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BACK WATERS OF KERALA                                 

Kerala lives along these backwaters. They snake over the state physique, bestowing paddy fields with good harvests, and provide the whole village with drinking water and other facilities. The backwaters refer to the large inland lakes of Kerala. Today these backwaters act as vital water ways for the transport of people and produce.

Alappuzha (Alleppey)  -  Kuttanad

It is a heart-warming sight to see them carry a motley assemblage of cycles, goats, fisherwomen with cane baskets, school children, toddy-tappers with their knives and pots, duennas in white with gold earrings, Syrian Christian priests and a bare-chested boatman apiece The coir-workers too present an interesting sight as they soak coconut fibre in pools, beat them out and weave the tough brown strands into long ropes on spindles stretched between endless coconut trees Alleppey becomes the cynosure of the eyes of the world in August - September, every year, as it plays host to the celebrated Snake Boat Races - a water regatta unique to Kerala.

Quilon

Quilon is an inviting gateway to Kerala's backwaters. For an interesting backwater experience, take the regular ferry to Alleppey - a rigorous ride lasting more than 8 hours. As the old ferry putters from one village on the waterfront to another, you are treated to a full range of lives and activities and some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. charming old port city of Quilon (Kollam) on the banks of the picturesque Ashtamudi Lake is now known more as the centre of cashew industry. Traces of a once prosperous trade with China are still seen in the form of Chinese fishing nets, huge Chinese water pots, blue and white porcelain and sampan-like boats

Veli Lagoon

It is a nice place for tourists with young children to spend an afternoon. There is lots for the kids to do, and they will meet many of their young Kerala counterparts, all of whom will be eager to make new friends. Veli Lagoon main attraction at Veli is water - a large inland lake, separated from the ocean by only a narrow sandbar. For a few rupees, rides can be had in motor-driven safari launches and power boats, or a family can drift about in a pedal-boat or a row boat. There are kayaks, and even hovercraft, for the more intrepid. While skimming over the lake, visitors will see the local fishermen readying their boats, working on their nets, or poling sand-laden barges . This serves as a center for cultural performances and, with the ocean as a backdrop, provides the setting for an annual arts festival.

Backwaters Treatment

This is when the bright entrepreneurs of Kerala said: "Anything Kashmir can do, we can do better!" They bought rice boats from the out-of-work owners, made stately rooms, bathrooms, open-sided lounges, and kitchens, on board; employed the original owners as captains and crew on their own boats; brought in a chef and a guide, and were in business. Generally, a short session of backwaters serenity is enough to cure most of the ailments of urban "civilization," but if you have deeper disabilities of the mind, the heart, and the body you can walk further on Kerala's rejuvenating path. You must seek out one of Kerala's yoga, massage and Ayurvedic healing centres. The morning newspaper, an essential accompaniment to the first cup of tea, is delivered by skiff; water taxis convey spade-bearded Syrian Christian priests, school girls in blue skirts and white blouses, the fish-wives with plastic-lined baskets filled with mackerel; and a placid buffalo chewing the cud.

Cochin

Cochin is the oldest European settlement in India. Recording a history of visitors who came, saw and stayed for hundreds of years. Layered impressions - Chinese, Arab, Jewish, British, French and Portuguese, are contained within its environment.

Giant Chinese fishing nets that billow from massive teak and bamboo poles dot the entrance to the harbour. Silhouetted against the setting sun, they present a magnificent sight at the waterfront.

Kumarakom

This is an ideal place for backwater cruises. A beautiful backwater spot accessible from Kumarakom is Alleppey. The  shores of the enchanting Vembanad lake, 14 kilometers from Kottayam (travel time: 20 min), lies Kumarakom in its small-town hush. Redolent of restful ease.A boat ride into the countryside offers a close look into an engaging rustic life. Skiff-fishermen launching their cockleshell boats. Large flotillas of ducks waddling down to the water from thatched houses on the banks. Women, neck-deep in water, with their waist-length hair heaped in a crown, searching for fish with their feet.


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