The backwaters of Kerala are one of the biggest tourist destinations in South India. The backwaters are essentially fresh water tributaries that end up rolling into the sea.

I visited that backwaters twice, once from Alleppey where I literally stayed on the backwaters and then again from Kochi. The true beauty for me is about how peaceful they are and how “real” life is on them.  As you travel along in a canoe, you are privy to the lives of the local villagers as they go about their daily business… washing their clothes and themselves, cleaning fish, making toddy (a fermented beverage made from coconut milk).

Here are some of the things I saw on the backwaters.

Having a conversation
The backwater village
Rowing the canoe


Collecting grass to feed the animals
After a glass of Toddy
Packing rice from the paddies


Pictorial Post: The Keralan Backwaters
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6 thoughts on “Pictorial Post: The Keralan Backwaters

  • November 28, 2011 at 11:17 am

    The entire west coast has beautiful scenery as you go down from Maharashtra onwards. Keral has a beauty of its own as you witness day to day life being led amidst almost unparalled beauty. Backwaters are only one part of it. The solemnity of the temples, swaying palms which can seen till horizon over green paddy fields, less known virgin beaches ( Calicut, Quilon), higher standard of hygeine, villages and towns seems interspersed and so many other features which make Kerala a distinguishes India from other States.

    Our family’s origins are from Kerala and we visit the State quite often. There is heartache at being compelled to emigrate from this state purely on economic grounds (60 years back by our parents) and the realisation that it is not possible to go back to this almost idyllic surroundings even if we want to .The world outside has marched ahead and Kerala is stuck in a communist time warp of Hartal (today there is announcement of Hartal by ruling party in four districts for some reason), lack of industrialiasation, suspicion of any business activity (Capitalist is the word to describe a rapacious business enterprise or individual), over consciousness of rights and ignoring responsibilites and so on.

    Thanks for describing the beauty of our State.

    • November 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

      Thanks for your comments.

      As a tourist it seems to me that Kerala is far more advanced than the other parts of India I have seen, mire educated, cleaner, less pollution, so I would be interested to understand more about your thoughts on it being backwards.

      As for beauty, I plan on exploring more of the coast soon. I look forward to it.

      • November 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm

        The backwardness arises out of lack of employment opportunities- in manufacturing or services- for the last several decades, compelling emigration to other states. You would know the difference when you travel thru the interiors of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. There is total dearth of small and medium industries in Kerala- forget about large manufacturing plants as compared to Tamil Nadu.

        Kerala has totally missed the IT boom which was captured by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu largely. There are many instances of missed opportunities. Kochi Port is one such example. Neither Trivandrum (as capital) nor Kochi (as one of the oldest trading port with history of over 2000 years- as per a BBC Program telecast on Sunday) have derived the advantage they should have.

        The decades of communist rule has created generation after generation of very young citizens who would march on the road hollering some slogan or other. It is common to see five or six teenage students shouting “Zindabad Zindabad” on some trivial issue or other.

        The level of awareness of the students of outside world is also said to be very limited (this is mentioned to me by a very close relative staying in Kerala). If you have an opportunity to meet young students- schools/college, you should do so.

        Kerala traditionally has a higher level of cleanilness and hygeine as compared to any northern state. The kind of street food that is common in other states is not normally found in most Kerala towns. Beggars are not common except near religious places. Most persons on the street are neatly dressed and the grinding poverty that is visible in many states is not seen all over the place. The railway stations are neat. The local transport buses are not in dilapidated state. Literacy levels were always high since for over a century the local rulers (in pre- independnce times) were foresighted and spread education.

        The generally accepted principle is that Keralites outside Kerala work very hard.

        Another lesser known aspect is that Keralites outside Kerala have great unity and help each other. Knowledge of Malayalam opens many doors . You should see the pleasure when a stranger starts speaking in Malayalam to another Keralite outside Kerala.

        • December 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm

          They are some really interesting insights, thank you for sharing.

          I haven’t had the chance to talk to any school children as yet, but will definitely try. The absence of manufacturing is quite clear, but I do find it interesting that Kerala is still so advanced in some ways, yet has been left behind in others. It shall be interesting to see how this State fairs in the long term compared to others that have been successful in cashing in on the boom, like Karnataka.


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