Zen Moments on the Romantic Backwaters of Kerala

God’s own country had been beckoning us to its fold for some time, but though we had traveled to different places in Kerala we had never spent time in the interiors of this beautiful southern state of India, known as Kerala. But last week, things changed, the stars collaborated with the hand of God and we found ourselves waking up to a beautiful morning, nestled between the sea and the serene backwaters near Kochi, off Cherai Beach. We were in Kerala for a week and staying at a lovely little boutique resort called Le Petit Elephant. We explored places in and around Kochi from this lovely place that we had made our home during our stay.

We have a great fascination for sunrises and love to catch a glimpse of the radiant beauty of the sun against different backdrops, hills, sea, waterfalls, desert, and many others. So, of course, we had to experience the sunrise across the serene backwaters of Kerala. So off we went in the wee hours of the morning on our sun chase.

It was still dark as we walked towards the place from where we would board our boat for an hour long cruise on the backwaters. As we walked in pitch darkness, we could hear our footfalls above the roar of the sea to our left. The sound of the sea receded as we walked away from it towards the backwaters. The birds had now risen and were up to their daily morning chirping. We heard strange bird noises, including seagulls who made a wailing sort of sound. Coconut Palms swayed in the darkness as we passed them. The small village that we passed through still seemed to be in deep slumber as not a soul stirred. A small chapel emitted an ethereal light as we passed it, a dog gave us a silent and benign look and scurried off in the distance, a curious toad hopped in front of us and let off a sweet croak, elsewhere crickets were chirping while a rooster crowed “cock-a-doodle-doo”.

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We soon reached our destination and waited on the edge of the backwaters near a small wooden jetty as the boatman readied the boat. The water shimmered with a silvery hue in the darkness. In the distance, we could see the dim shapes of the Chinese fishing nets and crows flying over them in search of early morning prey. A flock of seagulls flew past in a graceful white wave as the boatman silently beckoned us to board the boat. The boat was quite a big one and could have seated at the least 10 people. But it was just the two of us on board.

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The boatman gently and expertly rowed us away from the jetty and into the wide expanse of the backwaters. He used a single, huge wooden pole as an oar to row and steer the boat. His oar gently caressed the water as if afraid to damage the fragility of the water as we headed towards the distant coconut groves in an easterly direction.

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We looked at the shimmering water, at the lush green coconut palms all around us, at the sky which was just transforming into a shade of blue from a somber gray.

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We saw a few fishermen in their small canoes casting their nets for an early morning catch. A pelican swooped down gracefully on the water and flew away with a fish between its bills. It was just the two of us with the water, the sky, the trees, the birds and a silent and unobtrusive boatman and his boat. None of us spoke as we immersed ourselves in the intoxication of the moment. The only sound was the gentle sound of the oar against the water and the chirping of the birds. At that moment the world seemed in perfect harmony and we felt one with the environment silently cruising along on the water.

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And then we had our first glimpse of the morning sun. He peeped out in the distance from behind a clump of coconut palms in resplendent orange. As he slowly emerged from behind the trees, the water turned from silver to gold and the sky was bathed in shades of orange and yellow.

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A few white clouds seemed to serenade the rising sun and also cast their shadow on the water. It seemed as if the clouds had fallen into the water from the sky along with a slice of the sun as they reflected in the water.

The spectacle before us thrilled us to the core but none of us spoke, for we had no words, words seemed so woefully inadequate to express our emotions at that lovely moment. As we cruised along bathed in a golden glow as if the sun was blessing us with his benign touch, we realized why the state of Kerala was called, ‘God’s own country”. We felt we were close to God amidst the beautiful environs, it was our moment of Zen. Tears flowed from our eyes as we were swept away in the bliss of the moment.  Both of us were immersed deep in our own inner selves, yet we were strangely connected by some magical thread of romance woven by the hands of the sun and the enchanting waters that flowed beneath us.

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We sat silently absorbing and relishing each and every nanosecond, knowing fully well that the moments would not last forever, but making the most of it while it did.

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By now there were quite a few fishing boats but all of them moved silently, almost reverently in the water as if afraid to break the delicate balance of nature. A fisherman cast his net and heaved in his haul as we watched silently. Another pelican swooped gracefully and swished away with its catch. A flock of seagulls and crows crossed each other creating a mosaic of black and white against the backdrop of the blue sky.

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Soon it was time to head back and the boatman still silent, slowly rowed us back to the jetty and helped us disembark. When we thanked him, he gave us a warm smile which melted our hearts.

We turned around to take one last look at the backwaters. The sun was now a blazing ball of fire, the water reflected the blue sky and the white clouds, birds still flew over the placid waters, but something was missing.

“The magic is over”, I said, as we slowly retraced our steps back to our hotel.

Experience a slice of the magic our Kerala Backwaters Boat Cruise by watching this video.  

 

One can never get enough of Kerala. There are several reasons why one would love Kerala and would want to visit again and again.

Do let us know through comments if you enjoyed this journey.

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97 thoughts on “Zen Moments on the Romantic Backwaters of Kerala

  1. Soraya Reply

    Wow Kerala looks so beautiful – the sunset with the burnt orange sun looked amazing. And then you got to see the sunrise with all the fishermen…what a great experience.

  2. Gina Reply

    You guys really have a way with words. Every time I read your posts, I feel like I’m traveling with you to those exotic places. I especially like how you described the dog scurrying off after being disturbed. How romantic to be the only two on board the boat and watch the sunrise together! It sounds like the morning is so peaceful.

  3. Kate Carter Hickey Reply

    Those nets are wild! I’m glad that the weather improved enough for you to capture that magnificent sunset. Can’t wait to read about your next far away adventure!

  4. Ashley Reply

    I love a good sunset, who doesn’t. But there is something magically about sunrises and early mornings. The pastels and the quiet really makes you mindful of your surroundings. Watching the fishermen with those nets must have been fascinating, I’ve never seen anything like it before.

  5. Indrani Reply

    Enchanting Kerala! The scenes are mesmerizing! I did Kerala long back. Need to refresh memories by visiting again. Never saw a pelican there though plenty of storks kept flying high and low.

  6. Katrina Reply

    So glad you posted about Kerala, been wondering whether to add it to my upcoming India trip or not.. you may have just convinced me!

  7. Faith Coates Reply

    A lovely almost poetic piece it really made the journey come alive. Kerala looks very beautiful. I have heard a lot about the area but it certainly looks worth a visit from your writing.

  8. Kristine Reply

    I love the way you describe the scenery. Makes me feel like I was there. The photos are gorgeous as well. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  9. neha Reply

    your article brought back fresh memories of our stay in a houseboat in the backwaters of kerala almost 6 years back. This is really a one of a kind experience. We had clubbed that with a visit to munnar. And the trip totally made us understand why Kerala is termed God’s own country

  10. Abigail Reply

    What a beautiful experience! When I travel to new places, I like exploring sites that are not too tourist-y but rather help me learn more about the culture and way of life in the land. And this is exactly what this can offer!

  11. SamH Travels Reply

    I really enjoyed reading your post. You write in a lovely descriptive manner and along with the photos, I almost felt like I had been on the trip with you ! Thank you for sharing with us 🙂

  12. Katharina Reply

    I do love sunrises as well as sunsets. You captured the moment perfectly in your photographs and I appreciate that you also added a video. Well done!

  13. Angie (FeetDoTravel) Reply

    Kerala has been a destination I have longed to see for a while now, especially after we spent time in Goa. Your post has re-ignited the idea of visiting, especially if we get to do a sunset trip as you did – how romantic. Thank you for sharing your zen moments from a little piece of paradise. #feetdotravel

  14. Rob Taylor Reply

    Such a beautiful, fun story. I could read your writing all day. I do think the area is gorgeous and really so captivating. And what an interesting fishing method; very different from our practices in the States.

  15. Lisa J Lewis Reply

    What a wonderful place to visit! Anything on the water is a plus for me, let alone backwaters! The photos of Kerala were outstanding!

  16. Ryan Biddulph Reply

    Hi Guys,

    Beautiful pictures and beautiful story telling. We swung through Cochin for only a minute to catch a bus, and when in Muhamma I got really sick and had to miss the boat tours. Oh well. On our next trip. And we got an up close and personal experience via your inspired post, anyway 😉

    Ryan

  17. Shane Prather Reply

    I love how secluded the waters look away from the rest of the world. So serene!

  18. Tami Reply

    What a moving account of your Zen morning cruise! I love moments like that, when you feel part of a bigger vision of the world. God’s creations are so beautiful and we are part of that, too. I can see why you enjoyed the backwaters of Kerala…

  19. The Travel Ninjas Reply

    Your Zen morning cruise sounds so inviting and tempting. The beautiful scenery and thatched roof houses are calming even in the pictures. I’m sure experiencing it first hand was dreamy.

  20. mark wyld Reply

    Wow a what to start a day with am amazing morning cruise
    The river and sights like amazing at this time of day.
    This region seems to be getting lots of publicity with the Blogging express happening most years now

  21. Mr and Mrs W Reply

    A great description of the dawn and the fishermen. It has inspired us to visit Kerala as we have never visited India. It does look wonderful.

  22. Jennifer Reply

    Sunrise is always such a lovely time to be up. I’m not a morning person and am rarely up to catch the sunrise. I bet I’m missing out on a lot that happens at that early hour, like the fisherman you captured hard at work.

  23. Heather Reply

    Wow it looks beautiful! I think I just always pictured India as a big desert. But I understand when people assume things, as I live in Arizona, but the part of Arizona I live in gets tons of snow and people are usually perplexed by that.

  24. Amelie Reply

    Kerala seems like such a peaceful place in the midst of a bit of a manic country 😉 I’ve heard wonderful things about the Ayurvedic centers, have you been to one? I’m dying to visit next time I’m in India.

  25. Zwitsy Reply

    The place looks so interesting. I find the water unwinding and so as the ambiance totally calming and perfect for vacation. I love to try the boat. hahaha I am sure it is a good activity to give a try indeed.

  26. Corinne Reply

    We did the backwaters of Kerala a couple of years ago, and I agree it was wonderful . There is something about floating through people’s lives that makes it an amazing trip. I loved it.

  27. Christina Reply

    Kerala is such a tranquil place in India. It’s so different from other parts of India and a calm place to visit. Cruising the backwaters is an iconic thing to do. Do you live in Kerala?

  28. Bart & Eena Reply

    This is something new for us, great story in there! We might check more on this and maybe give it a try to go there ourselves too. ❤️

  29. Anna Reply

    What a lovely place! I’ve never been to India, but this sounds like a great destination. Bookmarked for future reference. Thanks for sharing so many pictures as well!

  30. Leticia Reply

    Wow what a beautiful place! Looks completely zen and relaxing, I love your photos too they are so good ☺️ Tishhlah x

  31. Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) Reply

    Kerala India looks amazing. Such a tranquil ride in the boat for a beautiful morning sunrise the rose up through the trees. The photos are stunning, What a beautiful way to start the day 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  32. Lisa Reply

    Wonderful sunrise excursion that looks very relaxing. Love to watch the locals fish. Your pictures caught the ambiance for sure. Thanks for sharing

  33. Jenna Reply

    Sounds like a fantastic morning! Looks like you caught a great sunrise and the views from the boat looked perfect! It’s nice you had it all to yourself!!

  34. Travel Lexx Reply

    What a beautiful morning to take a cruise! Absolutely stunning landscape and sounds like an incredible experience – another place to add to the India list and I loved the fishing nets and boats!

  35. Maddy Reply

    Firstly can I just say your writing style is beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Also you have majorly inspired wanderlust in me! I love reading about new places and the sunsets here look amazing.

  36. Christy Reply

    Looks like a dream. If I ever travel to India, I’ll have to check it out. First time I’ve heard of Kerala!

  37. Alice Teacake Reply

    I’m currently trying to get to Kerala myself next year in March with the Kerala Express! It has always been in my mind as a magical place and your photos are making those ideas a reality! All I need now is one of those coconuts 🙂

  38. Chris Reply

    There’s something wonderful about languidly taking in the views from a boat.

    I absolutely love that first shot of the sun, emerging from the hazy horizon above those fishing nets.

    What a beautiful place

  39. Elizabeth O. Reply

    I love places like this where you can relax and just enjoy the view and the peacefulness of the place. It would be nice to go here for the holidays! It’s such a romantic place as well.

  40. Carol Cassara Reply

    A honeymoon here would be amazing! I just love how serene and quiet the place is! It’s definitely perfect for some quiet time with the person you love.

  41. Monika Reply

    Lots of my friends have been to Kerala and they said it’s a great place to chill out and I can see it in your pictures.

  42. Anita Hendrieka Reply

    Kerala has a special place in my heart! I visited early this year and had the best time. The backwaters were so beautiful and the people were so relaxed and friendly. I want to go back just reading your post!

  43. Elisa Reply

    Kerala looks so beautiful. I like your writing and your pictures. I was in India twice and while reading your post I think to go again soon.

  44. Jo Reply

    You guys are just like me.. I have this crazy fascination for sunsets too. I think my main reason is coz I practically miss 99% of the sunrises – coz I am not a morning person. So the setting sun is the only time I can see some amazing colors in the sky. Great pics of the backwaters – love it.

  45. Carmy Reply

    It looks like such a beautiful place to visit. I love the photos of the sunset. I haven’t heard of Kerala before and would love to do more research on it as a place to visit now!

  46. Alessandra Reply

    You make every place sound like poetry. This looks like a very picturesque destination and I very much enjoyed learning more about it!

  47. Christina Reply

    Can totally relate to the passion for sunrises (and sunsets)… sometimes I sit in the bus or wherever in awe and can’t understand why everybody else just keeps staring on their phone, haha. The way you describe that fisherman scene is so peaceful, genuine, I can almost hear the water and feel its waves…

  48. shayan Naveed Reply

    Le Petit Elephant, love that name! It’s so cute.
    This resort looks pretty nice in that it is so near to the local life and gives a different experience than typical boutique resorts.

  49. Ami Reply

    This house boat experience is so different from the Alleypey one. But equally amazing. Maybe the next time I should do Kochi.

  50. Emily Reply

    Gorgeous photos, especially the one of the sunrise. When I toured Kochi it was in a motor boat – not quite the same serene gliding experience as yours!

  51. Paula - Gone with the Wine Reply

    Kerala looks beautiful, I hope I get to visit someday! Amazing sunsets and sun rises. I would totally do the same and wait for those special moments to get a perfect picture. Great post!

  52. verushka Reply

    There is defo something magical about the Backwaters. I was lucky to visit this state earlier this year. I spent a night on a houseboat and ws able to catch a sunrise and sunset while getting a glimpse of life along the backwaters.

  53. Abbi Reply

    What a romantic experience – this looks so captivating. Great photos too! We didn’t make it Kerala on our last trip to India but I’ve put it on the list for next time!

  54. Kate Hickey Reply

    Kerala looks like it’s such a romantic spot! It’s always great to be around nature, too. You’ve taken some wonderful photos even in the darkness!

  55. SindhuMurthy Reply

    Such a beautiful rendering of your travel in Kerala. It almost took me back me to my rendezvous with the Chinese fishing nets. But I had visited them during sunset when the entire sky had turned amber. Loved your video, especially the background music.

  56. Travel Blogger Reply

    I was in Kerala years ago, and I am so disappointed that I never took a backwater tour. We heard such great things about them, and it is such a gorgeous area. If I make it back, I will have to take a backwater for sure.

  57. Neha Saini Reply

    Kerala, best vacation possible. Its a nice quite region in India. Very different from other parts of the country. People are nice and hospitable.

  58. Rosey Reply

    I hadn’t even heard of Kerala until now. I would LOVE to visit though, absolutely love it!

  59. Our Family World Reply

    Thank you for giving me a different India. It is so unlike the India that they show in the news – crowded and dusty. Each country has its own unique beauty and you just showed a stunning Kerala.

  60. Annemarie LeBlanc Reply

    I have always been mesmerized by sunsets over a body of water. It is just so stunning that I could just sit and watch the sun disappear over the horizon. Kerala is such a beautiful place. I hope I get to visit India at least once in my lifetime.

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