Backwaters of the state of Kerala hold an abundance of freshwater fish and most of the day local people can be seen engaged in fishing. The catch is often good using traditional methods but they complain of ‘outside’ vessels catching their fishes using modern methods.
Vembanadu Lake in Kochi, India, never fail to fascinate. Watching vessels drifting in the green waters gave a kind of tranquility. Freightliners with containers stacked or even a fishing boat that is either going to the sea for the anticipated catch or returning after a long night in the cold. The smell of the sea on the face with occasional cries of the seagulls. One may prefer to wander along the coast. A better way would be to watch the waters enjoying a fresh lemonade or and hot masala chai (tea made with milk, sugar and spices like cardamom, fennel, pepper corns and cinnamon). In this case, choosing the hot beverage seemed to be the better option.
Rice Boats, which were in service during early years when water transport was prevalent in the state, were hit hard with the development of surface transport. Lorries began to assume the many roles of Rice Boats. Many of them were later converted into House Boats which became popular with tourists and locals alike. Kuttanadu is one of the many places blessed with the beauty of the backwaters, paddy fields and many canals connecting palces within the Alapuzha region. A leisurely cruise along the coconut-palm lined canals and backwaters and into the Vembanadu Lake from noon till morning the next day with food cooked on-board and air-conditioned bedrooms is one of the must-see sights according to National Geographic “50 destinations of a lifetime”.
The thin strip of land divides the lake and the sea, for most part of the year.
During the monsoon season in Kerala, India, water flowing down from the Western Ghats swells the lake up.
Local men take up the extreme step of making a channel between the lake and sea. The forces of nature take it up from there…