Kerala backwaters: a photo essay

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Kerala backwaters boat trip

The backwaters of Kerala are the thing we dreamed of as looked forward to our India trip, and they’re the thing we look back on with smiles and a warm glow of memories that we’ll keep with us forever. We’ve posted about our Kerala itinerary, but here’s a simple feast for the eyes – a little peek into backwater life. It’s a place to truly switch off.

Kerala backwaters boat trip palms reflected in water

Allepey backwaters

Flower in Kerala backwaters

Mimose in Kerala backwaters

Bananas in Alleppey backwaters

Man sewing fishing net in Kerala backwaters

Kerala backwaters-13

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Kerala backwaters photo essay

Photos from Kerala backwaters

Man on canoe in Kerala backwaters

Boat in Kerala backwaters

Spider in Alleppey

Houseboat on Kerala backwaters near Alleppey

Village life in Kerala backwaters

Crow in Kerala

Houseboat in Alleppey

Church in Kerala backwaters

Boat in Kerala backwaters

Mirrored palms in Alleppey backwaters

Schoolboys in Kerala backwaters

Smoke in Alleppey backwater village

Alternative to houseboat in Alleppey

Kerala backwaters

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Where we stayed in the backwaters

We took most of these photos during our stay at Greenpalm Homestay, and during our houseboat trip in Alleppey.

Both of these options offered different perspectives of the Kerala backwaters. Going on a houseboat is a purely touristic activity. It’s also a choice that needs to be considered carefully as the large number of houseboats in the area are causing a lot of pollution and therefore problems for the people living in the backwaters. Staying at a homestay is a much more environmentally-friendly choice. It also gives you a more authentic experience of village life in the backwaters, and it was definitely one of the highlights of our stay in Kerala. Some of the people we met at Greenpalms had opted to stay at the homestay rather than take a houseboat trip. This is a good option as you get to see the same things as those on houseboats, but in more detail as you’re actually living with local people. You can also take boat trips down some of the canals that are too small for the houseboats.

However, it is a dream for many people visiting Kerala to experience a houseboat trip. This was the case for us and we tried to make sure to choose a company that valued sustainability and had a green palm certificate (the Government’s seal of sustainability) . In truth, this doesn’t mean a lot as even the boats with certificates are contributing to the pollution of the waterways. Although our houseboat trip was an undoubtable highlight of our time in India, its impact on the environment felt uncomfortable and I’m not sure I would repeat it. It’s definitely something I would advise thinking about before you book your trip.

Read more about what we did in our month itinerary of Kerala and Goa, and see more photos in Instagramming India.

8 thoughts on “Kerala backwaters: a photo essay”

  1. Your photos bring back such great memories of our own backwaters cruise. The one of you relaxing and enjoying the sunset is especially indicative of how peaceful we felt during that couple of days.

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  2. These photos are so beautiful – peaceful and green and sunlit and just everything that the backwaters in Kerala are. I loved this facet of India, it’s such a juxtaposition with all the noise and colour and madness of most of the rest of the country. Plus those houseboats are seriously cool 🙂

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  3. Such beautiful photographs – the ones with the light piercing the canopy of ths trees are particularly stunning.

    Kerala is at the top of my travel to do list – we are thinking about spending Christmas away in India this year. Your photos have inspired me to go eben more. Thank you for sharing them!

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  5. great post. I’ve seen some great deal to fly there recently, and after reading your post, just added Iceland to the list. So excited!

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