Kerala backwaters, as a whole, form an intricate network of lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries, and rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. Over 900 km of this labyrinthine water world is navigable. Boating along the backwaters offers spectacular views and vistas of Kerala’s pristine natural beauty.
Coconut palms, the arboreal symbol of Kerala landscape, fringe the backwaters framing the blue tropical sky during daytime and a starry twinkling firmament during evenings. There are diverse sceneries along the backwaters crisscrossing the coastal areas.
The largest backwaters stretch is the Vemband lake, which sprawls out into the three districts of Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Kottayam and has an area of 205 sq km. It opens out into the Arabian Sea at the Cochin harbour. The islands of Cochin are situated at the meeting place of the lake and the sea.
The second largest lake is situated just south of Vembanad and is called 'Ashtamudi'– meaning lake with 8 branches. It is 61.7 sq km in area and covers an extensive area in the coastal plains of Kollam district.
There are a dozen more coastal lagoons in Kerala, as well as 3 dozens river estuaries.