The Kerala Backwaters

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The Kerala Backwaters

The Kerala Backwaters

Local folklore has it that Kerala was reclaimed from the seas by the warrior sage Parasurama by a throw of his battle axe. Whatever is the truth behind the legend, the fact remains that Kerala is a land with a huge necklace of canals, lagoons, lakes and rivers. These water bodies are loosely known in the local parlance as the backwaters. This peculiar landscape has had a distinct impact on the lifestyle of the people who live along the banks of these backwaters. Keralas uniqueness in its backwaters found nowhere else in the world.

The Kerala Backwaters
The Kerala Backwaters 

They form a beautiful and economically viable feature of Kerala. The 41 West flowing rivers of Kerala from a backbone to this magnificent gift of nature. 

The journey normally begins at Alapuzha, because of its large network of canals. The journey winds through the small canals out into the Vembanad Lake. This place is also called Kuttanad, once the rice bowl of Kerala. Interestingly, the place is one of the few place below sea level.

One beautiful backwater holiday destination is Kumarakom, which was discovered barely a decade ago. The lagoon here, with its spectacular view and fringed by coconut groves, has been featured in travel books all over the world. A 14 acre bird sanctuary adds to the natural beauty of Kumarakom.

And not surprisingly, the enterpreneurs among the people here have introduced a spruced up version of the Kettuvalam with all the modern trappings of luxury. These houseboats around 200 in all, are a world apart and unique to this region. With tourism flow into Kashmir at low ebb, these have to some extent replaced the houseboats of the Dal Lake. These regal house boats run by private tour operators do not come cheap, but the experience will leave one with a true sense of the wonder that is Kerala. 

Back to the backwater cruise. You could go to Kollam through a maze of rivers, lakes and lagoons. The sights are truly out of this world. The last part of the trip is through the Kayamkulam Lake and then to the Ashtamudi Lake in all its pristine glory. Or you could go the other way around and go to Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala. This trip is also through myriad lagoons, rivers and lakes.

Apart from these backwaters of central Kerala, there are also other water bodies elsewhere. These places are Veli ( in South Kerala ), Kadinamkulam, Edava, Anjengo, Madayara, Peravur, Ashtamudi, Kayamkulam, Kodungalur, Chetuva and Valiyaparamba ( in North Kerala ).



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