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Kerala's Floating Supermarket

Don't be alarmed if, while scanning the Backwaters, you suddenly set eyes upon a garish red-and-white checkered miniature ship cruising through the waterways. In fact, you might even want to find a way to get a look at what's happening on board. It's India's first waterborne supermarket, known as the Floating Triveni, and was launched on June 7, 2009, as a way of bringing the convenience of everyday retail shopping to the island-bound villagers who live in Alappuzha district's Kuttanad backwaters. Covering 53 locations and catering to over a million people, the floating minimall carries everything from toiletries to home appliances (which must be ordered in advance, of course) at below-market prices. It's 16m (53 ft.) long with a staff of eight, and the state cooperative which owns it plans to get it recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. Meanwhile, there are plans for two more island-hopping supermarkets in the Kochi and Kollam backwaters.

Shopping in Venice of the East

If you are a serious shopper, you'll definitely want to consider a stay at Raheem Residency. Bibi, the Irish owner, is full of great advice on retail therapy. Don't miss a trip to the famous Bhima Jewellers (established here in 1925, with only certified gold on sale, and branches now throughout India) located on Mullackal, the main shopping street in Alleppey, as well as the Maheshwari Fabric Showroom and the wooden handicrafts near the DTPC boat jetty -- all within easy striking distance of the Residency; ask for a map.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.