A cruise along the palm-fringed waterways of Kerala in a luxury houseboat is the most amazing experience in India today. In this world of simple pleasures, you'll skim past ancient Chinese fishing nets, water lilies, lush paddy fields, coir villages, rustic homes, temples and coconut groves.
Innumerable lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries and the deltas of forty-four rivers make up the 900 km backwater network of Kerala. The backwaters mainly cover four districts of the State – Kollam, Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kottayam and Kochi. The largest backwater body, the Vembanad Lake flows through Alappuzha and Kottayam districts and opens out into the sea at the Kochi port. The Ashtamudi Lake, the second largest backwater stretch, offers the longest ride (eight hours) and is considered the gateway to the backwaters.
You explore the tranquil backwaters in a comfortable furnished houseboat. Traditionally, the houseboat was called Kettuvallam, which means a boat made by tying together pieces of wood. Unbelievable as it may sound, not a single nail was used in the making of a Ketuvallam. Jackwood planks were joined together with coir rope and then coated with black resin made from boiled cashewnut shells.
Today, these giant 80 foot long crafts have been adapted into luxuriously furnished houseboats. A houseboat usually has one or two bath attached bedrooms, an open lounge, deck, kitchenette and a crew comprising oarsmen and a cook. The boats cross shallow, palm-fringed lakes and travel along narrow shady canals providing glimpses of small settlement on the narrow land, shops, schools and trading on boat, lush green rice fields.
The famous Snake Boat Races are organized in Alleppey district in the month of January, August and September every year.
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