Last week I posted some photos of Kochi that my daughter took last year during her trip to south India. As you can see from the pictures, Kerala is a beautiful state with scenery that is full of drama and mystery.
The most dramatic feature to me of Kochi is the backwaters. When I first heard the name I thought it would be a smelly swamp. I couldn’t believe how my husband raved about the area. The term does not match the beauty or the vitality of the area. It is formed by five lakes that are linked by canals and fed by 38 rivers. 500 miles long, it is half the length of the state of Kerala. Freshwater from the rivers meets the saltwater from the Arabian Sea giving it brackish or slightly salty water.
Apartments and businesses line backwaters commanding a very high price because of the view. Ferries transport people to the various islands in Kochi and tankers and freighters move oil and products to the large international port. Fishermen use Chinese nets to catch fish for local consumption and export. There is always activity on the water.
The most impressive sight is the house boats, or kettuvallams, that slowly travel up and down the waterway. They were originally built as grain barges that would transport rice to market. With the introduction of modern transportation, the Malayalis converted them into vacation residences. Many are very luxurious with air conditioning and personal onboard staff. They are extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. This is on my list to check out when I go to Kochi next summer.
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