God’s own Country is a lush green paradise for travelers. Blessed with green forests, tea estates, hill stations, backwaters and beaches, Kerala offers something for every traveler. And your trip to Kerala is incomplete without a visit to the backwaters. The best time to visit is during December and January when the weather is relatively cooler. Monsoons offer a different delight as well to travelers.
What are backwaters?
Backwaters are a fascinating ecosystem that comprise lagoons or a chain of interconnected rivers, lakes and canals that run parallel to alarger water body like a Sea. In Kerala, these backwaters form more than 900 km. of waterways that snake along many cities. These run almost parallel to the coast. In many places, sea water mixes with the fresh water from rivers and lakes and in yet others, the entry of sea water is blocked leaving only fresh water. The vast backwaters in Kerala include 5 large lakes linked by canals. 38 rivers feed these lakes and the backwaters run across almost half the state.
These backwaters are buzzing with life and a unique ecosystem that comprises aquatic life, water birds and animals that grow and thrive along them. Many trees and shrubs lend a green touch to the area.
Exploring the backwaters:
To experience the unique life here, one must stay in the Kerala houseboats called the kettuvallams. These houseboats range from budget to premium accordingly offering different amenities for the tourists. Traditionally, these houseboats were used to transport rice harvested along the backwaters. They were also used for living by the royalty. Today, these houseboats provide full-fledged living accommodation with sleeping quarters, well equipped Western toilets, dining area and a deck to laze around on. Food cooked on the houseboat is a special attraction providing delectable local flavors. Many of them are equipped with air conditioners and generators. Most tourists prefer to spend at least one night on the houseboats.
Other ways of exploring the backwaters are through cruises both from Kerala government and private operators. Other enjoyable activities to watch are fishing and boat races. Kerala has its own unique boats that resemble the hood of a snake. These boat races are often fun to watch. You can also watch pretty paddy fields and coconut lagoons adjacent to the backwaters. Kolam, Alappuzha, Komarakom, Kasargod are all part of the backwaters.
Watch the world go by as you spend time soaking in the languid life of the backwaters. Hop into a ferry and take a canal cruise through the labyrinthine network. Don’t forget to try the ethnic cuisine especially sea food dishes.
Pics courtesy: en.Wikipedia.org