The backwater tourism in Kerala offers a great opportunity for tourists interested in the rich culture and heritage of the state. The long stretches of brackish water found across the state not just offers a peaceful getaway for the tourists exhausted by the hurry of modern life, the life on and along the sides of the backwaters enrich the visitors with first-hand knowledge of life in rural Kerala and the long heritage that makes the state proud of its past.
If you are on a backwater tourism package, it is very likely that you will be spending quite some time on a houseboat or rice boat which itself tells a lot about the cultural past of the nation. These boats used to be used to convey the local produces to market towns and ports, which played a significant role in business exchanges. You can ask your tour operator to take you to the traditional boat manufacturers who make boats out of materials such as wood, bamboo, rattan and coir. With a knowledgeable guide, this can be a very interesting experience.
Even if you choose a houseboat tour, chances are that there will be several halts at significant locations. This will give you a chance to interact with the locals and get to know the village life at close quarters. The locals along the banks of the backwaters may be farmers, coir manufacturers or fishermen. Cottage industries forming a significant part of the rural economy of India, these brief stops can be truly eye-opening. When you choose backwater tourism in Kerala, you will witness paddy farming at its various stages depending on the time of the year you are travelling.
Yet another treat of the backwater tourism is visits to buildings of cultural significance such as traditional houses called ‘tharavad’, centuries-old temples, and pilgrim centres. Some tour packages include performances of classical art forms such as kathakali, mohiniyattam and vrindavadyam. You can also choose to visit Kerala during a season of the famous boat races and take part in the excitement. Boat races are not merely competitions, but events in which the local population and individual families have emotional investment. You will find that the communities that live along the banks of the backwaters of Kerala have within themselves varied and complex cultures worth understanding.