The Kerala backwaters are a branched waterway network in the interland of the Malabar Coast in the southern Indian state of Kerala. They extend from Kochi in the north to Kollam in the south on a total area of 1900 km².
For some years, the importance of backwaters as a destination, especially foreign tourists is steadily increasing. From Kollam, Alappuzha and Kottayam are several hours boat trips offered. In Kollam and Alappuzha you can also rent Kettuvallam converted to houseboats for a long time. In some villages, regular Kathakali shows are held for visitors.
with houseboat and backwater resort tourism in Alappuzha seen as leading factors Kerala was ranked as one of the “50 destinations of a lifetime” by National Geographic Traveler in a special collectors’ issue, A number of movies were filmed in the backwaters around Alleppey and other parts of the state.
- The waters : The backwaters include 29 major lakes and lagoons, 44 rivers and approximately 1,500 kilometers of canals and natural waterways.The largest lake is the 83-kilometer Vembanad Lake, open to the Arabian Sea. Other major waters are the Ashtamudi and the Kayamkulamsee.
41 of the 44 rivers that run through the backwaters flow west to the Arabian Sea, three flow east.
- Water Lilies at Malarikkal : The village has an estimated 600-700 acres of paddy fields where pink water lilies bloom.
- Boat races : Boat races are among the grandest traditions still alive and thriving in Kerala. Boat races are occasions of great excitement and entertainment with thousands gathered on the banks to watch and cheer. Most of these races are held in the Kuttanad Region, The Thazhathangadi boat race held every year on the Meenachil river, at Thazhathangadi, Kottayam is one of the oldest and most popular boat races in the state.
- Houseboats : Kettuvallam – Kerala Houseboats : is one of Kerala’s most popular tourist attractions. More than 2000 kettuvallam are drowning, 120 of them in Alappuzha. The Kerala government has classified tourist boat houses by Platinum, Gold and Silver categories. Kettuvallam has been traditionally used as a grain barge, to transport rice harvested on fertile fields around dead water, The roof covers more than just the hull, 100 feet (30 m) long, providing protection from various elements,Converted to accommodate tourists, the boat house has become a floating hut with a lounge, with a western style toilet, dining room and lounge on deck.
- Traffic routes : The backwaters have served as trade and traffic routes for centuries. The locals use the Kettuvallam traditional freight barges for transporting goods. There are regular ferries on many channels. National Waterway 3 from Kollam to Kottapuram, covers a distance of 205 kilometres (127 mi) and runs almost parallel to the coastline of southern Kerala facilitating both cargo movement and backwater tourism.
Access : Coordinates: 9.86348, 76.3594 / Get around : By boat : There are ferry services between places, widely used by the locals, which are a scenic way of getting around /
The Kerala State Water Transport Department operates ferries for passengers and tourists. It is the cheapest way to move through dead water.
Activities : Backwaters cruises -Venice of East Tours / visit the traditional cultures and events / boating on small foam boat used by Kerala fishermen and even fishing expeditions / sightseeing / photo opportunities.