Lakes of Kerala

Lakes of Kerala
A lake can be defined as a variable-sized water body, larger and deeper than ponds mostly fed by rivers, running parallel to the sea coast. These water bodies are locally known as "Kayals.

As we mentioned in our earlier post about Rivers (Part 1, Part II), entire Kerala has been blessed with innumerable waterways of which placid and alluring lakes play a vital role. Kerala's Backwater system is an interconnected network of brackish lagoons, lakes, canals, rivers, and inlets spread more than 900 km. 

That is why Kerala is popularly referred to as the "Land of Lakes and Lagoons."

According to the Govt. of Kerala, the kayals can be broadly divided into three categories based on their geological location & geomorphological setting in reference to the coastal plain. They are:
  1. Contained within the beach ridge complex. Eg: Vembanad Kayal & Kayamkulam Kayal.
  2. Occurring within the warkalli terrain which undergone has some morphological changes by the growth of spits.
  3. Occurring within the warkalli terrain extending up to the eastern margin of the coastal plain. Eg: Ashtamudi Kayal.

There are 34 lakes in Kerala fed by 38 rivers throughout the year. Out of these 34 lakes, 27 are connected with the Arabian sea and 7 are inland lakes, i.e. landlocked lakes.

Basic Facts on Kerala Lakes

  • No. of Lakes in Kerala – 34.
  • No. of inland Lakes in Kerala – 7.
  • No. of backwaters in Kerala are connected to the sea – 27.
  • Largest Lake – Vembanad Lake.
  • Second Largest Lake – Ashtamudi Lake.
  • Smallest Lake – Uppala Lake.
  • Northernmost Lake – Uppala Lake, Kasargod district.
  • Southernmost Lake – Veli Lake, Thiruvananthapuram district.
  • Largest Freshwater Lake – Sasthamcotta Lake.
  • Smallest Freshwater Lake – Pookode Lake.
  • Second Largest Freshwater Lake – Vellayani Lake.
  • Northernmost Freshwater Lake – Pookode Lake.
  • Southernmost Freshwater Lake – Vellayani Lake.
  • Largest Wetland Ecosystem of Kerala – Vembanad-Kol Wetland.
  • Lakes of Kerala included in the Ramsar list – Vembanad, Ashtamudi, Sasthamkotta.
  • Largest wetland ecosystem in India – Sunderbans Wetland, West Bengal (4230
  • First Man-made Freshwater Lake – Mananchira lake, Kozhikode district.
  • Lakes included in the Ramsar list – Vembanad, Ashtamudi & Sasthamkotta.
The major freshwater lakes of Kerala are Sasthamkotta lake (Kollam), Vellayani Lake (Thiruvananthapuram), Pookkode lake (Wayanad), Enamakkal lake (Thrissur) & Manakkodi lake (Thrissur).

Important Lakes In Kerala

    • The Longest Lake in India.
    • The Largest Lake in Kerala (205 Sq Km).
    • The Largest Wetland in Kerala.
    • Ramsar Site Wetland (2002).
    • Other names: Punnamada Kayal (Kuttanad), Kochi Kayal (Kochi), Veeranpuzha & Kaithapuzha.
    • Primary inflows: Achenkovil, Manimala, Meenachil, Muvattupuzha, Pamba, Periyar.
    • Primary outflows: Several canals.
    • Islands: Pathiramanal, Perumbalam, Pallippuram, Wellington, Vypin, Ramanthuruthu, Vallarpadam.
      • Biggest natural island in Vembanad Lake: Pathiramanal.
    • Kumarakom Tourist Spot.
    • Kumarakom Tragedy of 2002.
    • Events: Nehru Trophy Boat Race.

  • Ashtamudi Lake

    • Epithets: "Queen of Backwaters," "The Gateway to the Backwaters of Kerala."
    • The Deepest Lake in Kerala.
    • The Second Largest Lake in Kerala (61.4 Sq Km).
    • Location: Kollam District, Kerala.
    • Primary inflows: Kallada River.
    • Palm Tree Shaped/Octopus-shaped Lake.
    • The eight braids of Ashtamudi Lake – Ashram, Kallada, Peruman, Kanjirot, Kuripuzha, Kandachira, Mukkadan, Manjapadan.
    • Ramsar Site Wetland (August 19, 2002).
    • Ashtamudi Lake meets the Arabian Sea at – Neendakara Azhi.
    • Islands: Munroe Island, Chavara Thekkumbhagom.
    • Perumon Tragedy of July 8, 1988.
    • The First Seaplane service in Kerala (June 2, 2013; by Kairali Aviation).
    • The First Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certified Fishery in India – Ashtamudi Short neck clams.
    • IslandsNeeleswaram thuruthu, Poothuruthu, Puthenthuruthu, Palliyam thuruthu, Pannaykkathuruthu, Pattamthuruthu, Pezhumthuruthu, Munrothuruthu.
    • EventsPresident's Trophy Boat Race.

  • Sasthamkotta Lake

    • Epithets: "Queen of Lakes."
    • The Largest Freshwater Lake in Kerala (3.7 Sq Km).
    • The F-Shaped Lake in Kerala.
    • Location: Kollam District, Kerala.
    • Ramsar Site Wetland.

  • Paravur Lake

    • Location: Paravur, Kollam District, Kerala.
    • Primary inflows: Ithikkara River.

  • Enamakkal Lake

    • Location: Thrissur District, Kerala.
    • Primary inflows: Keecheri River, Viyyoor River.
    • Bund on the west side to control the saltwater, proposed by Sakthan Thampuran.

  • Pookode Lake

    • Location: Wayanad District, Kerala.
    • Primary inflows: Kabani River.
    • The Smallest Freshwater Lake in Kerala.
    • High Altitude Freshwater Lake in Kerala.
    • The Northernmost Fresh Water Lake of Kerala
    • Lake in the Shape of India's Map.
    • The university is located on the banks of Pookod lake – Kerala Veterinary & Animal Sciences University (KVASU).
    • Pethia pookodensis – a species of cyprinid fish found only in Pookode Kayal.

  • Vellayani Lake

    • Location: Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala.
    • The Southern-most Freshwater Lake in Kerala.
    • The Second Largest Freshwater Lake in Kerala.
    • Events: Ayyankali Boat Race.

  • Veli Lake
    • Location: Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala.
    • The Southern-most Lake in Kerala.

  • Kayamkulam Kayal

    • The Third Largest Lake in Kerala.
    • Primary inflows: Achankovil, Pamba through Canals.
    • Thermal Power Plant - Rajiv Gandhi CCPP Kayamkulam or NTPC Kayamkulam .
    • Chavara - Panmana Canal – Connects it to Ashtamudi lake.
    • Events: Kayamkulam Boat Race.

  • Periyar Lake

    • Location: Thekkady, Idukki District.
    • Man-made Lake formed during the construction of the Mullaperiyar Dam in 1895.
    • Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • Chettuva Lake

    • Location: Thrissur District, Kerala.
    • Ruins of William Fort, Chettuva Bungalow, Raja Islands, Chettuva Harbour.

  • Veeranpuzha Lake.
  • Akkulam Lake.
  • Vadakkechira.
  • Vynthala Oxbow Lake.
  • Anayirangal Lake.

Lakes & Canals

CanalsLakes (connects)
Chavara - Panmana Canal
  • Ashtamudi Lake with Kayamkulam Kayal.
Conolly Canal
  • Korapuzha river & the Kallai River; Karanchirapuzha & backwaters of Vallivattom.
Kollam Canal
  • Ashtamudi Lake with Paravur Lake.
Paravur Canal
  • Ashtamudi Lake with Edava & Nadayara.
Parvati Puthanar
  • Karamana River, Kadinamkulam Lake & Veli-Akkulam Lake.
Payoli canal
(1.6 km, man-made)
  • Agalapuzha to Kotta river.
Ponnani canal
(3.6 km)
  • Bharathapuzha with Velliankode Kayal & Chettuva river
Paravoor canal
  • backwaters of Edava & Paravoor.
Sultan Canal
  • Valapattanam river and Kavvayi Kayal.

📝Read More: 
  1. Boat Races of Kerala 
  2. Previous Year PSC Questions on Lakes of Kerala


  • Limnology – Study about lakes.
  • Spit – Morphological term, can be defined as extending from land into the offshore zone.
  • Three main geological formations of Kerala – the Archaeans (oldest rocks), the Warkalli beds of Tertiary Age (Upper Miocene to Pliocene), and the recent deposits (quarternary).
  • The largest lake in the world – Caspian Sea.
  • The largest saline water lake in India – Chilka Lake (Odisha).
  • The biggest freshwater lakes in Asia – Wular Lake (Jammu & Kashmir).
  • The highest lake in India – Cholamu Lake (Sikkim).
  • The largest wetland in India – Sunderbans (West Bengal).
  • The largest lake port of India is – Kochi.
    • The first transshipment port in India – Kochi.
  • Headquarters of Kerala Inland Navigation Corporation – Kochi.
  • The third largest fresh water lake in Kerala – Karlad Lake (Wayanad).
  • World Wetlands Day – February 2.
  • Vembanad Wetland was included in Ramsar Sites on – November 2002.
  • Heart-Shaped Lake is situated at – Chembra Mala, Wayanad District.
  • Chembra Peak of Meppadi is the third highest peak in Kerala after Anamudi and Elamala in Idukki.
  • Biyyam Lake is in the district of – Malappuram District.
  • Kanoli canal flows into – Chettuva lake and Enammavu lake.
    • William Fort is also known as – Chettuva Fort.
    • William Fort – Fort constructed in 1714 by the Dutch East India Company with permission from the Kingdom of Cochin.
  • Muriyad Lake is in the district of – Mukundapuram taluk, Thrissur District.
  • Parvathy Puthanar is located in – Thiruvananthapuram District.
  • Poonthura Pozhi – delta formed by Parvathi Puthannar.
  • Port at the mouth of Bharathappuzha – Ponnani, Malappuram District.
  • Sultan Canal is in the district of – Kannur.
  • Kavvayi Lake is in the district of – Kannur.
  • Conolly Canal lies between – Chavakkad & Mukundapuram taluks, Thrissur District.
  • Anchuthengu Lake is in the district of – Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Veli Lake is in the district of – Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Akkulam Lake is in the district of – Thiruvananthapuram.

The topic "Lakes of Kerala" will be helpful for those who are preparing for the KAS exam, assistant engineer exams, Secretariat assistant, deputy collector exam, LDC exam, other GK exams, etc as the questions from this topic appear repeatedly in the PSC Exams. Being a vast topic, we will be updating the topic periodically trying to include all possible questions on the subject for all competitive exams.

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