Have you ever dreamt of cruising through the waters, detached from land and all strings attached ? Assume floating on a huge country boat and travelling through neat waterways where you enjoy scenes from everyday life of the village folk living on either side of the banks. These huge boats or kettuvallams, as they are referred to in Malayalam, served as carriers of rice and spices during olden times. Some clever mind turned these cargo boats to passenger boats thus keeping them intact even today!
The boats are made out of planks of jack wood tied firmly using coir. They go into their sheds every year for a thorough maintenance before the season commences. There are approximately around 500 such boats in Alapuzha alone!
Earlier being used for transporting rice and spices, these boats have underwent many modifications to suit the present day traveler’s comfort and style. They have all the comforts found in a small hotel, which include a sit out, dining area, bedrooms with attached toilets, kitchen etcetera. Every houseboat has an oarsman, a cook and a helper to cater to the needs of the boat’s guests. Food is freshly cooked on board and if you are lucky enough you may be served fresh fish caught from right under your nose!
A variety of cruises are offered by different operators, depending on the needs of the traveler. You can avail overnight stays with all meals on board or opt for the day cruise which includes cruising through the backwaters and enjoying the sumptuous Keralan food served hot.
What is truly splendid of a backwater tour is the fact that you get to travel through the countryside watching life as it is, without any artificiality!
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