Thursday, April 15, 2010

Destination Kerala: Backwaters

Lying parallel to the Malabar Coast in Kerala is an interconnection of salty lagoons, canals, rivulets and lakes. This is what constitutes Kerala’s back water the famous tourist destination.  The canals are man made as well as natural.

The back waters are inundated by thirty eight rivers and run half the length of the state.   The formation of backwaters is due to low lying islands that act as barrier across the mouth of rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats.  

Most of the towns and the cities of Kerala are located amidst the backwaters. These towns act as starting or ending point for backwater cruise. Some cruise lengths exceed over 200 km. 

The ecosystem is unique due to merger of fresh water and saline water of Arabian Sea. At places there are patches of cool fresh water where saline water is prevented from flowing in.  Backwaters are hence habitat for unique and some endemic aquatic species, large number of water birds are dependent upon this system. The rows of coconut palms, verdant leafy bushes on the banks of backwater provide greenish hue to the landscape.

The overall composition of backwaters accords serenity and calm.  The romance of an enchanted boat ride along side picturesque landscape is the highlight feature of backwaters.   The Kettuvallams as house boats are known in the state are a major tourist attraction. The Kettuvallams are grain ferrying barges which have been converted into house boat accommodations.  The house boats offer luxurious amenities and modern facilities. They are well equipped with furnished sleeping rooms and modern toilets. The dining area and sit out is usually on the deck.

Except during heavy rains the season for house boat cruise is practically year around.   The house boat tours can be booked through Kerala package tour operators in India. There are various tourism packages available to enjoy a holiday on boat at these stretches of serenity.

The state offers much more than backwater cruise on the waterways. Kerala it is home to fantastic wild animals and birds. There are large numbers of National Parks and tiger reserves in the state for wildlife watching. Sightseeing on Kerala tours is exciting. Ancient monuments, Hindu Temples embellished with bewildering designs and array of colors, forts and palaces enthrall the visitors. The architecture of the state has a unique style with admixture of foreign impression at places.      

The diversity of life, exotic culture, Malayali cuisine and warm hospitality makes Kerala the most visited state in India. It is God’s Own Country so pack your bags and fly.        
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