A peaceful and rustic 3 day sojourn on the mellow backwaters of Kerala. Setting off from Alleppey (Alappuzha), close to Kochi, we sail through the lush backwaters aboard a rice boat. On day 2 witness the spectacle of one of the longest partial eclipses from the sleepy backwaters. Similar to punting in Cambridge, the crew propel the boat through the water using tall bamboo poles!
day 1: 14 January 2010. Arrive Kochi
Arrive Kochi airport, where you will be met by a representative from on the go. Drive for approximately 2 hours to Allepey and board a private rice-boat for a journey through the backwaters in and around Allepey.
Similar to punting in Cambridge, the crew propel the boat through the water using tall bamboo poles! The rice-boat is a simply furnished craft and consists of a thatched covered lounge/dining area, sleeping accommodation (with mosquito net) and a bathroom with a WC and washbasin. In the evening the boat is lit by hurricane lamps. Thatched awning on both sides of the boat allows the breeze and views to flow in. There is a small service area at the rear of the craft where the cook prepares simple meals using as many fresh provisions as can be plucked, caught or bought in the backwaters.
You'll travel for a total of approximately 20kms, during which time the boat will glide serenely past colourful local villages. Chugging slowly on rice-boats through the shallow, palm-fringed waters, you'll see a part of Keralan society that revolves around fishing and the processing of coir (coconut fibre), copra (dried coconut meat) and cashews. Families live on impossibly narrow strips of land, somehow managing to raise cows, pigs, chickens and ducks and cultivate small vegetable gardens. Residents paddle rapier-thin canoes hewn from trunks of the jackfruit tree across the water to sell groceries and deliver rice hay. Lunch, dinner and overnight - Rice-boat.
day 2: PARTIAL ECLIPSE DAY.
Alleppey. Today spend the day at leisure on the rice-boat. This morning we get ready for the spectacle of one of the most complete PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSES OF 2010 over the sleepy backwaters. You can choose to watch it from the houseboat which resides on calm Lake Kumarakom, or on the shore.
The moon will first touch the sun at 11.05am, gaining its maximum magnitude at 13:14 obscuring 81.8% of the sun. Elsewhere at this time, an Annular Eclipse is occurring. Here, the Sun - Moon alignment is perfect beneath the centre line. The moon is farther from the Earth than normal and hence its apparent size is not quite sufficient to cover the sun completely. Under the centre line the Moon would appear slightly smaller in diameter than the Sun and a thin ring of sunlight will remain visible around the dark silhouette of the moon.
Eclipse site co-ordinates
76° 14′ 00″E, 9°55′ 00″N
As our Eclipse location is just outside the centre line of the moon's path (not directly beneath the centre line) 81.91% of the sun will be covered. It is close to being an Annular Eclipse though not quite and hence the phenomena we will see is termed a partial eclipse. One of the best ones at that! The sun will seem to peek out from behind the moon in a thin extended crescent shape, as if the moon had taken a big bite out of the sun! As the event unfolds the sky will change to a deep purple as the horizon falls into shades of orange and red.
11.05am - The moon first touches the sun - start of the partial eclipse (1st contact).
13.14pm - The moon reaches its maximum magnitude and obscuration of 81.91%
15.05pm - The moon is no longer blocking the sun - end of the eclipse (4th contact)
The rest of the day is free for you to spend as you please. Maybe opt for a swim, soak up the sunshine, enjoy the scenic beauty local area. Later enjoy dinner under million stars. Sleep and dream with the pleasant roll of backwater.
day 3: Kochi
Alleppey - Kochi - breakfast. Disembark at Alleppey. Drive to Kochi airport in time to connect with your onward flight.
Eclipse on Kerala is available on the following trips