From north to south, the dreamlike watery expanse known as Kuttanad extends forty-six miles, from Kochi through Allapuzha to Kollam and inland to kattayam. This area boasts 930 miles of waterways. Meandering channels edged by lush vegetation, groves of coconut and banana palms and rice fields connect with wide open rivers and lagoons. Life moves slowly in these parts.
This area offers a fascinating insight into the rural lifestyle of its inhabitants. Colorful thatched or tiled houses cluster together in small communities, complete with worsip centers, banks and hospitals that rely on water ambulances.
Tourists can get to this area by boats-both arranged tours and ferries. Buses also travel close to the area. Plan on spending a lot of time regardless of how you choose to travel. Transportation in this area matches the slow pace of life in this area.
If you have extra money, you might consider spending a night or two at the Coconut Lagoon, an elaborate resort built in the grandest of traditional Keralan architecture. Nearby is an old colonial house known as the Taj Garden Retreat. Both of these places offer sunset cruises in converted cargo boats and overnight excursions on houseboats. Not a bad way to explore this beautiful area.
January, July, August and September are the months given to Alappuzha’s snake boat races. These events find boats manned by a hundred men each racing at top speed through the waterways of this region. The most famous of these races is the Nehru Trophy Race that takes place on the second Sunday of August every year. Forty highly decorated boats compete in this race and are often accompanied by naval helicopters showing their prowess. Crowds are large for this yearly event and anyone who is in the region only for the races would never guess how laid back life normally is in the backwater area.