The Kerala Backwaters are a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets, fed by 38 rivers, formed by more than 900 km of waterways by the action of waves and shore currents creating low blockade islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range. Manmade restrictions to natural stream flow or temporary natural obstructions such as ice blockage, vegetation occlusion, or flooding of a lower stream can create backwaters.
A unique ecosystem will be created in backwaters with assembling the freshwater from the rivers and the seawater from the Arabian Sea. Many distinctive species of aquatic life including water birds and animals live in and alongside the backwaters. Palm trees, tropical shrubs, various leafy plants, and bushes grow alongside the backwaters, providing a green hue to the surrounding landscape. Backwaters always keep fresh water by building Thanneermukkom as a barrier, so salt water from the sea is prevented from entering into land.
Initially Kerala’s backwaters were used as a mode of transferring goods like coconut, rubber, spices etc presently it serves as a wide- variety of experiences includes exploring on the traditional houseboats or Kettuvalloms, hampered with a rich natural beauty, flourishing paddy fields, backwater villagers, fishing operation, cultural events etc. The backwaters is uninterrupted through the entire length of Kerala, in which the largest lake is Vembanad with huge network of canals that meander through the region of Kuttanad.
KOLLAM BACKWATERS - The Gateway City of Kerala Backwaters
The second Largest Lake in Kerala, the well-known Ashtamudi Lake, covering around 30 percent of the area of the district Kollam or Quilon longs for the dawnings of kollam backwaters. The Chinese fishing nets hanging from poles to the surface of water is a common sight. This town explores its beauty remarkably with lush green landscape, diverse wildlife, verdant tropical vegetations and houses & villages that line up along the path.
Annual snake boat races, held along the backwaters, also provide a great source of entertainment for the locals and tourists alike. Amazing houseboat cruises traditionally known as "Kettuvalloms" cruises serve the longest backwater ride from Kollam to Alleppey. Astamudi Lake, Jatayu Nature Park, Munroe Island, Amrithapuri, Alumkadavu are some of the attractive sites along kollam backwaters.
KUMARAKOM BACKWATERS- Through the Vembanad Lake, The Largest Fresh Water Lake In India
The village retreat Kumarakom, is nestled in the small enclave as a wonderland of Kerala at the heart of Vembanad Lake and part of Kuttanad region, and is known for its charming backwaters. It is a spellbinding picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination which offers boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences atmost.
One can get to feel the vibrant life in the countryside by travelling through zigzagging tiny hamlets lined up along either sides of the canals and waterways, the scenic natural beauty of coconut canopies, dense tropical forests, rocky coasts, vast expanse of green paddy fields, flocks of ducks swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky. Other attractions in kumarakom are Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, aruvikkuzhi waterfalls, Vembanad Lake, and Pathiramanal Island.
KOTTAYAM BACKWATERS - ‘Land Of Letters, Latex And Lakes’
Kottayam is bounded by the Western Ghats on the east and the Vembanad Lake on the west, with tropical, hot and humid climate. The famous backwater cruises in Kottayam include sailing in Kettuvallams in the Vembanad Lake and the Punnamada Lake and passing through the villages by viewing mundane activities of homespun life of the locales. The cruises admire with long stretches of enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white water lilies and lotus and creeping of water birds.
Huddled amidst with 1500 acres, land is filled with natural beauty of lush green highland, coconut groves, rubber plantations and sprawling paddy fields. The cultivation is done by using extensive agricultural method below the sea level which is a unique site on the Kottayam backwater cruises. Fishing and angling at the Kottayam Backwaters will be special experience that visiters can owe. The nearby resorts offer comfortable accommodation and exclusive leisure options like an Ayurvedic massage, yoga, meditation, boating, fishing, angling and swimming.
ALLEPPEY BACKWATERS - The ‘Venice of the East’
Aranmula Snake Boat Race formally Nehru boat race is one of the main highlight of Alleppey. It is one of the most significant tourist centers in the state because of the large network of inland channels and coir industry. Houseboat gliding & cruising through Alappuzha backwaters will be quite indelible experience.
Its best attractions includes: perfect landscape, sparkling rivers, abundant greenery, alluring freshwater lakes, winding waterways, palm-shaded villages, fisher-men and fisher- women focusing in fishing, coconut trees swaying with the wind, water birds passing by the canals, historical places like Champakkulam Church and Ambalphuzha temple etc.
The region has an extensive network of ferries that carry residents up and down the rivers and canals throughout the day. Alleppey the core of Kerala backwaters, provides numerous backwater paths to enjoy. Every route offers ideal specialities and captivates more than the other.
COCHIN BACKWATERS - ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’
Cochin is one of the finest harbours in the world, hence the biggest, busiest, and fast growing city of Kerala. The best thing about this place is that, Kochi backwaters visit assures the unmatchable beauty of nature traditionally and intense of modern fussy city life in a blend. A number of Houseboats cruises and tours start and end at Cochin including Alleppey and Kollam.
Kochi backwater tour covers a larger amount of area that lined with important monuments, palaces, and heritage sites. There are many mini and hefty islands in this region including man-made, hence ferries play a great role in Cochin life.
As a part of Vembanad Lake, Bolgatti Palace, Vypin islands and Cochin Shipyard is located near Kochi backwaters. Cochin harbour tours include locations such as Marine Drive, Chinese Fishing Nets, Bolgatty Island, Willington Island, Dutch Palace, Synagogue, Jew market, St. Francis Church etc.
KUTTANAD BACKWATERS - The 'Rice Bowl of Kerala’
Kuttanad is a singular characteristic region of Alappuzha by its wealthy paddy crops. It is one of the few places in the world where farming is done 1.5 to 2 ms below sea level, protected by dikes, which lies at the very heart of backwaters. An amazing feature of this region is the Inland waterways flows above land level, with rich crop of banana, cassava and yam. The journey through the glimmering backwaters of Kuttanad offers the gentle cradling of the lapped waters, fields with rice stalks, ducks quacking together in high decibels, legions of parrots fluttering around, tortuous canals etc.
Kuttanad lies sandwiched between the hills and the sea, so that the farmlands are all land recuperated from the backwaters. There is so much to look and explore including darter birds flying around as they are known to be around the area surrounding the backwaters.
KOZHIKODE BACKWATERS - City of Spices
Kozhikode has always been a popular destination for its backwaters, located on the northern side of the picturesque state of Kerala. Vasco da Gama, Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea, landed in Kappad, near the beaches of Calicut in 1498 and put it forever in the history books. Kozhikode backwaters are pristine and immaculate that provide the visitors to explore the nature’s beauty at its best. Dense vegetation and exotic flora and fauna are the distinctive features of this area, which offers perfect houseboat cruising through palm-fringed streams, rivers, lakes and canals. While cruising along the Calicut backwaters, one can discover the fascinating countryside simply and beautifully.
KASARGOD BACKWATERS - Home to the Best Preserved Forts/ Land Of Seven Languages and Several Cultures
God’s own country’s Northern most District Kasargod is the land of chained forts and the land of seven languages and cultures. Being surrounded by the Western Ghats on the East, Valiyaparamba and Chandragiri are the cruise options of Kasargod backwaters.
Small islands and the four rivers flowing into the backwater stretches, one can experience the traditional ways of beautiful village, diverse art and culture of the town, blend of several religions and so on. Enhanced with several tourist attractions, pleasant winter season and thriving coir and handloom industry, the alluring town of Kasargod is a worth to visit.