Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cruising the Backwaters of Kerala

It was more beautiful than I expected.

The backwaters of Kerala are becoming more famous and rightly so. Slowly cruising down these old canals will be something I remember for a long time.

This region is covered in rice paddies. The people in the area still grow rice for their livelihood. Over the years, hundreds of miles of canals have been constructed to act as a highway for the transportation of both goods and people.

The rice is now mainly transported by more modern methods. This has left the "kettuvallums" without their traditional employment.

So instead of transporting rice, most of them have now been converted into beautiful houseboats to cruise tourists around in.

And what a nice way to cruise they are!

The backwaters of Kerala feel a world away from the rest of India. They are so serene and peaceful. It doesn't seem possible that this place could be in the same country as all of the intensity and the crowds we had been experiencing.

At the helm was our navigator and driver Mohel. He and the rest of the crew made sure that we were well looked after.
We were hardly alone on the backwaters as well. It is becoming increasingly popular and more and more of the boats are now being constructed for the specific purpose of taking the tourists around the beautiful canals.
It was a nice relaxing change for all of us.
Rather than needing to race around seeking out different sites and sounds, we became more than content to allow the flow of the canals to bring everything to us.
Along the way, a fisherman sold us the biggest prawns I have ever seen in my life.
These are not crayfish or lobsters, they really are just enormous prawns!
The waters and everything that occurs on them seems to just create a sense of calm.
Laying back into the comfort of the lounges on our boat, we looked out into the distance more than happy to rest away the hours in this near perfect backdrop.

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