As the Arabian Sea eats into the western border of Kerala, it forms stunningly beautiful inland lakes and natural canal systems. These water pearls of nature are popularly known as the backwaters of Kerala and are an instant hit among travel enthusiasts and nature lovers. As you tread along these lush green districts of Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulum and Kottayamthere are a number of activities that let you explore the pristine beauty of these magical backwaters to the fullest. Read on to find out all that you can do get the best of Kerala backwaters.
The Kettuvallam Cruise
The best way to come face to face with the stunning realities of the backwater ecosystem is by taking a cruise on the traditional boat called the Kettuvallam. As you ride through the banks from one district to another you witness the lives of the people living along the coast, the freshwater aquatic life, traditional fishing operations, ancient temples, rustic homes and the sweet smell of freshly caught fishes cooked in coconut milk with spices. You may also make a stopover at one of the fishing villages and enjoy authentic delicacies, walk along the paddy fields, watch the traditional art of coir making and also go toddy tasting
Canoeing and Kayaking
Two great water sports activities, growing in popularity and that which brings the beauty of Kerala right in front of your eyes, are canoeing and kayaking along the backwaters. The Vembanad Lake (which is also the largest backwater extension of the state), the Ashtamudi Lake and Kollam backwaters are the popular canoeing spots where nature lovers explore untapped forest trails and smaller canals. A number of kayaking camps in Kovalam, Allapuzha and Kumarakom offer the equipment and training for beginners to kayak along the coast during suitable weather conditions.
Floating Hut or Houseboat Stay
If indulging in water activities is not your cup of tea and if you simply wish to immerse yourself into the scenic beauty of the western coast, hiring a private floating hut or a houseboat is a great option. A number of resorts are available in Kollam and Kumarakom and offer attractive package deals during all seasons. These luxury resorts have boathouses made of the finest eco-friendly materials and are considered one of the most romantic tourist spots in South India.
Watch the snake boat race
If you are visiting Kerala during the months of August or September you are in for a treat. Snake boats that are over a 100 feet long adorn the beautiful backwaters of Kerala and thousands of spectators gather to cheer the participants of the race. The sound, enthusiasm and colour of the carnival are a must-see for all tourists.
What can be more exciting that spotting a wild boar or a beautiful deer in its natural habitat while sailing across the palm fringed backwaters? Take up a lake cruise along the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and catch glimpses of rare birds and animals in an unbelievably exciting wildlife spotting experience.
The tranquillity of the backwaters in Kerala makes it one of the most sought after destinations in the country. The nature-rich state is a delight to all senses and is rightly called “God’s own country”.