The Kerala backwaters are a network of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India, as well as interconnected canals, rivers, and inlets, a labyrinthine system formed by more than 900 kilometres (560 mi) of waterways, and sometimes compared to American bayous. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both man made and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range. In the midst of this landscape there are a number of towns and cities, which serve as the starting and end points of backwater cruises.
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. Vembanad is the largest of the lakes, covering an area of 2,033 square kilometres (785 sq mi). The lake has a large network of canals that meander through the region of Kuttanad. The important rivers from north to south are the Valapattanam 110 kilometres (68 mi), Chaliyar 169 kilometres (105 mi), Kadalundipuzha 130 kilometres (81 mi), Bharathappuzha 209 kilometres (130 mi), Chalakudy 130 kilometres (81 mi), Periyar 244 kilometres (152 mi), Pamba 176 kilometres (109 mi), Achankovil 128 kilometres (80 mi), and Kalladayar 121 kilometres (75 mi). Other than these, there are 35 more small rivers and rivulets flowing down from the Ghats. Most of these rivers are navigable up to the midland region, in country crafts.
The backwaters have a unique ecosystem: freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea. A barrage has been built near Thanneermukkom, so salt water from the sea is prevented from entering the deep inside, keeping the fresh water intact. Such fresh water is extensively used for irrigation purposes. Many unique species of aquatic life including crabs, frogs and mudskippers, water birds such as terns, kingfishers, darters and cormorants, and animals such as otters and turtles live in and alongside the backwaters. Palm trees, pandanus shrubs, various leafy plants, and bushes grow alongside the backwaters, providing a green hue to the surrounding landscape.
|Official name||Ashtamudi Wetland|
|Designated||19 August 2002|
|Official name||Vembanad-Kol Wetland|
|Designated||19 August 2002|
Kerala was ranked as one of the "50 destinations of a lifetime" by National Geographic Traveler in a special collectors' issue released just before the turn of the millennium, with houseboat and backwater resort tourism in Alappuzha seen as leading factors.
The kettuvallams (Kerala houseboats) in the backwaters are one of the prominent tourist attractions in Kerala. More than 2000 kettuvallams ply the backwaters. The Kerala government has classified the tourist houseboats as platinum, gold and silver.
The kettuvallams were traditionally used as grain barges, to transport the rice harvested in the fertile fields alongside the backwaters. Thatched roof covers over wooden hulls, 100 feet (30 m) in length, provided protection from the elements. At some point in time the boats were used as living quarters by the royalty. Converted to accommodate tourists, the houseboats have become floating cottages having a sleeping area, with western-style toilets, a dining area and a sit out on the deck. Most tourists spend the night on a houseboat. Food is cooked on board by the accompanying staff – mostly having a flavour of Kerala. The houseboats are of various patterns and can be hired as per the size of the family or visiting group. The living-dining room is usually open on at least three sides providing a grand view of the surroundings, including other boats, throughout the day when it is on the move. It is brought to a standstill at times of taking food and at night. After sunset, the boat crew provide burning coils to drive away mosquitoes. Ketuvallams are motorised but generally proceed at a slow speed for smooth travel. All ketuvallams have a generator and most bedrooms are air-conditioned. At times, as per demand of customers, electricity is switched off and lanterns are provided to create a rural setting
Beypore, located 10 km south of Kozhikode at the mouth of the Chaliyar River, is a famous fishing harbour, port and boatbuilding centre. Beypore has a 1,500-year tradition of boatbuilding. The skills of the local shipwrights and boatbuilders have widely sought after.
Regular ferry services connect most locations on both banks of the backwaters. The Kerala State Water Transport Department operates ferries for passengers as well as tourists. It is the cheapest mode of transport through the backwaters.
The unregulated proliferation of motorised houseboats in the lakes and backwaters has raised concerns regarding the adverse impact of pollution from diesel engines and outboard motors on the fragile ecosystem.
Connected by artificial canals, the backwaters form an economical means of transport, and a large local trade is carried on by inland navigation. Fishing, along with fish curing, is an important industry.
Kerala backwaters have been used for centuries by the local people for transportation, fishing and agriculture. The region has supported the efforts of the local people to earn a livelihood. In more recent times, agricultural efforts have been strengthened with reclamation of some backwater lands for rice growing, particularly in the Kuttanad area. Boat-making has been a traditional craft, so has been the coir industry.
Kuttanad region is crisscrossed with waterways that run alongside extensive paddy fields, as well as fields of cassava, banana and yam. The crops are grown on the low-lying ground and irrigated with fresh water from canal and waterways connected to Vembanad lake. The area is similar to the dikes of the Netherlands, where land has been reclaimed from the sea and crops are grown.
Chundan vallams or snake boats are narrow boats over 100 feet (30 m) long, with a raised prow that stands 10 feet (3.0 m) above water and resembles the hood of a snake. Traditionally these were used by local rulers to transport soldiers during waterfront wars. In modern times, it has spawned a new sport – the Vallam Kali (boat race). Each chundan vallam accommodates about a hundred muscular oarsmen.
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 boat races starts with Champakulam Moolam Boat Race which is held on the Pamba River in the village Champakulam on Moolam day (according to the Malayalam Era M.E) of the Malayalam month Midhunam, the day of the installation of the deity at the Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple. Very interesting stories lie behind the origin of Moolam Boat Race.
When Jawaharlal Nehru visited Kerala in 1952, four traditional chundan valloms went to receive him. A snake boat race was organised for him. He was so impressed that when he went back to Delhi, he sent back a gleaming silver trophy for a boat race. Even today, the 1.5 km Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the most prestigious.
The Thazhathangadi boat race held every year on Meenachil river, at Thazhathangadi, Kottayam is one of the oldest and most popular boat races in the state.
Kuttanadu is a region covering the Alappuzha and Kottayam Districts, in the state of Kerala, India, well known for its vast paddy fields and geographical peculiarities. The region has the lowest altitude in India, and is one of the few places in the world where farming is carried around 1.2 to 3.0 metres (4 to 10 ft) below sea level. Four of Kerala's major rivers, the Pamba, Meenachil, Achankovil and Manimala flow into the region. Kuttanadu is historically important in the ancient history of South India and is the major rice producer in the state. It is also well known for its boat races.
Vembanad Lake, the largest lake in Kerala is at the heart of the Backwater tourism with hundreds of kettuvallams plied on it and numerous resorts on its banks. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake. The lake has become a major tourist attraction
The major occupation in Kuttanadu is farming, with rice the most important agricultural product. This activity gives the area its moniker of "The Rice Bowl of Kerala". Large farming areas near Vembanad Lake were reclaimed from the lake. In 2013 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations formally declared the below sea-level farming system in Kuttanad as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).
Kollam (earlier known as Quilon) was one of the leading trade centres of the ancient world, eulogised by travellers such as Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo. It is also the starting point of the backwater waterways. The Ashtamudi Kayal, known as the gateway to the backwaters, covers about 30 per cent of Kollam. Sasthamcotta Kayal, the large fresh water lake is 28.5 km from Kollam city.
Islands are the eye-catching factors as well as the beauty of Lake Ashtamudi, Kollam. Most of these islands are potential tourism spots in the state. The Indian Railways also planning to develop one of the islands in Kollam for a tourism project. There are big as well as small islands which are inhabited and uninhabited by human beings. There are more than 15 islands in Ashtamudi Lake. The important islands in Kollam are:
Paravur Estuaries lie near to the south-western coast of Kollam. The place is world-famous for its natural beauties, backwater locations, white-sand beaches and concentration of temples in every square kilometer. The peninsula of Paravur is one of the most visited in Kollam district. Both north and south tips of Paravur town have both peninsula and estuary. Pozhikara is north and Thekkumbhagam is south of Paravur. One more estuary mouth in Pozhikara, which is very close to Pozhikara Devi Temple, which has breached in 2014 under the supervision of Water Resources Department (WRD), after a long gap of 14 years.
Munroethuruth or Munroe Island is a place surrounded by Kallada River, Ashtamudi Lake and Sasthamkotta Lake in Kollam district, Munroe Island is a cluster of eight tiny islands, Blessed with a number of criss-cross canals and zigzag water channels, this Island plays a host to many migratory birds from various countries around the world. You can watch birds such as Kingfisher, Woodpecker, Egret, Bee-eater, Crow pheasant, and Paddy Birds. There is yet another rare chance to see the traditional Indian spice plants such as Pepper, Nutmeg and Cloves.()
The first community tourism programme in the State will start functioning from the MunroeThuruthu islands. Coir making is a home industry to almost all the village living people. It is very interesting to watch the coir making by the village ladies with the help of weaving Wheels. They make the coir ropes by hand. In addition to this, on the way, you can see the process of extracting coconut oil from the "copra" [dried coconut]. Among the routine traditional engagements, duck, poultry farm and prawn breeding are common in all houses.
Kasargod in north Kerala is a backwater destination, known for rice cultivation, coir processing and lovely landscape, it has the sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the north and east. Cruise options are Chandragiri and Valiyaparamba near Kavvayi Backwater. Chandragiri is situated 4 km to the southeast of Kasargod town and takes tourists to the historic Chandragiri fort. Valiyaparamba is a scenic backwater stretch near Kasargod. Four rivers flow into the backwaters near Kasargod and there are many small islands along these backwater stretches, where birds can be seen.
Thiruvallam backwaters are just 6 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital. Known for its canoe rides, Thiruvallam is becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Two rivers, the Killi and the Karamana, come together at Thiruvallam. Not far from Thiruvallam is the Veli Lagoon, where there are facilities for water sports, a waterfront park and a floating bridge. The Akkulam Boat club, which offers boating cruises on Akkulam Lake and a park for children, is also a popular tourist attraction near Thiruvallam.
Kozhikode (also known as Calicut) has backwaters which are largely unexplored by tourist hordes. Elathur, the Canoly Canal and the Kallayi River are favourite haunts for boating and cruising. Korapuzha, the venue of the Korapuzha Jalotsavam, is a popular water sport destination.
Two prominent writers in the region are Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai and Arundhati Roy.
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, (1912–1999), the Padmabhusan and Jnanpith and Sahitya Akedemi award-winning writer, was born in Thakazhi village in Alappuzha district. He wrote in Malayalam. His novel Chemmeen has been translated into most Indian languages and several foreign languages.
A number of movies were filmed in the backwaters around Alleppey and other parts of the state.
Some other major movies include
Aroor is a census town at the northern end of Alappuzha district and the southern end of the Kochi Bypass in the state of Kerala, India. It is a seafood related industrial area to the south of Kochi. Aroor is a two way entrance to the city of Kochi.Babu Varghese
Babu Varghese (born 28 January 1951, Kerala, India; died 18 October 2011) helped to make the South Indian state of Kerala, and in particular the image of houseboats on the Kerala backwaters, a notable tourist destination.Backwater (river)
A backwater is a part of a river in which there is little or no current. It can refer to a branch of a main river, which lies alongside it and then rejoins it, or to a body of water in a main river, backed up by the tide or by an obstruction such as a dam. Manmade restrictions to natural stream flow or temporary natural obstructions such as ice jams, vegetation blockage, or flooding of a lower stream can create backwater.Fort Kochi Beach
Fort Kochi beach is a beach along the Arabian Sea situated in Fort Kochi in the city of Kochi in South India, Kerala state.Kavvayi Backwaters
Kavvayi is a group of small islands, near Payyannur in the Kannur district of Kerala state in India. The island is connected to Payyannur by a small bridge on the Kavvayi River. The population is mainly Muslim.Kerala State Water Transport Department
Kerala State Water Transport Department (SWTD) is a governmental department that regulates the inland navigation systems in the Indian state of Kerala and provides inland water transport facilities. It stands for catering to the traffic needs of the inhabitants of the waterlogged areas of the Districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kollam, Ernakulam, Kannur and Kasargode. The department is headed by the State Minister in charge of transportation.
This system consists of 1895 kilometers of waterways, including navigable rivers, backwaters, and man made cross canals. Most of these are in Travancore-Cochin region. Of the 44 rivers in Kerala, 41 of the westward flowing rivers combine with back waters and man made canals to form an integral part of inland navigation system.
Even through it is a commercial department, its functioning is like a service Department, ever since ‘Transportation’ came under “Essential Service” in Kerala. The Department transports about 150 lakhs of passengers per annum using Wooden/Steel and fibreglass passenger boats.
A study conducted in 2011-2012 by CPPR on Inland Water Transport in Kochi shows that around 56 percent of the passengers expressed their dissatisfaction over the quality of ferry service.Keralotsavam
Keralotsavam is the national Youth Festival of Kerala. It is co-ordinated by Kerala State Youth Welfare Board.Kodungallur
Kodungallur (also known by its former name Cranganore), is a municipality on the estuary of river Periyar on the Malabar Coast in Thrissur district of Kerala, India. It is situated 29 kilometres (18 mi) north of Kochi (Cochin) by National Highway 66. Kodungallur, being a port city at the northern end of the Kerala lagoons, was a strategic entry point for the naval fleets to the extensive Kerala backwaters.
As of the 2011 India Census, Kodungallur Municipality and Out Growth (Grade II) had a population of 60,190. It had an average literacy rate of 95.10%. Around 64% of the population follows Hinduism, 32% Islam and 4% Christianity. Schedule Caste (SC) constitutes 7.8% while Schedule Tribe (ST) were 0.1% of total population in Kodungallur.
Kodungallur is the headquarters of the Kodungallur sub-district (tehsil) in Thrissur district. Kodungallur Kerala Legislative Assembly constituency is a part of Chalakudi Lok Sabha Constituency. Kodungallur is well connected to other towns in Kerala through the road network. Aluva Railway Station in Ernakulam district (28 km) is the major railway station near Kodungallur.
Fort Cranganore (Fortaleza Sao Tome), known locally as Kottappuram Fort/Tipu's Fort, was constructed in Kodungallur by Portuguese in 1523. The fort was enlarged in 1565, and passed into the hands of the Dutch in 1663. Thiruvanchikulam Mahadeva Temple, dedicated to the god Siva, is one of the major Siva temples in South India. Siva in the Thiruvanchikulam temple was the patron deity of the Chera Perumals of Kerala and remains the family deity of the Cochin Royal Family.Konaseema
Konaseema is the Delta region of the Godavari river in East Godavari District of Coastal Andhra Pradesh, India. Regarded as East Kerala due to its similarities to the Kerala backwaters. It is often termed as "God's Own Creation". It is surrounded by tributaries of the Godavari River and the Bay of Bengal.
After crossing Rajahmundry, the Godavari splits into two branches which are called Vriddha Gautami (Gautami Godavari) and Vasishta Godavari. The Gautami further splits into two branches, namely Gautami and Nilarevu. Similarly the Vasishta splits into two branches named Vasishta and Vainateya. These four branches, which join the Bay of Bengal at different places, form a delta of length 170 km (110 mi) along the coast of the Bay of Bengal and is called the Konaseema region.
Amalapuram is the major town in Konaseema, other towns are Razole, Ravulapalem, Kothapeta and Mummidivaram,. This region is mostly known for its coconut trees and paddy fields.Konaseema coconuts are exported to various places of India and the price of coconuts is less as the production is more.
Entrance of Konaseema region has been beautifully decorated, it symbolizes tourists that they are entering green land called Konaseema
The below arch is located in Ravulapalem to Amalapuram routeKumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary) is situated at Kumarakom in Kottayam taluk of Kottayam district in the Indian state of Kerala, on the banks of Vembanad Lake. Set in the Kerala Backwaters, the bird sanctuary is a favourite haunt of migratory birds.List of rivers of Kerala
There are 44 rivers in Kerala, all but three originating in the Western Ghats.
41 of them flow westward and 3 eastward. The rivers of Kerala are small, in terms of length, breadth and water discharge. The rivers flow faster, owing to the hilly terrain and as the short distance between the Western Ghats and the sea. All the rivers are entirely monsoon-fed and many of them shrink into rivulets or dry up completely during summer.List of universities and colleges in Kollam district
Kollam district, earlier called Quilon district, is one of the 14 districts of Kerala state, India. The district is representative of all the natural attributes of Kerala states, and is endowed with a long coastal region, a major sea port on the Arabian Sea, plains and the mountains, lakes, lagoons and Kerala Backwaters, forests and the farm land, and rivers and streams. The area had mercantile relationship with Phoenicians and the Romans.Muziris beach
Muziris Beach ( also known as Munambam Beach ) is situated at the north end of Vypin Island in Ernakulam.Paravur Lake
Paravur Kayal is a lake in Paravur, Kollam district, Kerala, India., Although it is small, with an area of only 6.62 km², it is the end point of the Ithikkara River and part of the system of lakes and canals that make up the Kerala Backwaters. It has been connected to Edava and Ashtamudi Kayal as part of the Trivandrum - Shoranur canal system since the late 19th century.Poochakkal
Poochakkal is part of a small island consisting Arookutty, Panavally, Thycattusserry and Pallippuram Panchayaths close to the Kerala Backwaters in Kerala, India. Until the 2006 Kerala Assembly Elections, Poochakkal was part of the Cherthala LAC. After delimitation from the 2011 elections, it became a part of Aroor LAC.Pulinkunnoo
Pulincunnoo or Pulinkunnoo is an island village in the Kuttanadu region of Alappuzha district in the Indian state of Kerala. The Pampa river in Pulincunnoo is one of the most favored routes of the houseboats tourism operators in Kuttanadu. The village is part of the many islands dotting the famous Kerala Backwaters, a network of lakes, wetlands, and canals crisscrossing through the State. Pulincunno is notable for the annual Rajiv Gandhi Trophy snake boat race held during the months of October–November.Vallam Kali
Vallam Kali (vaḷḷaṃ kaḷi, literally: boat game) is a traditional boat race in Kerala, India. It is a form of canoe racing, and uses paddled war canoes. It is mainly conducted during the season of the harvest festival Onam in autumn. Vallam kali includes races of many kinds of paddled longboats, the traditional boats of Kerala. Each team spent about 6 lakh rupees for nehru trophy.
The race of chundan vallam ('snake boat', about 30-35 meter (100-120 feet) long with 64 or 128 paddlers aboard) is the major event. Hence Vallam Kali is also known as the snake boat race and is a major tourist attraction. Other types of boats which do participate in various events in the race are churulan vallam, iruttukuthy vallam, odi vallam, veppu vallam, vadakkanody vallam and kochu vallam. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a popular vallam kali event held in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha, Kerala, India.Vazhachal Falls
Vazhachal Falls is situated in Athirappilly Panchayath of Thrissur district in Kerala on the southwest coast of India. Located on the west-flowing Chalakudy River near the Vazhachal Forest Division and at the edge of the Sholayar ranges, it is just 5 km from entrance of Athirappilly Falls. It is located 36 km from Chalakudy.
Hydrography of the Indian subcontinent
|Inland lakes, deltas, etc.|
dams and reservoirs
|Hydrography of |