|Kollam or Quilon was a trading outpost since the time of the Phoenicians and Romans|
Stretching parallel to the Arabian Sea for more than 900 km, the Kerala backwaters is a vast network of five large lakes and brackish lagoons fed by 38 rivers and linked by man-made and natural canals. Kettuvallams or traditional houseboats ply this watery labyrinth taking tourists on backwater cruises which can last for days. These tourist boats were once used to carry rice and goods between settlements along the extensive maze of waterways, but later became obsolete with the improvement of land transport over roads and highways. The Kerala backwaters crawls across four districts in Kerala: Kochi (Cochin), Kottayam, Alappuzha (Allepey) and, of course, Kollam (Quilon).
|A kettuvallam (houseboat) floats by cantilevered fishing nets at Ashtamudi Lake|
|View of Ashtamudi Lake from WelcomHotel Ravis Resort & Ayurveda Spa|
We spent the entire afternoon floating along coconut palms crowding the lakeshore next to marooned ferryboats, rustic kettuvallams and cantilevered fishing nets. Before docking, we caught an exciting snake boat race along the hotel, then later watched a demonstration of one of the backwater cottage industries of coconut coir rope making. It was an amazing preview of the scenic waterways, and made us all excited to see more of the backwaters as we continued on with our journey northwards across Kerala.
|Watched a snake boat race next to WelcomHotel Raviz Resort|
|A demonstration of coconut coir rope making – a key industry of the Kerala backwaters|
|Cattle egrets scavenge for trash and fish scraps at Kollam Beach|
|The Quilon Beach Hotel is modern, five-star stay along Kollam Beach|
This blog post was made possible through Kerala Blog Express, a blogger tour organized by Kerala Tourism that took 27 travel bloggers from 14 countries on a two-week journey from Thiruvananthapuram to Wayanad. The exclusive tour was held from March 9 to 26, 2014.
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