Kerala backwaters with houseboats, a popular holiday experience in south India.
Boating on the Kerala backwaters is one of the most relaxing and delightful activities a tourist can enjoy during an India travel experience.
The backwaters are a series of calm natural lagoons and lakes, partially salty, that have been connected by canals to form a waterway stretching hundreds of kilomtres along half of Kerala's length. On either side of the backwaters rural Indian life drifts quietly on, fishing, duck, coconut and coir farming, while foreign travellers chug by.
A backwater cruise can be accomplished in various ways. Cheapest (but noisiest) is simply jumping on a ferry at Alappuzha (aka Allepey, see backwaters map), climbing onto the roof and chillaxing till Kochi (Cochin).
Alternatively find a tourist boat for a more comfortable trip with sensible stops and guides. Or, time permitting, rent a kettuvallam houseboat and have a really relaxing trip. Alappuzha is the primary port to scout for trips.
Chinese fishing nets, visible both on backwater trips or on Kerala's coast around Fort Cochi.
Munnar tea plantations, Kerala
Kerala tourism in India's far southwest is mostly about relaxing on palm-fringed beaches in this
little but lush state , surrendering to Ayurvedic massage
(a Kerala speciality), hiking (or paragliding) over lush Munnar tea plantations or gently cruising the tropical backwaters, rather than
trudging around lingam-heavy temples or raucous cities.
However, it is worth dragging
yourself off the steaming sand or soporific houseboat to see ancient, local Hindu traditions
of music, dance or religious festivals which are invariably kaleidoscopic
jamborees of borderline insanity.
A cool way to get high in Munnar.
Locals enjoying having their cheeks pierced with steel rods in Allepey, Kerala state.
Elephants also enjoying a festival in Cochin.
Measuring a woman against a bunch of coconuts in Cochin. This is a local Maharaja's tradition. See Hampi Pictures and information.
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