Kerala is a popular tourist destination in India and attracts tourists from all over the world. The tourist industry is growing at a rate of 13.31% and is a major contributor to the state’s economy and is the most visited tourist destinations in India. Backwater tourism in Kerala is a major factor that attracts the tourist from all over the world. Backwaters in Kerala have always remained the center of attraction in this southern state of india. Backwater is a natural phenomenon where mainly the river water and in some cases sea water gets trapped in an area over the passage of time. Due to heavy soil erosion for a long time, these places form deep and stretched basins where water can be naturally preserved. normally, a backwater is fed by the linked rivers from which it is formed but the connection is so narrow that it doesn’t get river currents, only during the high tide and low tide phases some differences in water levels could be detected. Some backwaters also get plenty of water from the Arabian sea.
Features of backwaters in Kerala
Backwater regions are counted among the top points of interest in Kerala. The backwaters are formed along the Malabar coast adjacent to the Arabian sea. Most of these backwaters are naturally formed but some man-made canals can also be found in this state. The interesting aspect of these Kerala backwaters is that they are more or less interlinked with each other. They are mostly fed by rainwater; However, they also get plenty of water from 38 rivers in Kerala which are visibly crisscrossed the entire state. The backwaters of Kerala are the part of the mainstream life of this state as Keralites are mostly dependent on these water bodies for their daily activities. Besides, these interconnected backwaters have created completely different geographical characteristics in terms of soil character, flora and fauna, and weather. Backwater areas in Kerala are popular for greeneries, birds, natural serenity, and local communities.
6 Best backwaters in Kerala
It is not possible to visit all backwaters within a few days, so tourists mostly want to visit the most famous destinations known for enriched backwaters. here are the six extensively visited Kerala backwaters:
This is truly called the “ Venice of India ”. Locals called it Alappuzha. This place has a rich cultural history and traditional life that truly depict the true life of Kerala. top place to visit in Alleppey for a honeymoon. Alleppey is famous for its backwaters, scenic beauty, and houseboat tour. Houseboats offer an opportunity to experience the charm of this state and why tourists prefer to come here again and again. Boat races take place on the backwaters in Alleppey during the harvesting season which is really an event to enjoy from the houseboat. Alleppey is one of the rarest places in the world where agricultural activities take place below the normal sea level. For this reason, it is also called the “ Rice bowl of Kerala ”. The appealing landscape, laced up on the west by the wonderful stretch of long and sparkling seashores, the Arabian sea, natural lakes, lagoons calm and beautiful rivers, and never-ending palm groves provide a different levels peacefulness to the visitors. Check out more and perfect options for honeymoon destinations from Kerala houseboat honeymoon packages when you opt for Kerala backwater tours.
Allepppey boat race
Alleppey is also famous for its boat races. Nehru trophy boat race is the most popular boat race that takes place in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha. It is also conducted on the second Saturday of August and is a famous tourist attraction in kerala. It is also live broadcasted on Doordarshan every year and live commentary on all India radio. Plan a visit to Kerala to witness this special event take place in the backwaters of Kerala.
Allepppey paddy cultivation
Allepppey backwater paddy cultivation is a major backwater destination for the people who visit here. This can be best enjoyed by boating in Alleppey. Here the farming is done on the periphery of the river Pamba, and shallow part of the Vembanad lake after reclamation from the lake. In order to experience the paddy cultivation, one of the best ways to do so is with the help of Alleppey boat ride. It is because the boats can help you to reach even the remotest corners.
Unique aspects of Alleppey houseboats
The houseboats in Kerala is one of the main Kerala backwater tourism spots that offers quite an affordable stay to the tourists. Based on your budget, you can either choose the option of budget houseboats or also the houseboats on the higher ranges. The houseboats are well equipped with all the comforts of a good hotel room. These include air-conditioned rooms, furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, comfortable living rooms, well-equipped kitchen, balcony etc. these also provide an uninterrupted view of the backwaters of Kerala.
Backwater tourism in Kerala is operated by both the state tourism department as well as private tour operators. Full day backwater cruises last for about 8 - 9 hours and are ideally suited for visitors who wish to get a glimpse of the rural village life and wish to have a local cultural interaction. Apart from these, half day and sunset cruise are also operated in Alleppey backwaters which are the gateway to Kerala backwaters. Some houseboats also offer sunset cruises and overnight trips as well.
Alappuzha to Kuttanad backwaters cruise
Alappuzha to Kuttanad is another popular cruise route in Kerala backwater tourism that is famous for its beautiful location. Here you can also witness the farming and village life of Kerala. Kuttanad is also known as the rice bowl of Kerala and is known for its paddy fields that lie below the sea level.
Allepppey houseboats also provide you with the luxurious comforts and here you can hire it to visit various other places in Kerala. You can cruise through the canals in Kuttanad and then move towards Kumarakom. Then you can proceed to Vaikom where you can view beautiful sights on the route. Vembanad lake provides its visitors with the backwater village life. It features the largest backwater stretches in Kerala. These are coupled with green shores that are filled with the natural beauty of sunlit water, palm trees on the shores, and other such features. It also consists of a small island Pathiramanal that seems to be a float in the midst of the backwater.
There is also an important location named as Thanneermukkom which is a village known for its saltwater barrier that is known as Thanneermukkom bund. It is the largest mud regulator in India. Vaikom is another backwater tourism spot in Kerala as here you can find some amazing relics of Kerala’s ancient tradition. There is also an ancient Shiva temple which is a major tourist attraction. On your travel from Vaikom to Kumbalangi, you pass by a small village Thaikkattussery that is surrounded by coconut groves and paddy fields.
Apart from these, you can also enjoy the clear skies at night to have a clear view of the sky during Kerala backwater tours. Doing so on a moonlit night offers quite an exhilarating experience. Here you can view the fishing nets by the sides of backwaters. Here you can also witness indigenous method of paddy harvesting followed by prawn filtration also known as Pokkali.
Ride across the stream of blissful beauty
After journeying through with the backwaters of Kumbalangi, you can proceed through Fort Kochi which is quite an amazing located covered in the mangrove woods. Here you can view various places of interests like Steam boilers, Beach walkway, Indo Portuguese museum, Chinese fishing nets, Fort Kochi beach, Cochin Thirumala Devaswom, Sree Gopalakrishna Devaswom temple, Koonan Kurisu old Syrian church, St. Francis church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Bishop’s house, Fort Emmanuel, Jewish synagogue, Mattancherry Palace, Jain temple, etc.
Allepppey boat ride charges
Backwater cruise is available at quite affordable rates. Full day Alleppey boat ride charges are available for around 1000 per person. Each trip lasts for about 8 - 9 hours. however, if you are planning to book more comfortable houseboats with more and more facilities, the budget can range from 1k-30k per day. Apart from these, there are certain converted ancestral homes where you can stay with the family and enjoy the local culture and cuisine.
Tourists who are seeking a completely peaceful environment and soul soothing serenity, Kollam is the perfect destination for them. Kollam is a must visit place for tourists who love backwater tourism in Kerala and life surrounding them. For decades, the popularity of Kollam for its amazing houseboat cruises is quite widespread. that is why thousands of international tourists throng here every year just to spend a few days amidst natural tranquility. Visitors can make some unforgettable moments with their near and dear ones on the “ Kettuvalloams ”, the traditional Kerala houseboats. These houseboats are well-appointed with modern facilities but with a traditional touch of Kerala. Delicious Keralan dishes are served on board by the traditional cooks. The brilliant seashore of the Arabian sea is quite prominent in this part of Kerala. Tourists can see fishing boats on the seashore as also on the sea while spending a day on a houseboat. Kollam is renowned for its fishing, cashew, and mussel. centuries ago, trade through sea routes used to take place from Kollam. It is one of the first seaports in the Indian subcontinent on the Malabar coast. Lots of sightseeing are here such as adventure park, Paravur lake, Chinnakada clock tower, etc.
Kochi is a compilation of several islands where several rivers are crisscrossing the land and the famous Vembanad lake encircling the whole area. Due to the commercial significance of the place, several European powers like French, English, Portuguese, Dutch, etc. Have visited this place several times in ancient times. As a result, the culture Kochi is a nice confluence of all these cultures which is prevailing even today. The lining of never-ending coconut trees along the back of backwaters, beautiful birds, flowers, local people and a glimpse of their daily life make the backwaters of Kochi or Cochin as the most attractive tourist spot in Kerala. Kochi is also counted among the best backwaters in Kerala. Kochi has several other tourist places to visit like several centuries old ancient monuments, like the Fort Kochi, The Jewish synagogue, The Mattancherry palace, etc., but without spending a night in a houseboat in Kochi, tour to Kerala is never complete. Tourists also come to witness the most famous Indira Gandhi boat rest on the backwater of Kochi which takes place in the last week of December every year. Backwaters are the prime reason why thousands of international and local tourists visit this port city of India.
Kozhikode has situated the north of Kerala. The place was previously known as Calicut. Kozhikode was the trade route for Arabians during zamorin rulers. Later the place becomes very famous in India when Vasco De Gama landed there in 1498. The famous sailor made Kozhikode very famous as a trade route to India. Later, during the British rule in India, Kozhikode became an important trading outpost for the British. Kozhikode is always flocked with international tourists coming from different destinations. Today Kozhikode is the largest port in Malabar region. It lies between the backwaters of Kallai and Beypore rivers which is considered among the best backwaters Kerala. The backwaters here offer unforgettable backwater experience to the tourists. Plenty of modern and traditional houseboats could be found everywhere. Spending holidays on a houseboat cruise is a lifetime experience for any tourist. Slowly moving houseboats sailing through the calm backwaters takes a tourist on the ever-cherishing journey along the Kallai river and Beypore rivers.
Situated very near to Kottayam and besides the most beautiful Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is famous for its amazing backwaters. The stunning sight of the place enriched with thick mangrove forest, narrow lagoons, paddy fields, white lilies blooming all around make the place very much heavenly for the tourists. Here again, tourists can hire modern or traditional houseboats and sail along for a whole day. Besides, the famous bird sanctuary spread over 14 acres land is another popular tourist spot in Kumarakom. Lots of migratory birds take shelter here for a brisk period before flying back to their homeland.
It is the largest backwaters in north Kerala region and the 3rd largest backwater area in the state of Kerala in India. The backwaters in Valiyaparamba is another renowned Kerala backwaters tours which are quite popular among the local and international tourists. Valiyaparamba backwaters are situated in the northern part of the Kavvayi backwaters. Visitors mostly prefer the tranquility of the place that is still intact due to less human intervention. Tourists can witness the traditional equipment the sellers still use which are centuries old concept in Kerala. Hunting for crabs is another excitement while sailing through the apparently peaceful backwaters. You can check out backwaters tour packages in Kerala
Famous traditional foods
While enjoying backwater tourism in Kerala, you can enjoy the local traditional food that is cherished by numerous people across the world. Some of the most sought-after foods are :
kallu or Toddy : A fresh palm toddy derieved from coconut tree.
karimeen fry : Rare Kerala’s fish shallow fried in coconut oil.
Varal roast : Fish belonging to squid family, known for its tasty meat grilled in banana leaf in a semi-masala gravy.
Kochjnu pollichatu : Grilled shrimps cooked in dry tomato gravy.
Chemmeen thoran : Shallow fried tiger prawn strips cooked with fried vegetables and grated with coconut powder.
Panni ullathiyathu : Baked pork cooked in heavily spiced tomato masala gravy.
Tharavu roast : Duck curry in semi dry masala gravy.
Kappa and Fish curry : Mashed baked tapioca flavored in tumeric and spices, served with fish curry.
Pepper fried chicken: Pepper fried chicken along with malabar porattas is one of the best combinations in Kerala.
Coconut water : Energy drink of Kerala, that is pure, clean, good to health and removes the tiredness from the body makes is energized.
House boating in Kerala backwaters
All the above mentioned top backwaters Kerala are famous for their various types of houseboats. It can be the most relaxing and cherishing experience for any tourists irrespective of their age and sex. Houseboats are well- equipped with modern amenities to help the tourists spend smooth and peaceful days on board. Most of the houseboats are perfect for family tours as they consist of 1-3 bedrooms keeping in focus on various family sizes. Most of the Kerala houseboats that are found in the waterways in Kerala are the modifications of large barges, which were quite visible during the British rules and before. for the Globetrotters, this is the most innovative concept of holidaying. In the local term, the houseboats are called Kettuvalloms as mentioned earlier. These are nicely furnished with a spacious and open lounge, bedrooms with attached bathrooms, and a pantry. both the traditional and modern houseboats could be found to choose as per the plan. Moreover, these are manned by a crew of 3 - 4 trained men including a cook and a guide. Here are some 11 things to know before booking a houseboat in Kerala
The distinctiveness of these areas from the rest of the places in Kerala is quite noticeable. Tour in this part of India is never complete without visiting some backwaters in Kerala and spending some time in a houseboat. That is why these are always included in the sightseeing and tour packages for every tourist in Kerala. Again, there are lots of tourists could be found who come to this country just out of sheer attraction for backwaters in Kerala.