(71 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram) one of the oldest ports in the State, Kollam is where the magnificent network of waterways begins. From the famed Ashtamudi Lake known as the gateway to the backwaters, a 130 km long system of interlinked canals and lakes winds all the way to the north. The eight-hour trip from here to Alappuzha is the longest backwater cruise in Kerala. An important stop during the cruise is the picturesque little village of Alumkadavu, home of the skilled artisans who craft the enormous kettuvalloms.
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