A national geographic survey had put the “Backwaters of Kerala” ahead of Tajmahal on the list of places to see before you die. It is emerging as a nature tourism hotspot of the millennium as it spreads a unique tourist menu before the discriminating tourist and presents a true initiation in “Eco-Tourism”.
It is the time the dictionaries changed the definition of ‘check -in’. If they do, they will do well to add a houseboat to the existing ‘arrive and register at a hotel or airport’.
Kerala is the destination that focuses on the sustainable and Eco-friendly development of tourism. Rich Bio-diversity, Unmatched natural attraction, and an equable climate make a state unique Eco-tourism hot spot. In fact, these backwaters are a self-supporting eco-system teeming with aquatic life which one can explore only through a boat-ride.
Tourism in Alappuzha is highly ecologically sensitive and sustainable. Kerala is geographically located entirely in the Western Ghats. With the protected area of more than 2,300 square km, it has two national parks 12 wildlife sanctuaries. Eco-tourism activities in ecological areas see to it that local life remains undisturbed.
The backwaters ride is as close as one can get to feel the vibrant life in the country side of ‘God’s own country’ without disturbing it.
Kerala backwaters which stretch from Kochi to Kollam and even beyond, have become the face of the state’s famed tourism. They draw tens of thousands of tourist from all over the world every year. A few year ago National Geographic Survey had put the backwater ahead of Tajmahal on the list of places to see before you die. This backwater tourism presents a unique marriage of and sustainable enterprise.
Kerala Houseboat today is a far cry from what they used to be a few decades ago. From bare vessels with kerosene lanterns and punting, they now have luxurious through nature-friendly bedrooms, baths, CFL bulbs and low noise, low pollution engines. They move along the canals without disturbing the pace of life around them benefiting the locals who operate them and promoting a way of life that is typical of the region.
Guest can rent the houseboat for one night or more and I have heard about tourists who have stayed for the week simply soaking and the verdant surrounding. I remembered the famous comment of Mughal Emperor Jahangir about Kashmir “If there is paradise on earth It is here, It is here, It is here.”
Alappuzha certainly qualifies for the similar eulogy. Only, in the place of Himalayas, It’s the backwaters and Arabian sea.