Backwater Tourism in Kerala
Land and water share an extraordinary kinship in Kerala. The land which is believed to have sprung forth from the sea continues to bask in the tender life giving care of the waters that lap gently on its coast, cascade down its hills and valleys and rests calmly in exotic backwaters and lagoons.
There is a different Kerala along these backwaters, throbbing with its own unique culture. As a visitor to Kerala, it can be an unbelievably different experience just floating on these waters in a country craft or a houseboat and absorbing this unusual representation of Kerala’s life.
We might begin at Alappuzha, which is hailed as the Venice of the East, because of its intricate maze of backwaters, canals and bridges. When the visitor leaves Alappuzha on a boat voyage through Kuttanad, we will find our self traveling along canals where the level of water is often higher than that of the green endless paddy fields on either side.
We could journey right up to Kochi via the backwaters. Many beautiful sights greet you along the way, such as the Chinese fishing nets, and to have been introduced into Kerala by the traders from Kublai Khan’s Court.
A beautiful backwater spot accessible from Alappuzha is Kumarakom. Breathtakingly green, the village slumbers by the Vembanad Lake. On – cruise scenery flashes up vivid contrasts of lush greens and gorgeous green of the fringed palms the ripples in the blue waters blend into little wavelets. The place is so beautiful that Henry Baker, an Englishman, built his bungalow here in the last century. Now this elegant English bungalow is a Tourist Complex. A 14 acre bird sanctuary adds to the natural beauty of Kumarakom. Birds such as Water Ducks, Cuckoo, and Siberian Storks spend happy summers here.
By the Vembanad Lake nestles a golden yellow island, Pathiramanal which is haven of peace for the tourists.
The short boat ride from Kochi will transport you to a world of quiet and peace, of warmth and friendliness.
Again from Alappuzha , you could go up to Kollam. The route winds up the Pampa river to Champakkulam, an island hamlet, there in to the Karumadi canal. The statue of Karumadikuttan is believed to be of Buddha. Some see it is as a remnant of a bygone era when Buddhist monks came to Kerala with the message of love and non- violence. Then past Trikunna- puzha, across Kayamkulam Lake and Ashtamudi Lake, finally drawing in to the ancient port of Kollam.Through out, the scenery continues to be ravishing.
Kerala is a land of rivers and backwaters. Forty four rivers-41 west-flowing and 3 east flowing- cut across Kerala with their innumerable tributaries and branches, but these rivers are comparatively small and being entirely monsoon fed, practically turn into rivulets in summer, especially in the upper areas.
The backwaters form an especially attractive and economically valuable feature of Kerala. They include lakes and ocean inlets which stretch irregularly along the coast. The
largest backwater is the Vembanad Lake which opens out into the Arabian Sea at Cochin port. The other important backwaters are Veli, kadinamkulam,Anjengo, Edava, Madayara, Paravoor, Ashtamudi, Kayam Kulam, Kodungallur and Chetuva.
The deltas of the rivers interlink the backwaters and provide excellent water transportations in the low lands of Kerala. A navigable canal stretches from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala to Tirur in the far North.