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KERALA HOUSEBOATS

Backwater a unique product of Kerala these backwaters have been marveled at by visitors from Vasco da Gama onwards. The backwater which is as thick as a patchwork quilt around the port towns of Allepey and Quilon, thinning out into liquid spears north towards Calicut, and with the vast freshwater sea of the Vembanad lake as their centerpiece, the backwaters are an ecology like no other on earth.

Some are no wider than an arm span, navigable only by canoe. Others are dual carriageways, deep and rippling, sometimes broadening out into vast misty lakes, sometimes curling into twisting worm turns, hemmed by paddy fields and fed by a thousand fat streams from the high ranges of the Spice Mountains to the east. The Kerala Backwaters have a fleet of over 250 houseboats. When on board one may savor the traditional delicacies of Kerala. The cuisine is captivating owing to the local specialties in the menu. The food is generally fresh as the material is purchased on the way.

The traditionally decorated houseboats and its enchanting backwater cruising is a unique product of Kerala and is found no where else in the world. A glide in a "Kettuvallam" (Houseboat or Rice Barges) through the enchanting backwaters is sure to rob your heart. You’re in a watery universe, so quiet, even you can hear your own blood pumping around your head. Sparkling greens, emerald backwaters, coir-laden houseboats and magical beauty heals your mind and body as you travel to surreal Kerala.

Kettuvallams are the stitched houseboats provide the best way to experience the colourful backwaters of Kerala. The Kettuvalloms (traditionally decorated Houseboats) of Kerala are moving masterpieces of the majestic country crafts, measuring up to 80 feet in length. Usually the traditional houseboats are 60 to 70 feet high and 13 feet wide in the middle. It took great skill and meticulousness to construct these giants by tying huge planks of jack wood together along with the use of eco-friendly materials like the bamboo poles, coconut fiber, ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc,. The entire structure of the houseboat is strong enough to carry a truckload of material and withstand the enormous waves in the sea. The original Houseboat used to carry tonnes of rice and spices - a standard kettuvallom can hold up to 30 tonnes - from Kuttanad to the Kochi port. The panoramic nature surrounding the houseboats is clubbed with the equally well-furnished interiors. A Houseboat usually has one or two bath attached bedrooms, an open lounge, deck, kitchenette and a crew comprising oarsmen, a cook and guide.

Earlier these "Houseboats" were traditionally used to cargo tonnes of goods across kingdoms, with portion covered with bamboo and coir serving as a rest room and kitchen for the crew. A familiar sight on the Backwaters, these vessels are built entirely with out nails. Plants of jack wood are joined together and coir rope coated with caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kenels.

Today widely called Luxury Houseboats, they carry furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. As one cruises down the canal one can see the morning newspaper and mail delivery by boat, vendors in boat paddle from house to house selling everyday provisions like rice, vegetables, oil, kerosene etc. with hundreds of quacking ducks around. Also you can see village activities, fisherman's activities and see old beautiful temples, churches and old fashioned Kerala.

The wood commonly used to make Houseboat 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 Kettuvalloms enough strength to withstand heavy waves in the sea. These long cargo boats are a familiar sight on the backwaters. The slow yet steady sail along shallow, palm-fringed lakes and narrow canals is mesmerizing. The boats cross shallow, palm-fringed lakes studded with cantilevered Chinese fishing nets and travel along narrow shady canals, where Coir, Copra, and Cashews are loaded into the boats. As it is the strong yet smooth sailing houseboats form one of the most abiding images of Kerala.

Kumarakom: Kumarakom the place is having a small bird sanctuary where different species of birds can be seen. Fishing, boating and visits to the countryside make this destination a unique place to look forward to. A boat cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the serenity of the enchanting backwaters. 
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Alleppey: Alleppey is one of the most important tourist centers in the state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the East". These large networks of canals...
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