Kerala wears a vast necklace of rivulets, canals, lagoons and lakes, the cluster of which is called the backwaters, forming a beautiful and economically viable feature of the state. In the whole of the country, the backwaters are exclusive to the state of Kerala and found nowhere else. 44 west flowing rivers of the state form a backbone to the criss crossing network, lending a peculiar landscape and impacting the local lifestyle. The state’s unique water highway stretches across its length, from one end to the other.
The backwaters have turned out to be a boon for the tourism industry, offering heavenly houseboat cruises to the visitors, reaping significant revenue for the sector. The backwaters form a gateway for the tourists to get a first-hand feel of the unhurried pace of life in the remote hamlets. Scenes from the rural life unfold as one witness the locals engaged in boat building, prawn breeding, rice farming, duck rearing, sand mining, coir making, basket weaving etc – all of which form refreshingly fascinating sights, far removed from the madding crowd, for any urban visitor.
Thousands of tourists from all over the globe seek to soak themselves in the delightful ‘nature experiences’ of the countryside, unanimously vouching that “it’s one of a kind ambiance” and “an experience of a lifetime”. No wonder the state is rated as one of the top ten tourist destinations and a must see hotspot in Asia. The state’s blue-green meandering backwaters are one among its best natural resources and a ‘numero uno’ tourist attraction.
The lagoons offer a spectacular view of the rural landscape fringed by coconut groves, mangrove forests, hutments and rural folk engaged in their traditional occupations, water flora, and bird life. The whole atmosphere reflects Kerala in its pristine glory. Tourists especially like to flock towards this land during the southwest monsoon season when exciting houseboat tour packages are available and one can feel the joy of the rain sitting in the warm cozy interiors. Kerala Tourism Department comes out with special monsoon packages each year to suit the convenience and budget of various categories of travelers. Monsoon melas featuring music, dance, and food fairs are also held for entertainment.