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Houseboats in kerala : The spectacular beauty of Kerala's backwaters needs no introduction. This month's lens view takes you to the backwater stretch of the Vembanad, where one can go for a leisurely cruise on a multi deck boat, allowing you enjoy the scenic backwater life.

Traditionally, the houseboat was called Kettuvallam, which means a boat made by tying together pieces of wood. Unbelievable as it may sound, not a single nail is used in the making of a Kettuvallam. Jack wood planks are joined together with coir rope and then coated with black resin made from boiled cashew nut shells. The materials that go into the making are all local and Eco friendly bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats, coir carpets etc These traditional country boats were used as the mode of transport in the early times from the isolated interior villages to the towns.
But these boat services have been laid off with the developments taken place in the transport services in the recent past. Today these giant 80-foot long crafts have been adapted into luxuriously furnished houseboats. A Kettuvallam usually has one or two bath attached rooms, an open lounge, deck, kitchenette and a crew comprising two oarsmen and a cook. Traditional lanterns are used as lights. Your holiday in this tranquil world is the comfortably furnished houseboats. Come, check into a houseboat for a memorable cruise along the backwaters of Kerala.
A cruise along the palm-fringed waterways of Kerala in a luxury houseboat is the most enchanting holiday experience in India today. In this world of simple pleasures, you will skim past ancient Chinese fishing nets, water lilies, lush paddy fields, coir villages, rustic homes, temples and coconut groves. A guided tour down the backwaters would provide you with a complete and most enchanting experience on the back waters of Kerala and will also reveal to you some interesting facts about the life of local village people. There is a Kerala that lives along these backwaters throbbing with its own unique culture .For you, as a visitor to Kerala it can be incredibly different experience just floating this backwaters in a country craft and absorbing unusual representation.
The Houseboats / Kettuvallams of Kerala are giant country crafts, measuring up to 80 feet in length, retrieved from being lost to the State altogether. Once these houseboats / Kettuvallams ruled the backwaters, poled along by one or two men, heavily loaded with rice, coconut and other commodities. But in the recent times, the Kettuvallams or rice-barges have been replaced by more and modern modes of transport, relegating them to neglect and decay.
HOUSE BOATS CRUISES:

It takes great skill and meticulousness to construct these giant Houseboats by tying huge planks of jack wood together. Curiously enough, not a single nail is used in their making of a houseboat. There used to be an entire clan of artisans who were involved in Kettuvallam construction. Today, an innovative holiday idea has restored these majestic representatives of a unique culture and with them their makers.The Kerala houseboats / rice barges that cruise these emerald waterways are an improvisation on the large country barges which were an essential part of the land's ethos in days gone by.

Modified to meet a novel concept of holidaying, the Kettuvallams ( houseboats ) are comfortably furnished with an open lounge, one or two bath attached bedrooms and a kitchenette, and are extremely eco friendly, merging smoothly into the panorama. Every houseboat / Kettuvallam is manned by a crew - usually a cook, guide and oarsman.The houseboats of today - huge, slow moving, exotic barge used for leisure trips - are the reworked Kettuvallams of olden times. The original Kettuvallams were used to carry tones of rice and spices - a standard Kettuvallam can hold up to 30 tones - from Kuttanad to the Kochi port. Traditional Kerala houseboats, Kettuvallam, glide past, powered both by gondolier-like boatmen with poles and by sail. Kerala's houseboat cruising is not just restricted to the backwaters, you also get a chance to explore the wildlife and indulge in some water sports such as water skiing, water sailing and angling.

The most popular backwater cruise is from Kollam to Alappuzha.Kettuvallams, the stitched boats provide the best way to experience the colourful backwaters of Kerala. The Kettuvallams of Kerala are giant country crafts, measuring up to 80 feet in length. The traditional houseboat, the indispensable part of the picturesque backwaters of Kerala, was mainly used in Travancore and Kochi and in the Minicoy Islands in olden times. The wood commonly used to make Kettuvallams is 'Anhili', which is found in abundance in central Travancore area. Large planks are tied together using hand made coir ropes and beaten coconut fibers. This gives the Kettuvallams enough strength to withstand heavy waves in the sea.

These long cargo boats are a familiar sight on the backwaters. These traditional Kerala houseboats undoubtedly form one of the most abiding images of the backwaters in Kerala.Today, these goods carriers have been adapted to make the most exciting tourism product in India , the luxuriously furnished houseboat. Kettuvallams or the 'house-boats of Kerala' dot the serene palm-fringed backwaters of Kerala.