The Kerala Backwaters are a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets, a labyrinthine system formed by more than 900 km of waterways, and sometimes compared to the American Bayou. In the midst of this landscape there are a number of towns and cities, which serve as the starting and end points of backwater cruises. The backwaters have a unique ecosystem - freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea. In certain areas, a barrage has been built near Neendakara Kollam, salt water from the sea is prevented from entering the deep inside, keeping the fresh water intact. Such fresh water is extensively used for irrigation purposes. Many unique species of aquatic life including crabs, frogs and mudskippers, water birds such as terns, kingfishers, darters and cormorants, and animals such as otters and turtles live in and alongside the backwaters. Palm trees, pandanus shrubs, various leafy plants and bushes grow alongside the backwaters, providing a green hue to the surrounding landscape
Alappuzha is a landmark between the broad Laccadive Sea and a web of rivers flowing into it. It is a city in Alappuzha District of Kerala state of southern India. The Backwaters of Alappuzha are the most popular tourist attraction in Kerala. A houseboat cruise in these backwaters is a delightful experience. Alappuzha is gifted with immense natural beauty with the Laccadive Sea on its west. The city has a vast network of lakes, lagoons and fresh water rivers. Due to their closeness to the sea it has developed an unparalleled destination in the maritime map of India Other attractions in Alappuzha are Alappuzha Beach, offering one of the most beautiful views of the Laccadive Sea, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Arthunkal Basilica, Mannarasala Temple, Chettikulangara Devi Temple, Haripad Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, Thakazhy Shree Dharmashastha Temple, Mullakkal Temple, Edathua Church, Alappuzha CSI Christ Church (oldest Anglican church in Kerala) and Champakulam Valia Palli. Krishnapuram Palace also attracts many tourists.
Kumarakom is a popular tourism destination located near the city of Kottayam, in Kerala, India, famous for its backwater tourism. It is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala. Kumarakom is the first destination in India to Implement Responsible Tourism practices. Kerala Tourism was awarded for its path-breaking 'Responsible Tourism' project in Kumarakom, which has successfully linked the local community with the hospitality industry and government departments, thereby creating a model for empowerment and development of the people in the area while sustaining eco-friendly tourism.