Unmissable Backwaters of Northern Kerala

Whenever there's mention of Kerala, one inevitably pictures clear blue waters with lush green background and unsullied serenity all around. However, the imagined picture may not always translate to reality especially if one happens to be in southern Kerala. Highly commercialised, touristy and crammed up in the winter season, it may not live up to your imagination.

But there’s another side of Kerala in the northern part of this state that continues to be as captivating and peaceful. Ensconced between the hills of Kodagu and the Arabian Sea, northern Kerala makes for a perfect holiday retreat where one gets up close and personal with authentic Keralan lifestyle and local culture.

1.Valiyaparamba Backwater

Up in Kasaragod, the northmost district of Kerala, the Valiyaparamba backwater is the most enchanting and vivacious backwaters in Kerala. Formed by four rivers, and dotted by a little island, Valiyaparamba is about 30 kms away from Bekal. You can enjoy ferry rides and a trip to the historical Bekal Fort. Those seeking adventure amid nature can join the mangrove trail of Malabar that includes hiking, bird watching and boating. There are a few hotels in Kerala that can make suitable arrangements for the same if you let them in advance.

2. Kavvayi Backwater

The Kavvayi Backwaters in Payyanur are the largest such in northern Kerala. You may hop on one of those exquisite houseboats around and explore the vast diversity of scenery while relishing freshly prepared prawn curry served by the in-house chef. You can also watch the theyyam ritual folk dances, temple festivals and handloom weaving that are steeped in the local culture. Culture buffs should also visit the Edayilakadu Island nearby which has a forest dedicated to worshipping holy snakes.

3. Padanna Backwaters

In this small and thematic village of Kasaragod, visitors get a peek into oyster harvesting and mussel farming, which happen to be the predominant occupation in this village. Soak yourself in the experience of the serene backwaters. Dive into the local cuisine prepared with fresh locally harvested mussels. Also visit Kareem’s forest and get inspired to create greenery. This man-made forest spread across 32 acres, houses a variety of plantations including coconut, cashew, spices and arecanut.

4. Bekal Backwaters

If you want to experience the peace of tranquil and not yet commercialised backwaters of Kerala, then spend your holiday at the Bekal backwaters. Overseen by the 300-year-old Bekal Fort and with the peaceful Nombili river flowing by, this place is a veritable paradise. Amid this paradise, there is the resort of The LaLiT Resort & Spa Bekal, arguable the best hotel in Kerala. Located on a private beach with backwaters running through it, it imbues a certain rustic charm that will allure and comfort the city weary soul. The resort provides for state-of-the-art facilities besides a healthy and refreshing Ayurvedic Spa.