‘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…
The work commute. Beats the tube.
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.
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