Chaotic and colourful with a constant cacophony of sounds, sights and scents, India is nothing short of mesmerizing and what better way to explore Incredible India than by boat on a Secret Retreats Kerala Backwater cruise and luxury cruises around India. As the seventh-largest country in the world and second most-populated, Mother India is a constant assault on the senses that’s often fascinating and frustrating, inspiring and overwhelming in equal measure.

In this fascinating country, home to one of the world’s most ancient cultures and various spiritual practices, visitors are always guaranteed a once in a lifetime experience, whether it’s their first time in the country or their fifteenth. When thinking about the sprawling South Asian country, often visions of elaborate saris, crammed cities, enticing cuisine and raucous rickshaws come to mind, but with a nation so large, India offers myriad settings to explore – from the striking Himalayan mountains of Kashmir, to the crowded capital of New Delhi, to the tropical southern beaches.

While travellers often traverse the massive nation by train or regional flights, there’s another mode of transportation that offers guests to India a more relaxed way of exploring what the country has to offer – by boat. In fact, luxury river cruises in India or a Kerala backwater cruise is often a highlight of discerning travellers’ Indian itineraries.

Naturally, when visiting India, one will likely be drawn to its culture-rich hubs of Kolkata, Mumbai, Varanasi or Jaipur. What these tantalising destinations don’t often offer, however, is the opportunity to fully unwind. To relax and seek some of that unhurried self-care and spirituality India is famous for – it is the birthplace of yoga and Buddhism after all – head south to the languid backwaters and beaches of Kerala.
Summertime Villa

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Lotus Houseboat

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Discover Kerala with a Kerala Backwater Cruise

Locals call Kerala “God’s own country” for a reason and a Kerala backwater cruise is always a highlight of any trip here. Here India’s most southern state stretches for 550 kilometres along the southwest coast and feels worlds away from the often frenetic energy of the rest of the country.

While the region is recognised for its interesting history intertwined with Portuguese explorers, Ayurvedic treatments, satisfyingly spiced cuisine, exotic wildlife, forested mountains of the Western Ghats and temple festivals, travellers often know it most by its famed backwaters where the best houseboats in kerala will take you on a dreamy luxury cruise India style. Drift through these sleepy waterways on a luxury houseboat and you’ll soon slip into the local, slower pace of life.

Situated inland from the Arabian Sea, Kerala’s jungle-framed backwaters are a complicated – and picturesque – network of canals, lakes, lagoons and rivers covering 1,500 kilometres and Secret Retreats has found one of the best backwater cruise in Kerala. Here, particularly in the Kuttanad region, around Kollam and Alappuzha (still often called Alleppey), classic wooden barges known as kettuvallam (which translate literally as “tied boats”) carry passengers through the waters. Boats have long been the main mode of transportation in this region and, while these traditional-style houseboats now primarily transport tourists, they were originally used to ship rice and coveted spices through the backwaters between Kuttanad and the port at Cochin. Each houseboat is constructed by local carpenters following traditional boat-building techniques using wood from the native Anjili tree, commonly known as wild jack. To finish off the vessel, thatched roofs gracefully arc over the wooden hulls, providing protection from the elements as well as lending a charming aesthetic to the single-storey barges.

Today, these simple yet elegant river cruisers slowly glide through the backwaters, which are fringed by verdant rice paddies, charming villages and wild jungle, offering ample time for passengers to soak up the tropical ambience. While onboard, guests can also enjoy savouring leisurely meals prepared by private chefs and showcasing the region’s delightfully varied cuisine. If you are wondering how to experience one of the sought-after Kerala backwater cruises... Read on...



Find the Best Backwater Cruise in Kerala and Kerala Backwater Cruise Packages

After the annual monsoon moves on from Kerala in May, leaving refreshingly cooler temperatures in its wake, the time is ripe for relishing a Kerala backwater cruise.

Once in Kerala, travellers will quickly find a plethora of choice when it comes to organising a Kerala river cruise. Not all of the charming wooden houseboats or Kerala backwater cruise packages are created equal, however. To find the best backwater cruise in Kerala as well as the best houseboats in Kerala, it’s smart to stick with reputable operators, especially when organising a private cruise experience. All the boats backed by Secret Retreats have been hand-selected to ensure only the finest, flawless experiences. While most cruises tend to follow similar routes, Secret Retreats’ luxury river cruises in India take guests further off the beaten path without scrimping on style, quality or service.
Travellers can enjoy jaw-dropping scenery during the day then sink into peaceful slumber atnight, gently rocked to sleep by the slightly swaying waters. To round out the experience, flavourful multi-course meals are presented onboard along with the option for unique excursions or stops personalised to the guests’ interests.

Plan Your Indian Luxury River Cruise or Kerala Backwater Cruise with Secret Retreats

Looking for luxury cruises around India or Kerala backwater cruise packages? Dreaming of experiencing the magic of a Kerala river cruise for yourself? By getting in touch with the Secret Retreats concierge, you can begin planning your memorable Kerala backwater cruise and other luxury river cruises in India as well as an extended India itinerary either before or after your cruises with stops, stays, meals and more, all of which meet.
Secret Retreats’ high standard of service and hospitality.

Simply contact our concierge today to get started – we can’t wait to share the secrets of India cruises and Kerala’s backwater escapes with you.