Kuttanad is a place of stunning beauty in the backwaters of Kerala (India), with vast rice paddy fields, rivers and narrow canals lined with coconut trees. The region is fed by four rivers and spreads across the Alappuzha and Kottayam Districts of the state. A few of the major picturesque villages in Kuttanad are Kainakary (the birthplace of Saint Chavara), Edathua, Kainady, Pulincunoo, Veliyanadu and Champakulam. It is one of the few places in the world where farming is carried out 4 to 10 feet below sea level using bio-saline farming techniques. Branded as “Gods Own Country” for its natural beauty, the region has become one of India’s major tourist destinations with its unique house-boats and world-famous boat race, known in the local language, Malayalam, as “Vallamkalli”
Rice is the most important agricultural product and source of income for the region known as “The Rice Bowl of Kerala”. The history of rice paddy cultivation in Kuttanad can be traced back centuries. The evolution of paddy cultivation correlated with technological advancement during the 19th and 20th centuries through which land was reclaimed from the shallow part of the Vembanad Lake. Bailing out the water for cultivation was initially done manually with water-wheels and eventually by steam engines. This helped increase the number of crops from two every year to three crops a year on land reclaimed from the Vembanad Lake. The other major source of income is tourism.