Here is a unique environment and eco-system you will find no-where-else in the world. Your eyes will never tire looking at the vast expanses of placid waters with tiny boats that one or two persons move with oars, motorized boats with more passengers, boats laden with coconut husks, boats selling things, fishing boats, house boats for tourists, passenger boats, etc. Your body will feel refreshed with the perennial cool breeze that wafts from the lake all around.
The lush green of the mangrove forests and coconut orchards and the various types of endemic and migrating birds and butterflies will be interesting to the nature lovers. As you cruise along the shores in a boat or walk along the rural pathways, you will be able to see the daily life of the common folk who live on all sides of the backwaters, their farming and fishing methods, their crafts and artifacts and how they produce them, their festivities and past-times and the cultural and archeological remnants of their history. The people are very civil and friendly in their behavior and dealings.
Back Water Eco-system
Backwaters of Kerala form a unique and enchanting area and experience that make lasting and unforgettable impressions on the visitors to the coastal regions of Kerala, the Malabar Coast. Rivers running down from the Western Ghats, 38 rivers in total, meet with the waves and shore currents when they enter the Arabian Sea and the interaction of their downward flow with these upward forces create low barrier islands across the river mouths resulting in the formation of vast expanses of placid water known as backwaters.
Five large lakes and several other small water bodies forming a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast constitute the main part of the Kerala Backwaters. Together with canals, rivers and inlets, the Backwaters of coastal Kerala is a labyrinthine aqua-system of 900 km of waterways. Running parallel to the coast line, National Waterway No. 3, covering a distance of 205 km from Kollam to Kottappuram, facilitates travel, transportation of cargo and backwater tourism.
Except in a few places like Vembanad Kayal, where sea water is prevented from coming onto land by a barrage, the fresh water from the rivers meet the salt water from the sea giving rise to a unique eco-system. Water birds like darters, kingfishers, cormorants, terns and several other species including migrating birds thrive with sea water and fresh water life including frogs, crabs, turtles, otters, mudskippers, etc. There is lush vegetation on the shores with all sorts of shrubs, leafy plants and bushes overshadowed by palm trees.
It was the Backwaters that played a major role in making National Geographic Traveler place Kerala among the '50 destinations of a life time' in their Special Collector's Issue published at the turn of the Millennium.
The largest of these lakes is the Vembanad Kayal which covers an area of over 200 sq. km. It is part of 'Vembanad-Kol Wetland' with an area of 1512.5 sq. km. which has been designated as a 'Wetland site of International Importance' under the Ramsar Convention on 19-08-2002 . The convention which initially met on February 2, 1971 at Ramsar in Iran has now 168 contracting parties, including India. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Wetlands International and Birdlife International are supporters of the convention for the conservation of wetlands.
Paravur Lake in which Aquasserenne is situated is part of the area designated as a 'Wetland site of International Importance' under the Ramsar Convention and is an integral part of the water transport system of inland-water boat service routes that connect all the backwater areas of Kerala.
The placidity of the vast expanses of water, the beauty of the sunrise and the sunset from the houseboats, the glimpses of unedited rural life along the shores, the sightings of rare birds and vegetation all around, the mouth-watering delicacies prepared with fresh fish and vegetables that are abundantly available along the shore, the rejuvenating cool breeze and salubrious climate, all add up to make the backwater visit an ever-cherished part of travel memories.
When National Geographic Traveler brought out a special Collector's Issue on global travel and tourism, just before the turn of the Millennium, they included Kerala among the must see '50 destinations of a life time'. One of the unique ecosystems in Kerala that influenced the judges in favour of Kerala was the Backwaters of Kerala.
There is no experience as deeply refreshing for the soul and the body as an overnight stay in a slowly floating houseboat with the enchanting sunrises and sunsets to fill the eyes, the lullaby of the waves to soothe the soul, the unhindered view of the rural life along the shores, the cool breezes to rejuvenate the whole system and the mouthwatering delicacies made of fresh fishes and vegetables. It is indeed a quite other-worldly experience that will be cherished as one of the sweetest moments ever in your life.
The backwaters of coastal Kerala is a labyrinthine aqua-system of 900 km of waterways with five large lakes and several other small water bodies forming a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast. National Waterway No. 3, covering a distance of 205 km from Kollam to Kottappuram, facilitates travel, transportation of cargo and backwater tourism. More than 2000 Kettuvallams (Malayalam term for the houseboats of Kerala) are plying the backwaters, mainly for tourists, both from inside India and abroad.
Traditionally, the kettuvallams were barges for transporting grain from the fertile paddy fields and orchards along the shores of the backwaters. The thatched roofing was of plaited coconut leaves and the sides were also covered usually with bamboo matting. Sometimes, some royal or aristocratic family would make use of these as living quarters or as a vehicle of transport. It was recently that these kettuvallams began to be converted to accommodate tourists.
Now the kettuvallams are floating cottages with all type of facilities and amenities, like cooking area, sleeping area, western-style toilets and sit-outs on the deck. Accompanying staff cook food on board in, generally in Kerala style, to let the tourists experience the flavor of Kerala. The living and dining spaces are usually left open so that the tourists can have a good view of the backwaters, other boats, shores and the fauna. There are houseboats of all patterns and sizes to suit the size and taste of each family or group of tourists.
The houseboats usually have generators and most have air-conditioned bed-rooms. But some tourists demand that the electric lights should be switched off and lanterns be provided instead to have a feeling of the rural setting. Though they are motorized, houseboats proceed at a slow pace for smooth travel and to let the tourists drink in the scenic surroundings. The sunsets and sunrises are especially enchanting experiences from the kettuvallams with the colourful sky, glitter of the sun on the water surface, home-coming flocks of birds, vast expanses of water all around, cool breeze and the lush vegetation along the shores in the distance.
Besides kettuvallams, tourists can also make use of the regular ferry services that connect most locations on both banks of the backwaters. It is the cheapest way to travel through the backwaters. Ferries for local passengers and tourists are operated by The Kerala State Water Transport Department, at very reasonable rates, and these are used by locals as well as tourists on a shoestring budget.
The Mangrove Eco-system
Mangrove Ecosystems are specific places or regions where mangroves, which are salt-tolerant plants, are growing abundantly. These ecosystems are very productive, but also very sensitive and extremely fragile. They harbor other plant and animal species besides the mangrove plants. Confluence points of backwaters, rivers and sea are where these unique plant communities grow.
South Paravoor P.O.,Kollam District - 691 301,
Kerala State, India.
Tel : +91-474-2512410 to 16, 3260516
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