Cruising the Backwaters of Kerala in Floating Hotels-Houseboats
Backwaters – a unique web of lakes, lagoons, canals and rivers – are an integral part of Kerala’s Tourism Scenario. A Journey through the curving and winding backwaters of Kerala is an experience of returning to nature. Now-a-days backwater tourism is something special to Kerala. And Houseboats go a long way in actualizing the many backwater oriented tourism possibilities. Houseboat holidays have become popular in the backwaters of Kerala and provide an extremely soothing experience.
Traditionally, the Kerala 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.
Luxury Houseboat Vacationing
Houseboats of Kerala, offers a panoramic view of one of the most picturesque aspects of the God’s Own Country. A cruise along the palm-fringed waterways of Kerala that stretch over 1900 kms 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.
Relishing the Traditional Kerala cuisine and dishes made out of local fishes, served by the crew members, the Houseboats takes one to a fascinating cruise at a leisurely and relaxing pace.
The traditional houseboats attract travelers equally from India and abroad. There are several price options for you to take your pick from. There are over 250 houseboats that ply in the backwaters. For tourists the charges may be settled for anything between 500 and 6000 Indian rupees for a day.
Kerala Backwater Houseboat Destinations
Alappuzaha (Alleppey) Backwaters
Alleppey often referred to as ‘Venice of the East’, figures prominently on the tourist trail as one of the major centers for backwater boat trips, served by ferries to Quilon and Kottayam in particular. Palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either sides of the canals are sights one can never forget.
This bewildering labyrinth of shimmering waterways composed of lakes, canals, rivers and rivulets is lined with dense tropical greenery and preserves Kerala lifestyles that are completely hidden by road. It is called the ‘Rice Bowl’ of Kerala, because of the wealth of paddy crops at the very heart of the backwaters. Yams and cassava accompany the rice bowl as “side dishes”. This is the one of the only places in the world where farming is done below sea level (1.5 – 2 meters below sea level).
Kottayam is a land of unique characteristics, bordered by the lofty Western Chats on the east, the Vembanad Lake and the paddy fields of Kuttanad on the west. Panoramic backwater stretches, lush paddy fields, highlands, extensive rubber plantations and a totally literate people have given this district the title: the land of letters, latex and lakes.
Kumarakom is situated 15 km from Kottayam on the Vembanad lake (one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia) is best described as a picturesque clean village like most places in Kerala. The enchanting backwater destination of Kumarakom is a small village in Kottayam. Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake in Kerala. The bird sanctuary here spread across 14 acres of any ornithologist’s paradise. This enchanting backwater destination offers visitors many leisure options. From wandering into the depths of its wildlife sanctuary to cruising down the back waters and fishing, Kumarakom is perfect for a lazy and laid back holiday.
Located 71 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, this historic coastline district known for its marine and cashew industries was one of the oldest ports on the Malabar coast and a major international trading point in days gone by. A picturesque town standing on the banks of the Lake Ashtamudi is the gateway to the exceeding beautiful backwaters of Kerala. The long 8 hrs boat trip from Kollam to Alleppey is the best and most comprehensive introduction to the delights of Kerala’s backwaters as one passes through lakes, canals water-bound villages. The famous “Cheenavala” or Chinese fishing nets can also be seen along the backwaters.
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum ) Backwaters
A long shoreline, with secluded, internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage give this district some of the most enchanting picnic spots. The main backwater areas of Thiruvananthapuram are Thiruvallam and Veli.
Thiruvallam is located about 6 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram. This serene backwater stretch, enroute to Kovalam, is famous for its canoe rides. It is the meeting point of two rivers-Killi and Karamana.
Veli Tourist Village is located about 8 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram. The Veli Tourist Village is bordered by the Veli lagoon and the Arabian sea. The lagoon here is separated from the sea by a narrow sand bar.
Kochi (Cochin) Backwaters
Kochi (Cochin) – Queen of the Arabian Sea: Kochi is group of islands on Lake Vembanad, which opens out into the Arabian Sea. Some of the islands are Bolgatty, Vyppin, Gundu and Vallarpadam. conducted cruise through the winding waterways will take you to several quaint spots. The Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British have all left their mark here. The Jewish synagogue, the Dutch palace, the Chinese fishing nets, and other remnants of European and Asian architecture merge smoothly into the traditional fabric of the seaport city.
Kozhikode (Calicut) Backwaters
Unexplored and unspoiled are the backwaters of Kozhikode, which holds great promises of enchanting holiday options. Elathur, the canal and the River Kallai are favorite haunts for boating. Kadalundi, with its beautiful bird sanctuary is a charming site. Korapuzha, the venue of the Korapuzha Jalotsavam is fast becoming a popular water sport destination.
The northernmost district of Kerala, Kassarkod is situated on the sea coast with the Western Chats on its east and northern borders. Backwater trips on the Chandragiri River and at Valiyaparamba are fascinating experiences.
On the seacoast the backwater destination of Kassarkod offers mesmerizing trips to the enchanting Chandragiri and the vivacious Valiyaparamba. Situated on the Chandragiri river the former is renowned for the chain of forts. The latter provides the best breathtaking views of the backwaters. The boat cruises to and from Kassarkod will never fail to enchant you. On your backwater tour you must check out the well-preserved Bekal Fort. The Pallikere and the Kappil beach at Kassarkod are excellent spots for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Kerala Houseboat Operators
Address: 9/36, Nehru trophy Finishing point,
Kerala, South India.
Tel/Fax: +91-477- 2264112
Kayaloram House boats
Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala
Address: Park View, Thiruvananthapuram,
Kerala, India – 695 033
Tourist Information toll free No: 1-600-425-4747
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Tour India House boats
Address: Post Box No.163
Near SMV High School
Mahatma Gandhi Road
Kerala, South India
Tel: 0091-471-2330437, 2331507
e-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Alleppey Tourism Development Co-operative Society Ltd. (ATDC)
Address: A-837, Komala Road,
Phone: 91-477- 2264462, 2261693, 2230583
The Kerala Holidays Group
37/3331-A,Opp.Sree Sankara Ayurveda Hospital
Ponoth Road, Kaloor,kochi-682 017.
Tel: 099958 23433 / 34 / 37