Kerala Backwaters

A houseboat also known as Kettuvallom floating in the Vembanand Lake/Vinaya Raj
Kerala Backwaters is a network of lakes and lagoons connected by a number of canals both natural and man-made and fed by 38 rivers. It is formed as the result of action of sea waves creating low barrier islands across the mouths of several rivers flowing into the Lakshadeep Sea. It is sometimes compared to the American Bayous.

Five major lakes which are the part of Kerala Backwaters are Vembanad, Ashtamudi, Paravur, Sasthamcotta and Veli. Some of the major rivers that flows into the backwaters from north to south are Valapattanam, Chaliyar, Kadalundipuzha, Bharathappuzha, Chalakudy, Periyar, Pamba, Achankovil, and Kalladayar.

In 1993, a 168-km stretch in Kerala backwaters between Kollam and Kottapuram was declared as the National Waterway 3. It was later extended in the north up to Kozhikode from Kottapuram along with 3 new national waterways connected to NW3 under the National Waterways Act, 2016. At present, its length stand at 205 km.

In 2002, the Ashtamudi wetland and Vembanad Kol wetland were included in the list of important wetland sites by Ramsar convention. The Vembanad Kol wetland has the third largest waterfowl population in the country and known for more than 100 avifauna species including migratory species.

Alappuzha, Kollam, Kasargod, Kettunad, Kozhikode, Kumarakom and Thiruvallam are some of the popular towns that exists on the bank of Kerala backwaters.

Kettu-Valloms (the houseboats) are the main attraction of Kerala backwaters alongwith boat races. The Kerala backwaters is listed as one of top 50 destinations of lifetime by National Geographic Traveler.

Also Read:
1. 9 major Lakes of Kerala
2. 44 Major Rivers of Kerala