Houseboats ( Kettuvalloms ) of Kerala
The Houseboats of Kerala are giant country crafts, measuring up
to 80 feet in length, retrieved from being lost to the State altogether.
Once they ruled the backwaters, poled along by one or two men, heavily
loaded with rice, coconut and other commodities. But in the recent
times, the kettuvalloms have been replaced by more and modern modes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 by
tying huge planks of jack wood together. Curiously enough, not a
single nail is used in their making of a houseboat. There used to
be an entire clan of artisans who were involved in kettuvallom 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. Modified to meet a novel concept of holidaying,
the kettuvalloms ( houseboats ) are comfortably furnished with an
open lounge, one or two bath attached bedrooms and a kitchenette,
and are extremely eco friendly, merging smoothly into the panorama.
Every houseboat is manned by a crew - usually a cook, guide and