The Gods Own Country, Land of Coconuts, State of Enlightenment (National Geographic), one of the 6 destinations of the millennium (Khaleej Times), one of the 50 must-see destinations of a lifetime (National Geographic Traveller), too many descriptions for the South Indian tourist attraction – Kerala. The state of Kerala is quite the surreal tropical paradise you see in glossy photographs in travel magazines and guides.
The backwaters of Kerala are a chain of large lakes linked by canals lying parallel to the Arabian coast. The backwaters are formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers. It is a network of five huge lakes linked by both man made as well as natural lakes and are fed by more than 38 rivers in southern India. The Kerala Backwaters form an economical means of transport and have been used for centuries for fishing, agriculture and transportation. It has supported the local people to earn a livelihood and in recent times it is used for growing rice too. There are a large number of towns and cities that serve as the starting and ending points of these backwater cruises.
For an experience of a lifetime – get the holiday spirit back – go kettuvallam, get backwaters!
HERE’S A BRIEF HISTORY OF KETTUVALLAM (HOUSEBOAT)
The House Boats in Kerala or the Kettuvallams (kettu means “tie”, vallam means “boat”) are large slow-moving floating structures with thatched roof covers over wooden hulls. They are mighty enough to carry an impressive amount of weight. Kettuvallams is a part of Kerala’s rich culture and heritage since centuries and was mainly used for the transportation of men and goods. A customary house boat could be about 100 feet long and can carry a load of about 30 tons.
More than 400 houseboats ply the Kerala backwaters, and over a hundred of those are well maintained and qualify as luxury liners. They stand proudly swaying with well-furnished bedrooms, hygienic toilets, well-structured kitchenettes and the most impressive balconies! They provide all the modern comforts and conveniences while vacationing amidst the surreal lagoons. So travel your way through the lakes and lagoons and absorb all of Kerala’s earthy spirit!