Do you want to embark on an exciting excursion on your trip to India? We propose a route through the backwaters of Kerala, in the south of the country. Get ready to navigate the canals and lakes of this beautiful region.
In this article we explain all the details to enjoy the backwaters of the Kerala region, in southern India. If you are interested in having an overview of what to see in India and what experiences to live during your trip, do not miss our article What to see and what to do in India.
The Kerala Region
One of the best destinations in the world according to National Geographic
Kerala is a state in southern India bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west and the Ghats mountains to the east. It was considered one of the 50 best destinations in the world by National Geographic Traveler.
It is divided into three regions: the mountainous areas, the center and the lowlands or coastal areas. The main tourist attraction of Kerala are the 38 rivers that cross it and its lagoons, called backwaters, which are an emblem of the place.
What are backwaters?
The backwaters, a natural aquatic paradise
The backwaters are a chain of lagoons and lakes located along the coast of the Arabian Sea in Kerala. This network of lagoons includes five large lakes linked by natural channels, fed by 38 rivers. It is a labyrinth of rivers and lakes of more than 900 kilometers in the middle of some beautiful green landscapes.
Many aquatic species live in stagnant waters, such as crabs, frogs, waterfowl, otters or turtles. The backwaters are connected by various towns and cities that serve as departure points for cruises.
How to tour the backwaters in Kerala ?
There is a regular ferry service that connects most places on both sides of the water. It is the cheapest transport, with a price of 37 rupees (€0.50) each way. The boat leaves the Alleppey jetty and heads to Kottayam. It is the most authentic option.
Private Ferry or Shikara
Renting a private ferry for a few hours, also called shikara, is a good option. These ferries have the capacity to transport 10-15 people. The price is negotiable, but it is around 500-700 rupees (about €10). It is ideal for taking good photos and it is more comfortable than the ferry, since it allows you to adapt your route.
Rent a Houseboat or Kettullavams
The kettullavams are a great attraction for travelers who want to venture on a multi-day excursion. There are more than 2,000 kettullavams. These houses are a kind of mini cruise where you stay and navigate the backwaters.
Before they were used to store the grain and transport the harvested rice; now they are prepared to accommodate tourists. The houseboats are motorized and move smoothly through the lagoons. The price is around 20,000 rupees (€300) for three nights.
Vanjis are traditional canoes made of wood used for transportation, fishing, and other daily activities. The vanji allows you to navigate the narrowest branches of the backwaters that previous boats cannot navigate. In these branches you can see the local agricultural activities and the daily life of the people who live there.
Where to start the route through the backwaters in Kerala?
Depending on the area you are in, you may find it interesting to start your route through the backwaters from one point or another. These are our recommendations:
Backwaters from Alleppey: area located in the south. Here many visitors usually choose to rent a houseboat or houseboat. Alleppey is a larger and more modern city than others in the surrounding area.
From Delighted Journey: We normally offer a one night excursion on the houseboat departing from Allepey. This excursion includes boarding in the morning and sailing all day through the calm water paradise that is the Kerala backwaters. In the afternoon we offer a vanji ride to end up returning on the houseboat for dinner.
Backwaters from Kollam: Kollam is situated in the south of Kerala and is popular for its greenery, lagoons and Ashtamudi Lake.
Backwaters from Kumarakom: Located in the center of Kerala, it is a rural town. In this area there are several exclusive resorts. The resorts offer boat rides at sunrise and sunset, yoga activities, dances, etc.
What to see in the backwaters in Kerala?
Kutand: It is the region that includes the districts of Alappuzha and Kottayam in southern Kerala. Known for its extensive rice fields and its geographical peculiarities, since it is located below sea level. In Kutand is the largest lake in Kerala, Lake
Vembanad. In it there are hundreds of kettuvallams and you will also find a large bird sanctuary.
Kollam: It is the starting point of the waterways. There lies the Sasthamcotta Kayal Lake.
Munroe Islands: It is an area surrounded by the Kallada River and the Ashtamundi and Sasthamkotta lakes in Kollam. The Munroe Islands are a group of 8 islands surrounded by fresh water, rich in fauna and flora.
Kasargod: It is located in the north of Kerala. It is a town known for growing rice and for its landscapes.
Thiruvallam: is a town located 6 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital. There you will find the Veli lagoon, where there are facilities prepared for water sports.
Kozhikode: it is the least touristy area. It is the most prominent city in the area known for its mountains and friendly people.
Alapuzha (Allepey): is the area popularly known as the Venice of the East, due to its network of canals, rivers and stagnant waters.
Would you like to travel to India and see the backwaters in Kerala? Don’t miss our itineraries, some of which pass through Kerala.