Have you ever gone houseboat cruising on the backwaters
of Kerala? If you haven’t, make sure you do. This one’s really an
absolutely wonderful, unforgettable experience!
The houseboats of today
- huge, slow moving, exotic barge used for leisure trips - are the
reworked Kettuvalloms of olden times. While converting Kettuvalloms into
houseboats, 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. Traditional kerosene lamps are used to give a romantic touch for
the trip. Today, the houseboats 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. The crew includes a chef and two oarsmen. The cuisines consist of local specialties such as delicious fish and prawns of traditional Keralean flavour.
What is truly magical about a houseboat
ride in the breathtaking view of the untouched and otherwise
inaccessible rural Kerala that it offers - while you float! Now,
wouldn’t that be something?
Living on a houseboat and navigating through the
backwaters of Kerala is a lifetime experience. The traditional boat (Kettuvallom)
is oared by two men. You also have a cook on board. A houseboat cruise
can be for 24 hours or for as long as a week. The New York Times (Nov. 22 '98)
described this as an enchanting adventure.