Vembanad

Vembanad is the longest lake in India, and the largest lake in the state of Kerala. It is also counted as one of the largest lakes in India. Spanning several districts in the state of Kerala, it is known as Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad, Kochi Lake in Kochi. Several groups of small islands including Vypin, Mulavukad, Vallarpadam, Willingdon Island are located in the Kochi Lake portion. Kochi Port is built around the Willingdon Island, and the Vallarpadam island. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is conducted in a portion of the lake. High levels of pollution have been noticed at certain hotspots of the Vembanad backwaters. Government of India has identified the Vembanad wetland under National Wetlands Conservation Programme. Over 1.6 million people live on the banks of the Vembanad lake and are directly or indirectly dependent on it for their livelihoods. The port of Kochi (Cochin) is located at the lake’s outlet to the Arabian Sea. The town of Alappuzha (also known as Allepey), sometimes called the “Venice of the East” for its large network of canals that meander through the town – is sandwiched between the lake and the Arabian sea. Vembanad Lake is at the heart of Kerala Backwaters tourism with hundreds of kettuvallams plied on it and numerous resorts on its banks. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake. The lake has become a major tourist attraction. A generally safe destination, this place had just one incident of tourist harassment in 2004 as reported in The Times of India The Vembanad Wetland system has formed an intricate network of estuaries, lagoons and canals which spans over 196 km in the north-south and 29 km in the east-west directions. Almost all villages in these areas can be accessed via water transport. The major rivers of Muvattupuzha, Meenachil, Pamba and Achencovil rivers, are all navigable up to distances of about 30 km upstream in the tidal reach. The Kottappuram-Kollam segment of the west coast canal system has a major chunk passing through the Vembanad Lake and spans a total of 209 km. It has been declared as a National Waterway

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