Kerala Backwaters

Kerala Backwaters India: Nature’s Symphony and Cultural


A trip to South India is incomplete without experiencing the mesmerizing beauty of the kerala backwaters india. These vast interconnected lakes, rivers, and canals are the lifeline of Kerala. They offer travelers an unparalleled glimpse into the region’s unique way of life, natural beauty, and rich history. In the subsequent sections, you’ll discover the allure of these backwaters and the tapestry of experiences that await.

Punnamada Resort kerala backwaters india 

History of the Kerala Backwaters India

Historically, the Kerala Backwaters have been the veins of the state, facilitating trade, communication, and livelihood. Ancient texts and manuscripts mention the existence of these waterways, suggesting their significance for centuries. They were the primary routes for trade, with merchants from across the globe traveling through them to reach the spice markets of Kerala.

 Size and Appearance

Covering an area of more than 900 kilometers, the backwaters stretch parallel to the Arabian Sea and are characterized by a labyrinth of interconnected waterways. Enveloped in greenery, they are fringed by palm trees, paddy fields, and small settlements. The calm, azure waters are best experienced on a traditional houseboat, giving travelers a panoramic view of the serene landscapes.

 Environmental Health

Over the years, efforts have been made to ensure the backwaters remain unpolluted and ecologically balanced. Specialized projects have been initiated to keep the waters clean, helping preserve its delicate ecosystems. The local communities play a significant role in these initiatives, understanding the importance of maintaining the health of these waters.

 Area Human Personality

The backwaters mirror the soul of Kerala. As you traverse them, you’ll find local communities living in perfect harmony with nature. Fishermen casting their nets, children waving from the banks, women in boats selling fresh produce, and traditional songs filling the air encapsulate the spirit and culture of the region.

main backwaters are full of houseboats

5 Best Things to Do in kerala backwaters india

1. Houseboat Stay

  • Description: A houseboat stay in Kerala Backwaters offers an unmatched experience of luxury and serenity. These traditional ‘Kettuvallams’ have been transformed into floating hotels with all modern amenities. Glide through the tranquil waters and witness life in the backwaters, with scenic views of paddy fields, coconut groves, and quaint villages.
  • What to Expect: Expect to relax on the deck, savor delicious Kerala cuisine, and witness the sunset over the water. Houseboats range from basic to ultra-luxury, accommodating couples to families. Overnight stays offer a complete backwater experience including meals and serene sleep on gentle waves.

2. Village Tour

  • Description: Village tours are a close encounter with the authentic rural lifestyle of Kerala’s backwater regions. You’ll get to walk through paddy fields, interact with locals, learn about traditional fishing techniques, and maybe even participate in some daily tasks.
  • What to Expect: Expect to see local artisans at work, savor homemade traditional meals, and understand the sustainable lifestyle of backwater communities. It’s a chance to see the heart and soul of Kerala beyond the tourist trails.

3. Kayaking

  • Description: For a more active adventure, kayaking through the narrow canals is ideal. It allows for a closer look at the smaller waterways which are inaccessible to larger boats. Glide silently past local homes, waving children, and verdant fields.
  • What to Expect: Expect a bit of a workout and lots of up-close encounters with nature and local life. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time for kayaking when the water is calm, and the heat is less intense.

4. Bird Watching

  • Description: Kerala Backwaters are a haven for birdwatchers, with numerous species flocking to this biodiverse hotspot. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, for instance, is home to migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron, and teal.
  • What to Expect: Bring binoculars and a camera. You’ll likely spot a variety of local and migratory birds, especially during early mornings or late afternoons. Guided tours can enhance the experience, providing expert insights into the species you encounter.

5. Fishing

  • Description: Engage with the local culture through a relaxing fishing experience. Use traditional or modern methods and perhaps learn from the local fishermen who make their livelihood from these waters.
  • What to Expect: Depending on the method, you might be using simple bamboo poles or more sophisticated gear. It’s a peaceful way to spend the day, and you can cook and enjoy your catch. Night fishing trips are also available for a unique experience under the stars.

Engaging in These Activities:

While indulging in these activities, you’ll not only explore the natural beauty and cultural depth of Kerala’s backwaters but also contribute to the local economy, encouraging sustainable tourism practices. Each activity provides a unique way to experience the backwaters, from leisurely relaxation on a houseboat to the more adventurous kayaking and bird watching, each offering a different perspective of this unique ecosystem. As you plan these activities, consider the season, as monsoon times can significantly change the experience. With these activities, you’re set to have a varied, immersive, and unforgettable journey through South India’s Kerala Backwaters.

 Celebrated Hotels, Resorts, and Foods

Hotels and Resorts: 

      • Kumarakom Lake Resort: Lake Resort, North, PO, Vayitharamattom, Kumarakom, Kerala 686563, India. Google Map Link

      • The Zuri Kumarakom: A luxury resort offering the best of Kerala’s traditional architecture. Address: V 235 A1 to A54, Karottukayal, Kumarakom, Kottayam – 686563. Google Map Link

      • Food: Relish the flavors of Kerala with dishes like ‘Karimeen Pollichathu’ (spicy fish fry) and ‘Duck Roast’.

     Gastronomic Delights: What to Eat

    While cruising through the backwaters, indulge in a rich array of local cuisines. Savor rice and fish curry, coconut-laden delicacies, and the tangy ‘tamarind prawns’.

    Karimeen Fry


     Favorite Famous Foods and Their Best Sources

    Karimeen Fry

        • Lakshmi Hotel & Resorts: Nehru Trophy, Punnamada, Finishing Point, Alappuzha, Kerala 688013, India. Google Map Link

        • Malabar Restaurant: Apoor, Ward 14, Mannanchery, Kerala 688522, India. Google Map Link

    Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Choose Kerala Backwaters

    1. Unique Ecosystem

    • Rich Biodiversity: The backwaters host a unique ecosystem where freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea. This creates a habitat rich in biodiversity, including many species of aquatic life, birds, and plants. You’ll find exotic fishes, amphibians, and even otters, along with a variety of birds like kingfishers, cormorants, and darters.
    • Mangrove Ecosystem: The banks are lined with mangroves that play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance, providing a breeding ground for fish and acting as a buffer against erosion.
    • Sustainable Agriculture: The paddy fields adjacent to the backwaters, below sea level, are a testament to the unique agricultural practices adapted to the local conditions.

    2. Cultural Richness

    • Traditional Villages: The backwaters are flanked by villages that maintain a lifestyle that has remained relatively unchanged for centuries. These villages are the custodians of the region’s culture and traditions, from the famous snake boat races to the ritualistic dances and art forms.
    • Cuisine: The local cuisine is a direct reflection of the abundance of the backwaters. With a variety of seafood and rice-based dishes, the food is fresh, flavorful, and unique to the region.
    • Art and Craft: The region is also known for its traditional industries like coir making and boat building, which reflect the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the local people.

    3. Serenity

    • Tranquil Waters: The slow-moving, emerald waters of the backwaters provide a sense of peace and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere. It’s an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
    • Scenic Beauty: The endless stretches of water, sky, and greenery with the backdrop of palm trees offer a picturesque and soothing experience.
    • Relaxed Pace of Life: Time seems to move slower here, encouraging visitors to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate.

    Kerala Backwaters

    One Reason to Avoid

    Seasonal Flooding

    • Disrupted Travel Plans: The backwaters experience seasonal flooding, especially during the monsoon months (June to September). This can lead to cancellations of houseboat services, inaccessibility to certain areas, and can sometimes affect local life adversely.
    • Impact on Local Life and Environment: Besides affecting tourism, floods can also impact the local population and disrupt the delicate ecological balance of the region.

    Tips for a Safe and Memorable Adventure

    1. Keep an Eye on Weather Forecasts

    • Plan Ahead: Always check the weather forecast before planning your trip. The best time to visit is usually between October and April when the weather is more favorable.
    • Avoid Monsoon Season: If possible, avoid traveling during the monsoon season when flooding is most likely.

    2. Respect the Local Customs and Environment

    • Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of the local culture and traditions. Dress modestly, especially when visiting villages or religious sites.
    • Environmental Care: Avoid littering and carry back any plastic waste. The ecosystem is delicate, and even small changes can have a large impact.

    3. Always Prioritize Safety Over Adventure

    • Life Jackets and Swimming: Always wear life jackets when on a boat, regardless of your swimming skills. Avoid swimming in the backwaters as the waters can be deep and unpredictable.
    • Local Guidance: Stick to recommended paths and activities, and always listen to local advice, as they know the area best.

    By keeping these points in mind, your journey through the Kerala Backwaters can be not only enjoyable but also responsible and safe, contributing to the preservation of this unique environment and culture for future generations.

    Estimated Cost for a 1-Day Visit to Kerala Backwaters

    Here’s a breakdown of the estimated costs for a 1-day visit to the Kerala Backwaters segmented into Budget, Mid-range, and Luxury categories. These estimates include accommodation, food, transport, and basic activities.

    Expense Type Budget (USD) Mid-Range (USD) Luxury (USD)
    Accommodation 20 – 40 50 – 100 150 – 300
    Food 5 – 10 15 – 30 50 – 100
    Transport 10 – 20 30 – 50 70 – 150
    Activities 10 – 20 40 – 70 100 – 200
    Total 45 – 90 135 – 250 370 – 750
    • Budget: Includes staying in hostels or basic guesthouses, eating at local eateries, using public transport, and participating in free or low-cost activities like village walks.
    • Mid-range: Involves staying in 3-star hotels or decent houseboats, dining at mid-level restaurants, using a mix of public and private transport, and engaging in moderately priced activities like short boat cruises or guided tours.
    • Luxury: Encompasses staying in a 5-star hotel or luxury houseboat, dining at high-end restaurants, hiring private vehicles for transport, and enjoying exclusive activities like private backwater cruises or guided bird watching tours.

    2-Day Itinerary Visiting the Most Photogenic Places in Kerala Backwaters

    Day 1: Serenity and Sunrise


      • Alleppey: Start at Alleppey (Alappuzha), known as the ‘Venice of the East’. Take a morning walk along the canal sides to capture the vibrant life along the waters.
      • Vembanad Lake: Enjoy a sunrise boat ride on Vembanad Lake, capturing the sun peeking through the palm trees.


      • Lunch at a Local Eatery: Try traditional Kerala cuisine like Karimeen Pollichathu (fish delicacy).
      • Village Tour: Visit a local village in Kuttanad, known for its below sea level farming, and interact with the locals.


      • Sunset Cruise: Board a houseboat for an evening cruise, capturing the changing colors of the sky and the daily life of people along the banks.

    Day 2: Culture and Colors


      • Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: Early morning visit to the bird sanctuary to photograph birds and the sunrise amidst the mangroves.
      • Pathiramanal Island: A quick boat ride to the small island of Pathiramanal, a haven for photographers with its picturesque views and exotic birds.


      • Lunch on a Houseboat: Enjoy a leisurely lunch cruising through the backwaters.
      • Ambalappuzha Temple: Visit this ancient temple, known for its traditional architecture and the famous Palpayasam (sweet milk porridge).


      • Marari Beach: Conclude your trip with a visit to Marari Beach. Capture the fishermen’s lifestyle and the breathtaking sunset over the Arabian Sea.

    Notes for the Itinerary:

    1. Transportation: Renting a car or hiring a tuk-tuk for the day might be more convenient to navigate between spots.
    2. Timing: Start early to make the most of the soft light for photography and to avoid the crowds.
    3. Equipment: Bring along extra batteries and memory cards, as you’ll be shooting a lot!
    4. Local Interaction: Engaging with locals can lead to more intimate and unique photo opportunities.

    This itinerary blends the serenity of the backwaters with the vibrant culture and picturesque landscapes, making for a memorable and photogenic journey through one of India’s most beautiful regions.

     Conclusion: A Dreamy Drift

    The Kerala Backwaters, a tapestry of waterways, communities, and natural beauty, offer an experience of a lifetime. It’s more than just a destination; it’s an odyssey through the very heart and soul of Kerala.

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    Embark on this incredible journey through Kerala’s life-giving waters and take with you memories that will last a lifetime.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Here we answer some of the most common questions about these offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and modernity. can expect results 

    • The period between September to March offers pleasant weather, making it ideal for exploration.
    • Yes, but ensure you follow local guidelines and respect fishing customs.
    • A 1-2 night stay offers a comprehensive experience.
    • Major towns around the backwaters have medical facilities. However, carrying a basic first aid kit is recommended.
    • No, always drink bottled or boiled water.

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