A living symbol of biodiversity
The Vembanad lake is home to a distinctive variety of flora and fauna. More than 20,000 waterfowls, the third largest population in India, live on its banks along with many species of birds. It is also the habitat for different types of marine life, particularly shrimps and mollusks. In addition the lake supports a great many livelihood activities of the people living on its shores that include agriculture, fishing, tourism, inland navigation, coir rope making and lime shell collection. All of these activities no doubt place an ecological burden upon the lake. It is a matter of concern and has led to serious discussions on ways to lessen this stress upon its carrying capacity and delicate ecology.
Life on a lake
The Vembanad kayal or lake through which this cruise happens, is the longest lake in India and the largest in the state of Kerala. Spanning over several districts in the state of kerala, the lake is at the heart of the famed backwaters of Kerala with the Kumarakom bird sanctuary located on its eastern shore. Over 1.6 million people live on its banks and are directly or indirectly dependent on the lake for their livelihoods.
Know your community
The people who live in the environs of the Vembanad are an interesting group defined by activities and livelihoods unique to this environment. The cruise will let you meet and interact closely with local people, see fishermen and shell harvesters at work, exchange words with native toddy tappers and sample a few glasses of freshly tapped toddy - indeed a rare privilege!