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Kerala House Boat Tours

Kerala House Boat | Kerala House Boat Tours

The beautiful backwaters of Kerala make a wonderful home to its traditional houseboats that take visitors on a dreamland journey meandering into the numerous lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries and the deltas of a number of rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. Tranquility and bliss rules these parts of Kerala as one gets lost into the beauty of swaying coconut groves bordering the shores and the rural lifestyle of the people. The largest backwater stretch in Kerala is the Vembanad Lake, which flows through three districts and opens out into the sea at the Kochi port. It is houseboats that attract a considerable number of tourists to the backwaters. Huge, slow moving, exotic barges used for leisure trips of today are actually the reworked Kettuvalloms of olden times, which were once used to carry tonnes of rice and spices.

The word Kettuvallam means 'boat with knots' and it is surprising to note that the entire boat holds together with coir knots only. Not even a single nail is used during its construction! Made of planks of jack-wood joined together with coir, it is coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. However, one does not need to worry because times have proved that with careful maintenance, a Kettuvallom can last for generations. Though, they are out of use now as carriers of load, clever humans have put them to a new use by modifying them and promoting them successfully as a tourist attraction. More than 100 years old, special rooms have been made in these boats to accommodate travelers who love to cruise in these houseboats, though, care has been taken to use only natural products such as bamboo mats, sticks and wood of the Aracanut tree are used for roofing, coir mats and wooden planks for the flooring and wood of coconut trees and coir for beds in the process. Solar panels are used for lighting. Alleppey alone has as many as 120 houseboats today.

Today, with the advancement of the tourism industry, luxury houseboats have been introduced that have acquired all the comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Parts of the curved roof of wood or plaited palm open out to provide shade and allow uninterrupted views of the panoramic scenery. These boats are either driven by local oarsmen or are powered by a 40 HP engine. In case of large groups, one may also opt for Boat trains that are formed by joining two or more houseboats together.

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