This area is a vast network of lakes, canals, estuaries and deltas teeming with aquatic life.
The canals are still the main highways for the villages in the area and one of the highlights of a trip to South India is to take a backwater cruise on a traditional rice barge that has been converted into a houseboat. This can last for just a night or two, or longer if you are feeling more adventurous.
A typical cruise route will take you slowly through villages, allowing you to observe rural life and customs without feeling at all intrusive. You can see girls picking mussels, and villagers’ toddy tapping, fishing or making coir products from coconut husks. Kerala’s bird life is amazing with a huge variety of species including kingfishers, crow pheasants, cormorants, drogues, woodpeckers, ducks, bee-eaters and kites.
What better way to end to a hectic Indian itinerary than by gliding through tranquil waters, surrounded by tropical landscapes and under shimmering blue skies? Backwater cruises operate all year round, although the best time is the dry winter season from October to March.
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