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Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

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.

Watch the highlights video from our Keralan adventures

A Keralan backwaters experience

Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

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.

Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

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.

Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

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…

Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

Morning bathe.

Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

The work commute. Beats the tube.

Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters
Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

Scenic school run…

Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters
Postcards from the Keralan Backwaters

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.

Read: Kerala with Kids: Beaches and Backwaters – A 10 Day Itinerary

sima

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

Below are easily bookable activities which will help to plan your trip:

Where would we be without our Lonely Planet Guide!

PIN FOR LATER

Keralan Backwaters

Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links whereby I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See my full disclosure here.

50 Comments

  • Bejal 14th January 2019 at 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 14th January 2019 at 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.

  • Scarlett 14th January 2019 at 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 14th January 2019 at 11:25 am

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

  • binita 14th January 2019 at 10:57 am

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

    • Sima Sthanakiya 14th January 2019 at 11:25 am

      So amazing…I’m still not over it.

  • Keri | Ladies What Travel 14th January 2019 at 5:24 pm

    What beautiful pictures – especially that sunset, jaw-dropping! #CulturedKids

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th January 2019 at 12:48 pm

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

  • Fashion and Frappes 14th January 2019 at 7:35 pm

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

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th January 2019 at 12:47 pm

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

  • Emma 14th January 2019 at 8:46 pm

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

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th January 2019 at 12:47 pm

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

  • Sarah 14th January 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Talk about dream locations! This is absolutely beautiful!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th January 2019 at 12:46 pm

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

  • Nancy | MapandFamily 14th January 2019 at 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 15th January 2019 at 12:46 pm

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

  • Laura 15th January 2019 at 12:38 pm

    What beautiful pictures! It looked like a dream holiday!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th January 2019 at 12:45 pm

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

  • Lara Olivia 15th January 2019 at 3:40 pm

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

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th January 2019 at 5:18 pm

      Thank you Lara! I know that you will x

  • Amita 18th January 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Your pictures look amazing! I’ve been to so many places in India but never made it to Kerala, I’m going to make it my mission to go next time I’m in India x

    amerzwithlove.com

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th January 2019 at 8:34 pm

      I hope you do Amita. It’s a beautiful part of India.

  • Vyki from Museum Mum 18th January 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Such beautiful photos. I’ve visited India a few times but never made it as far south as Kerala. It looks just as beautiful as I imagine. What a great experience for the family #CulturedKids

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th January 2019 at 8:35 pm

      Thanks Vyki. It was an incredible trip with the family.

  • Anonymous 18th January 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Going to kerela soon can’t wait especially looking forward to trip on rice boat. Lovely photos.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th January 2019 at 8:37 pm

      Thank you! How exciting! Being on the backwaters is quite special. Have a great time.

  • Tanya Korteling 19th January 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Love your photos and great post. It was interesting to read as we also did a backwaters trip but did a canoe trip instead of a houseboat, sounds like you had a great time.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th January 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Thank you Tanya. Glad you enjoyed the read. We loved our stay on the houseboat, just wish it was longer than night.

  • Sapna 19th January 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Amazing photographs. Your photographs reminded me of my trip to Kerala.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th January 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Aww thank you Sapna. When did you last go?

  • Charlie 19th January 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Stunning photos and really beautiful scenery! Thanks for sharing and inspiring us!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th January 2019 at 8:39 pm

      Thank you Charlie. Hope it has inspired you to book a trip 😉

  • kate werth 19th January 2019 at 6:12 pm

    I love this, great shots! Look at all the colors in the clothes and homes and everything! India is in my top 5 of bucket travel list locations, but maybe the keralan backwaters is more interesting!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th January 2019 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks so much Kate. It’s so different to the rest of India on so many different levels. We absolutely loved it.

  • Stephanie 19th January 2019 at 7:51 pm

    These photos are gorgeous and give me a feel for the everyday life in Keralan. Lovely sunsets.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th January 2019 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks Stephanie. It was incredible. Hopefully inspired a trip for you 😉

  • Sarah 19th January 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Wonderful photos, Sima! Thanks for showing this scenic and serene side of India.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 20th January 2019 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks Sarah. Nice to see that side sometimes isn’t it?

  • Kayleigh 19th January 2019 at 10:01 pm

    It looks really amazing there! Really fab photographs too. This makes me want to T R A V E L

    • Sima Sthanakiya 20th January 2019 at 2:36 pm

      I hope so Kayleigh! India is amazing.

  • Frankie 21st January 2019 at 11:44 am

    So many beautiful photos!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 21st January 2019 at 2:48 pm

      Thank you Frankie x

  • Nicky@Go Live Young 21st January 2019 at 4:00 pm

    I’d love to visit this part of India! You’re photos are just beautiful #CulturedKids

    • Sima Sthanakiya 21st January 2019 at 7:19 pm

      I hope you get the chance Nicky. It’s am incredible place. Thank you x

  • Nic 5th May 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Lovely photo’s, looks an amazing part of India to explore by boat 🙂

  • Suzanne Jones - Travelbunny 28th January 2019 at 8:10 pm

    This was so dreamy – we’ve wanted to do this for a long time now. Might just have to bite the bullet. The shot of the palm trees reflected in the water is a stunner!

    • the Curious Pixie 29th January 2019 at 11:53 am

      It’s an amazing place Suzanne. Hope you bite the bullet soon x

  • Blog voyage 18th May 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Your pictures are really nice ! Nice trip…

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    I'm Sima, join me as I explore, experience and eat my way around the globe. Inspiring you to escape the everyday through my adventures... Read More

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