Backwaters of Kerala in southwestern India is the region of Backwaters, one of the main attractions of South India. Let’s see what we actually mean when we talk about Kerala Backwaters.
Basically, it is a network of 9000 km² of canals, lakes, rivers, estuaries and lagoons which run parallel to the coast and make an amphibious and navigable world of unique beauty, a natural garden of marshes, coconut trees, rice paddies and cashews. The tourist places in South India are in abundance and the Backwaters of Kerala is just one of them. Keep reading to know more about this amazing beauty of nature.
The Backwaters of Kerala is the rural charm of small villages with its uses and customs. You can explore the region in a canoe or traditional kettuvalam (boat to transport grain) and it surprise you with the daily life of its inhabitants and enjoy the rural charm, one of the travel experiences more exciting for sagacious tourists who tour the south of India.
Why should you visit Kerala Backwaters?
There are nearly 40 rivers in this labyrinthine network of canals of more than 900 km long and it has five lakes, including the Vembanad, the largest in India. Many of them are included in the list of wetlands protected by the Ramsar Convention.
The villagers of this region are a fascinating example of adaptation to the environment i.e. fishermen, workers in the coconut industry, duck shepherds, fish farmers and breeders of giant prawns. To capture their daily toils is one of the charms for tourists.
Houseboats in Kerala Backwaters
Shores of the Backwaters of Kerala host a number of waterfowls. Exploring the network of waterways is the best choice. Traditional kettuvalam has become increasingly sophisticated in the recent years and, today, some are practically floating suites with all amenities like air conditioning, bathroom, kitchenette and luxury furniture.
A small kettuvalam has the capacity of 2-8 people to access secondary canal network, which provides an insight into the most remote areas where you can spend the night, especially moored in idyllic and quiet places.
How to get to the Backwaters of Kerala?
In the state of Kerala, in southwestern India and along the Arabian Sea, Cochin is the largest and nearest urban center and has an international airport as well.
When to go to the Backwaters of Kerala?
It is a region of tropical climate with an average annual temperature of 28 to 32° C. Throughout the year, there are two seasons of monsoons from June to September and October to November and summer season lasts from February to May.
States and Languages
Southern India is divided into six states which respond more than a simple administrative division. Until independence in 1948, there were still the old kingdoms with their Maharajas, the respective courts and capitals. But there were only kings and princes, the communities themselves gave rise to ethnic minorities clearly distinct from each other and different languages. Although the official languages of the Indian Union are English and Hindi, in the southern states, most people do not speak English or Hindi or speak hardly understandable English or Hindi. The language was key to mark the borders between states.
- Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of the east coast. It is an ancient language, Dravidian and firmly established among the population root.
- Telugu is spoken in the entire state of Andhra Pradesh and the capital Chennai. It is the language of seventy million people.
- Kannada is the language of Karnataka on the west coast where Bangalore is located.
- Marathi has Aryan origins as well as Hindi. It is spoken in the state of Maharashtra in the north of the southern region and has the status of ‘national’ language.
- Konkani is a more confusing language and its influence is reduced to Goa. It has similarities to Marathi.
Southern India has a tropical nature, manifested mainly in half looking to the West. Palm trees, exotic species, birds and lush landscape are part of the West that also has the abundant water that allows rich crops of rice, tea, cereals, etc.
Apart from the numerous wild species that live in natural reserves, south still has herds of elephants and tigers in the wild which have virtually disappeared from the rest of the country.
South India is a monsoon zone. The climate is mild in winter but it becomes very hot, especially in the lowlands during in April and May.
Monsoon rains start in June and help cool the temperature. They have their greatest intensity from June to September, although they may last until October.
Accordingly, the best time for the tour in order to enjoy the tourist places in South India is from September to April, coinciding with the dry and less hot weather. But as usual, everything is subject to when everyone has time for the journey.
During the rainy season, road traffic becomes more complicated than usual and therefore, it may be advisable to replace some long overland routes for airplane flights.