Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

God’s Own Country’ is how the locals describe the state of Kerala located along the Arabian Sea in southwestern India. Our winter family break to Kerala included a stay on the backwaters and a throwback to simpler times.

Home to fishermen and rice farmers, it’s a maze of waterways, canals and lakes extending for over 900 kms from one end of the state to another. Man-made and natural, fresh and salt, the backwaters are a result of the 38 rivers which feed into the Arabian sea.  There are a few towns scattered around the water, but mainly your eyes will feast on a blanket of palm trees, wildlife, rice fields and the most unreal sunsets and rises.

Long before roads this network was the watery highway of Kerala. Today  they provide a unique travel experience. An insight into everyday life of the locals as you sail on the kettuvallams, or houseboats as they are known. Once used as grain barges, transporting rice harvested in the fields, they’re now exclusively used for tourism.

Once on these intricate backwaters all that’s left to do is sit back and savor life in the slow lane. Bet you never thought you’d hear that line when talking about India!

And that’s exactly what we did on board of our kettuvallam, intoxicated by all the incredible sights and sounds of everyday life. Come join us…

Morning bathe.

The work commute. Beats the tube.

Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

Scenic school run…

or just hitch a ride on your brother’s bike.

Those who wash their clothes together…well they have very, very clean clothes.

Pop to the shops in your boat. Mr S bartered for some impressive tiger prawns here.

One must always wash the pots thoroughly after lunch.

Father and son time.

And a quick gossip.

Local mud collectors, diving the depths of the river in dangerous conditions.

Farmers paddling their canoes to reach the mesmerising swaying rice fields.

Fisherman back with their haul.

The most colourful churches and homes along the bankside. 18.38% of the population in Kerala are Christians. 

The smiliest, happiest faces I’ve seen in a long time…

Water hyacinths may look pretty but choke up the backwaters. Denying fish oxygen, entangled in fishing nets, clogging boat propellers and is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

As the sun sets, we edge closer on a canoe…

for the magnificent views.

And the iconic Chinese fishing nets

Oh Kerala how we do miss you. Until the next time.

sima

Our one night stay on the houseboat was booked via our travel company Original Travel, with Lakes and Lagoons.

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20 Comments

  1. 14th January 2019 / 8:55 am

    When someone says Keralan backwaters to me, these images are exactly what comes to mind! You have captured the sights so perfectly Sima. Really beautiful photography x

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      14th January 2019 / 9:46 am

      Aww thanks Bejal. It’s incredible having such a close insight into people’s lives on the backwaters. We were blown away.

  2. 14th January 2019 / 10:04 am

    What a stunning collection of photos from one of my favourite parts of the world. You must have had terrible trouble narrowing them down – I can only imagine how many more there were. Thanks for linking up with #CULTUREDKIDS, Sima!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      14th January 2019 / 11:25 am

      Oh my god, so many Scarlett! Thank you, glad you enjoyed them x

  3. 14th January 2019 / 10:57 am

    OMG it looks incredible!!! Can’t wait to get the lowdown from you

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      14th January 2019 / 11:25 am

      So amazing…I’m still not over it.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      15th January 2019 / 12:48 pm

      Thank you Keri. Sunsets are just incredible here and so utterly peaceful.

  4. 14th January 2019 / 7:35 pm

    This looks gorgeous! I have been wanting to go to Kerala for so long. This looks amazing.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      15th January 2019 / 12:47 pm

      Hope you make it there soon. It’s a beautiful place.

  5. 14th January 2019 / 8:46 pm

    Your photos are just stunning!! I would love to visit Kerala! #CulturedKids

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      15th January 2019 / 12:47 pm

      Thank you Emma. It’s definitely a place I think everyone should visit once.

  6. 14th January 2019 / 9:28 pm

    Talk about dream locations! This is absolutely beautiful!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      15th January 2019 / 12:46 pm

      I was a dream bucket list holiday and surpassed all my expectations.

  7. 14th January 2019 / 9:58 pm

    What stunning and fascinating photos! I didn’t really know much about Kerala before I read this post and now I feel like I’ve paid a quick visit! It’s certainly somewhere I’m adding to my list.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      15th January 2019 / 12:46 pm

      Oh you really must Nancy. It’s a beautiful part of India, yet so very different to the rest of India.

  8. 15th January 2019 / 12:38 pm

    What beautiful pictures! It looked like a dream holiday!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      15th January 2019 / 12:45 pm

      Such an idyllic way to see the backwaters Laura. We just loved it.

  9. 15th January 2019 / 3:40 pm

    Stunning photography! wow. What an amazing trip to do with your family. One day I’ll do the same 🙂

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      Author
      15th January 2019 / 5:18 pm

      Thank you Lara! I know that you will x

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