Discover the Enchanting Backwaters of Kerala: A Guide to the Most Beautiful Stretches
Kerala, located in the southernmost part of India, is world-renowned for its picturesque backwaters. These enchanting stretches of water are a network of lagoons, canals, lakes, and rivers that meander through the lush green landscape. The backwaters of Kerala are a must-visit destination for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility and relaxation.
Highlights and Attractions
– Alleppey: Known as the “Venice of the East,” Alleppey is famous for its houseboat cruises. These traditional Kettuvallams allow visitors to sail along the backwaters while enjoying the serene surroundings.
– Kumarakom: This popular backwater destination is nestled on the banks of Lake Vembanad. Kumarakom is known for its luxury resorts, bird sanctuaries, and tranquil backwater cruises.
– Kollam: Located on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam is a historic port town offering beautiful backwater experiences. Visitors can enjoy houseboat rides, kayaking, and sunset cruises.
– Kochi: Also known as Cochin, Kochi is a vibrant city with a blend of modernity and tradition. The backwaters here offer a unique perspective, with fascinating Chinese fishing nets dotting the landscape.
The backwaters of Kerala have a rich history and culture. They have been an integral part of the region’s transportation and livelihood for centuries. The interconnected waterways were historically used for fishing, agriculture, and transportation of goods, but today they serve as a major tourist attraction.
How to Reach and Things to Consider
– By Air: The nearest airport to access the backwaters is Cochin International Airport, which is well-connected to major cities in India and abroad.
– By Train: The closest railway stations are Kochi and Alappuzha, from where one can take a taxi or bus to reach the backwaters.
– Boat Cruise Options: Houseboats, motorboats, and traditional canoes are available for cruising the backwaters. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.
– Respect Local Customs: While visiting the backwaters, it is important to respect the local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, remove your footwear when entering religious sites, and be mindful of local customs and etiquette.
Where to Stay and Food Specialties
– Luxury Resorts: Kumarakom and Alleppey are known for their luxury resorts along the backwaters. These resorts offer breathtaking views, comfortable accommodations, and direct access to the serene backwaters.
– Homestays: For a more authentic experience, consider staying in a traditional homestay. This gives visitors an opportunity to interact with the locals, experience their hospitality, and taste delicious home-cooked Kerala cuisine.
– Food Specialties: Kerala is famous for its mouthwatering cuisine, which includes dishes like Appam, Puttu, Malabar Parotta, and Karimeen Pollichathu (Pearl Spot fish). Don’t forget to try the famous Kerala-style seafood.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the backwaters of Kerala is from September to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable. During this period, the monsoon season is over, and the backwaters are calm and inviting.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Are the backwaters safe for swimming?
The backwaters are not recommended for swimming due to the presence of various aquatic plants, animals, and uneven depths. It is advised to enjoy the beauty of the backwaters from the boat itself.
2. Can I visit the backwaters with children?
Yes, the backwaters can be enjoyed by people of all age groups, including children. However, it is essential to keep an eye on the children and ensure their safety while on the boat or near the water.
3. Is it necessary to book a houseboat in advance?
It is advisable to book a houseboat in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability. However, if you prefer more flexibility, motorboats and canoes can be booked on-spot.
4. Are there any wildlife sanctuaries near the backwaters?
Yes, there are wildlife sanctuaries like Periyar National Park and Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary located near the backwaters. These sanctuaries offer unique opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers.
5. Can I explore the backwaters on my own?
While it is possible to explore the backwaters on your own, it is recommended to hire a local guide or take a guided tour for a more enriching experience. They can provide insights into the local culture and ensure a safe journey.
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