Leisure Travel with Kerala Backwaters

Kerala Houseboat

Kerala Houseboat

The backwaters of Kerala are unique and unlike anything in the world. The backwaters are a network of canals, lakes, deltas and estuaries of 44 rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. These backwaters make their way through a number of towns and cities and so one can get to see the village lifestyle.

I had a keen desire to tour along the backwaters of Kerala amidst the greenery and see the rural and real life of Kerala and what more could be better than a cruising the backwaters on the houseboats. These canals connect the villages together and are still used for local transport.

Fishing villages, tribal hamlets, people carrying on with their day to day work – scenes like this are abundant. These backwaters are the main source of livelihood for the people living on the shore here. The fish caught from its waters, the paddy, coconut and other crops harvested along its banks, the boats they build and use to transport them across the backwaters are all its part.

The must see backwaters in Kerala backwater tour are:

Alappuzha- Is the major backwater destination. Kuttunad, the rice bowl of Kerala, is the centre of attraction here. This is perhaps the only place where farming is done on land below sea level. You can also step out of the boat and visit the village craftsmen while they are working.

Kerala Backwaters

Kerala Backwaters

Kumarakom- Kumarakom Backwater provides splendid views of coconut groves, mangroves and paddy fields. The highpoint of your journey will be reaching the Pathiramanal Island.

Kochi- Kochi has one of the best natural harbors in the world. All the islands here are interconnected by a network of backwaters canals and lakes. Cruising through them and viewing the Chinese fishing net, particularly during sunset, is an amazing experience.

The Kerala Backwaters are also a venue for the annual boat races that take place in the different parts of the state. If you happen to visit during July to September you can also witness as huge boats rush past each other to win the competition.

Posted on March 12th, 2014 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Live in Communion with Nature on Kerala Travel

Kerala Houseboat
Kerala Houseboat

Today, my post is dedicated to Kerala, the green paradise on earth. I recently had an exciting trip to Kerala with my husband, Nelson. There was no special plan of tour but I just wanted to break the monotony of the hectic city life. For past few months, I was feeling agitated with the humdrum of life and wished to relax in greenery. Nelson came up with the idea of Kerala trip that completely enthralled me and I jumped at it.

After contacting a renowned tour operator in Delhi, we left all the worries and set out our travel to Kerala. This long awaited journey multiplied my happiness when Nelson told me that we would be enjoying a sojourn in a houseboat. What else I could ask for?

We arrived in Cochin by air, the town steeped in history and headed on a visit to Fort Cochin, a popular attraction in Kerala. After enjoying the sunset cruise around, we took shelter of our sojourn at Kerala houseboat. Our houseboat cruise started and we cruised out of Alleppey and moved along the backwaters. It seemed like watching the green paradise very closely.The sound of water is a soothing experience itself.

Kerala Ayurveda Massage
Kerala Ayurveda Massage

After tickling our taste buds with scrumptious Kerala food including Dosa, Uttapam with Sambhar and Pal Payasam, we moved on to explore the vast stretch of water called Vembanad lake. My husband unfolded another surprise for me, which was a short sojourn at Coconut Lagoon Resort in Kumarakom. We had a wonderful yoga session, followed by rejuvenating Ayurveda massage at Ayurveda centre of the resort.

Moved on to Periyar, our next destination, we were quite excited about it. It was a wildlife reserve in Kerala where we could spot a number of animals including elephants, monkeys, wild boar and even tigers. How could we miss out the exciting boat trip around Periyar Lake? The site also offers opportunities for a trekking excursion.

From there a four hour drive took us to the Marari beach in Kerala. The beach of soft white sand cast a spell on the visitors. We could cover just a small part of the state on our Kerala travel and left with the wish to come again to explore other fascinating attractions of the state.

Posted on February 7th, 2013 by Uma  |  Comments Off

Sojourn over the Vast Backwaters with Traditional Kerala Houseboats

It evokes memories and feelings of nostalgia for me while sharing my experience to stay in a Kerala houseboat. Well, this delightful event happened to me on my 2nd wedding anniversary when Andrew, my husband revealed the surprise. That was the first time when we visited Kerala and specially booked a Kerala houseboat tour to celebrate the occasion.

Kerala Houseboat
Kerala Houseboat

We started off at Cochin. The tranquility and serenity of place charmed us. A Kerala houseboat is locally called as ‘Kettuvallam’. These are of different types, out of which, we booked a fully furnished single bedroom luxury houseboat.Ā  On being reached at our houseboat, we were served with a welcome drink. It was coconut juice after drinking which, we felt refreshed.

We explored the houseboat to find out the other sections of this ‘Floating Palace’. Then, we got to know that it was the suitable one for us to enjoy the special occasion. It was provided with sun deck, private balcony and all other modern facilities. The houseboats in Kerala had a separate dining area with comfortable chairs and a well-maintained toilet.

Kerala, the land of lagoons, rivers, lakes, beaches and backwaters is my dream destination and on visiting it, I felt contended. It was unbelievable to see that serving as the popular attractions in Kerala, these houseboats were made by joining Anjili wood panes along with coir ropes and still, these houseboats do not lack anywhere in durability. Use of Eco-friendly material like bamboo poles, bamboo mats, coconut fibre ropes and coir carpets gives these Kerala houseboats a traditional look.

Well, enjoying the luxury in Kerala houseboats, we reached Alappuzha Backwaters. The backwaters mainly covers the four districts of Kerala that include Kollam, Alleppey or Alappuzha, Kottayam and Kochi. Sitting back while the boat cruises through the compressed serene backwater canals, is a different fun, which gives a new height to your Kerala houseboat tour.

We enjoyed our lunch, which was more than enough for two people. It included local dishes like rice, fish fry, sambar, papad, thoran, pickle and vegetable salad. The food was too good that its delectable taste made us relaxing for some time.

In evening, we went on the sundeck, which is an ideal way to revive yourself amidst a tranquil ambiance. We preferred coffee with snacks including Banana Fry, which had a traditional Kerala flavour. After dinner, we went on bed. I was so excited to know the next day travel plan that included a visit to Kumarakom. Kerala houseboat vacation is simply a great experience for every couple.

Kerala Houseboat Cuisine
Kerala Houseboat Cuisine

Next morning, after treating our taste buds with scrumptious Appam with Egg Curry, we started off cruising to Kumarakom backwaters, through the most popular Vembanad Lake. Innumerable lagoons, canals, lakes, estuaries and lakes form the 900 km backwater network of Kerala. That was most probably the best way to experience the magical charm of Kerala backwaters. We had a romantic time overnight in houseboat.

The next morning was our departure. Though we had to spend some extra bucks for a luxury houseboat but the experience was worthy. The moments, we captured in our camera shed off my sadness to depart from such a beautiful land.

Ā 

Posted on June 26th, 2012 by Uma  |  Comments Off

Experience the Best of Nature Glamour during Kerala Tour

Kerala-Backwater-Tour
Kerala Backwater Tour

The name of Kerala always conjures my mind with an image of the sun-kissed beaches, the misty hill stations, the enchanting backwaters and the forestlands rich in flora and fauna. Because of its celestial beauty National Geographic Traveler Magazine ranked Kerala a ‘Ten Paradise of the Worldā€™ and ā€˜Fifty Places of a Lifetimeā€™.

This recognition is enough, which lures scores of tourists to this place from across the globe. And I am one of them who visited this land of scenic beauty with my two friends last month. We took customized Kerala Travel Guide from a travel agent at budgeted rates. This 4 day and 4 nights tour package was efficiently designed that provided us a chance to explore and experience the myriad facets of Kerala Tourism.

The first day of our Kerala Tour is dedicated for beaches. We spent almost whole day at Kovalam beach. This is a cluster of three crescent shaped beaches whose charm is renowned throughout the world. We enjoyed the scenic composition of sea, sun and sand at our best. The pristine, serene and scenic ambience of this place enthralls us most. This beach is also ideal for water sports activities like Kayaking, Swimming, Surfing and Skiing.

Next day of our tour was dedicated for backwater cruise. The Kerala Backwaters are a labyrinthine network of 900 km of waterways interconnected with canals, rivers, lakes and inlets. It is the uniqueness of Kerala Tourism, which gave us chance to experience the natures jubilant scattered in the form of land, sea and sky. ā€˜Kettuvalamsā€™ popularly known as Kerala houseboats are the ideal way to enjoy Kerala Backwater Cruise.

With Kerala backwater Cruise, we experienced natureā€™s breathtaking beauty with the soothing sound of water rippling alongside the houseboat. During our cruise, we experienced kaleidoscopic view of countryside, swaying palm trees, emerald rice fields and several historical monuments on the bank. We were totally engrossed by natureā€™s jubilant beauty. The ecstasy we felt cannot be expressed in words.

After spending memorable night stay in a leisurely flowing houseboat, we reached Periyar in the morning. It is among the famous of all Kerala Wildlife Sanctuaries known for its exotic collections of flora and fauna. This national park is located on the bank of Periyar Lake and sprawled over an area of 777 Sq.km. The exotic collection of flora and fauna species make this place a heart throbbing destination. Whole day we spent in this wildlife reserve sighting many animals, bird species and floral species. Some of the most sighted wild animals are wild elephants, Sloth Bears, wild boars and Stripe-necked Mongoose.

After enjoying natureā€™s beauty, we went to dance theater to experience the rich culture fiesta of this state. Here we saw Kathakali the most renowned dance drama of all Kerala dances. It is a classical dance-drama known for its unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. The word Kathakali literally means Story-Play. The themes of the Kathakali are religious in nature whose stories are taken from religious scriptures.

Next and the last stop over of our itinerary were at a restaurant whose delicious dishes are known across the globe. Here we ate typical Kerala Cuisine whose taste still titillates my taste buds. After satisfying our appetite, we went to airport and good-bye this land of Godā€™s own Country.

Posted on December 30th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Journey through Houseboat in Kerala

 Kerala Houseboat
Kerala Houseboat

My stress took me to rejuvenation! Sounds odd, but true. Once I realized that my work is getting heavies and unbearable day by day, I planned a week-long trip to Kerala. It was the first month of monsoon and Kerala backwaters welcomed me with full enthusiasm. I was booked in a Kerala houseboat. A houseboat in Kerala is a medium that can let you explore all the major parts of this green state and offers true joy of living on waters. Moreover, you can halt at any of the beach resorts to savour lip-smacking Kerala cuisine and a wide variety of sea food delicacies. These beach resorts also offer a wide range of Ayurveda therapies for complete rejuvenation of mind, body & soul.

My sightseeing stated with Alleppey ā€“ the Venice of the East. My guide told me that these luxurious houseboats were earlier called ā€˜Kettuvallomsā€™ and were used as a medium to transport food grains and spices. My houseboat was well equipped with facilities like spacious bedroom with attached bath, kitchen, dining area, sun deck, living area etc. it was no less than an accommodation unit of a star rated luxurious hotel. The best part with the houseboat was it was completely made of natural products like bamboo mats, sticks, palm leaves and wood. The smooth wooden flooring and coir mats also added to the beauty of my houseboat.

The houseboat took me to places like Kumarakom, Kasargod, Guruvayur, Periyar, Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram. While staying on waters I easily explored all these cities. I wandered across market streets and collected some of the rarest handicraft items. I visited the most ancient Hindu temples. I witnessed the finest of greenery. I spotted the rarest of animals in picturesque wildlife sanctuaries like Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. The best part of my tour in Kerala was a long relaxing nature walk amidst spice and tea/coffee plantations in Periyar.

Posted on August 6th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

A Date with Lively History of Cochin

Cochin
Cochin

Stories relate happenings and express thoughts and feelings about events. Stories and imagination transport us to another time and place. They can open one’s mind to new ideas and set one free, or they can control, manipulate and trap one in a place of desperation. Such is mine too. A short but lovable journey to Cochin that may push you to plan a tour to Kerala ā€“ Godā€™s own country!

After enjoying enough of relaxing holidays in Kerala backwaters and spending days on waters in a houseboat, I planned to devote a couple of days exploring the rich ancient Dravid touch. And what place could be better than Cochin, when it comes to historical monuments in Kerala? So without giving any second thought, I headed towards the commercial hub of Kerala. On my way to Cochin, the first thing I came across was the Chinese Fishing Nets. My driver told me that when the traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets. These nets serve as the medium of livelihood to many fishermen here.

It was quite late in the evening, so I spend the rest hours of the day at leisure in my hotel. The best part of the day was having authentic sea food delicacies in dinner while enjoying Kathakali dance. Trained dancers from See India Foundation and The Cochin Cultural Centre were invited to entertain the guests there. The traditional dance form that they presented with impressive facial expressions, hand gestures and dance moves ā€“ was simply spellbinding.

Next morning, I started my exploration with Vasco House, Dutch Palace, Fort Kochi and Jewish Synagogue. The beauty of these old structures is incomparable even today. These ancient monuments stand tall retaining the age old glory of Dravid architecture and showcase a perfect blend of Chinese and Belgian art forms as well. Before having lunch, I visited the Hill Palace at Tripunithura. This 19th century structure has now been converted into a museum displaying a fine collection of articles of the Rajas of Kochi, including the throne and the crown.

In the second half of the day, I paid a short visit to Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary that lies in the heart of the city. It was the place where I spotted several exotic and rare varieties of migratory and resident birds. My next destination in Cochin was the Museum of Kerala History at Kalamassery, which exhibits the history and culture of Kerala through exquisite paintings.

After wandering in the city, I spent an hour in solitude at the Cherai Beach and relished fresh juice there. Roaming alone did not make me feel bored as the lively history of Cochin was there along with me to entertain.

tour to Kerala

Posted on June 3rd, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Kumarakom Backwaters Cruise: Water World Paradise

 Kumarakom Backwaters
Kumarakom Backwaters

After visiting popular tourist destinations of Cochin, Periyar, Munnar we headed towards Kumarakom for backwaters cruising. This is one of the centres of backwaters cruise and tourists comes here in great numbers to enjoy cruise on the pristine waters. The Kerala Backwaters are interconnected network of rivers, lakes, inlets, lagoons, canals etc. which form 900 km of labyrinthine waterways system. They are perfectly combined together to form one of the best parts of Kerala tourism.

At Kumarakom we were received by the hotel representative who took us to the Houseboat or the Kettuvellam called Saint George which was named after it’s owner and captain James George. It has large bedroom attached with bathroom and a hammock on deck. It is equipped with a sophisticated living room which gives exhilarating views of nature that makes the cruise worthiness and memorable for lifetime.

Kerala Backwaters has its own significance. It is an irrigation system of Kerala which prevents the saltwater river to de-fertilise the paddy fields. The canals are lined by stone walls and fringed by coconut palms. Backwater destinations are known for its glorious environment which is full of scenic beauty. While on backwater cruise one can see the mesmerising views of bright green rice fields and small homes with steps down into the river. As the boat moves the views of scintillating natural beauty is awe aspiring. It gives the true ambiance and mighty pleasure to be in the Godā€™s own country.

Houseboat silently passed through the serene and scenic natural ambiance which engrossed me completely. The most fascinating part of this cruise was when the houseboat crossed the Kumarakom Bird sanctuary which provided us an opportunity to watch the exotic birds flying over the boat. This place is a paradise for nature lovers and bird watchers. We halted our houseboat for two to three hours so that we can enjoy this mesmerising environment at its best. Fluttering wings and mellifluous tunes of teal, cuckoo, wild duck, egrets, herons and darters are like a nature utterance which makes us speechless.
Kumarakom backwaters is a water world paradise where one can see the epitomization of nature’s beauty. Emerald green paddy fields, coconut grooves, azure blue waters, mangrove forests are the elements of backwaters which make this place an enchanting and an incredible destination of Kerala.

Posted on January 28th, 2010 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Exploring Uncharted Land in Kerala

 Kerala House Boat

Kerala House Boat

Come January, and I arrived at Mangalore airport (Karnataka). This trip of mine was especially organized to explore lively Kerala backwaters, heavenly greenery, interesting wildlife and multi-coloured festivities. I hired a taxi to Kasargod (50 km) and headed to the northern Kerala. As I had observed in Kerala travel guide, the local people were busy with the celebration of Kerala Gramam. After a quick shower, I headed for the fair, where I came across traditional houses, bright & colourful attires, traditional cuisine, superb handicrafts and many such items.

The best part with my stay at Kasargod was backwater cruise. Being a history buff, I also visited sites like Bekal Fort, Madiyan Kulom temple, Ananthapura Lake Temple, Chandragiri Fort etc and captured them in my camera for a lifetime. While enjoying my backwater cruise, I also had a closer look at the dense greens of Kasargod, which provide a home to about 24 species of the rarest of mammals, 200 species of birds and about 100 species of butterflies. While leaving Kasargod, I visited the market area with my guide and bought a few coir products, handlooms and tobacco products for my friends.

My next halt was Cochin, but en route I spent a relaxing day at Wayanad ā€“the land of Spicy Hills. Though I paid a short visit to the famous Edakkal Caves and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and clicked a few bisons, elephants and deer playing near the lake, but rest of the day was at leisure. My hotel was at close proximity to the tea / coffee & spice plantations, there fore the air was filled with refreshing fragrance.

The next morning, I reached Cochin ā€“ the Queen of the Arabian Sea by train. Located between the Western Ghats and Arabian Sea, the city is blessed with spotless natural beauty and serves as an important trade centre too. I was booked in a luxurious houseboat (traditional Kettuvallom). Apart from exploring the best of aquatic life and living of villagers along side the serene waters, I also relished various traditional dance forms, music and the sweet dish ‘Payasam’. I spent a couple of hours at an ancient Ayurveda & Yoga resort to rejuvenate my senses. During my entire tour, I found the coastline of Kerala dotted with canopies of coconuts, gorgeous greens, balmy beaches and the breathtakingly beautiful backwaters.

Posted on December 10th, 2009 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Kerala Backwater Tourism: Beauty,Excitement, Fun & Relaxation

Kerala Backwater
Kerala Backwater

I tell stories not to promote places, rather to inform the readers about the wonder destinations and to develop interest of people about places to see in India. Therefore, I am not just another wanderer ā€“ I am the Godā€™s man! And this story is about the journey of the Godā€™s man to the Godā€™s own country ā€“ Kerala. Steeped in greenery and natural beauty, the state offer countless fascinating attractions. It was a seven day trip during which I explored picturesque beaches, virgin landscapes, ancient temples, enchanting wildlife sanctuaries, aromatic spice/tea plantations etc. But the best part was, undoubtedly, Kerala backwaters.

The green state of Kerala is blessed with 44 rivers and a superb network of canals, lakes, lagoons and estuaries. These are the places where the true Kerala lifestyle can be enjoyed at its best. A Kerala backwater tour can take you through all these fascinating attractions and let you enjoy traditional Kerala art forms. On my tour to Kerala, I was booked in a luxurious houseboat that offered me a pleasant sail through palm trees, pandanus shrubs, leafy plants and bushes.

The traditional houseboat or Kettuvallom was simply another heaven to me. That eco friendly boat, built with bamboo poles, coconut fibre, ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc. offered me the bet facilities like a star rated hotel. It had proper bedroom, attached bathroom, power backup, sitting area, kitchen and sun deck. Moreover, I was provided with a cook and an assistant. So my journey was awesome with authentic seafood delicacies prepared by the cook and the interesting facts about Kerala served before me by the assistant.

We started our journey from Kollam, popularly known as ‘Swapnadesh’. The houseboat first took me to Alappuzha / Alleppy that is always compared to the watery city of Venice. There I visited some of the ancient architectural wonders and temples. On my visit to Kuttanad, I explored beautiful lakes, canals, rivers and rivulets. This was the time when I captured a number of colorful birds in my camera. My next halt was Kumarakom, where I enjoyed the cruise on Vembanana Lake and indulged in some of the common water sports.

Located alongside the coastline, Kasargod is a nice destination with immense natural beauty and shopping options. I found some good handicrafts & sarees for my mother at reasonable rates there. On my backwater tour in Kerala, my last destination was Thiruvallam, where I enjoyed the relaxing canoe rides.

After the complete tour of this green state with all the attractions, I realized that Kerala backwaters definitely serve as the perfect medium to explore waterways and have a closer look at the local villagers, their traditions and living. As Kerala backwaters are connected to almost all the major cities of the state, important from tourism point of view, they offered me wonderful opportunities to have a glimpse of culture, history, adventure, beauty and traditions of Kerala.

Posted on November 13th, 2009 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off

Kollam Tour: Kerala in Miniature

Kollam

Kerala Houseboat

Searching for a destination gifted with the best of waterways and the best of greenery?Ā  Plan out a Kerala tour and go through Kollam travel guide. ThisĀ  old seaport is also known as Quilon and is located on the banks of AshtamudiĀ  Lake, about 70 km from Thiruvananthapuram. Apart from serving as aĀ  wonderful gateway to Kerala, this beautiful district is also known as aĀ  renowned trade and commerce centre.

Background
Earlier aĀ  renowned trading point for spice, Kollam has been a favourite place forĀ  the traders of Persia,Ā  Arab, Rome and China. It was established as aĀ  modern trading centre by the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and the British. For the past few years, it has emerged as a leadingĀ  cashew trading and processing industry in India. Moreover, Kollam is anĀ  important hub for the state’s marine products.

Major Attractions:

Ashtamudi Lake
This secondĀ  largest lake of the state offers the best of backwater cruises. The backdropĀ  of Chinese fishing nets forms the spell binding view here. Dense coconutĀ  groves and palm trees surrounding the entire lake make it an idealĀ  place for your vacations. Kollam Boat Club offers ample opportunitiesĀ  for cruising alongside the waterline.

KottankulangaraĀ  Chamayavillanku
This is aĀ  unique and interesting festival, in which all the men dress themselvesĀ  like women and perform various art forms in devotion to Goddess Bhagavathy.Ā  Organized at the Kottankulangara temple in Chavara in March – April, theĀ  festival is marked by the ‘Damsels’ that come to the temple at night inĀ  a long procession with lighted lamps in their hands.

Jatayupara
As theĀ  name suggests, this huge rock at Chadayamangalam is dedicated to theĀ  mythical bird Jatayu in the epic Ramayana. As the legend goes,Ā  that huge bird died here only while fighting against the demon King Ravana,Ā  who kidnapped Devi Sita. Jatayupara serves as the venue for the ‘CraftsĀ  Festival’ that is held annually during December-January. ThisĀ  festival features the craftsmanship of artisans from all over the country.

Kottarakkara
EarlierĀ  being the capital of Travancore Royal family, Kottarakkara is popular asĀ  the place from where the famous Indian classical dance form originated.
KollamĀ  has no dearth of attractions. It is also frequented for the Picnic Village (the main centre of recreational activities), Rameshwara Temple, Palaruvi Waterfalls and the fresh water lake Sasthamkotta.

Kollam is favourite among history buffs because of several ruins of palaces andĀ  forts that are worth visiting. The scenic beaches are a treat to all theĀ  honeymooners as well as the routine vacationers.

Posted on November 9th, 2009 by Jagjit  |  Comments Off