The stunning emerald green Vembanad Lake, flanked by mangrove forests and coconut trees on all sides is a great cocktail of natural beauty in the heart of Kerala. About 96km long and 14km wide, Vembanad Lake is the longest lake in India and the largest freshwater lake in Kerala. Spanning across several districts such as Kottayam, Kuttanad and Kochi, Vembanad Lake, essentially, forms the heart of Kerala’s backwater, and is quite a treat to the eyes.
While a slow lazy boat ride in the lake is highly recommended for those who want to indulge in calm and tranquility, the snake boat races are for the adrenaline junkie. In these boat races, about a 100 people climb onto a single snake boat and race against other boats with as many people. The boat race is an embodiment of immense rhythmic teamwork and the hardwork and dedication of the oarsmen.
Vembanad Lake is made up of four main rivers: Meenachil river, Achankoil river, Pampa river and Manimala river. This lake is also a major ecological attraction for travellers because of the diverse flora and fauna one gets to see here. From a wide variety of fishes, freshwater animals, to many beautiful resident and migratory birds, the lake is a nature lover’s paradise.
On a pleasant afternoon, a canoe ride across the length and breadth of Vembanad Lake is a must, as is staying for a night or two on the houseboats in its backwaters. Life at Vembanad Lake runs at an extremely slow pace; you will enjoy the ambiance only if you’re a slow traveller.
Other attractions to explore in and around Vembanad Lake include Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary which is home to paddy plantations, hyacinths, traditional style of fishing, and gorgeous avifauna; Coconut Lagoon; Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls; Pathiramanal Island; Bay Island Driftwood Museum; Vagamon; Kumarakom Beach; Kottayam; Mary’s Church, Cheriapally; Vaikom Mahadeva Temple and Lakshmi Restaurant.