The beauty of Kerala lies in its backwaters that are unique in the entire world. Brimming with natural beauty and economically viable, this uniqueness of Kerala, makes it a heavenly delight for its visitors. It features 41 West-flowing rivers of Kerala that are the highlights of this fabulous gift of nature. In earlier times, this water highway covered the entire expanse from the South of Kerala to the northernmost part of the state but many of these waterways have been closed now. According to a legend, it was the warrior sage Parashuraman who threw his battle-axe and 'reclaimed' the land from the seas created Kerala. Today, Kerala remains a land of canals, lagoons, lakes and rivers, which constitute the so-famous Backwaters of Kerala, which have played an important part in the lifestyle of the people living on its shores. For the benefit of the tourists, the old waterways are being re-opened.
Kerala's backwaters provide a gateway to the visitors to see the true rural life of the region. The traditional lifestyle of Kerala's villages is tough, slow and highly labor intensive and the chief occupations of the people are boat building, prawn cultivation, sand mining, coir manufacture, limestone collection (by the specialist divers), rice farming and duck rearing, which is in sharp contrast to that of the teeming crowds of visitors who come to the place. Alapuzha is an ideal starting-point of the journey because of its large network of canals from where one passes through several small canals that come out into the Vembanad Lake, to the land of Kuttanad, which was once known as the rice bowl of Kerala, because of its cultivation of paddy fields that used a clever system of dykes and bunds. It is exciting to note that this place is one of the few places, which are below sea level.
Kumarakom has been recently discovered and have now blossomed into a beautiful backwater holiday destination with its spectacular lagoon fringed by coconut groves that have almost become an icon of Kerala tourism. This place also boasts of a 14-acre bird where one can spot several of avian species such as water ducks, cuckoos and Siberian storks. Coconut Lagoon and Englishman Henry Baker's bungalow that has now been converted into a heritage hotel by the Taj group are the chief attractions of the place.
Today, one may enjoy the backwaters of Kumarakom whole sailing in the local houseboats, called 'Kettuvallam' that are unique to this region.
Kollam with its maze of rivers, lakes and lagoons, is a popular destination where one can see splendid views of the glorious Kayamkulam Lake and the Ashtamudi Lake. Kochi, the commercial Capital of Kerala, is not far behind with its treasure of myriad lagoons, rivers and lakes.
Monsoons here are even more beautiful because of the traditional snake boat races with the 130 feet long Chundan boats as their highlights. Some of the major boat race events are the Nehru Trophy Boat Race held on the second Saturday of August and the Aranmula Boat Race, which is more traditional and is associated with temple festival at Aranmula. The boat carnival starts on the day of Thiruonam, the most auspicious day of the Kerala festival, Onam.
Besides these backwaters of Central Kerala, there are other places too such as Veli in South Kerala, and Kadinamkulam, Edava, Anjengo, Madayara, Peravur, Ashtamudi, Kayamkulam, Kodungalur, Chetuva and Valiyaparamba in North Kerala.
German tourists who are interested in exploring Kerala can visit the site Indien tour.