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It is in God's own country - Kerala who can boast of the West Coast Canal, also known as "The Third National Waterway" (NW-III). It has a total length of 205 kms from Kollam in the south to Kottapuram in the north (Click here to view map) along with the Champakkara Canal and the Udyogamandal Canal and is lined with breath-taking beauty of ancient Chinese fishing nets, water lilies, lush paddy fields, coir villages, rustic homes, ancient temples, mosques and synagogues, Ayurveda treatment centers and coconut groves on either sides of the Waterway. The NW-III forms part of an intricate network of forty-four rivers and their tributaries.

The National Geographic Traveler famously listed Kerala as one of the " 50 places of a lifetime" among its millennium destinations. Magazines like Cosmopolitan and Travel & Leisure have referred to Kerala as "one of the ten love nests in India" and "a paradise to have the best breakfast in the world".

Realising this opportunity for tourism as well as transportation, the Government of India approved and implemented the Inland Water Policy in which the National Waterway III) is a part. The National Waterway III has been developed into a navigable channel of 38/32m. width and 2m. depths with full-fledged terminal facilities at over eleven locations and 24 hrs. Navigational aids. Countless lakes, lagoons, canals, estuaries and deltas of forty- four rivers make up the 205 km National Waterway III. The NW-III runs almost in parallel to the major State and National Roadways enabling yachters an opportunity to even visit the inland villages, cities and towns while their Yachts are safely anchored at any of the eleven terminals. Quaint ferries, canoes and large country crafts can be seen moving smoothly along, carrying cargo, children to school and people to work.

Yachters would also be interested to see kerala's traditional yachts or kettuvalams (houseboats) as they are locally called, made out Jack wood planks joined together with coir rope and coated with black resin made from boiled cashew nut shells 

The West Coast Canal covers five districts of Kerala - Trichur, Ernamkulam, Kottayam, Allepey and Quilon. 

The NW-III or West Coast Canal's depth is being maintained with nominal maintenance dredging every 4 years as sediment load is low and water level fluctuations are limited to only tidal variations. 

An easy way of accessing the National Waterway III for yachters is by navigating to the harbour city of Kochi or Cochin, also known as the queen of the Arabian Sea located at 9 deg 58 min. Kochi port has all the facilities one would expect from a full fledged international port, some of them are:

  • A Yacht parking zone
       

  • All weather port
       

  • 'Walk in' berthing priority
       

  • 24 hours pilotage
      

  • Bunkering & Water services
       

  • Single window facility for customs, inmmigration & port health clearance, foreign exchange facilities and tourist information.

Kochi is also the commercial capital and the most cosmopolitan capital of Kerala. Kochi is the landing point for all visitors visiting Kerala and was a major center of commerce and trade with the Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British in the past. With one of the finest natural harbours in the world and strategically located on the East-West sea trade route from Europe to Australia, this harbour city can help replenish your yacht for essential supplies, stocks and even repairs. The city of Kochi offers her visitors plenty of sites to visit and enjoy. The port was developed to international standards by Sir Robert Bristow against far too many odds and was also called by the British Raj as the " Jewel in the Crown of the Queen of the Arabian Sea."

The approximate voyage time through the West Coast Canal from Kochi to Kollam takes around a day (voyage time is based on day navigation only considering that the vessel will cover about 100 Km per day on an average).

From Kochi, Yachters can visit a host of unrivalled and mystic destinations such as the ancient Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Basilica- where Vasco da Gama (the Portuguese Navigator) was buried, the Dutch Palace, Bolghatty Palace, Backwater Resorts, Athirapally waterfalls, Ayurveda (the science of life) treatment centers and different architecturally elegant temples. It is also a Shoppers paradise catering to traditional handicrafts, Oriental clothing, leather goods, spices and antiques. The palaces, museums and Art Galleries will also be of interest to kochi's guests.

The city also prides in being the only international internet gateway in South Asia for the South Africa Far East (SAFE) project for high speed internet access and communications, therefore communication facilities here are very much up to international standards.

The ancient Phoenicians and Romans were enchanted by the clear backwaters of Kerala and it is perhaps the Romans who referred to Alleppey in Kerala as "The Venice of the East". The final destination on the NW-III, Kollam or Quilon enables yachters to access the Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary, the tea gardens and hill station - Munnar and the Kovalam beach, all within a few hours reach from here. Yachters on the NW-III can savor tender coconut, sweet coconut toddy and hot and spicy feasts from numerable resorts and hotels that dot the banks of the waterway. You can even stay at the ancestral houses or tharavads as they are known in Kerala and experience traditional Kerala hospitality and Ayurveda massages which help rejuvenate your body from several days of tireless sailing plus enjoy having traditional spicy feasts. Kappa (tapioca) and Karimeen (local fresh water fish) washed down with tender coconuts are the favorites. 

During the months of August/September comes Onam, the annual harvest festival. A festive period which plays host to several events like the exhilarating snake boat races (held on the second Saturday of August), kathakali and mohiniyattam dances and many more cultural events. Sailing through the National Waterway III you can see many rare migratory birds at the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary at Kottayam. The National Waterway III opens at Kochi with the Vembanad lake, the largest backwater stretch in Kerala and towards the south - the Ahtamudi lake covers a major portion of Kollam. The northern sector of the National Waterway-III covers the southern tip of Malabar, the spice garden of India. Famous festivals like the thrissur pooram (in April/May), the oldest Mosque in India at Kodungallur and the Guruvayoor temple are some of the landmarks easily accessible to yachters from Kottapuram. 

The Government of India and the Kerala State Government has given top priority in the further development of the National Water Way-III (The West Coast Canal) guaranteeing an all around facilities and navigational aids to the sailors and Yachting adventurers.


t Kerala, the God's Own Country
t Kochi, a Yachters Destination
t Kochi, an E-Tourism  Destination
t Bridges
t Some Facts
t Maps

 


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