Explore the Scenic Kerala Backwaters
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Kerala, with its enchanting beauty and rightful aphorism as Gods own coun-try, is a delightful place to visit at any time of the year. It doesnt matter if you are a maiden visitor or a veteran, each time you see Kerala in its glorified charm, you will fall in love with it. The backwaters, with its kaleidoscope of shifting images are perhaps the main point of attraction for visitors.
You can enjoy enchanting views of atypical Kerala villages when you cruise through the waters. The feelings of warmth, tranquility and even romance sparks inside you when you observe the Chinese fishing nets, the glorious sunshine and images of the fishermen casting their nets.
Kerala backwaters are serenity personified broken only by the rattling, shrill whistle of the kingfisher, and mesmerizing squawking of the parakeets. Apart from that, you can also observe 91 species of local birds and more than 50 varieties of migrating birds.
You can capture the true essence and the stunning beauty of the backwaters in Kerala when you go on a houseboat ride. Most of the backwaters are naturally formed, and a few are manmade, probably made that way to ensure smooth passage of goods and passengers. Brackish lagoons that lie parallel to the mighty Arabian Sea make up the backwaters, and they touch the inlets of 44 rivers and 5 lakes.
These lagoons are interconnected by man-made canals to ensure smooth passage from one end of the state to the other. In fact, there are seven main locations where backwaters stretch out. The unique splendor of the backwaters is multiplied by the abundant collection of avian and aquatic species, probably because of the indigenous ecosystem that is rampant here.
Different kinds of cruises are available for those who want to enjoy a ride along the backwaters. Canoe boats and kettuvellams (or rice barges) carry tourists so they can immerse themselves in the glorious splendor gifted by nature.
Eons ago, when the world was still serene, calm and unpolluted, and when there were no roads, highways and flight services, there was trade on the Kerala backwaters. In fact, the 900km stretch of labyrinth net-work of waterways was connected by canals, and made navigable by boat so trade could progress.
The backwaters of Kerala have thus marked her past, shaped her future and dictated the milestones for which Kerala is so proud of.
If Kerala is now famed for her palm fringed beaches, marvelous houseboats, luxurious coastlines, heal-ing Ayurveda resorts and spacious amusement parks it was once upon a time popular for the aromatic spices and coconuts that were traded between different ports within India and outside. Ancient Phoe-nicians, Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch, French and English were the first traders through the whole expanse of Kerala
Backwater cruises from different venues along the length of Kerala coastline is the main attraction for tourists. You are given two main options when it comes to choosing the medium of transport. It can either be dugout canoes fitted with bamboo poles or it can be houseboats fitted with outboard motors, called Kettuvalloms.
Ferries and launches are other modes of transport for both natives and tourists, but if you want a cruise where you can go on a leisurely ride across the backwaters then you can hire a canoe or a Kettuvallom. Traditional Kettuvalloms pick up tourists from different venues and take them through the backwaters so they can admire the azure blue waters, the bustling fauna and the lively aviator life. The term Kettuvallom means stitched boat; an ordinary sized boat would be 80 feet long with wooden planks that are woven together with coconut fiber.
Tranquility and serenity are the second name for the spectacular waters of Ashtamudi Lake. The swaying coconut and palm trees, the luscious green landscapes and the shimmering red cliffs make your glide across the Ashtamudi Lake a memorable one. The district of Kollam is located on the banks of this river, which was once a bustling seaport where trade was conducted.
Located at the confluence of two rivers, Killi and Karamana, these backwaters offer enchanting canoe and houseboat rides. The best time to visit Thiruval-lam would be after the monsoon, in the September to April period; it is when you can see the backwa-ters in its splendid greenery. The charming boat ride will take you from the maddening crowds of the city.
One of the most busiest tourism spots in Kera-la is the Kochi Backwaters. Kochi is rightly called the Queen of the Arabian Sea. You can see the great Chinese fishing nets as you cruise along the spectac-ular waterways and if you get to see a sunset along the way, you experience divinity. Willington Island, Bolghatty Palace, Fort Kochi and Mattanchery Pal-ace enable you to experience the true beauty of Co-chin.
Kavvayi Island and Kavvayi Kayal are extremely important tourism spots in the history of Kerala. Ecologically, the beauty of Kavvayi cannot be du-plicated, and when you observe several large and small islands along your cruise route, it is easy to experience the work of nature at its best. The wet-lands and the areas along the coastline display an exciting and invigorating collection of plantlife.
Image by Sherjeena via wikipedia
Padanna backwaters is located in Cheruvathur in Kasargode, at the other end of Kerala. Swaying co-conut trees along the luscious green coast and criss-cross network of canals only add to the spice of an already inspiring backwater cruise. Oyster fishing is the main livelihood of the people living along the coastline, and you can see the families at work when you glide along.
This lake is definitely the largest one in Kerala and the longest in India. Located at Kumarakom in Kuttanad, you will never get enough of the luscious beauty of Gods Own Country when you embark on a cruise. Spectacular water regattas and snake boat races are held during Onam, the traditional festival of Kerala.
Image by Aman Gupta via flickr
Glide effortlessly through Kuttanad backwaters in Ambalapuzha, Kut-tanad and enjoy the palm fringed coastline, the shimmering greenish blue waters and of course, the chirping and fluttering avian population. The backwaters stretch from Kollam to Kochi, a distance of 80 kilometers. Ride through endless serenity and observe the churches, farms, homes, temples and mosques when you pass by. Evidence of ancient architecture can be experienced at the village. Be a part of the ancient custom of Ker-ala and enjoy the only place in the continent where the villages and farm-
ing areas are located below sea-level.
To experience the true beauty of the tranquil waters of Kerala and to get lulled by the intoxicating warmth of the sun and to delight in the sweet lullaby of the waves, you have to go on package tours from the different backwater locations. The tour can take from 1 and half hours to 12 hours depend-ing on how long you want it to be.
It is not easy to break away from the heart-tugging, revitalizing bond that seems pull you back to the spectacular waters long after the tour is over. You can see stunning five-star resorts and exotic birds during your cruise and enjoy a traditional meal of rice, tapioca, pearlspot and several sumptuous dishes indigenous only to Kerala.
Your Kerala trip will not be complete without a cruise through these beautiful backwaters. And we have a complete array of blog posts to help you do just that!
Sometime back, we did a blog series on our Kerala travel blog, exploring these backwaters in detail! These articles will help you decide where to go and what to see while visitng these backwaters. 1. Backwaters of Kerala
2. Exploring Kerala Backwaters : Kumarakom
3. FishingFor Fun at Njarakkal Aqua Fish Farm (Part of Kochi Backwaters)
4. Traversing Backwaters of Kuttanad
5. Feel the Beauty of Kollam Backwaters
6. Discover: Backwaters of Kochi
7. Unveiling the Charm of Alleppey Backwaters
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