India // Colorful backwaters of Kerala
Tourism brochures often state the slogan “Incredible India“, and they’re spot on if you ask me. No words or sentences can really cover the essence of India. It’s almost impossible to describe the amazing atmosphere, people, food or vibe of this country. And so the best thing to say is: It IS incredible, and you definitely have to go and experience it for yourself!
But, as this is a blog, I would like to share my experiences with you. And I’ll do my very best to describe this awesome country worthily!
Let’s start with Kerala (check on map). This southern state of India is best known for its peaceful backwaters. I’ll save you the trouble of googling this by explaining that the backwaters are a huge network of lakes, lagoons and (small) rivers located parallel to the Arabian Sea coastline. Exploring this giant maze of waterways (over 1000 km!) was one of our best experiences in India!
When you say backwaters, you say kettuvallams… No? Okay, maybe the term house boats is better known :) You’ll stumble upon dozens of them when visiting the area. Originally used to transport crops they are now converted to floating tourism accommodations. Just book a couple of nights on one of these wooden hotels, sit back and relax while you glide along rural indian life. We loved it!
After being in zen mode for a couple of days, we were ready to face the hustle and bustle of city life again. We hopped on a bus to Cochin, aka Kochi, aka Queen of the Arabian Sea. Let me explain the roots of this intriguing title :) As from the 14th century, Cochin was the first European colony in India and an important spice trading center. And contemporary Cochin is still a great port city in southern India.
Due to its rich history there is plenty to see in this cosmopolitan city! We walked around town and discovered Portuguese, French, Dutch and British architecture, Hindu temples, Islamic mosques, Chinese fishing nets and many vibrant shopping streets.
Chinese fishing nets
We especially liked the Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi, because they are so unique and impressive. Just sitting there and watching the ancient technique of harvesting the fish, followed by excited bargaining amongst the buyers is very amusing!
A quick recap:
- Pristine beauty
- Tranquil atmosphere
- Savory cuisine
- Warmhearted people
- Unique wildlife
- Bustling cities
Check, check, double-check!
Colorful Kerala definitely deserves a place on your bucket list!