Kerala's famous houseboats, known 'Kettuvallam', have historically been used as barges for transporting rice and spices throughout the backwaters. Back before the region had any road network of note, the Kettuvallam would bustle between the riverine rural backwaters and the prosperous coastal ports, carrying up to 30 tons of goods and often being as large as 100ft in length. Since these journeys could take several days the boats incorporated living and sleeping quarters, and some - especially those of the Keralan royalty - were used exclusively as opulent floating palaces. Each boat is thoroughly eco-friendly, using local materials and traditional construction techniques: long planks of jackwood are tied together with coir string, with a roof constructed from bamboo canes and thatched with reeds, coconut, and palm.

As traditional transport methods began to fade insightful Keralans turned to a new, fast-growing industry: tourism. Kettuvallam are now used as small, simple floating hotels, offering high levels of comfort and service in the backwaters. From the outside each vessel is of the standard Keralan style, the interior however is a mix of modern amenities and traditional design. Rooms have ensuite bathrooms and large windows for drinking in the views. The front opens up into a semi-outdoor lounge area, and in between there is a cooled dining area for indulging in hearty local fare. Boats are available in a range of categories and sizes, all of which are booked and staffed on a fully private basis.

  • Style: Simple
  • Location: Vembanad Lake Backwaters
  • No. of Cabins: 1
  • Key Features: Semi-open Lounge Area, Dining Room, Private Bedroom with Ensuite Bathroom, Fully-private Crew

Our Opinion

The utterly essential Keralan experience!

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