Backwaters of Kerala
Kerala is famous for its beaches, churches, temples, dances and spices. But what lures a tourist to visit this enchanting land time and again is the soothing journey through the backwaters.
Kerala's centuries old palm fringed backwaters stretch over 1200 kms. And it is an incredible experience to sail down these lagoons watching the village life pass by. The backwaters of Kerala and the silent journey in the most ancient travel mode of a boat, not only takes you back to nature but also rejuvenates your body, mind and soul. According to the mythological legends, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu created Kerala by throwing his battle-axe into the sea. The intricate network of lakes, rivers and lagoons in the state sort of prove the ancient legend. It truly seems to be land born out of the sea. In the normal course the Kettuvellom can be hired from Cochin to the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.
Cochin (Kochi) - Kumarakom - Kottayam - Alleppey (Alappuzha) - Quillon (Kollam) - Thiruvananthapuram
Famous for its natural harbour, one of the best in the world, Kochi or Cochin has earned the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. All the islands that make up Kochi are well connected by ferry. The Chinese fishing nets, the ancient Jewish synagogue and the backwaters are the most important factors of Cochin.
Either one can start for the soothing journey through the calm waters right from Cochin or go by road to Allepey and start the backwater cruise from there.
Kumarakom is a very less known and undoubtedly the best place on the stretches of the Backwaters of Kerala. With the important Vembanad Lake and the calming waters, Kumarakom is an ecstatic experience for a sailor. The enthusiasts may also fish their own prey from the seawaters, which may comprise of varieties such as the tiger prawns and also the pearl spotted fish. Kumarakom is 14-acre bird sanctuary known for local varieties of waterfowl, cuckoo, water ducks, and migrating Siberian storks. The best months to visit it are June-August. Just 80 kilometers from Cochin, this area has unique kettuvalloms (houseboats), boat racing, motorboat and water sport facilities.
Abundant with beautiful sceneries with the backwaters in the west and the Western Ghats on the east is Kottayam, the beautiful backwater stoppage. With Kuttanad to its west, which known as the rice granary of Kerala due to its huge paddy fields is one of the best location. Plantations of rubber, paddy, coffee and spices surround the town of Kottayam. This adds to the natural splendour of this small town. One of the first towns of India to be patronized by saint Thomas, the Syrian Christians of Kottayam still follow the same old traditions. Another important feature about Kottayam is that it is the first town with 100% literacy rate in India since 1989.
One of the most exotic backwater sites of Kerala, Alleppey is washed by the Arabian Sea and interlocked by a number of canals and bridges. Known as the Venice of the east, Alleppey attracts many birds from all around the world. Apart from its exotic backwaters, Alleppey is famous for the Nehru Boat race held here annually and is also famous for its coir products.
This beautiful backwater resort is fast flourishing as one of the most sought after tourist destinations of India due to its natural beauty and calm and soothing atmosphere.
Quillon is an old seaport town on the Arabian coast and a great trade center of Kerala. One of the first Christian cities of India, Kollam has sustained commercial reputation from the days of Phoenicians and the Romans. It stands on the Ashtamudi Lake. From Desinganadu to Kollam and then Quillon, it has adorned various names at various points of time. The Ashtamudi Lake is the main centre of attraction for the tourists all round the year.
The yet to be explored backwaters in the northern part of Kerala are the most virgin and enthralling ones in the whole state. Kozhikode, known as Calicut as well is waiting to be explored. It was once one of the most important spice trading ports of India. The calm backwaters, the lush green environs, the ancient monuments and the warm people, Calicut sure is a place to experience.