Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kerala Houseboats, Houseboats in Kerala, Houseboats in Kerala, Houseboats Tour in Kerala, Houseboats Travel in Kerala

A Cruise along the palm fringed waterways of Kerala in a luxury houseboat or ketuvallom is the most enchanting holiday experience in India today.  In this world of simple pleasures, you'll skim past ancient chinese fishing nets, water lillies, lush paddy fields, coir villages, rustic homes, temples and coconut groves Innumerable lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries, and te deltas of forty-four rivers make up the 900 km backwater network of Kerala.  The backwatrs mainly covers the four districts of the state - Kollam, Alleppey (alappuzha), Kottayam and Kochi ( Cochin ).

houseboat or ketuvallom
houseboat or ketuvallom
houseboat or ketuvallom

The largest backwater body, the Vembanad lake flows through Alleppey ( Alappuzha ) and Kottayam districts and opens out into the sea at the Kochi ( Cochin ) Port.  The Ashtamudi Lake, the second largest backwater stretch, offers the longest ride and is considered the gateway to the backwaters
Your holiday home in this tranquil world is the comfortably furnished houseboat or ketuvallom. The Houseboats or Kettuvalloms of  Kerala are giant country crafts, measuring up to 80 foot in length, retrieved from being lost to the State altogether
Once these Rice Barges ruled the backwaters, poled along by one or two men, heavily loaded with rice, coconut and other commodities.  But in the recent times, the ketuvalloms or houseboats have been replaced by more and modern modes of transport, relegating them to neglect and decay. It takes great skill and meticulousness to construct these giant Houseboats or Kettuvaloms
Traditionally, the Houseboats was called Kettuvallam, which means a boat made by tying together pieces of wood.  Unbelievably it may sound, not a single nail is used in the making of a ketuvallam.  Jackwood planks are joiined together with coir rope and then coated with black resin made from boiled cashewnut shells
There used to be an entire clan of artisans who were involved in kettuvallom or houseboat construction.  Today, an innovative holiday idea has restored these majestic representatives of a unique culture and with them their makers
The Kerala houseboats 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

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