The Kuttanad region in Alappuzha district is the heartland of Kerala backwater tourism. The Vembanad Lake and its many arms, the rivers Pampa and Achencoil, the various streams that flow through this area , the paddy fields which were reclaimed from the backwaters, where farming is done at an amazing five meters below sea level… that is Kuttanad, nick-named as the Netherlands or Holland of Kerala.
There are two distinctive areas here – Lower and Upper Kuttanad – based on altitude above sea-level or depth below sea-level. The scenic area is also described as the ‘rice-bowl’ of southern Kerala, on account of the extensive paddy fields surrounded by water. More than two crops are grown alternately each year. Kuttanad is prevented from salt intrusion by the Thaneermukkom Bund.
Farm labour in the huge and extensive paddy fields, fishing, harvesting coconuts, gathering mussels, harvesting paddy, collecting limeshell from the soil of the harvested paddy fields and boat rowing are some of the professions that the average Kuttanadan excels in. Coir products such as carpets, foot mats, matting and hammocks are the local produce available.
One can book a houseboat and sail through the streams, channels or waterways to explore some of the best features of this region. Sailing through the backwaters you can enjoy the scenic paradise of the countryside and get rejuvenated with the experience. The scenic countryside also has rich crops of coconuts, banana, fruit trees, etc. wherever geography allows. Homesteads, schools, shops, churches, temples and other buildings, are situated amidst the lush vegetation at a higher elevation than the rice fields and the zig-zagging canals.
Talking about the uniqueness of this place, is the special Pearl Spot fish curry which is more popularly known as “ Karimeen curry”, needs to be told.
Famous personalities hails from Kuttanad are Jnanpith winning novelist Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, late Malayalam poet Dr K. Ayyappa Panikkar, Scholar-folklorist Kavalam Narayana Panikkar and noted filmmaker Vinayan.