The Best Backwaters In Kerala
Photo Credit : indusholidays
The Best Backwaters In Kerala
The Best Backwaters In Kerala – meandering inland lakes and lagoons networked by canals – stretch to over 900 km. Boat cruises across these winding serene stretches are an experience unique to Kerala. Large kettuvalloms (traditional country crafts over 60 ft. in length) have been converted into luxury houseboats for these cruises.
The backwaters have a unique ecosystem: freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea. A barrage has been built near Neendakara Kollam, so salt water from the sea is prevented from entering the deep inside, keeping the fresh water intact. Such fresh water is extensively used for irrigation purposes. Many unique species of aquatic life including crabs, frogs and mudskippers, water birds such as terns, kingfishers, darters and cormorants, and animals such as otters and turtles live in and alongside the backwaters. Palm trees, pandanus shrubs, various leafy plants and bushes grow alongside the backwaters, providing a green hue to the surrounding landscape.
Let’s take a tour of the unknown yet highly acclaimed backwaters of Kerala that will get you under the skin of this incredible Indian state.
Main Backwaters in Kerala :
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both man made and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state.
This serene backwater in kerala stretch, en route to Kovalam, is famous for its 2000-year-old temple on the banks of the River Karamana, canoe rides, kayaking and cruises in traditional houseboats. (10 km from Thiruvananthapuram). Thiruvallam backwater in kerala bring you to a pretty retreat that is also an important pilgrimage. The people of Kerala perform rituals and offer prayers near the glittering blue green waters to honour their ancestors. The smells of wet earth and lush grass stir an indescribable emotion in your bosom.
If you swear by canoeing, kayaking and such water adventures then Thiruvallam backwaters in kerala is the place to be. You can enjoy your ride on kettuvaloms through this exotic backwater, starting from Thiruvananthapuram up till Kovalam. Besides water sports, floating bridges and short village cruises are some other must-experience indulgences here.
If your itinerary allows, do visit the Parashuram Temple where locals worship the mythological creator of Kerala, Parashuram. You can also spend a day or two at the nearby coir manufacturing industries to learn about the beautiful craft of building houseboats.
Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram, about 5 km away
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about 6 km away
Things to Do:
- Canoeing & Kayaking
- Ride on Kettuvaloms
- Visit village cruises and floating bridges
- Learn the craft of building houseboats
Positioned in the Kasaragod district at the distance of 6 km from the Bekal Fort, Kappil beach is a beautiful beach-backwater destination and if you want a golden slice of heaven, travel to Kappil beach, which is known to be one of the best kept secrets of Kerala. Sun-covered beach with golden sands, enclosed by the glittering waters of the Arabian Sea and thick groves of casuarinas trees, make this place a bewitching spot. If you wanna view the panoramic scene of the Arabian Sea, you can climb the nearby cliff, which is known as the Kodi cliff. It’s really a visual treat and must-see spot for tourists.
A confluence of the sea, river and the backwater, this secluded, picturesque spot is worth the visit. (53 km from Thiruvananthapuram). Scenic backwaters, beach and facilities for watersport are available. Nellatil, Edava, Paravur, Nadayara, Varkala etc. are locations in the vicinity which are worth visiting.
Kappil is also famous for Kappil Bhagavathy Temple and a tourist spot during the festival season.
Some of the major places that one should explore during their visit include:
Kodi Cliff- It’s one of the striking place that offers an enchanting view of the Arabian Sea. Here, the everlasting stretches of water and open blue sky trances the magic and captivates everyone.
Palakkunnu Temple- It’s a holy place that is dedicated to Bhagavathy. It houses the idols of of Elaya Bhagavathi (Saraswathi), Mootha Bhagavathi (Durga), Ghantakarnan, Vishnumoorthi, and Dhandan Devan. This temple is popular for its ceremonies and traditional rituals.
Bekal Fort- It’s one of the largest forts in the realm and the prime attraction, which is situated on the foreland. This fort is very old and it draws thousands of tourists from different part of the world. It’s very famous due to its architecture and structure.
Other nearby tourist attractions includes Varkala Beach, Thenmala Eco Tourism Centre, Vizhinjam Harbour, etc.
Nearest railway station: Varkala, about 7 km
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about 55 km
Best time to visit: September till May. Can be visited throughout the year, heavy monsoon rain (Jun-Aug) can severely restrict travel plans though.
Ashtamudi Lake is the gateway to the backwaters. The trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is one of the most popular and longest backwater cruises in Kerala. The eight-hour journey will give you an intimate experience of the famed waterways.
One of the oldest ports in the State, Kollam is enriched with magnificent network of waterways. From the famed Ashtamudi Lake, a 130 km long system of interlinked canals and lakes proceed to the north. The Eight-hour trip between Kollam and Alappuzha is the longest backwater cruise in Kerala. An important stop during the cruese is the picturesque village of Alumkadavu, home of the skilled artisans who craft the enormous kettuvalloms. (71 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram)
So called because of its 8 arms or channels, Ashtamudi Lake is the gateway to the backwaters.
The 8 phases of Ashtamudi lake are:
- Thevally Lake.
- Kandachira Lake.
- Kureepuzha lake.
- Thekkumbhagam Lake.
- Kallada Lake.
- Perumon lake.
- Kumbalathu Lake.
- Kanjirottu lake.
Nearest railway station: Kollam Junction, about 2 km
Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, about 70 km
Things to Do:
- Stay in Floating Huts
- Enjoy at Luxury Resorts like Palm Lagoon Band Aquaserene Backwater Resort
- Enjoy the natural heritage
Alappuzha is referred to as the Venice of the East, this backwater country with its vast network of lakes, lagoons and freshwater rivers is immensely beautiful. Venue of the world- renowned snake boat races, Alappuzha is also famous for its marine products and coir industry.
Kuttanad in Alappuzha, known as the Rice Bowl of Kerala, is the very heart of the backwaters and is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. The enchanting island of Pathiramanal (sands of midnight) on the backwaters is a favourite haunt of hundreds of rare migratory birds from different parts of the world.
By road: Alappuzha KSRTC Bus Station, Enquiry Ph: +91 477 2252501
By rail: Alappuzha Railway Station, Enquiry Ph: +91 477 2253965
By air: Nearest international airports: Thiruvananthapuram (150 km) & Nedumbassery, Kochi (88 km)
By water: Alappuzha Boat Jetty, Enquiries Ph: +91 477 2252015; SWTD (public boat service enquiry) Ph: 2252510
Things to Do:
- Indulge in bird watching
- Visit the Krishnapuram Palace
- Enjoy walks on the Alappuzha beach
Kumarakom is a popular tourism destination located near the city of Kottayam (16 kilometres (10 mi)), in Kerala, India, famous for its backwater tourism. It is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake, the largest lake in the state of Kerala. It is one f the main backwater in kerala.
Nestled among lush green paddy fields, highlands and extensive rubber plantations is Kumarakom, one of the most popular and most beautiful backwater stretches of Kerala. An exotic picnic spot, Kumarakom provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating. An exclusive attraction here is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, which is an ornithologist’s paradise. (10 km from kottayam).
Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 13 km
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 94 km
Things to Do:
- Witness the snake boat race during Onam
- Spend an afternoon at Kumarakom bird sanctuary
Kochi allures the tourists with its antiquity –the quaint ambience and monuments of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry — with its modernity – the bustling MG Road, Broadway and Marine Drive — and finally with its nature’s bounty – the stretch of backwaters. A ride on a country boat through the backwaters offer you a great picture of the land, with many islands scattered here and there and lush greenery along the banks. Another characteristic feature of Kochi visible while on a backwater cruise is the sight of Chinese fishing nets.
A cluster of islands on the vast expanse of the Vembanad Lade, Kochi, one of the finest natural harbours in the world, is more popular as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Half the fun of visiting Kochi is going about in the local ferries. A conducted cruise through the winding waterways will take you to several quaint spots including the picturesque islands of Bolgatty, Vypin, Gundu island and Vallarpadam.
Kozhikode, popularly known as Calicut, is one of the famous tourist destinations of Kerala. Once the capital of the powerful Zamorin and a major trade and commerce center of south India, Kozhikode is known for its amazing historic monuments, fascinating cultural heritage and exceptional scenic beauty.
Kozhikode also has beautiful beaches, serene backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries and lush green countryside. The virgin and unspoiled backwaters of Kozhikode hold great promises for a memorable holiday on your Kerala Tours. The beautiful Canoli Canal and the Kallai River offer perfect destinations for boating. Visit Kerala and enjoy an exciting Kozhikode Backwaters Tour with Kerala Backwaters and discover the various attractions of this fascinating ancient town of Kerala.
Unexplored and unspoiled, the backwaters of Kozhikode offer delightful holiday options. Elathur, the Canoli Canal and the Kallai River are favourite places for boating. Kadalundi, with its beautiful bird sanctuary and Korapuzha, the venue of the Korapuzha Jalotsavam (water fiesta) are popular tourist destinations.
The main tourist attractions here are:
- Kappad Beach.
- Payyoli Beach.
- Dolphin Point.
- Art Gallery.
- Pazhassiraja Museum.
- Kadalundi Bird Sanctury.
The best time to plan out the tour to the Kozhikode Backwaters lies between the month of September to May.
Nearest Bus Station : Kozhikode bus station
Nearest Railway Station : Kozhikode railway station
Nearest Airport : Karipur International Airport at a distance of 23 kms
This is perhaps the most scenic backwater stretch in Kerala. Fed by four rivers and dotted with numerous little islands, one can explore the backwaters in a houseboat along the Tejaswini River – from Kottappuram in Nileswaram to Kannur through the Valiyaparamba Backwaters. (30 km from Bekal Fort in Kasaragod)
Valiyaparamba is fast turning into a much favoured backwater resort that offers enchanting boat cruises. Valiyaparamba,a hinterland separated from the mainland, is a noted fishing centre in the district and is just an hour’s drive from Bekal – one of the most enchanting beaches of Kerala. The Bekal fort which stands on a headland that runs into the sea offers a spectacular view of the surroundings.
The best time to visit Valiyaparamba Backwaters is between November and February though it is favourable all year around.
The nearest railway stations to Valiyaparamba backwaters are at Payyanur and Cheruvathur. Payyannur, located in Kannur district is just a walk to Kotti Boat Jetty, right behind the railway station. Thereafter, get aboard a boat to arrive at Valiyaparamba.
The nearest airport to Valiyaparamba Backwaters is the Mangalore or Mangaluru airport, which is located at a distance of around 103 km. Another nearby airport from Valiyaparamba is Karipur International Airport in Kozhikode which is about 150 km.
By road :
Tourists from Kasaragod should get down at Kalikadavu and then from there, they can hire an auto to go to Ayitty boat jetty. From the jetty, you take a boat.
If you are coming from Kannur side, you get down at Payyannur. From here you can take an auto that is available at the bus stand to reach kotti jetty.
The nearest towns are Kasargod and Kanhagad. Reaching Valiyaparamba Backwaters is quite easy because of regular bus services managed by KSRTC buses.
Things to Do:
- Visit the Bekal Fort
- Join the Mangrove Trail of Malabar
- Go boating, bird watching, hiking
One of the most picturesque places in Kerala, Kasargod backwaters, is the place to savor the lush green and serene surroundings while cruising on-board a Kettuvallam (houseboat). In complete contrast the popular Alappuzha backwaters, the backwaters in Kasargod are ideal for those who are looking for some peace, away from touristy hustle-bustle. The northernmost district of Kerala, Kasargod is often explored by newly-wedded couples and those tourists who wish to have a peaceful vacation. However, because of the experiences that it offers, this place is slowly become one of the most popular backwater destinations of the state.
Old shrines, tranquil beach stretches, lush landscape and untouched waterscapes of Kasargod are surely going to enchant you. The backwater stretch of Kasargod is quite romantic and pleasant. Get on-board a houseboat and have an experience that is second to none.
Here is a serene backwater network in the northern most district of Kerala – Kasaragod. Here adjoining the backwaters of Valiyaparampu lies a beautiful backwater village of Thekkekadu, which has an inspiring story to share with its visitors. It is all about Padanna’s crusader in self-employment, Mr. Gul Mohammed and his backwater retreat – Oyster Opera at Padanna.
Set amidst avenues of coconut tress and crisscrossed by canals and fanned by backwaters the retreat has everything natural at its core of existence and functioning. It is located at Padanna, near Cheruvathur in the District of Kasaragod.
Nearest railway station: Kanhangad, about 22 km
Nearest airport: Calicut International Airport, about 167 km
Things to Do:
- Learn mussel farming
- Visit Kareem’s Forest
- Go on moonlit houseboat cruises
One of the most memorable experiences for travellers in India is the opportunity to take a boat journey on the backwaters of Kerala. The area known as Kuttanad stretches for 75km from Kollam in the south to Kochi in the north, sandwiched between the sea and the hills. This bewildering labyrinth of shimmering waterways, composed of lakes, canals, rivers and rivulets, is lined with dense tropical greenery and preserves rural Kerala lifestyles that are completely hidden from the road.
It is the major rice granary of Kerala, where vast stretches of verdant paddy fields are interlaced with enchanting backwaters create some of the unforgettable sights. Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala is all about an agrarian community, striking a chord of harmony with its physical setting. Noted for its farming below sea level (about 4 to 10 feet) the land of Kuttanad possesses a socio-cultural fabric of its own. Four major rivers in Kerala viz. Pampa, Meenachil, Achankovil and Manimala flow into the region.
The most popular route taken to get close and explore Kuttanad is the Alappuzha-Changanasserry road. This road goes through the heart of Kuttanad and gives visitors plenty of options to watch the day-to-day life at Kuttanad.
For those interested in trying out few local dishes may do so by dropping at the small traditionally built wayside eateries, which are quite famous for backwater fish delicacies and tapioca. A popular naturally extracted beverage is the toddy, which is available in plenty and enjoyed by many for its speciality.
Nearest railway station: Alappuzha.
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 85 km from Alappuzha
Essentially a fishing hamlet, this tiny village facing the Kochi backwaters in the western part of the city is India’s first designated ecotourism village and the first rural tourism village of the state. Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village project is a unique initiative to transform the tiny island as a model fishing village and tourism spot. Here at the Kumbalangi Tourism Village one can fully savour a variety of natural splendours, and ecological balance of the location. The model village, the first of its kind in the country is located near the port city of Kochi in Ernakulam District. It is a veritable treat to its visitors with the famous Chinese fishing nets and many other sights to savour.
Kalagramam, an artist’s village, displays handicrafts and fishing equipment. Mangroves are nurtured here as well as fish farming. Bait fishing is extremely popular among tourists here. Many houses in the village are homestays and visitors can book their stay directly with homestay operators or seek the assistance of the village council.
Nearest railway station: Ernakulam, about 14 km
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 46 km
Kavvayi Backwaters at Payyanur is the largest backwaters found in northern part of Kerala. You’ll find exquisite houseboats around, giving you an opportunity to hop on with your loved ones and explore the vast diversity of scenery around. If in the mood for some cultural exploration, you can attend the theyyams and temple festivals, a regular in Payyanur. You can also visit the Edayilakadu Island where you can find a forest dedicated to worship holy snakes – something which happens only in Kerala!
it is a must tourist spot to visit in kerala mainly in the lit of backwaters in kerala.
- Nearest railway station is the Payyanur railway station
- Nearest airport is the Calicut International Airport
Things to Do:
- Attend the theyyams and temple festivals
- Visit the holy snakes forest in Edayilakadu Island
Alumkadavu is the birthplace for the famous houseboats found all around the Kerala backwaters. The kettuvaloms are modified in order to give rise to the magnificent houseboats that catch fancy of everyone visiting Kerala. These houseboats are created by some of the finest and highly skilled craftsman with ecofriendly materials, which further exemplify the natural essence of Kerala. These backwaters in kerala are the hub for coir producing industries, which gives you the chance of visiting one of the nearby coir producing industries and learn the magic of coir production. You may also want to try some nearby attractions regularly frequented by tourists. This list of most visited places and must-do activities in Kerala gets you sorted.
- Nearest railway station is Karunagappally railway station
- Nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport
Things to Do:
- Learn how to make houseboats
- Visit Coir Producing Industries
Astonishing! Have you been to these, or any other, Kerala backwaters? Was your experience as mesmerizing as the place itself? Please let us know of some of your fondest Kerala memories in the comments section below.