Houseboats in Kerala
If it is relaxation with a difference that you are looking for, hop aboard Kerala's modern-day houseboats for the most fascinating journey of your life. Take a few days off and experience a cruise down the magical and mystical backwaters of Kerala. The backwaters of Kerala, which were the major highways in the days of old, has now become an international tourist attraction.
In the olden days, the Kettuvallams as they are locally known were used to move goods through the backwater canals and rivers across the towns. These 80-ft long kettuvallams were monstrous flat-bottomed barges with a small part covered with bamboo and coir for the kitchen and crew. Though such boats are still in use as goods carriers, over the last few years many of them have been transformed into pleasure palaces or houseboats for tourists.
Kettuvallams or 'boat with knots' was so called because the entire boat was held together with coir knots only. Wooden planks from the jackfruit tree are tied securely with the locally-made and easily available coir rope which is coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. The modern-day versions of the kettuvallam is appropriately referred to as the houseboats and have all the qualities of a good home with furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, a living room, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. While many still continue to use oars, others are powered by a 40 HP engine. At Alumkadavu, you might get a chance to see a floating conference hall, perhaps the only one of its kind in the world. Designed for 35 persons, it has a dais and a sophisticated public address system.
The houseboats of Kerala offer an innovative holiday idea besides being a cultural heritage. While aboard you can avail similar facilities offered in a star hotel. A Kerala houseboat is usually manned by a crew, comprising a cook, a guide and oarsman. Besides gliding in the houseboats, you could try exploring, swimming, fishing, bird watching or just lazing in the sun.
Some Links of Houseboats and Cruises Tours