The Kerala Backwaters

IMG_1275

Perhaps the most famous attraction in the state of Kerala is the backwaters, a large network of lagoons, canals, and lakes that flow into the Arabian Sea.  It adds up to more than 900 km of waterways that run up and down the length of the state and there are many cities and towns that are points of entry.  You can rent a boat for a half day, full day, or even hire a houseboat and live on it for a week or more (which is very expensive!).

The backwaters are very beautiful, calm, and peaceful.  Even though it’s a major tourist attraction, I only saw two other boats out on the water during my full day trip.  As water pollution is an increasing problem, many boat companies have become eco-friendly and the boats are man-powered.  There is one man in front and one in back. They both have a long bamboo pole which they use to steer and move the boat.  The waters are shallow enough that the pole goes all the way to the river floor and the boat operator sort of pushes you along.  It’s a slow ride, but again, very peaceful.

My tour was broken down into two parts, separated by lunch.  In the morning I was on a large, covered boat that could seat around 25 people.  We stayed on a pretty wide, slow-moving river and we stopped at a place where women were making coir rope and another place were they were processing clam shells to make calcium hydroxide for fertilizer, paint, water purifier, and calcium tablets.

In the afternoon we boarded a large canoe and toured a small canal.  In the canal we saw so many cool birds: blue and yellow kingfishers (amazing birds!), racket-tailed drongos, woodpeckers, cormorants, heron, and lots of ducks.  I also spotted a water snake, which was pretty cool.  I didn’t get photos of any, of course.  We stopped at a home where many herbal plants were growing.  The coolest was the cinnamon tree. You could dig a piece of bark off and chew on it.

While I really enjoyed my day on the backwaters, I think a multi-day trip would have gotten a touch boring.  But I highly recommend the day trip to anyone visiting Kerala.

THE COVERED BOAT

IMG_1028IMG_1046IMG_1031IMG_1033IMG_1042IMG_1059IMG_1063IMG_1275IMG_1086IMG_1087

THE CANOE

IMG_1090

A momentary travel buddy, Carole

IMG_1091IMG_1094IMG_1099IMG_1100IMG_1107IMG_1109

ROPE MAKING AND CLAM SHELL FACTORY

IMG_1079

Coir is coconut husk, used for making coir rope

IMG_1075

People work until they’re dead in India. No such thing as “retirement.”

IMG_1072

Making rope

IMG_1057

The clam shell processing “factory”

IMG_1055

Our guide

IMG_1084

The kitchen where our lunch was made

IMG_1085

Lunch! It was really good.

IMG_1081

The bathroom facilities

IMG_1083

The view

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s