Kerala Backwaters

Kerala Backwaters is the most scenic and peaceful picturesque place in Kerala with a network of lagoons, lakes, rivers, and canals. The lush green landscape, houses, and villages that line the backwaters make the journey along these waterways seem like a journey into a different world. 

The Kerala backwaters are one of the most popular and amazing places to visit in Kerala.

Backwaters in Kerala

What are backwaters in Kerala?

Backwaters in Kerala are the inland waterways spread across the state of Kerala. It is an interconnected network of more than 900 kilometres of waterways formed by lakes, canals, lagoons, rivers, and at last joining the Arabian sea. We can also find various natural and man-made canals. The total network of Kerala Backwater includes 5 lakes linked with canals and 38 long and extending rivers.

Kerala backwaters are mazelike waterways running across Kerala and are surrounded by paddy fields, lush greenery, lilies, lotuses, and coconut trees.

How Kerala backwaters are formed?

Kerala backwaters are formed with the action of waves and shore currents which creates low barrier islands across the mouth of rivers which is running down from the Western Ghats range. 

The ecosystem of these backwaters is unique as the freshwater of the rivers meets the seawater of the Arabian Sea.

List of Backwaters in Kerala

There are many backwaters in Kerala but the most popular Kerala backwaters come under the four districts that are Kollam, Alleppey, Kottayam, and Kochi. These districts are famous for their picturesque greenery and landscapes.

List of some must-visit Kerala backwaters are:-

Vembanad Backwaters

Vembanadu lake is the largest lake in South Asia. It is located in the Kumarakom district of Kerala. The Vembanad backwater can also be found in Ernakulam, Alleppey, and the Kottayam area. 

One can see lots of lilies and lotuses growing in the Vembanad backwater which looks beautiful and enchanting to tourist’s eyes.

During the Onam festival, the famous snake boat competition is organized in Vembanad lake. 

Also, one who loves bird watching and is a nature lover can spot magnificent and rare birds in the stretch as Kumarakom bird sanctuary is quite near to the Vembanad backwater.

The best time to visit the Vembanad backwater of Kerala is from August to September.

Ashtamudi Backwaters

Ashtamudi Lake is the palm-shaped lake of Kerala and is the most visited place in Kerala for backwaters. It is located in Kerala’s Kollam district. Ashtamudi is one of the biggest freshwater lakes in India and is the main source of water to many other water bodies in Kerala. 

The Ashtamudi backwater is also home to several endangered marine species.

To explore the beauty of the Ashtamudi backwater people can book the traditional Kerala ferries or houseboats. The houseboat is also known as Kettuvallams.

The best time to visit the Ashtamudi backwater of Kollam is September & October.

Alappuzha Backwater

Alappuzha city is also known as Alleppey. The most beautiful and popular backwater destination of the Kerala state. It is located between the Arabian Sea and the Vembanad Lake and is called the “Venice of the East”. Alleppey is also home to immense natural beauty with the picture-perfect landscape, sparkling rivers, rich greenery, and beautiful lakes.

It is working as the hub for other backwaters in Kerala and offers various routes. Each route has something unique which will fascinate you more than the other route.

The different routes from Alappuzha to other Kerala backwaters are:

  • Alappuzha to Kumarakom
  • Alappuzha to Kottayam
  • Alappuzha to Alumkadavu
  • Alappuzha to Thottappally
  • Alappuzha to Kidangara
  • Alappuzha to Mankotta

The best time to visit Alappuzha backwater is from November to February or during summers from March to May.

Kannur-Valiyaparambu Backwaters

Kannur-Valiyaparambu Backwaters are untouched and the least explored a stretch of backwaters in Kerala. While cruising on this stretch of the backwater, tourists can catch unseen islands and the natural beauty of Kerala.

It is the third-largest backwater of Kerala located in the Kannur and Kasargod districts. These backwaters are blessed with rich flora and fauna with the calmness in the environment.

The best time to visit Kannur-Valiyaparambu backwater is from September to February or May to July.

Types of Kerala Boat in Backwaters

Kerala is famous for its lush greenery, coconut trees, and paddy fields which is a great attraction for people to visit and they can also experience the never-ending beauty of beaches, backwaters, lakes, and hill stations. 

Backwater is one such tourism that pulls a lot of attraction with it. The Kerala Backwaters use different types of boats for moving around the water bodies and explore nature’s beauty.

Kerala Backwaters have a different type of boats such as:

  • Kerala houseboats/boathouse
  • Shikaras
  • Motorboats
  • Small Canoes, which are popular in the crowd.

Kerala houseboats/boathouse

Kerala Backwaters are rich in beautiful houseboats which give a peaceful ride through the waterways. The boathouse is the modern and upgraded version of Kettuvallams. It is a slow-moving boat that is designed by keeping in mind the rich culture and heritage of Kerala also on the exterior of the boat, a protective coating of Cashew nut oil is applied. The size of the boathouse is around 60-70 feet long and 15 feet wide. 

Tourists can plan an overnight stay in these houseboats as the boats are properly furnished and have bedrooms with an attached bathroom, living space, kitchen, and balcony.

Kerala Shikara boat

Shikara boats are adopted from Kashmir, these boats are used in Kerala backwaters mainly for sight-seeing. The boats are comparatively smaller than the houseboats and motorboats, also budget-friendly. It has comfortable seating arrangements for travelers who want to closely watch the village lifestyle as it is said that one can have the best experience of backwaters if the boating is from within the village.

Kerala Motorboats

Motorboats are another means of transportation across the backwaters. The size of motorboats is relatively smaller in comparison to houseboats but bigger than Shikaras. These boats are opted by people who have limited time to spend on backwater cruising.

Small canoe boats

Small Canoes are narrow, lightweight boats that are used by the locals of the city. It is used for domestic purposes like traveling across the water bodies, fishing, etc. These Canoe boats move across the waterways in the direction of flow with the help of paddles. 

You can also check out my other blog Hill Stations in Kerala.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

What is Backwater?

Backwater is the part of the river in which there is little or no current means the water is stagnant.

Are backwaters salty?

Yes, backwater water is slightly salty because backwater is mixed with several kinds of water sources including the sea.

Are there any alligators and crocodiles in Kerala’s backwaters?

There are no dangerous animals like alligators and crocodiles in the Kerela backwaters. As backwaters are composed of lagoons, lakes, canals, rivers, and salty seawater which is not a suitable habitat for crocodiles and alligators. However, one can only find certain species of fishes and other creatures.

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