Kerala's backwaters are one of the state's most compelling experiences of a back-to-nature, cultural high for visitors. Traditionally these waterways were one of the most important means of connectivity in the hinterland and a lifeline for the villagers on their embankments. They form an immense network of about 1500km of canals, rivers and five massive lakes, running parallel to the Malabar coastline, halfway across the state. A unique aspect of life by the backwaters is how the villagers have adapted their occupations of fishing and rice-growing to the brackish waters created by the mingling of the fresh waters of the rivers with the backwash of the salty waters from the sea.
Here is a wonderful opportunity to participate in backwater life that is marked by history and culture-rich living of thousands of years. Discover the enormous sense of community, connectivity and resourcefulness that make this experience so enriching. The real stakeholders of this place are the children who are the future of this place, you'll get to meet them at a local school - the Anganwadi where you’ll get to understand their aspirations and how education is a way to a better life.
It’s really worth it…this visit to a village in the backwaters…to just marvel at the sense of the community spirit and the faith that makes this life possible.
Why you will love itCenturies-old culture of Kerala’s backwatersLessons from an AnganwadiCruising down the iconic backwaters
What you will experience
Taking that early morning sunrise cruise on the backwaters of Kerala opens up a window to the villages clinging to the embankments readying for a new day. Steep yourself in those culturally rich scenes sweeping by as you cruise gently down the waterway… people lining up at a jetty to get to work…school kids in uniform crossing to the other bank on a local boat… fishermen coming back with their catch of the day.
We arrive at Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala, and marvel at the picture of emerald paddy fields stretching as far as the eye can see; chatting with the locals you'll discover how they use indigenous ways to grow rice in the brackish water of the backwaters. A visit to a local fish farm and a vegetable farm reminds us that these are some of the occupations that keep the village economy of the backwaters going.
At the local school by the backwaters, you will learn the back story of how Kerala became a role model for education and how far-reaching education is in this part of the world. Stepping into a house close by we get to meet one of the last craftsmen of the traditional custom of toddy- tapping and learn how the locals tap into every resource available to them and make life in the backwaters possible.