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Alleppey 'Venice of the East', figures prominently on the tourist trail as one of the major centers for backwater boat trips, served by ferries to Quilon and Kottayam in particular. One of the best-known ports along the coast of Malabar, it is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’. Alappuzha has the peculiar geographical feature of having the water in level with the land. This gives the advantage of getting a closer look at the village life on shore while on a backwater ride. Sailing along in a ‘kettuvallam’ (houseboat) through the enchanting backwaters of Alappuzha is sure to rob your heart. Palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either sides of the canals are sights one can never forget. One can glimpse Chinese fishing nets, flocks of ducks swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky. It is as close as one can get to feel the vibrant life in the countryside of God’s own country.
The 75 kilometer long sparkling network of rivers, canals, lakes, lagoons and tiny streamlets between Quilon and Cochin and beyond to Thiruvananthapuram, of which the Kuttanad (Backwaters) comprises of, are akin to a tropical land of canals. This bewildering labyrinth of shimmering waterways composed of lakes, canals, rivers and rivulets is lined with dense tropical greenery and preserves Kerala lifestyles that are completely hidden by road. Called the rice bowl of Kerala, because of her wealth of paddy crops is at the very heart of the backwaters. Yams and cassava which accompany the rice bowl as "side dishes". This is the one of the places in the world where farming is done below sea level (1.5 - 2 meters below sea level). Inland waterways that flow above the land level is an amazing feature of this land. Kuttanad is the heart of the backwaters of Kerala. This beautiful countryside with its waterways also has a rich crop of banana, Cassava and yam. The scenic countryside of Kuttanad with its shimmering waterways also has a rich crop of bananas. Alleppey (Alappuzha) has a large network of canals and is the centre for backwater cruises in Kerala. Alappuzha (Alleppey) is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. Alappuzha remains prominent on the tourist trial of Kerala as one of the major centers for backwater boat trips.
Kochi (Cochin) - Queen of the Arabian Sea: Kochi is group of islands on Lake Vembanad, which opens out into the Arabian Sea. Some of the islands are Bolgatty, Vyppin, Gundu and Vallarpadam.
Half the fun of visiting Kochi is moving around on the local ferries. A conducted cruise through the winding waterways will take you to several quaint spots. The main tourist attraction of Kochi is visiting these islands on the local ferries.
The lake opens out into the Arabian Sea here to form one of the finest natural harbors in the world. It is this natural advantage that has made Kochi a fascinating blend of the cultures and influences of the explorers and traders who visited this wealthy land.
Kochi is well known for one of the finest natural harbors in the world. The ancestral rulers of cochin with their cosmopolitan outlook, traded goods as well as knowledge with visitors from far off lands and latter Chinese, Arabs, Dutch, British and Portuguese followed the sea route to cochin.
The Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British have all left their mark here. The Jewish synagogue, the Dutch palace, the Chinese fishing nets, and other remnants of European and Asian architecture merge smoothly into the traditional fabric of the seaport city.
Then there is the captivating Cochin (Kochi) with the charming combination of the picture perfect islands like Bolgatty, Vyppin, Gundu and Vallarpadam. The reminisces of the Chinese, Arabian, Portuguese and the Dutch travelers and traders are omnipresent in Cochin. The variant village cruises to the coconut plantations and the coir villages should not be missed. The peace and the warmth make the vivacious destination come true to its title of being the queen of the Arabian Sea. The sweet memories of the rustic life and the gorgeous greens of Cochin will carry on to refresh you time and again much after the end of the holiday too.
Kumarakom is situated 15 km from Kottayam on the Vembanad lake is best described as a picturesque clean village like most places in Kerala. The enchanting backwater destination of Kumarakom is a small village in Kottayam. Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala. The bird sanctuary here spread across 14 acres of any ornithologist's paradise. This enchanting backwater destination offers visitors many leisure options. From wandering into the depths of its wildlife sanctuary to cruising down the back waters and fishing, Kumarakom is perfect for a lazy and laid back holiday. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands, as hundreds of swaying verdant coconut palms lining the rivers lean to brush the tops of your heads. Kumarakom is an example of nature at her best in the fragrant flowers, the riot of multi coloured birds, the surrounding greenery and the clear waters.
It has lately become a preferred tourist destination. Boat races, houseboat cruise, canoeing and fishing are some of the main attractions of this simple place. The huge houseboats, traditionally known as the Kettuvallams, are complete with living rooms, toilets, kitchen, balcony for angling and it is possible to live on them for days together for a truly unique experience. These Kettuvallams are actually remodeled cargo barges made of wooden planks joined together by rope only, without using nails at all. Kumarakom lies in the region of Kuttanad, which is the rice bowl of Kerala. Here farming is done below sea level. The peace and quiet, biting fresh air and unspoiled life style of the simple people of Kumarakom are a unique and rejuvenating experience that surpasses any modern entertainment activity or pastime.
The Vembanad Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia. It flows through the verdant lands of Kerala and offers one of the best backwater cruises. Most of the flora and fauna in this region flourishes around this supply of fresh water. The lake also acts as a balancing tank against floods, and its wooded banks, temptingly invite a visitor to explore more.
The Bird Sanctuary: A water-bird sanctuary lies at the edge of the grounds of an old estate where a profusion of all kinds of birds can be observed. Domestic birds such as cuckoo, wild duck, egrets, darters, herons, teal, and water fowl can be seen in abundance here, as much as can the Siberian storks which migrate to this area each year. Thekkady, a major wildlife center lies 114 km from here, and Sabarimala, a Hindu pilgrim center is 134 km from Kottayam. The charmingly un-kept coastal town of Alappuzha, lies close by. With its labyrinth of canals, bridges, silver beaches, and cheerful people it makes for a memorable holiday.