It may sound totally boring but holds much to do. Essentially the area where you’ll run into an intricate network of rivers, canals, lakes and lagoons surrounded by the coastal greenery the backwaters in Kerala sees thousands of people flocking to explore its coastal serenity. There are at least 5 lakes and close to 38 rivers in this area that has very unique ecology! It’s on a locally built and decorated houseboat that one must explore the backwaters. A few days on the boat that is navigated by a boatman and has an in-boat cook who caters to all your culinary requirements is great relaxation. What the backwaters do for you is to throw you completely out of gear from normal life, forcing you to slow down and just let the water and the serene landscapes around grow into your senses.
And when you’re back from the backwaters experience, you can vouch on getting a complete mood changeover, for the better! But unless you have a lot of time on hand you’ll have to pick your backwater destination from the three most popular and accessible ones. The Vembanad stretch is good choice. It’s approached from Ernakulam, Kottayam or Alapuzha areas where the backwaters are spread across. Once you’re on the backwater journey in this area visit the north Vembanadu lake that directly connects to the sea.
You’ll run into many bridges and scenic spots here. There are small islands that break waves coming from the sea. Head to the lake’s southern edges where you’re likely to find beautiful locales surrounding the waters. Let the houseboat take you to the shores of a traditional Indian village or spot a church towering over the rural landscape and the row of coconut trees! But if you want to spend time at a spot where there is lesser crowd, this backwater is not for you. It does give you the luxury experience of putting up in exquisitely made houseboats though!
For those wanting to take home pictures of the animal and bird life flourishing in these parts there’s the Kumarakom bird sanctuary that gets a fair share of migratory birds some of which are a rare sight. Wake up to the charm of the sleepy village of Kumarakom and plan your day for this sanctuary! The Astamudi lake in Kollam district is a magnificently sprawled water body that touches nearly all rivers and land areas of southern Kerala. You can take off to Astamudi Lake and witness some cool marine animals as your boat tugs along.
There’s much to do in the Kerala backwaters and not everything can be covered if you just have a few days to spare. The local seafood delicacies shouldn’t be missed. There are grilled shrimps and fried tiger prawns, baked pork and locally prepared duck curry awaiting their turn to satiate your taste-buds. Swimming in the backwaters is allowed in certain parts and a houseboat usually operates for as much as 22 hours on a stretch and as low as 8 hours.