Exploring Backwaters On A Kerala Houseboats

Houseboats are the major attractions of the South Indian state of Kerala and draw numerous tourists to God’s Own Country (Kerala). Therefore, the houseboats are considered as prominent source to boost tourism in India and Kerala. Kerala is the well-known throughout the world for its exquisite houseboats. These are the sources for leisure trips to give ultimate experience amidst tranquil backwaters. These houseboats are the modified version of Kettuvallams. In Malayalam Kettu means “tied with ropes” and vallam means “boat.”

Kerala Backwaters HouseboatThese Kettuvallams or houseboats have become popular amongst the tourist coming to India. As Kerala has exotic backwaters including 1500 km of water canals with a network of lakes, rivers and lagoons, the major means of transport is houseboat. Besides the natural ones there are many manmade water canals in Kerala to make transportation convenient through waterways.

Materials Used in Making Houseboats

These houseboats are about 60 to 70 feet long and 15 to 20 feet wide. Wooden planks of ‘Anjili’ are used to prepare the hull and fastened with ropes made of coconut fiber. Bamboo poles and palm leaves together are used to make the roof or the valavara of the houseboats.

Some of the villages of Kerala are famous for making the roofs of these Kettuvallom. To make the skeleton and to decorate these master craftsmen tie several knots with their hands. The external structure of these boats is protected with coats of cashew nut oil. These houseboats are specifically designed using eco-friendly materials such as coir ropes, bamboo poles and mats, carpets etc.

Kerala houseboats are now-a-days designed keeping in mind the comfort of the tourist for cruising across backwaters and overnight stay. They are well equipped with all the modern amenities for comfortable stay of tourist. Therefore it can be considered as floating home with the luxuries provided, gliding across the backwaters. These provide the opportunities to have glimpses of nature and local life of Kerala, while enjoying the tropical climate.

Kettuvalloms-Kerala Heritage

Kettuvalloms are considered as heritage of Kerala because of their uniqueness. They were once known as Kerala’s cargo. Earlier these boats were used to transfer goods from Kuttanad to Kochi port. Kerala houseboats have been a convenient means of transportation of all time. They are different in appearance from that of Kashmir’s houseboats.  This cultural heritage of Kerala now-a-days serves the purpose of tourism offering innovative and romantic holiday ideas amidst nature and exotic backwaters.

Comfortable Stay

The houseboats in Kerala offer the facilities of luxury hotels which attracts the tourists in large number. These well appointed houseboats consist of an open lounge, bedrooms with attached bathrooms and kitchenette. The houseboats of Kerala are managed by a crew that consists of oarsmen, a cook and a guide. Spending relaxed hours on the sun decks is the most admired activity on the houseboats of Kerala.

The impressive interiors and decor of these houseboats steal hearts. Lanterns are used to lighten the boats, enhancing its traditional look. The sumptuous Kuttanadan meals served on the boats includes fresh seafood, traditional Kerala cuisine and savory.

Major Backwaters Destinations of Kerala

•    Alleppey Backwaters
•    Kumarakom Backwaters
•    Kuttanad Backwaters
•    Vembanad Backwaters
•    Alumkadavu Backwaters
•    Ashtamudi Backwaters
•    Kollam Backwaters
•    Thottappally Backwaters
•    Munrothuruthu Backwaters
•    Munnar Backwaters
•    Fort Kochi (Cochin) Backwaters

How to Choose a Houseboat

You need to check few things about the houseboat before you hire one, in order to have an ultimate experience and cherished moments during the tour. Therefore, you should know the following tips for a better deal. Besides budget there are certain things that should be checked.

Firstly, the boat should be a traditional one- kettuvallam with thatched roofs. Secondly, get a thorough inspection of as many boats as you can, to know about their quality. You should not book the boat before inspection. Thirdly, talk to other passengers as well to know about their stay whether they had a comfortable stay. Then, you should try to get a boat that has an upstairs deck along with an eating area at downstairs. This will provide you space to spend time alone away from the staff and crew of the boat. Other things you should check include mattresses, bathroom, AC/fans and other amenities before you finalize the rent of the houseboat. These tips will definitely help you to get a perfect houseboat for an ideal backwater tour.

Also Read : Top 5 Backwaters of Kerala that you should not miss

Popular Backwaters Tour of Kerala : 5 Days – Kerala Backwater Tour Package

                                                               7 Days – Kerala Houseboat Tour

                                                               8 Days – Beauty of Kerala Backwaters

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