local churches – you’ll see what I mean.