Kettuvallom - Houseboats
No trip to Kumarakom is complete without a backwater cruise on a houseboat. Years back when the present rail and road networks were non-existent, cargo movement was through waterways, with which the state was naturally and abundantly blessed. Kettuvalloms were the crafts used for the purpose.
Kettuvalloms are large country boats, often measuring 80 feet and more, made from planks of Anjili wood, stitched together using coir ropes, and coated with a black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. These boats used to ferry goods across the state.

The advent of present day roads and rails brought the Kettuvalloms to near extinction. It took the vision and enterpreneurship of a couple of enterprising young men to refurbish one of these leviathans, hoisting on to it a wooden super-structure incorporating a huge bed room, a toilet, a kitchenette and an open balcony. The rest is history.
Modern houseboats are a tribute to traditional design, ingenuity, aesthetic values and commitment to the environment. Many of them are equipped with solar lighting, chemical toilets and outboard engines for when you want to skim the waters.
The best way to cruise the backwaters of Kerala however, is in a leisurely laid-back manner with your weather beaten poleman gently gliding the boat across the waters, leaving you time to take in the sights. And the sights are there for the taking.
You meander past swaying, kneeling, crouching palms, tiny hamlets, an occasional country liquor shop, a village church. This is virgin country. Time hardly moves here. You can wallow in your thoughts. You can cast a line and catch a fish. You can savour the local cuisine. Or you can just lie back and let the beauty and serenity of what unfolds before you sink in.
When twilight falls and the stars begin to peek out, in the stillness of time let the immensity of creation fill your soul with awe. And as you cocoon yourself to sleep, let the gentle lapping of the waters sing a soothing lullaby. All is well with the world. All is well with you…
A holiday on a houseboat is a holiday with a difference. A seven star cruise liner can give you thrills and frills. A houseboat on the backwaters off Kumarakom can give you Peace. And unlike a holiday on a resort, in a houseboat the sights are new, the sounds are new, every sensation is new every passing moment.