Introduction to Kerala
Welcome to God’s Own Country – Kerala! When it comes to this gorgeous state in southern India the popular moniker is no exaggeration. Called by National Geographic as the Green Venice of the East, the bustling, palm lined, emerald waterways is a sight to behold!
To get to really know Kerala, one must first understand her waterways – the lifeline of the entire region. There’s no better way to enrich oneself than to truly comprehend the life of the people of the land. And what better way to visit them at close quarters than in awe-inspiring river cruise boats – it’s like having a moving home on the water!
From cruising in waterways separated from the Arabian Sea by narrow beaches to, cruising in canals 20 feet above the surrounding paddy fields and held together by dykes. From intricate narrow canals where the houses on the banks brush along the sides of the cruise boat to, vast open lakes with spectacular sunsets, the cruise is indeed breathtaking in its pristine yet bustling tropical, warm waters!
Kerala the southernmost coastal State of the Indian peninsula is a tropical paradise. It’s bordered by around 600 kms of Arabian coast on the west while dense and mighty Western Ghats border the East.
The region is shaped by its 44 rivers, waterfalls, swathes of dense forests, wildlife, rolling hills covered by tea-plantations, shallow valleys, spice gardens and a lowland of meandering emerald green interconnected system of rivers, canals, coastal estuaries, lakes and lagoons.
Almost the entire length of the coast is fringed by the expanses of paddy fields and coconut palms, and long stretches of sandy beaches.
Marine products, tea, spices, cashew , natural rubber, and coir are the major exports Kerala.
Despite Kerala’s small geographical structure, the state is home to fascinating history, rich culture, interesting customs, unique architecture, well trenched alternative system of health , excellent food and powerful artforms.
Here harmonious traditional living is blended with modern conveniences.
Kerala has achieved exemplary development levels. With a population of around 30 million, this is a society with low infant mortality rate, low population growth, low crude death rate and almost 100% literacy rate. The development model of Kerala is highly acclaimed in International and national development studies. Regarding the quality of decent life for all, Kerala scores remarkably high as per the indication of Physical Quality of Life Index.
The villages are prospering as the local people are basically compassionate, peace loving, vigilant and receptive to progressive ideas of education, self-reliance, technology, infrastructure, scientific agricultural practices, housing and health care. They are aware of their rights and responsibilities, and self-motivated to participate in the sustainable developmental activities. They make use of the various programs available for civic-centered governance for socio-economic development.
Atithi Devo Bhava – ‘guest is akin to God’, the ancient adage, is well preserved by Keralites who are always welcoming of multi-ethnic communities who dream of visiting or settling in the state.
Overview of Highlight Destinations
Cochin: Cochin rose to prominence because of the legendary Spice trade route in the 14th century CE, After a deluge of the River Periyar the harbour was formed naturally. Eventually the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British ruled Cochin – a cross-cultural influence that can still be seen today. Post-Independence , Cochin and the neighboring princely states of Travancore and Malabar merged to form Kerala.
While it was really in the Fort Cochin- Mattancherry area where the colonial history of Cochin was established, today’s Cochin has expanded to include many surrounding towns and villages.
The city which houses multi-ethnic harmonious community has become one of the premier industrial, trading and commercial trading centres of Southern India
To experience the indelible cultural imprints of the European powers well-preserved in the heritage town, take a walk through the history. Stroll along the beach dotted with gigantic Chinese nets introduced by the explorers from China, Visit old churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques. Take in the number of museums, spice markets and the small quarters of the Jews, Gujaratis, Anglo Indians and the natives of different faith.
Along with colonial heritage , the royal heritage of Cochin is also well preserved. To experience the legacy left behind by the Rajas of Cochin, take a short drive to Tripunithura, a small town built around an old temple of Lord Vishnu, along the shore of river Poorna. The palace (Hill Palace) of the erstwhile Kings housing Kerala History museum is at a short drive away from the temple.
The descendants of the erstwhile Kings are still living around the temple. Take a walk along with a young member of the family, listening to the stories and marvelling the architecture of the temple and the houses. You may also visit the elephant of the temple and feed with coconut , banana or jaggery. Priests, Martial art performers, classical dance performers and culinary experts of Royal kitchen live in the neighborhood along the shores of the river.
Kumarakom: A cluster of lagoons on the mighty Lake Vembanad, Kumarakom is a rich wetland ecosystem that houses variety of aquatic and avian species. Large number of migratory and endemic birds arrive here.A walk inside the Birds’ sanctuary or country boat ride to the remote villages offer close view of these birds. Vaikom on the bank of Vembanad lake is a small town built around the ancient temple of Lord Shiva. The architecture of the temple is marvellous and so also is it historical significance. The roads outside the temple have its own stories to tell. Before India attained independence untouchability and casteism was prevalent across all the princely states of Kerala. The ‘avarnas’ or the backward communities were not allowed to walk even on the roads leading to the temple.
During the period when the Indian Independence movement was gathering momentum, the oppressed people in Vaikom revolted and with the support of social reformers of the time, and succeeded in abolishing the ban. Vaikom temple was among the first to open its doors to all Hindus, irrespective of the caste.
Alappuzha (Alleppey): An ancient port town of Central Kerala, is blessed with nature’s richest bounties.
It had its heyday as a commercial hub having Its criss-crossing canals waterways always busy with transportation of goods, during the colonial days. The remains of the hundred meter long pier with trolley car rails is still existing at the beach of Alleppey.
Traders from different parts of India settled here, building homes, temples and warehouses and traded in dried coconut, pepper, timber and coir. Along the sides of the canals in the present township, we can still see the these buildings.
The present day Alleppey is a well developed town, having excellent educational institutions, hospitals and digital telecommunication systems.
The town is built along its magical network of waterways formed by rivers, lakes and lagoons and coastal estuaries.This spectacular water-world of salubrious weather, fresh air and fertile soil is home to variety of tropical flowers and fruit-bearing vegetation, aquatic species and water birds.
Alleppey is known as the Granary of Kerala as major portion of the rice-the staple food of the State- is produced here.
Kuttanad: Located at a lower altitude than the Sea, Kuttanad is known for its paddy cultivation. Here, dykes are built around the fields to prevent flooding. Coconut trees and tropical vegetation planted along the these dykes prevent soil erosion.
The farmers, fishermen and boat builders are living harmoniously along the shore.They use canoes and country boats as mode of transport even though most of the villages are now connected by bridges.
Coir weaving, cattle rearing and poultry farming are the major occupations of women They participate in civic centered socio-economic development programs and actively participate in the democratic elections.The older generations of the villages are literate and the youth are educated.
Intro to Our River Cruise Boats
At Kerala River Cruises, we offer enlightening waterbound journeys in ALLEPPEY, KUMARAKOM and COCHIN. The interconnected placid waters here are surrounded by vast expanses of lush paddy fields and swaying coconut palms. Travellers will get a close view of the scenic villages while experiencing the culture and traditions and surrounding aquatic and avian life. Our goal is to make your luxurious vacation laid-back, relaxing and pleasant without compromising the essential comforts for healthy and harmonious modern living.
We look forward to welcoming you aboard our river cruise boats – the Sauver Nigam and the Vaikundam. To truly immerse yourself in the living cultures of Kerala, choose from the 2 cabin Sauver Nigam or the 9 cabin Vaikundam. The former is perfect for small families and couples while the latter is the largest river cruising boat on the Kerala waterways. However, what makes Vaikundam different from other large boats in the backwaters is, being a single hull and long boat instead of a catamaran, it still manages to go into the narrow canals to experience the life of the people of the backwaters.
Our boats were rated the first Eco-Friendly boats in Kerala by Ministry of Tourism, Govt of Kerala. They were also awarded the Golden Palm award in recognition of the same commitment to the environment.
The experience on board is well summed up by the former Prime Minister of India, Late Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee in his comment “A Day to be Remembered”. He wrote this in the guest book of the Vaikundam, during a short sojourn on the backwaters when he was the Prime Minister of India.
The crew on board are there to look after you and to treat you to mouth-watering South Indian cuisine with indigenous flavours. International cuisine can also be provided but we encourage you to sample the local delicacies.
We experience local traditions as we enjoy informational village walks, interact with locals and sip on freshly plucked tender coconuts.
Guests can look forward to exploring palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields. Neat and tiny hamlets line up along either sides of the canals and give cruisers a deep insight into local life
We invite you to explore the fascinating beauty of the Kerala’s waterways with us.