Cruises in Kerala
The backwaters have not changed much since Vasco da Gama visited Kerala centuries ago. The charms he experienced while cruising down the backwater canals continue to woo tourists who come to Kerala seeking peace, quiet and relaxation. continue to has not changed much much as you will experience them today.
Begin your journey at Alleppey, the gateway to the inland water system of the state. Cruise through the Punnamada Lake, visit the Chavara Bhavan, an olden wooden house and enjoy the panoramic views of paddy fields, canals coconut lagoons and fisherfolk going about their daily chores. When all that is done, take a trip to the 400-year-old Champakulam church or if you are lucky, cheer the competitors at the 110 feet long snake boat races.
Or, if you are more adventurous, take the Alleppey - Thottappally sector through the Punnamada Lake and on to see the only Buddhist temple in Kerala with the ancient image of Karumadikuttan or Buddha. Then there is the Alleppey - Alumkadavu cruise which takes you again through the Punnamada Lake, the R Block and the C Block - huge patches of paddy field which are lower than the canal on which your boat is - and spend the night at Vattakayal. Next morning visit the Karrumadikuttan temple and rest for the night at Kayyamkulam Pozhy, where you can see the sun set and rise and the Chinese fishing nets in operation. Next day, take a trip through Kayyamkulam Lake and visit Vallicavu Amrithanadhamayi Ashram, the headquarters of the internationally well-known sanyasin Mata Amrithanadhamayi. You could get an opportunity to take a look at how coir is made in the coir village before you end your journey at Alumkadavu, the hub of the houseboat building industry in the state.
The other route for a backwater cruise could begin at Alappuzha with its maze of backwaters, canals and bridges. As you make your way out of Alappuzha through the rice bowl of Kuttanad, you will often find your boat moving on water, the level of which is often higher than that of the green fields on either side. Cruise on to Kochi via the backwaters and you will get an opportunity to see many beautiful sights along the way, such as the Chinese fishing nets, which are believed to have been introduced into Kerala by the traders from Kublai Khan's court.
A beautiful backwater spot accessible from Alappuzha is Kumarakom. Breathtakingly green, the little village seems to be sleeping peacefully by the Vembanad Lake. The lush green of the countryside gently mixes with the swaying coconut palms and blends into the waters. Kumarakom is so enchanting that in the last century an Englishman, Henry Baker, fell in love with the place and built his bungalow there. Today, the elegant and stylish mansion is a tourist complex. Next door to Kumarakom is the well-known 14-acre Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.
A haven for water ducks, Siberian birds and many more species from half way across the world, the sanctuary is a pleasure to visit in any season. But the best time is winter for it is then that birds come in droves. A golden yellow island, Pathiramanal, is also in Vembanad Lake and must not be missed. From there to Kochi is a short ride but one that will take you to a world of peace and quiet.
You could take another route from Alappuzha to Kollam. Your cruise will take you up the Pampa river to the island hamlet of Champpakkulam, and then on to the Karumadi Canal. Take time off to see the statue of Buddha, which locals believe is a legacy from the time when Buddhist monks came to Kerala to preach their message of peace. Then your Kettuvallam will go past Trikunnapuzha across the Kayamkulam and Ashtamudi Lake to end the journey at the ancient port of Kollam or Quilon.
Some Links of Houseboats and Cruises Tours