Kerala House Boat
900 kms of dappled, green waters,
Fringes of dense tropical greenery, Clear skies shimmering through coconut
canopies, Kerala is a labyrinth of lazily meandering backwaters, Sprinkled
with traditional house boats, country crafts, rural lifestyles and
Tranquility. It's an intricate network of innumerable lagoons, lakes,
canals, estuaries and the deltas of forty-four rivers that drain into the
Arabian Sea. Over 900 km of this labyrinthine waterworld is navigable. 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.
House Boat Cruising
Have you ever gone house boat cruising on the backwaters of Kerala? If
you havent, make sure you do.
ones really an absolutely wonderful, unforgettable experience! The
Kerala house boats of today - huge, slow moving, exotic barge used for leisure
trips - are the reworked kettuvalloms of olden times. The original
kettuvalloms were used to carry tonnes of rice and spices - a standard
kettuvallom can hold up to 30 tonnes - from Kuttanad to the Kochi port.
Kettuvallam - Traditional Kerala House Boat
The kettuvallam or boat with knots- was so called because the
entire boat was held together with coir knots only - not even a single
nail is used during the construction. The boat is made of planks of
jack-wood joined together with coir. This is then coated with a caustic
black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. With careful maintenance, a
kettuvallom can last for generations.
When the modern trucks replaced this system of transport, some one found
a new way that would keep these boats, almost all of which were more than
100 years old, in the market. By constructing special rooms to accommodate
travelers, these boats cruised forward from near- extinction to enjoy
their present great popularity.
Now these are a familiar sight on the backwaters and in Alleppey alone,
there are as many as 120 house boats.
While converting kettuvallams into house boats, care is taken to use only
natural products. 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. For lighting though, solar panels are
Today, the boat houses in Kerala have all the creature 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.
While most boats are poled by local oarsmen, some are powered by a 40 HP
engine. Boat-trains - formed by joining two or more house boats together -
are also used by large groups of sight-seers.
What is truly magical about a house boat ride is the breathtaking view of
the untouched and otherwise inaccessible rural Kerala that it offers -
while you float! Now, wouldnt that be something?
So plan a Kerala tour and enjoy the most amazing as well as unique experience of boat house in Kerla.