Kettuvallam – Houseboats of Kerala Backwaters
Backwater houseboat trips are one of the highlights of the visiting Kerala . A cruise along the mirror-still lagoons, picture-book lakeside, palm-fringed canals and shimmering rivulets of `God's Own Country' is the most enchanting holidaying experience in the country.
The Kettuvallam or 'boat with knots' is called so because coir ropes tied in knots hold the entire structure of the boat together. During the assembling work of the boat, not a single nail is used. The boat is made of huge planks of Jack wood (Artocarpus hirsuta) or 'Aanjili' and joined with coir. The hull is formed from long wooden planks fastened together using coir rope with coconut fibers fitted in between, and is ultimately coated with a black resin made from boiled cashew nut shells.
Kettuvallams, houseboats were first built in Southwestern India in around 3,000 B.C.E. and were used for the transportation of merchandise such as rice and spices as well as passengers. With an average length of 100 ft, the immense scale of the boats allowed them to transport impressive quantities of goods, equal to three times that which can be carried by a modern cargo truck.
The modern adaptation from is outfitted with a large and comfortable sundeck where you will be able to relax on wicker chairs and watch the world go by. The modern kettuvallam is motorised and innovative changes have been made to accommodate modern fittings.
Cruise the enchanting backwaters of Kerala through coconut groves and quiet lagoons. Your boat will carry you slowly into the countryside offering a close look into the rural life.
The houseboat is manned by a three member crew including an on board experiences chef to add a culinary element to this scenic adventure.
Backwater Houseboat Types :
Dlx Houseboats run AC from 6 pm to 6 am
Premium houseboats run AC through the day. Also the quality of the construction, furnishing and food served is significantly better.
Major routes : Alappuzha Round and Kumarakom-Alappuzha
We recommend the Alappuzha to Alappuzha round trip. Most people believe that it is more enjoyable to take a cruise of Alappuzha to Kumarakom. It is a slight misconception. Between Alappuzha and Kumarakom lies the large Vembanad lake. It takes approximately 3 hours to cross this lake.
Although Houseboat booking is for 22 hours, the duration of the actual cruise (when the boat is on the move) is about 5 to 6 hours. If you select Alappuzha to Kumarakom route, then half of the cruise time will be spent in crossing the huge lake with no other sightseeing. Whereas Alappuzha to Alappuzha round has many interesting sights of witnessing the lifestyle of people living near the backwaters, visit ancient churches located on the way, move into small canals etc.
One Night stay or two Nights
If you have time, we would suggest that you take a 2 night cruise. The reasons for our suggestion is :
One the first day you board at 12:00 and then at 1 pm, the cruise stops for and hour for lunch. Then again cruise for 3 hrs till 5 pm.Next morning the boat has to travel back to the boarding point for disembarkation at 9 am. There is not much time to explore the backwaters in a one day cruise.
The 2 night Houseboat cruise or more nights are ideal for those who wants to spend time exploring this wonderful backwaters Travel more slowly, stop more often and explore more deeply.