Yes, there are many reasons to visit the southernmost Indian state of Kerala. This state is blessed with immaculate beaches, eye catching hill stations, scenic green valleys, shimmering backwaters and unique flora and fauna. Kerala has become one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world because of its unending charm. The beauty of the Kerala Backwaters is mind-blowing which give a new meaning to the tourism scenario of the state. Backwaters are a prime reason that makes Kerala a hot tourist spot in India. A cruising in a traditional houseboat along the sparkling backwaters of the state provides a laid back holiday experience to each visitor to Kerala.
Thousands of tourists visit Kerala each year to enjoy its scenic beauty and houseboat cruising. No doubt, backwaters are truly a highlight of the tourism industry of the state. A unique chain of brackish lakes, canals and lagoons, backwaters in this tourist destination is spread over an extensive stretch running parallel to the Malabar Coast in the state. Backwaters in Kerala were formed ecologically by the action of shoreline currents and ocean waves. It created a chain of low barrier islands transversely at the entrance of the rivers.
Most of the rivers in the state are flowing down from the Western Ghats range that form a broad coastline encompassed by low lying dunes secured by scrub and trees. There are 5 vast lakes connected this backwater network by a series of natural and man-made canals which again fed by approximately 38 rivers that descend from the Southern Ghats or inland hills. Although the backwaters in Kerala stretch about half a length of the state, many areas are not navigable by traditional houseboats.
It is interesting to know the small Indian state of Kerala has more than 900 kilometers of interrelated rivers, lakes, inlets and waterways that frame the Kerala backwaters. You can find a few grand towns and cities in the midst of this mesmerizing landscape. You can find the starting and end point of backwater cruises at these cities or towns. National Waterway No.3 in Kerala covers a distance of around 205 kilometer from Kollam to Kottapuram which is almost parallel to the shoreline of South Kerala promoting both backwater tourism and cargo transfer.
Travelers can find plenty of unique aquatic species in and alongside the Kerala backwaters like frogs, mudskippers and crabs and some water birds like kingfishers, darters, terns and cormorants. They can also watch turtles and otters in these areas. You can also see plant species like palm trees, pandanus and different leafy bushes and plants alongside the backwaters giving a green shade to the landscape. Since the backwaters are the meeting point of the freshwater from the rivers and the seawater from the Arabian Sea, it has a distinctive ecosystem. In order to control the entry of seawater to deep inside the freshwater, some preventive measures have been taken at some areas of the backwaters like a barrage has been constructed near Kumarakom in the Vembanad Lake. In these areas, fresh water is mainly used for irrigation purposes.
The largest lake in Kerala is Vembanad Lake which is bordered by Kottayam, Alleppey and Ernakulam districts. It covers an area of approximately 200 km2. Cochin is a vibrant city and commercial capital of Kerala located at the outlet of the lake to the Arabian Sea. Popularly known as the “Venice of the East”, Alleppey has a large water network meanders through this town. The best way to explore the beauty of backwaters is houseboat cruising and plan a memorable backwater cruising in Kerala with Karmic Seven United.
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