Craving a dose of nature in its pristine best? Look no further. Book yourself on a trip through Kerala’s Backwaters!
The network of Backwaters that run through Kerala are just one of the state’s many attractions. The spectacular views of rippling waters and lush green eco-systems are all experienced with a backing track of the relaxing sounds of nature.
I can go on and on! Even though I have staid in Kerala all my life, the sense of tranquility that the backwaters radiate is irresistible and I am constantly drawn back to the emerald green waters.
The Kerala backwaters consist of a chain of lakes and lagoons connected by narrow rivers and brooks. They lie facing the Arabian Sea, along the western coast of Kerala and are estimated to be 1500 Km long. Most branches were formed naturally but a few have been constructed in order to facilitate transportation between locations. At one point of time, the main means of transportation in Kerala was by the use of boats through the backwater channels. Cargoes of grain were carried in ‘Kettuvalloms’ (houseboats). Eventually, the boats were made bigger and better equipped in order to transport passengers across long distances.
Backwater Regions in Kerala
The Kerala backwaters extend from Thiruvallam in Trivandrum to Kasaragod, the northern most district of the state. The breakdown is explained in the following facts:
- The Thiruvallam backwaters are situated 6 kms from Trivandrum
- The Kollam backwaters comprise of Ashtamudi Kayal (lake), Sasthamcotta Kayal and their subsequent creeks and rivulets
- Alleppey is known as the ‘Venice of the East’ due to its zigzag waterways that are spread across the town. They are primary used for transportation and travel much like the city of Venice
- Kuttanad is known as the rice bowl of Kerala and is part of Alleppey District
- Kumarakom town, in District Kottayam, is a small group of islands that lie in Lake Vembanadu
- The Backwaters in Kochi are primarily part of Lake Vembanadu
- Kozhikode has some unexplored backwater destinations- Elathur, Canoly Canal and the Kallayi River
- Kasaragod’s backwaters can be found in Chandragiri, Valiyaparamba and Nileshwar
Flora and Fauna
The backwater bionetwork in Kerala is unique due to the balance between fresh and saline water. The freshwater from the lakes and coves meets the brackish water from the Arabian Sea creating distinctive conditions for the exotic flora and fauna to thrive on. Aquatic birds, otters and crabs are just a few of the many animals that flourish in these delicate and exotic conditions.
The flora that envelopes the Kerala backwaters is as astounding as the fauna. The emerald green water gets its hue by reflecting the color of the foliage that forms a canopy over the waterways. Tall Coconut and Palm trees line the islands and the various varieties screw-pine shrubs, leafy plants and bushes result in each canal or brooks tunneling through swathes of greenery.