A stay in Houseboats in Kerala has become one of most loved holiday ideas in India. Stretching to a length of 900 km, the green emerald waters cast a spell on you the moment you set eyes on them. And the best way to tread these waters is by taking a houseboat cruise. The best place in Kerala to enjoy a houseboat ride is in Allapuzha (Allepey), however it is the Vembanad Lake which is the largest network of backwaters covering three districts and ending in Arabian Sea.
House Boat Cruising
Cruising in a houseboat is truly an unforgettable experience that will make you come again and again to this one of a a kind wonder of the world. These huge and well build wooden structures move slowly and royally in backwaters of Kerala. While moving on the backwaters, it seems the sun plays hide and seek, giving us a glance from behind the numerous coconut trees, bending on to the waters. The alternation of shade and sunshine provides a magical backdrop to your journey. The best part of this cruise is the fact that you get to see the true culture of Kerala from as close as possible.
On both the sides of backwater, you will see people of Kerala indulged in their daily chores. Children playing around their homes, women doing the household works and men working to earn a livelihood. The most common industry that you will see on the banks is the coir industry. Sometimes the children swim all the way to your houseboat just to greet you. The other fascinating thing that you might see while on a cruise is a mobile general store. A small boat is laden with all the necessary household items and is rowed from one house to other, selling items.
There are different types of houseboats which you can choose for your trip. There is the traditional houseboats of Kerala are called 'Kettuvallam' and newly build luxury houseboats that provide you far more comforts.
Kettuvallam – The traditional Houseboats
'Kettuvallam' literally means 'The Tied Boat'. It is so called because the entire boat is held together with coir knots. No other adhesive or nails have been used for the purpose. If these houseboats are maintained nicely, they are said to last for generations. Earlier, they were used to transport material and people across the state, however with the development of road transport, the use of houseboats for transportation became nil. It was then, it was developed as a means of tourism. A slight modifications here and there and a kettuvallam was transformed into a houseboat. They were an instant hit with the tourists who took to it like a fish to water. They are build from the scratch using only natural products. Even for lighting purposes, solar panels are used. This helps in keeping the natural serenity and cleanliness intact.
It will not be an exaggeration to call luxury houseboats as moving luxury hotels. They provide you every possible comfort that is imaginable in a hotel. Well furnished bedrooms, multi cuisine menu, exceptional living rooms and a balcony with magnificent view. There was a concern that tourists are not able to cover much during the cruise because of its slowness. So some of the boats were fitted with engines. This gives you the option to choose any according to your convenience. Though moving slowly through the backwaters of Kerala is one of the best virtues of a backwater cruise.