Lounging on a deck chair, moving gently, immersed in a rippling , scented silence. Can there be better ways to explore a new world than this? Once, these houseboats were barges, transporting rice along the large and intricate network of lakes and canals that cover the central part of the state of Kerala.
Around the expanse of Lake Vembanad, the backwaters of Kerala are a unique and fragile-ecosystem unlike any other in the world. Enveloping the port towns of Alleppey and Quilon on one end, they stretch like a patchwork quilt clear across the state, up to Calicut in the North. Some are no wider than an arm span, navigable only by canoe. Others are dual carriageways, deep and rippling, sometimes broadening out into vast misty lakes, sometimes curling into twisting worm turns, hemmed by paddy fields and fed by a thousand fat streams from the high ranges of the Spice Mountains to the East.