Unveiling the essence of Asia

See Kerala through its backwaters from a houseboat in Kerala

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Off the Malabar Coast of India on the edge of the Arabian sea lies Kerala, a region renowned for its beaches and waterways, coconut groves, paddy fields and pristine blue waters that lap the soft sands and coconut-palm fringed beaches along this glorious coast. Long known as the ‘Venice of the East’, the Malabar or Kerala Backwaters are a complex and interconnected network of waterways, canals, lakes and rivers that are home both to wildlife and people. With more than 900 km of waterways making up the Kerala Backwaters, this meeting of the Arabian Sea and the freshwater from more than 30 rivers that feed into the backwaters, creates a unique ecosystem that extends for half of the length of the State of Kerala. The interconnected canals, lagoons and rivers are home to palm groves, floating houseboats and families living their lives in this unique waterworld. The backwaters of Kerala offer visitors a really peaceful almost languid way to experience rural India at its most peacefully replete. Take a houseboat and cruise luxuriously through the backwaters, watching the many and varied lifestyles, both human and wildlife, that live within these waterways as you cruise gently along. Fertile soils and plentiful fish stocks mean it’s one of the country’s most abundant regions, with parts of the backwaters reclaimed from the waters for rice cultivation. Sit back, relax and enjoy the idyllic sights of shady palms, paddy fields and quiet little rural churches and temples. This is India at its rural best.

While enjoying your holiday in Kerala be sure to make time to look around the colourful city of Kochi. Kochi (or Cochin) is a series of peninsulas, islands and promontories caught between the lakes and rivers of its inland waterways and the Arabian Sea. An important port city since the 14th Century A.D. it has long been a meeting and trading place for Indian, Arab, Chinese and European merchants. A rich and long history from the Cochin Kingdom through Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English occupations and administrations, the city is a living melting pot of cultural influences still visible in the architecture, cuisine and art of the Cochinese today.

When visiting the Malabar Coast and the Kerala backwaters the perfect itinerary has to include a stay at the stunning boutique wellness resort of Neeleshwar Hermitage combined with an overnight cruise on the backwaters aboard the elegant Lotus Houseboat. With just 2 cabins aboard the houseboat privacy and serenity are assured during your cruise, with the professional crew offering 5-star service throughout. The Neeleshwar Hermitage offers 19 traditional thatched cottages laid out according to traditional design principles on an unspoilt beach looking out across the Arabian Sea. With an Ayurvedic Wellness Clinic on site, guests can relax and rejuvenate incorporating Ayurvedic menus, yoga, massage and meditation during their stay in this beautiful boutique resort. Let the Secret Retreats team take the strain and tailor make your Kerala Backwaters and Malabar Coast holiday for you, all you need do is relax and enjoy.

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