The Backwaters is a network of over 900km (560miles) of canals and waterways parallel to the Arabian Sea, between Kochi and the town of Kollam to the south. Amongst the lagoons, canals and rivers live whole communities for whom the waterways are effectively the equivalent of a road system. The area around the backwaters is one of the few places in the world where cultivation happens below sea level.
The traditional name for the rice barge on which you can travel is the ‘Kettuvallam,’ which literally translated means ‘boat with knots.’
Coir rope was typically used to bid together the wooden structure with knots in the rope serving the purpose of nails.
Imagine this: during the afternoon, you will enjoy a relaxing cruise through the waterways which gives you an opportunity to observe rural Kerala up close.
For the people living on the banks, the backwaters are a part of their day to day life. You can stop to look at paddy cultivation, watch local fishing, and see historic churches and local temples. During the evening, you can generally see the people of the community meeting and relaxing by the backwaters. A very authentic experience indeed...
Kerala nights on the water
A night onboard a houseboat will give you a nice memory of the mystery of India. The houseboats generally have one, two or three bedrooms each with en-suite facilities and exterior space to sit and relax. Bedrooms are air-conditioned although this is only usually switched on during the night (9pm to 5am.)
Larger boats can be found but due to their size the routes they follow can be quite limited. Depending upon the group size, two, three or four smaller boats can be arranged to better navigate the narrower canals. Each houseboat has a driver and a cook, who will prepare delicious Keralan meals, with some fresh ingredients likely to be purchased during the cruise.
All programmes in Kerala can be booked with Vedic Routes.