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You are here : home > Travel > Coastal Hamlets and Beaches > Cruising through Kerala

Cruising through Kerala

Cruising through Kerala

Kerala, eulogized as God's own country is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. The state of Kerala is a beautiful narrow strip of land by the Arabian Sea full of beaches and backwaters, churches and coconut groves. Within that too, a holiday cruising the backwaters is the most enchanting of it all.

Natural water-world

Backwaters are unique to coastal Kerala, where a vast network of water-bodies - lagoons and canals, criss cross inland. This has given rise to settlements on narrow strips of reclaimed land, where the inhabitants sport an inimitable lifestyle. They subsist by fish farming or coir-making and traverse the backwaters in country boats. This unique ecosystem is a big draw with tourists, also because it is spread over a large part of coastal Kerala from Kochi to Kollam or Quilon. Alleppey, or Alappuzha, a not-to-be-missed backwater destination is called the 'Venice of the East'.

Private tourist operators and government tourist agencies run a range of backwater cruises to and fro different destinations; the tourist therefore has an array of customized cruises to choose from. You can take a short trip from Kochi to Kottayam to acquaint yourselves with the backwaters and to get a trailer, so to say. If you wish to explore further (no doubt, the shorter trip would have left you asking for more) you can take the highly-popular 8-hour Alleppey - Kollam tour.

Country boats cruise

These cruises are well-organised with a typical Kerala meal of karimeen (a local variety of fish) and rice thrown in. But still you'll be well-advised to carry some refreshments and snacks to supplement their hospitality. More often than not, a well-informed guide will point out the flora and fauna of the ecosystem around. Around Vaikom, short of Kottayam you enter the narrow canals or what are the backwaters; here you will have to get out of your motor boats and climb into small country boats. This can carry 5-6 people and are pumped by tall bamboo poles, sometimes even by old boatmen who are very hardy. The weeds, water hyacinths have clogged the water alleyways at places and you may find the boat getting stuck often. Fortunately, these waters are very shallow and the boatmen will get down pushing and prodding the vessel into moving again.

Spice village and coconut groves

There are wonderful brief halts at villages to show tourists the art of making coir from coconut husks. At other villages, tourists will witness toddy-tapping and will be treated to farm fresh tender coconuts. This break, where you can see the spice and cashew plantations, is a wonderful complement to the boat ride. At many places you will be greeted by cheerful children swimming and dunking in the waters with gay abandon.

Set adrift on the backwaters - in style

The Alleppey- Kollam tour can be done in a house boat or kettuvallam stretched over 2-3 days. These boats are well-equipped and have a bedroom with an attached bathroom and a kitchenette. Food and beverages are stocked and a cook is available to look after your culinary needs. You could even take the shorter Alleppey- Kumarakom cruise. Kumarakom on the banks of Vembanad lake rich in paddy-fields is a fascinating backwater destination. The bird sanctuary there is definitely worth a visit.

So loll in the lap of luxury in a houseboat and experience time stand still. Let your children discover their sea legs; it will promise to be a completely different and out-of-the-ordinary experience for your tiny tots. It will be a great opportunity for them to see nature at its best at close quarters.

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Sandhu.6 years ago
good article....beautifully described the beauty of Kerela....must go there
Sharmila.10 years ago
kerala is very much famous for fishing and coconuts trees(door mat, twin etc). now a days it has been developing in olden type of body massage. it is very good picinic spot lots of foreign tourist visit to kerala to try out the body massage.
sabina.10 years ago
hi i want to know which month is best to visit kerala. i might go to india this summer,so i wanted to know thanks
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