Features of Kerala Houseboats
Features of Kerala Houseboats : Kettuvallams (cargo barges) turned into the famous houseboats of Kerala and are designed for comfortable cruising for the tourists and overnight stay. Most of the boats have one or two bath attached double bedrooms, a living cum dining room, sundeck and a kitchen along with modern amenities, comforts and facilties. The premium houseboats are the Golden Star approved by Department of Tourism of the Kerala State. One bedroom is usually to be used by two people only. Thus, one bedroom boat can accommodate two persons while two bedroom-boat can accommodate four persons. Natural and eco-friendly products like bamboo mat, arecanut trees and coir are used to construct the boats. However, one of the distinctive features of Kettuvallams is often attributed to the Chinese. The sides of its canopy can be lifted to have the uninterrupted sight of the passing panoramic scenery and allow the cool breeze in the rooms.
The boat moves by a quiet, out board engine of 25 HP. While cruising one visits villages to see coir making, paddy fields, temples and beaches enroute till sunset. Sunsets in backwaters are magical. At night, the boat is anchored to a beauteous quite part of the lake, as people dream about the passing scenes they have seen through the day lulled by the rippling backwaters. One may choose from a number of boarding points and routes depending on time, budget and itinerary of the tours. However, the most popular boarding points are Kumarakom, Alleppey, Thottappally and Alumkadave near Kollam or Quilon. Though one may opt for the traditional cuisine of fish and vegetables, most of the houseboats offer a far more sophisticated and cosmopolitan menu for the benefit of their guests. There is a personal cook on each houseboat that offers ethnic meals and fish delicacies such as white prawns, pearl spotted fish, crabs and mussels, which are the specialties of the region. Often there are two other crewmembers on the houseboat that also serve as the assistant and guide for the tourists.