When it comes to experiencing serenity and tranquility, few places can match the enchanting backwaters of Kerala. Nestled along the southwestern coast of India, these interconnected waterways offer a unique and captivating journey into a world of picturesque landscapes, soothing waters, and vibrant local culture. In this article, we will delve into the beauty of the backwaters of Kerala, exploring the top destinations, things to do, and the best time to visit. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable voyage of serenity and rejuvenation.
What are the Backwaters of Kerala?
The backwaters of Kerala are a network of brackish lagoons, lakes, canals, and rivers that span over 900 kilometers along the coastal regions of the state. This unique ecosystem is formed by the meeting of the Arabian Sea and several rivers, creating a tranquil haven of interconnected waterways that crisscross through lush greenery and charming villages.
Top Backwater Destinations in Kerala :
1. Alleppey (Alappuzha)
Alleppey, often referred to as the “Venice of the East,” is the most popular backwater destination in Kerala. With its extensive network of canals and picturesque landscapes, it offers a mesmerizing experience of the backwaters. Don’t miss the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race, a thrilling spectacle of traditional snake boats racing through the backwaters.
Nestled on the banks of Lake Vembanad, Kumarakom is a serene backwater destination known for its peaceful ambiance and rich avian population. Explore the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, take a leisurely houseboat ride, or indulge in traditional Ayurvedic treatments to rejuvenate your mind and body.
3. Kollam (Quilon)
Located at the southern edge of the backwaters, Kollam offers a tranquil escape away from the bustling tourist crowds. Embark on a soothing boat ride along the Ashtamudi Lake, visit the historic Thangassery Lighthouse, and explore the nearby Munroe Island, known for its scenic beauty and rural charm.
4. Kochi (Cochin)
While Kochi is famous for its bustling port and vibrant city life, it also offers a unique backwater experience. Explore the serene backwaters of Kochi, visit the picturesque Fort Kochi area, and witness the iconic Chinese fishing nets in action. Don’t miss the enchanting sunset cruise on the Vembanad Lake.
Less explored and off the beaten path, Kasaragod offers a serene and untouched backwater experience. Cruise through the tranquil Valiyaparamba Backwaters, visit the historic Bekal Fort, and immerse yourself in the rustic charm of the village life.
Also Read : 11 Best Places to Visit in Monsoon in Gujarat
Houseboat Experience: Cruising the Backwaters
One of the most enchanting ways to experience the backwaters is by staying in a traditional houseboat, locally known as “kettuvallam.” These houseboats are beautifully crafted from bamboo, coir, and wood, offering a luxurious and comfortable stay while allowing you to soak in the serene beauty of the backwaters. Cruise along the waterways, indulge in delicious Kerala cuisine prepared on-board, and witness the idyllic rural life passing by.
Exploring the Local Culture and Cuisine
A visit to the backwaters of Kerala is incomplete without immersing yourself in the local culture and savoring the delectable cuisine. Interact with the friendly locals, witness traditional performances of Kathakali and Mohiniyattam, and indulge in mouthwatering delicacies like appam, puttu, karimeen fry, and Kerala-style fish curry.
Best Time to Exploring the Backwaters of Kerala
The backwaters of Kerala can be enjoyed throughout the year, but the ideal time to visit is from September to March when the weather is pleasant and the monsoon rains have subsided. This period offers comfortable temperatures and allows you to witness the vibrant festivals celebrated in the region.
FAQs about the Backwaters of Kerala
- Are the backwaters safe for swimming? While the backwaters offer a serene and picturesque setting, it is advisable to avoid swimming in the open waters due to the presence of hidden currents and occasional crocodile sightings.
- Can I customize my houseboat experience? Yes, most houseboat operators offer customizable packages that allow you to choose the duration, routes, and amenities based on your preferences.
- Are the backwaters wheelchair accessible? While the houseboats may not be wheelchair accessible, there are certain resorts and accommodations along the backwaters that offer facilities for guests with mobility challenges.
- Do I need to book houseboats in advance? It is recommended to book your houseboat in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to ensure availability and secure the best deals.
- What should I pack for a backwater trip? Essential items to pack include lightweight and breathable clothing, comfortable footwear, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat or cap to protect yourself from the sun.
- Is it possible to visit the backwaters on a day trip? Yes, several destinations offer day cruises and boat tours that allow you to experience the backwaters within a limited time frame.
A journey through the backwaters of Kerala is a transformative experience that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, immersing you in a world of serenityand tranquility. From the idyllic canals of Alleppey to the serene shores of Kumarakom, each destination offers a unique and captivating experience. Whether you choose to cruise on a houseboat, explore the local culture, or simply unwind amidst nature’s beauty, the backwaters of Kerala promise an unforgettable journey. So, pack your bags, embark on this enchanting adventure, and let serenity and tranquility await you in the backwaters of Kerala.
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