Why Kerala Backwaters are so popular among tourists?
Undoubtedly, Kerala epitomizes beauty in all aspects. Tourists from all over the world visit this gorgeous state for different reasons. While some visit it to catch a glimpse of wildlife, others visit it to enjoy in the lap of nature. People also visit Kerala to enjoy at beaches. But the foremost characteristic of Kerala which attracts tourists is Kerala Backwaters. It is a spectacular network of lakes, lagoons, rivers, and canals situated parallel to the Arabian Sea coast and are spread across half the length of the state. The backwater regions of the south Indian state of Kerala are some of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the country. Kerala is the perfect place to soak up nature at its purest form.
Backwater destinations in Kerala
Though there are several destinations in Kerala where one can enjoy backwater cruising during holidays, there are some peculiar ones like Kollam, Kumarakom, Kuttanad, etc. Alappuzha is the most popular one among these and receives the maximum number of tourists. It is a favorite destination for houseboat tour as well as backwater tour in Kerala. Usually referred to as “Venice of the East”, Alleppey is the lifeline of the backwaters of Kerala. It is well-known for its boat races, beaches, marine products, backwater cruises, and coir industry. Alleppey/Alappuzha is the gateway to the backwaters between Kochi (Cochin) and Kollam (Quilon).
The languid backwaters of Kerala can be experienced best in kettuvallams (Kerala style houseboats). These houseboats are basically refined versions of the houseboats of yesteryears. The word “kettuvallam” can be understood by breaking it into two parts – kettu means dwelling structures and vallam means boat. Traditionally, these were used to transport rice and spices from one place to another but now, their role has been reformed and they are used to ferry tourists from one destination to another. One can either choose to experience backwaters on the houseboat during the day or an overnight stay on the houseboat can be opted. The houseboats hired from Alleppey takes you through the various backwater locations like Kottayam, Alumkadavu and Kumarakom. As houseboats usually slow travel, you are likely to enjoy amidst the scenic surroundings in Kerala. The most popular routes of backwater cruises are discussed as below:
- Alleppey – Kuttanad
This rest is renowned for giving you insights into farming and village life of Kerala. It is also famous for its paddy fields. Here, you will be able to catch a glimpse of farming below sea level.
- Alleppey – Alumkadavu
This is the longest and the best route to experience the rural life of Kerala along with the mind-blowing beauty of the backwaters. Either you can enjoy a cruise for a day or you may decide on an overnight stay. Another fact that sets this route apart from all others is that traditional houseboats are made here using rattan, wood, coir, and bamboo.
- Alleppey – Kumarakom
This cruise route has the widest canals and waterways. This route concludes at the Vembanad Lake, on the banks of which several hotels and luxury hotels are located. Through this route, one can also visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Kumarakom is also a noteworthy destination for Ayurveda treatments in Kerala.
Facilities provided in a houseboat
With the advent of technology, the concept of a houseboat has completely changed. Traditionally, a houseboat used to be 60-70 feet long and 13-15 feet wide. But nowadays, the luxurious houseboats may have a length of more than 80 feet. The houseboats feature a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, lounge, bamboo furniture, sun deck, etc. The rooms can be single or double or triple with small private balconies. Some of the houseboats are air-conditioned.
The houseboats are managed by professional staff, including a captain, two oarsmen, a guide and a chef. These facilities are provided to ensure a hassle-free trip for tourists. Some houseboats are also equipped with eco-friendly facilities for disposal of waste.
The houseboats provide electric fans, television, water facility, mosquito curtains and much more. Some high-end houseboats are two-storeyed and also provide newspapers, fishing rods, CDs and even a small conference room. On the other hand, some houseboats still rely on lanterns to create a dreamy environment.
One can enjoy panoramic views of the surroundings from a houseboat, ranging from paddy fields to palm-lined shores and from rural life to birds. In a nutshell, houseboats of today are mini-resorts or luxury hotels in water.
Other options for backwater cruise
As the cost of the houseboat tour is dependent on the type of houseboat and time of the year, it may cost high. But in case you find hiring a houseboat expensive, you can make a choice from other alternatives. One can opt to stay nearby canals to watch houseboats or the option of going on a canoe or motorboat trip can be chosen. However, the cheapest option to experience Kerala backwaters is to take a tour in the public ferry along the backwaters. The tours for the same can be taken from Alleppey District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC).
How to reach Alappuzha
- By Air: Cochin International Airport at a distance of 75 km is the nearest one to reach Alappuzha.
- By Road: Regular bus services ply from major cities of Kerala as well as other nearby locations like Bangalore, Chennai, Mangalore, etc.
- By Train: Alappuzha Railway Station is the nearest one to reach Alleppey by train.
Best time to visit Alappuzha
Though Alleppey is an all-year-round destination, it is best to visit between November to February as during monsoon, the place receives heavy rainfall while hot and humid climate is observed during the summer season.
Owing to the fact that now you are aware of all the necessary information related to Kerala backwaters or to be precise, Alleppey, you must not delay taking the Kerala Backwater Tour. Make a choice from our wide collection of Kerala tour packages and make the most of your vacations. It will surely be a memorable experience for you and your loved ones.