Have you ever imagined how heaven would be? Have you ever dreamt of being in heaven? In most of our tired and busy lives today there are moments when we wish we could be in heaven, in peace and serenity. Well one such place on this earth where one could feel close to heaven is the backwaters of God’s own country Kerala!
This tiny state at the tip of India has earned a place as one of the top ten paradises on earth by the National Geographic traveler. Kerala is one of the few places worldwide which is home to so many backwaters and lagoons.
According to the definition in wikipedia, Backwater is the part of the river where water flows backwards due to a natural or man made obstruction. The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes which lie parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast).The backwaters in Kerala is a well knit network of five large lakes which are linked by canals, both manmade and natural. All this is connected to about 38 rivers which flow through the state.
In ancient times 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.
The mode of transport on these backwaters is the Kerala houseboats or Kettuvallams. There are a variety of houseboats from low budget ones to houseboats of luxury and extravaganza. The Kerala government has labeled these houseboats as Silver, Gold and Platinum. The backwaters are home to a range of aquatic life. It is ethereal to have a lazy backwater cruise with the sound of the waves lapping at the oars, the whispering of the palm trees and the chirping of birds.
Some of the popular backwater destinations in Kerala is Alapuzha, Kumarakom, Thiruvallam, Kochi & Kollam.
Of all these places Allapuzha has the largest network of lakes and lagoons in Kerala. It is one of the most beautiful backwater destinations of India and is also known as the "Venice of the East. The largest lake amongst the backwaters of Allapuzha is the Vembanad Lake. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is also located on the east coast of this lake.
Alapuzha also hosts the annual Nehru Trophy Snake Boat race which is held here every year, around the festival of Onam.
Some of the other popular backwaters in India are the Chunnabar backwaters and the Muttukadu backwaters. Both these backwaters those less visited and popular than the ones in Kerala are equally beautiful and close to Kerala.
Chunnabar backwaters are about 8 kms from Puducherry which is close to Chennai. One can sail downstream on this tropical paradise and also pitch cozy tents on the seaside.
Located 20 km from Mamallapuram and 80 km from Kanchipuram, Muttukadu is also a lovely backdrop for picnics on backwaters.
So as you leave your worries and stress behind while floating on these backwaters, the beauty of the serene waterways and quaint inlets and creeks along the coastline of Kerala will enchant you.