Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala is characterised by its immense labyrinth of paddy fields, interconnecting canals, lagoons, islets and inland lakes. Kuttanad stretches for about 500 square kilometres from Kochi to Kollam (Quilon) and is covered by lush paddy fields all over. Whole area is below sea level and it is the only region in India with an elevation ranging from 2.2 meters below to 0.6 meters above sea level. It is perhaps this elevation that makes Kuttanad immensely rich for farming. Area welcomes you with its green carpet formed by beach stretch paddy fields.
Kuttanad is nick named as Holland or Netherlands of Kerala, for the region is largely covered by back waters. The tourists also call it a paradise on earth. This is one of the lowest areas in India and it lies below the sea level. This is perhaps the only place on earth where crop growing happens 1.5 – 2 mts. below the sea level.
Vembanad Lake is one of the largest lakes in Kerala and stretches through out Kuttanad. It is called by several names in various areas of the place and is at times called as Kochi Lake or Punnamada Lake. Vembanad Lake is the largest wetland ecosystem of Kerala. Shimmering water ways of Kuttanad is sidelined by coconut palms and paddy fields along with chirping birds sounds making it a captivating country side. Beautiful waterways of Kuttanad provide an alternate mode of transport, cheapest private transportation, perhaps in the whole world. Traveling through the backwaters provides an entire view of area and its beauty along with rural life of Kerala.
There is reference to Kuttanad in the Mahabharata. It was part of a dense jungle once through which the Pandavas traveled. It got destroyed by a forest fire. It came to be known as Chuttanad which later became Kuttanad.
Though basically agriculturists, it can be said that occupation in Kuttanad is determined by seasons. Working class of Kuttanad are hardworking and experienced in several areas. Farming itself is very extensive and this includes banana, yam, coconut, cassava and several other crops other than paddy. Fishing is another area that is of expertise to people of Kuttanad. Gathering mussels, collecting lime shells, boat rowing, coir making are all trade hard working Kuttanadans are engaged in according to season. People sowing rice in water filled paddy fields by hand itself is an eye catching site. Paddy fields of Kuttanad are itself a captivating beauty being young and green during monsoons and golden yellow during winter ripe and ready for threshing.
Bordered by Western Ghats in the East and Arabian Sea in the West, Kuttanad owes a very distinctive geography of its own. It is this geographical feature that makes Kuttanadan life style unique. Kuttanad being in the proximity of Western Ghats, receive monsoon at the earliest. People are Kuttanad have adapted to life in flood waters ingeniously. Life here is deceptively calm, slow paced, tranquil and serene. Life is no hurry here and it is very common to see rural folks quietly and calmly gliding through water ways in their canoes.
Yet another great attraction waiting at Kuttanad is the house boats called as Kettuvalloms. Wide array of house boats can be seen anchored along the side of lakes in various sizes. Some of them are of the size of a cottage while some looks like a large bungalow itself. Only natural and sustainable materials like wood, coir and bamboo is used in its construction. Its very cool inside and the view from Kettuvallom through the backwaters of Kuttanad is one that will be etched on your mind. Apart from the boat cruise, staying at the colorful villages is also a major attraction. The boat cruises also let the tourist see the village life without intruding into their privacy. The boats are also known for their hygiene and cleanliness.
An ancient statue of Buddha located in the Karumadi village is another attraction for tourists. It is made out of black granite and known as ‘Karumadi Kuttan’.
How to get there:
Nearest Airport: Kochi International Airport
Nearest Railway Station: Alappuzha
Road: Kuttanad is well connected by the road network.
Map of Kuttanad:
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