Kerala boasts of a vast network of rivers, lakes,
lagoons and canals which together form the enchanting backwaters. The
backwaters of Kerala are scenic destination par excellence. Sailing
quietly on the backwaters of Kerala with only accompanying voice of
drifting water and birds on trees is once in a lifetime experience.
The scenes that can be viewed from aboard a boat include vast expanse
of paddy fields, fishermen at work, few temples and churches.
You can take a quick trip on a boat and return to your hotel if you are running short of time. However, for those who have ample time in hand and are in a mood to discover the backwaters of Kerala extensively, then hiring a houseboat is probably the best option. Houseboats, or kettuvaloms, as they are locally known, are not just a means to explore the backwaters of the state, rather, they are an experience themselves.
Imagine living in a traditional houseboat and waking up every morning in midst of water that is shimmering brilliantly with the reflection of rising sun falling in it. Think of the fresh air that will greet you in the morning when you come out of your bedroom in the giant country craft. See yourself sitting on the sun deck in the afternoon and soaking in the warmth of the sun. Last but not the least, enjoy the glittering shine of the stars that lighten up your path on the backwaters and then go of to sleep in your luxurious bed with the gentle rippling of water singing a lullaby for you.
In brief, staying in a houseboat and exploring the backwaters of Kerala together make for a wonderful option that will leave a lasting impression on your mind and in your heart.
Houseboats in Kerala are converted Kettuvalloms. Kettuvaloms, in earlier times were the major mode of cargo transportation in the backwaters of Kerala. These were also used for transportation purposes, primarily in the Travancore and Kochi region, however, today they are more used for tourism purpose. Initially, when the houseboats were converted to cater to tourists needs, foreigners were the only ones who hired them. Gradually, people from north India understood the excitement of travelling in the houseboats. Today, the number of Indians from other parts of the country has greatly outdone the number of foreign tourists. As for the local people from Kerala itself are considered, their number too constantly increase every year.
They are on an average 70 feet long boats with 15 feet
width in the middle portion. They are made from wooden planks that are
stitched together by coconut ropes. Interestingly, nails are not used
at all in the construction of the kettuvaloms. Most of the houseboats
are made from a wood known by the name of Anjili. Palm leaves tied
over bamboo poles form the roof of these houseboats. Cashew Nut oil
utilized in outside painting ensures a protective coverage for the
Today, these Kettuvalloms have been redesigned to suit the basic and comfort needs of the tourists. However, care has been taken to use natural products for this purpose. Lights are provided through solar panels
The Houseboats provide accommodation facilities for two people as well as entire family. The houseboats have commodious living and dining area with attached toilet. There is clean kitchen, properly protected against any hazards like fire. Professional cooks prepare delicious meal which is majorly traditional but keeping in mind the varying taste of the guests, more options in cuisines are also offered. The crew at the Kettuvallom usually consists of three people, two oarsmen and a cook. They have a separate arrangement for themselves ensuring you complete freedom in your room. To retain the traditional charm, lalterns are used for the purpose of lighting (though solar lighting are also used).
Houseboat Rating System
The Department of Tourism has also come up with rating system for houseboats. As such you have Gold Star and Silver Star Houseboats. Till now, the Department of Tourism has awarded around 25 houseboats a rating of Gold Star and further efforts are continuously being made to increase the number of such highly rated houseboats.
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