The backwaters form a specially attractive and economically valuable feature of kerala. They include lakes and ocean inlets,which stretch irregularly along the coast. The biggest backwater is the Vemband Lake, which opens out into the Arabian Sea at Cochin port. The other important backwaters are Veli, Kadinamkulam, Anjengo Edava. Madayara, Paravoor, Ashtamudi, Kayamkulam, kodungallur and Chetuva. The deltas of the rivers interlink the backwaters and provide excellent water transportation in the low lands of Kerala. A navigable canal stretches from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala,to Tirur in the far North.
The largest backwater stretch in Kerala is the Vembanad Lake which flows through three districts and opens out into the sea at the Cochin port. The Ashtamudi Lake ( literally, having eight arms) , which covers a major portion of kollam district in the south , is the second largest and is considered the gateway to the backwaters.