Kerala Backwaters

Kerala is a unique south Indian state with a labyrinthine web of canals, lagoons, lake and estuaries. Whenever we hear Kerala, our imagination places us in a houseboat in the famous backwaters, drinking coconut water and eating in a plantain leaf. In the backdrop are the tall coconut trees and lush green nature. Going on a houseboat cruise in the backwaters of Kerala is a dream which requires little effort to make it a reality. Backwaters being the largest freshwater source for Kerala are a rich bed of marine flora and fauna that also embodies a variety of boating options.  

Let's ease your task and list a few unpronounceable Kerala Backwaters that are too beautiful to be missed:

1. Alleppey Backwaters - Largest Network of Kerala Backwaters

The most famous canal networks in Kerala, Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha is a green paradise and our number one choice when it comes to backwaters. The stretch of Alleppey Backwater lies 62 km south of Kochi, nestled in captivating greenery, paddy fields, coconut plantations and beautiful islands.

Alleppey Backwaters form the ideal romantic honeymoon destination for people across the nation as it provides an enchanting environment for couples. Houseboat rides give perfect views like a cluster of birds flying in the backdrop of everything blue and green, and the wooden house floating between the trees.

Boating Options
Houseboats are available equipped with all modern amenities at all budgets. Spacious bedrooms, living/dining room, sitting areas to watch the scintillating beauty (do not miss the sunrise and sunset), air conditioners among other facilities. Take an overnight ride if you have the time. You can even visit the villages and interact with the local communes, get involved with the local people, listen to their stories, taste their cuisine and take back a plethora of memories to cheer forever.

Services
Daily backwater cruises offer 4 hours rides, sunset rides and overnight rides which include Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner according to the time. Canoe Boats and Public Ferries by SWTD are also available.

Cost
Luxury Package: INR 6,000 to 10,000 (1D/2N),
Shikara Rides: INR 500 per person (4 hours).

Major Boat Races
Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Punnamada Lake, Alappuzha

Best time to Visit 
September to March

2. Kumarakom Backwaters (Kottayam) - Set in the Backdrop of Kerala's Largest Lake

Kerala Backwaters
Kumarakom Backwaters, Kottayam
Source

For those who seek solace, the cluster of islands in the backwaters of Kerala provides just that and Kumarakom Backwaters happen to be one such place. Snuggled on the biggest freshwater lake in Kerala, Vembanad Lake is a heavenly abode. The stunning backwaters make it a delight watching birds like kingfishers, darters, and turns. It is a great place to have a peaceful village walk while the sun sets in the background to end with a Romantic candlelight dinner.

Boating Options
With slightly different views than that of the Alleppey Backwaters, Kumarakom will never fail to marvel with the magic of backwater. One can delight themselves with a stay in the traditional houseboats called Kettuvallam or at the village cottages on the islands.

Services
Motor Rides, Canoe Rides and traditional houseboats called Kettavullam are available in the area.

Cost
Luxury Package: INR 8,000 to 14,000 (1D/2N),
Shikara Rides: INR 600 per person (4 hours).

Major Boat Races
Kumarakom Arpookara Vanitha Jalamela, Kumarakom

Best time to Visit 
September to March

3. Kuttanad, Allapuzha - the Rice Bowl of Kerala

Backwaters of Kerala, kuttanad
Kuttanad, Allapuzha
Source

Kuttanad is known as the rice bowl of Kerala. The unique feature of this backwater is that it lies between land and sea. The view of the lush paddy field is ineffable. It has also adopted an indigenous agricultural engineering technique for agriculture. Indulge in tasty authentic seafood and fascinating local culture. Located in the heart of the Allepey district, this place is famous for boat races that are conducted during September concerning the state festival, Onam.

Boating Options
As the area is majorly covered under water, Boating services are always in demand. The most popular of them being the houseboating and Shikhara Rides. The regular passenger ferry by the Government offers five services per day which are 2 hours trips costing less than INR 100.

Cost
Luxury Packages: INR 14000 per person (Approx)
Homestays: INR 2000 onwards

Best time to Visit 
September to March

4. Kollam Backwaters, Ashtamudi - Gateway to Backwaters of Kerala

Kerala Backwaters, Ashtamundi
Kollam Backwaters, Ashtamudi Lake
Source

Presently known as Quilon, the Kollam backwater is the gateway to few other backwaters in Kerala was a prominent trade canter for Portuguese, Arabia, Greece, Rome and China in exporting sandalwood, spices, coir and ivory. Estimated to be the longest backwater in Kerala, this is a must-explore stretch for its natural beauty and boat riding.

It has derived its name from the eight channels which form the Ashtamudi Backwaters. Ashtamudi Lake is the largest lake in Kerala (16 km) and is also known to be a gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. It also happens to be the largest wetland ecosystem in Kerala. Enjoy the fantastic views of the sparkling backwaters in solace, while the boat moves very slowly without disturbing the calmness of the lake.

Boating Options
The most popular cruise is the trip from Kollam to Alappuzha. It is a ride of 8 hours and will provide all facilities and food depending on the time. Houseboats comprise of one to four bedrooms, open sitting area, and dining area. Cruise in between the small villages and see the life thriving by the water.

Services
Houseboat and Canal Cruise packages of varied luxuries are available. Motor Rides and canoe rides are available for small trips.

Cost
Cruise Packages: up to INR 42,000
Luxury Packages: INR 12,000 to 16,000 (1D/2N),
Motor Rides: INR 200 to 500 per person (Small Trips).

Nearest Railway Station is the Kollam Junction which is just 2 km away.

Major Boat Races
President's Trophy Boat Race in Ashtamudi lake, Kollam
Kallada Boat Race in Kallada River, Kollam

Best time to Visit 
October to February

5. Thiruvallam Backwaters, Trivandrum - Backwaters close to the Arabian Sea

Backwaters of Kerala, Thiruvallam
Thiruvallam Backwaters, Trivandrum
Source

With the Arabian Sea in the West and the pristine Western Ghats in the east, these backwaters are quite close to the beautiful Thiruvallam, Velli and Kovalam. There are many places in the streets of Poovar where you could negotiate and book houseboats. Don't forget to stop by the serene Lighthouse beach, Neyar river estuary and Pieta church.

Thiruvallam backwaters lay around 6 km from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. Sree Parasurama Temple in Thiruvallam is a highly revered place of religious importance. Veli lake and the Veli tourist village are some of the most popular upcoming tourist attractions with a lot of floating restaurants and all kinds of boating facility. The park near Akkulam Lake in Thiruvallam is considered to be the largest in Kerala and a dear one to all the tourists.

Boating Options
These backwaters are famous, especially for kayaking, canoe rides and Kettavullams. The Akkulam and Veli Tourist Villages provide some of the boating experiences.

Services
Tourist villages attend to the Paddle Boating services, Houseboat cruises, Swimming pools and some of the most picturesque picnic spots.

Cost
Motorboats and Cruises: INR 1800-3000 per person (1.5 hrs to 2 hrs)

Best time to Visit
October to March

6. Kozhikode, Calicut - a Spice trade route where the Portuguese first landed

Kozhikode Backwaters
Kozhikode, Calicut
Source

The backwaters of Calicut played a significant role in conducting important British trading outpost. Located in North Kerala, this district holds a lot of historical significance. The hegemonic rule of Zamorins who conducted trade with Arabia established their power first in Calicut. This great province of Malabar was also the interesting point, where the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed for the first time in India.

The best months to visit this place is during September and May. The sail along River Kallai and River Canoli imparts an exhilarating experience. Do explore the locality especially by cycling and include Kappad beach, Payyoli beach and Dolphin point on the bucket list.

Boating Options
Both row and pedal boats are available at Kalipoika from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM every day. Don't miss out riding to Korapuzhu, the venue of the famous water festival or Jalotsavam and Elathur.

Services
Purakkattiri is the main starting point that provides all kinds of houseboat service.

Cost
Luxury Packages: INR 3500 onwards per person
Boat tour Experiences: INR 1500 per person

Best time to Visit 
October to March

7. Kavvayi Backwaters, Payyanur - A pocket-friendly Houseboat Tour

Kerala Backwaters, Kavvayi Backwaters Stretch
Kavvayi Backwaters, Payyanur
Source

Kavvayi backwaters are formed by the cluster of islands on River Kavvayi in the north of Kerala. It is different from other South backwater attractions regarding commercialisation, sights, livelihood and houseboat culture. No Cruises are available on this side of the state, but you can easily visit these backwaters on a shikhara or a canoe or opt for a motorboat ride. This site has no less to offer and gives you a happy feeling with the lush green backdrop, an excellent variety of flora and fauna, a myriad of small and big islands and so much more which keeps your interest flowing.

Boating Options
The houseboat and cruising culture isn't a common sight on this side of the state. Although, canoe rides are very frequent. These backwaters store a different kind of authenticity because commercialisation hasn't cursed it completely, yet. The most common boat ride to witness the best of Kavvayi is from Kotti to Kottappuram.

Services
Houseboats and resorts are available but require pre-booking during peak times.

Cost
Rooms & Resorts: INR 2000 Onwards
Houseboat Packages: INR 18000 per room of two

Nearest Railway Station is Payyannur which is about 3 km from the stretch.

Best time to Visit 
October to March

8. Padanna Backwaters, Kasaragod - a Backwater Haven not ruined by Tourism

Padanna Backwaters, Kasaragod
Padanna Backwater, Kasaragod
Source

Padanna Backwater of Kasargod is one of the distinguished backwaters located in the northernmost part of Kerala. Renowned for its well-established rice cultivation and coir industry, this backwater is one of the most preferred backwaters in Kerala. Indulge in the romantic and amiable aura of the enchanting backwater.

Boating Options
This exotic backwater comes with the privilege to cherish the fantastic views on the Houseboats and the country boats.

Cost
Resorts: INR 7500 per room (Approx)

Best time to Visit
October to February

Note: Do savour exotic fresh seafood especially Karimeen while relishing the pristine rivulets and lush greenery of Kerala.

Types of Boats in Kerala Backwaters 

1. Kerala Houseboats
The Best part about Kerala Backwaters is that they make you feel the comfort of home yet taking you around the calm backwaters. Houseboats are available at Kasaragod, Kollam, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Thrissur, and Ernakulam. An average houseboat can host around 4-5 people, and the cost depends on the packages and the seasons. The cost can range anywhere between INR 6000 to INR 45000.

2. Canoe boats (Kettavulam)
You can also opt for Canoe Boats or Kettuvalam (a boat that looks like a rice barge) and go for Village Tours. This is one of the best ways to experience local life at a slow pace. It usually has a capacity of 5-6 people and takes around 3 to 6 hours and costs around 400 - 1000 per person. The tours start from Alleppey, Kochi and Kollam.

3. Public Ferries by SWTD
State Water Transport Department runs ferries at regular intervals from boat jetty and VCSB (Boat Jetty). The cost of the ferry is as low as INR 5. You can check the schedule on their official website. The ferry will take you through this network of brackish lagoons at a very low cost.

The exquisite beauty of Kerala has magic enthralled in it. With the Arabian Sea in the West and over 40 rivers flowing on its land, Kerala has a boon of unique geography. Other than refreshing waterfalls, advanced literacy rate, rich history, and culture, Kerala enjoys the unparalleled beauty of backwaters, definitely an icing on the cake! Backwaters of Alleppey are popularly known as the 'Venice of the East.' It's high time that you check this off your vacation list.

This post was published by Vishwas Jain

Share this post on social media
Google +

Related Articles

Sightseeing

Places To Visit In Kerala In September

Art & Culture

Traditional Dresses Of Kerala

Food & Drink

Kerala Food: 22 Kerala Famous Food and Dishes

Art & Culture

Culture of Kerala - Rich Culture & Traditions!

Sightseeing

Places To Visit In Kerala For 3 Days

Sightseeing

Places To Visit In Kerala In November

Adventure

Water Sports in Kerala

Experiences

12 Best Ayurvedic Resorts in Kerala: A Healthy Retreat

Experiences

Kerala Ayurveda - All You Need To Know About Treatment, Techniques & Therapies

Beaches & Islands

Beaches in Kerala

Sightseeing

Houseboating In Kerala - Glide Through The Backwaters In Kerala

Sightseeing

Top Places near rivers & lakes in Kerala

Beaches & Islands

Best Beaches in Kerala That Every Traveller Must Visit

Experiences

Toddy in Kerala - All You Need to Know About Kerala's Famous Palm Wine

Hill Stations

Hill Stations in Kerala

Wildlife & Nature

National Parks in Kerala

Art & Culture

Historical Places in Kerala

Adventure

Places For Trekking in Kerala Through The Western Ghats

Art & Culture

Onam 2019 - An Essential Guide to the Festival of Kerala

20 Temples In Kerala : Famous Temples Of God's Own Country

Religious

Religious Places in Kerala For A Glorious Spiritual Journey

Experiences

Bike Rental in Kerala - You Guide To Rent A Bike in Kerala

Romantic & Honeymoon

Honeymoon Places in Kerala For A Romantic Getaway

Art & Culture

15 Classical Dance Forms of India And Their States of Origin

Fairs & Festivals

Festivals in South India: Lights, Colours and Celebrations

Traveller's Guide To Exploring India With Kids!

Top Places

Kerala is the first Indian state to implement the Barrier-Free Tourism Project

Family Holidays

Kerala Makes It to the Top Global Trending Destinations for 2020 - Find out More

Sightseeing

Things to do in Kerala for a Hillside Coastal Vacay

Sightseeing

Pristine Lakes in Kerala That You Should Definitely Visit

Adventure

Weird Laws from Around the World

Top Places

Top 7 States That Are Promoting Ecotourism In India

Art & Culture

Its Time for Equality: Matrilineal Societies in India Might Be The Answer

Experience Elephants in Kerala - God's Own Country

Food & Drink

7 Iconic Dishes You Must Eat From the Famous Thattukadas in Kerala

Family Holidays

Temples In Kerala : Famous Temples of God's Own Country

Fairs & Festivals

Festivals of Kerala - Most Popular Festivals Celebrated in Kerala

Comments on this post