God’s Own “Island” by the Kasaragod Backwaters!

kerala backwaters, North Kerala, India Untravelled

We slowly row away from the shore, leaving behind the dim lights on our palm-fringed island in Kerala. The current in the backwaters sways our tiny kayak. After a brief show of resistance, we surrender and let it guide us. Small fish occasionally jump out of the water, creating ripples. A thousand stars shimmer in the sky above. These are the virgin Kasaragod backwaters. Silent, untouched and without a houseboat in sight (Also read: What India (and the World) Can Learn From Sustainable Tourism in Kerala).

I first visited Oyster Opera – this pristine island in Kerala two years ago, while charting out The Best Kept Secrets of Kerala trail for India Untravelled. When we impulsively decided to fly from Singapore to Kochi a few days back, I found myself craving the tranquillity of this little paradise. It is neither a resort nor a homestay, but just a place that perfectly encapsulates the languid way of life in these Kasaragod backwaters.

Also read: Offbeat Kerala: 11 Travel Experiences to Inspire the Artist in You

Oyster Opera, North Kerala backwaters, kasargod backwater, private island
My little paradise by the Kasaragod backwaters.

On sunny afternoons, we swing on hammocks under the shade of coconut trees, watching public ferries collect people from islands that have no road access. On open boats, we sail along a labyrinth of islands with sleepy coastal hamlets, watching fishermen catch fish on their hardy wooden kayaks. Parts of these Kasaragod backwaters are cordoned off for mussel farming, which was pioneered by our host, Mr Gul Mohammed, decades ago, inspired by a newspaper article! Mussel cultures are cultivated in these expansive backwaters, and the mussel extracted through wooden stick-like structures for export, creating livelihoods for 6000 coastal farmers.

Also read: Offbeat, Incredible and Sustainable: These Travel Companies are Changing the Way You Experience India

oyster opera
My resting place on an island in Kerala.
oyster opera food
Indulging in local delicacies.

We swim in the Kasaragod backwaters (they are that clean!), and in the roaring waves of the Arabian Sea on some virgin beaches that lie undiscovered on these islands. Walking amid colourful houses hidden by coconut trees, we converse with shy, well-dressed kids, impressed by the standard of living and cleanliness in this remote part of Kerala. When a kid asks me where I’ve come from, I think to myself, from another world.

Also read: 15 Responsible Travel Tips for Authentic, Meaningful Experiences on the Road

Kerala backwaters, North Kerala, secret beaches Kerala, island in kerala
The estuary where the backwaters meet the Arabian Sea.
Golden hues of sunset on a virgin beach in North Kerala.

Have you experienced the Kasaragod backwaters or a secret island in Kerala? 

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  1. I have experienced the backwaters of Kerala (don’t know North or South) in Cochin. It was an awesome experience. I just felt lost and draped in beauty. Sounds like you had an exceptionally good and peaceful time there.

    1. Cochin would be south. The backwaters in the north are very different, for the absence of houseboats and tourism. For your next trip!

  2. Lovely! In my Travel Bucket list actually… do you think the serenity of the backwaters will crumble if two screeching kids tagged along?

  3. You’ve described the place so beautifully. We had been to Kochi last March and the experience was just awesome. Longing for more! 🙂 I feel blessed to be belonging to such a beautiful place on Earth. 🙂

    1. Thanks Rekha! The countryside of Kerala really is beautiful 🙂

  4. Hello Shivya, So nice to see this post, as this is one place where I used to take my friends, relatives and colleagues whenever they come down to my home.

    Nice to see that you had a great time there.

      1. Yes Shivya, near Kannur Kasaragod boarder. Valiyaparambu backwater is around 6-7 km from my home 🙂

        1. Hi Sreejith, can you pls share the exact address and if any place to stay close by please. Thanks

          1. Hello Sandeep,

            I’ll get you the info ASAP, I heard, recently a very nice home stay has started right there in the island.

            Have a nice day 🙂

  5. Pingback: God’s Own “Island” by the Backwaters of Kerala! | The Talking Sloth - Asia
  6. I am itching to go to Kerala soon. You describe it so beautifully.

  7. leeshin12 says:

    these backwaters view was quite amazing. i would like to visit boat house and have curry fish during my travel to Kerala.

  8. The hill stations in Kerala are my favourite. There’s so much of beauty that you wouldn’t want to return home.

  9. Thank for sharing such a great information to us,
    Kerala is really a best place in India to visit as here is the most amazing and beautiful Backwaters and Beaches located. You can also do some outdoor sports activity here. You will be mesmerized to see the natural beauty of the temples and backwaters. Golden Triangle Tour with Kerala is the best tour package to visit and explore.

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