Kerala's centuries-old, palm fringed kerala backwaters stretch over 1900 kms. There is a Kerala that lives along these backwaters holiday. And it's an incredible experience to sail down these soothing waters in a country craft to absorb this unusual representation of Kerala life.
Alleppey remains prominent on the tourist trail as one of the major centres for backwater boat trips, served by ferries to Quilon and Kottayam in particular. The town is pleasant to stroll around, with plenty of activity to watch on the canals. One of the best known ports along the coast of Malabar, tourist literature is fond of referring to Alleppey as the 'Venice of the East'.
Kuttanad lies sandwiched between the sea and the hills. Kuttanad is an amazing labyrinth of shimmering waterways composed of lakes, canals, rivers and rivulets. Lined with dense tropical greenery, it offers a glimpse into rural Kerala life-styles.The view changes from narrow canals and dense vegetation to open vistas and dazzling green paddy fields. Homes, farms, churches, mosques and temples can be seen among the trees. And if you are lucky you might catch the blue flash of a kingfisher or the green of a parakeet. Endless tranquility is yours for the taking here.
One of the entry and exit points to the backwaters of Kerala, Quilon is one of the oldest ports of the Malabar coast and was once the centre of international spice trade. 76 kms north of Trivandrum, 30% of this historic town is covered by the renowned Ashtamudi lake. Quilon is also the largest producer of cashew in the state.
At a quiet spot just outside the small town of Karunagapally, 23 kms north of Quilon, it's possible to watch the construction of traditional Kettuvallams. These long cargo boats, a familiar sight on the kerala backwaters, are built entirely without the use of nails. Each jackwood plank is joined to the next with coir rope, and then the whole is coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. With careful maintenance they last for generations.
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