The seaward area of Kerala has a huge grid of waterways, shallow lakes, inlets, creeks and natural & man made canals that connects coastal towns with each other. This interconnected form of waterways is recognized as the backwaters in Kerala. The amazing backwaters of Kerala are stretched around 900 km of beautiful interlinked waterways, rivers, lakes and inlets that provide a calm & relaxing environment. As Backwaters are the most renowned tourist destination of Kerala it often remains crowed with nature seekers, Passionate travelers & the honeymooners. You enjoy these waterways on a traditional houseboat “Kettuvalloms” and enjoy the spectacular beauty of the backwaters in Kerala, which will refresh you both mentally & physically.
The backwaters of Kerala have an exceptional ecosystem as the freshwater from the rivers meets the salty seawater from the Arabian Sea in the backwaters in Kerala. It is a habitat of large number of species of flora and fauna such as mudskippers, frogs, crabs, fishes, otters etc; you can also beautiful see water birds such as terns, ducks, kingfishers, darters and cormorants.
The fisherman and the people who live next to the backwaters in Kerala have a deep tight bond with the Kerala backwaters.. The major part of the backwater population earn its livelihood by fishing in backwaters, mussel & oyster farming while others rely on the paddy, coconut and other crops grown along its banks. The boats they produce are all an integral part of their traditional way of life of people in backwaters, and if you even come here then you need to get a backwater cruise experience of backwaters, it is without a doubt something you will cherish for the rest of your life.
Backwater cruises in Kerala are carried out on large transformed traditional boats. These boats are called “Kettuvalloms” they were traditionally practiced as grain arks, to transit the rice yield in the fertile fields alongside the Kerala Backwaters. After being remodeled to accommodate tourists, the houseboats have a good sleeping space, with toilets, a dining table and a relaxing sit out on the deck. You can relax & sleep on a kettuvalloms at night and observe the beautiful sunrise while sitting on the deck during the morning. The Food is cooked fresh and on board by the accompanying staff of the houseboat. While you are on the houseboat you can have a relaxing time seeing the birds & aquatic life along the banks of the Kerala backwaters. You will also get a chance to have a glimpse of the native people in villages along the banks of Kerala backwaters, you will also get an idea about their lifestyle and routine, you can see them farming or fishing.
Famous backwaters destinations of Kerala:
(1) Kochi: Famed as Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi is said to be the best natural harbor in the world. It is a collection of islands that is surrounded by Vembanad Lake. And because of its economic importance, the colossal powers such as the Chinese, English, French, Jewish, Dutch and Portuguese vied for dominance in the area which is why the place has a blend of several exotic cultures. There are also many historical ancient monuments, like the Jewish Synagogue, the beautiful Fort Kochi and the Mattancherry Palace, they were built before-British rule in India, the backwaters in Kochi city of Kerala is just another reason why thousands of tourists visit this beautiful port city the throughout the year.
Even though the entire state of Kerala is recognized for its backwaters, kochi backwaters are amongst the most attractive ones. Infact, most of the backwater cruises either begin or end in the city. While you stay at any of the hotels, make sure to take some time off your plans for a Kochi backwaters tour. Which include cute water birds, wild flowers and stunning lush greenery which will easily capable to mesmerize you.
(2) Kollam: The beautiful town of Kollam is situated at 71 kms north of Thiruvananthapuram (the capital city of Kerala) and holds an important position in the Kerala Backwaters tourism. The beautiful coastline of Kerala is quiet famous for its fishing and cashew industries. In ancient period, it was a crucial spot for coastal business and trade which is why it is considered to be one of the oldest ports located on the Malabar Coast. The backwaters of Kollam are alluring and exquisite with their impressive traditional architectural styles.
The famous Ashtamudi Lake is where the Kollam backwaters tour journey begins and its alluring and magnificent appeal has made these tours quiet popular. It works as the getaway to the breathtaking backwaters of Kerala. The lake covers most parts of the ancient town of Kollam. If you are planning to take a trip on Kollam to Alappuzha, which is perhaps the longest backwater cruise in state of Kerala, it would take you a total of nine hours.
(3) Kottayam: Kottayam is amongst some of the most gorgeous Kerala backwater destination. This historic town is quiet famous for for its churches and temples and for its crucial role in the history of Kerala. Kottayam is situated in an area of great beauty of nature and you’re sure to be mesmerized by the stunning scenery around Kottayam on backwaters tours.
The name Kottayam is originally derived from the word Kotta and Akam which means the inside of a fort. Kottayam is enriched by the history that it holds. The local rulers of Munjanad and Thekkumkur used Kottayam as their serving headquarters. Maharaja Marthanda Varma of Travancore crushed the local rulers and captured Kottayam. With its rich fertile lands and transport links through the backwaters, Kottayam was a sweet prize. You can see the old ruins, palace and fort of the great local rulers of Kottayam on tour of backwaters.
(4) Kozhikode: In 1498, the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama reached in Kappad Beach, near Kozhikode. When the British became a major commercial power here, the name of Kozhikode Backwaters was changed as Calicut which turned into a foremost trading position for the British. The most popular transport item here is the checked cloth called Calico made by the natives.
In the ancient days, Kozhikode established itself as the capital of the powerful Zamorins. During this period as well It was an important commercial center, and also the location of the Malabar Mahotsavam. And today, this district has become a major tourist location because of its stunning natural beauty which is very noticeable in its beautiful landscape, historical heritage sites, wildlife sanctuaries, lovely rivers and majestic hills. It has a exclusive cultural charm and warm hospitality which make a trip here memorable.
The backwaters of Kozhikode are prime untouched areas that offer a lot of appealing holiday options. The most crucial and enjoyable spot for boating are Elathur, the Canolly Canal and the Kallai River. Some of the most visited site here is Kadalundi which has a great bird sanctuary, situated near Korapuzha, Jalotsavam, placed in the backwaters here is recognized for offering opportunities for thrilling and adventurous water sports.
(5) Alappuzha: Alappuzha is also known as Alleppey. Alleppey with its alluring landscape, laced on the west by the brilliant stretch of beach and the Arabian Sea, connected by silvery rivers, natural lakes, quiet lagoons and magnificent palm groves. Alleppey is now evolved into an elite backwater tourist centre.
Alappuzha is a district of boundless natural beauty. And is recognized as the Venice of the East by travelers from across the globe, this backwater outland is also habitat to many different species of animals and bird life. A uniqueness of this land is the region called Kuttanad which is a land rich with lush paddy fields, it is also considered as the Rice Bowl of Kerala and one of the very few places in the world where farming is performed below sea level.
Alappuzha is a major backwater destination that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Cruise next to the palm-fringed water ways of Kerala in a luxurious house boat is the most exciting holiday experience in India today. In this world of basic pleasures, you’ll cross by past ancient Chinese fishing nets, water lilies, lush paddy lands, traditional villages, simple homes, holy temples and coconut groves.
(6) Thiruvananthapuram: The backwaters of Trivandrum provide the beautiful glimpse of a paradise. Trivandrum also known as Thiruvananthapuram it is situated on the bank of Arabian Sea and has a long isolated world renowned shoreline and beaches. . The beautiful lagoons, the mesmerizing shallow lakes, canals and rivers are lined up on the thick tropical vegetation of Trivandrum. It has a great historical and cultural heritage and backwater stretches, the crucial ones being Thiruvallam and Veli. At a distance of 6 km from Trivandrum, Thiruvallam is a quiet and peaceful backwater that stretches from enroute to Kovalam. The two tributaries, Killi and Karamana are the two well acclaimed spots for canoe riding. The ultimate highlight of Thiruvallam is the temple dedicated to Parasurama, who is said to be the creator of Kerala, according to Hindu mythology.
(7) Kumarakom: Kumarakom is a wonderland of Kerala which is famous for its fascinating backwaters. Kumarakom is situated at around 14Km from Kottayam town. The village of Kumarakom is a collection of small islands on the beautiful Vembanad Lake. It is placed among lush green paddy fields, high lands and huge rubber plantations is Kumarakom, which is one of the most scenic backwater stretches of Kerala. The bird sanctuary here, is stretched across 14 acres, and is a favourite destination of migratory birds which is why is can be said that it is indeed an ornithologist’s paradise. wild duck, darters, waterfowls, Egrets, teals, cuckoo, herons and migratory birds like the Siberian Stork visit this place in flocks , and seeing them here is truly an experience you will cherish for your whole life.
(8) Ernakulam: Just 9.5 kms away from Kochi, A journey to the lush backwaters of Ernakulam is a treat for an exhausted mind and body. It is a truely a haven of vintage architecture, mouth watering delicacies and pure isolation from the disturbance of the world. Ernakulam is a monument of the Dutch Empire dating back which dates to 1744. Apart from the boat ride and boat cruises in the backwaters of Ernakulam, you can also walk down the Goshree Bridge that links Vypeen and Ernakulam.
(9) Veli: Veli Village is a beautiful village that is situated at a distance of 8 kms from Thiruvananthapuram, ideally set on the intersection of the Arabian Sea and the Veli Lake. The magnificent lagoons of veli are severed from the sea by a narrow sand bar. The vast length of backwaters can be explored easily with paddle boats. The spectacular surroundings of the village make it an excellent picnic spot for the tourists who seek an escape from their busy city life and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature.
At the majestic backwaters of Veli, one can enjoy a various type of water sports activities and when you’re done with that a floating dining experience in the India’s first floating 3 star restaurants.
(10) Thiruvallam: Thiruvallam is situated at the distance of 6 km from the capital city of Kerala ie Thiruvananthapuram, Thiruvallam Backwaters is one of the most popular backwater destinations between the tourists coming on the trip to Kerala. Killli and Karamana are the two rivers that unite at Thiruvallam, which leads to the grand creation of these stunning backwaters. Thiruvallam is an internationally renowned backwater spot in India. Its dream location for the tourists and you can plan out the trip to the Thiruvallam Backwaters at at time during the year.
While you are in Thiruvallam you can enjoy water sports near Kovalam. A beautiful waterfront park and amazing floating bridge is placed in the Velli Lagoon near Thiruvallam, make sure you don’t miss them. There are also boating facilities accessible for tourists on Akulam Lake. The Akulam Boating Club offers all the cruises here.
As every year passes by backwaters in Thiruvallam is gaining more & more popularity among the leisure travelers very rapidly. The alluring climate and the mesmerizing scenic beauty make it the right spot for a relaxing tour.
Nidhish Uday is a passionate professional writer. He has written many articles for “India Travel Guide” where you can find complete Information about places to see in India & its amazing festivals. He loves to explore remote places & has huge love & respect for mother nature.