Backwaters of Kerala

Backwaters, Kerala

The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast of Kerala state in southern India. One of the best features of holiday in Kerala is the backwaters. A mystical ride from the historical Kollam town to the most popular backwater destination Alappuzha in the Kuttanad region aboard the traditional Kettuvallam brings out the true essence and romance of Kerala. Afloat in Alleppey and enjoy the evening looking through the sky for the shooting star.

Trip to Alleppey houseboat is one of the major attractions in Kerala.On the serene backwaters of Kerala, the best way to experience the lake’s multiple facets is to glide through the waters on some of the best houseboats in Kumarakom & Alleppey


The Kerala houseboat is a modified kettuvallam, the large boat of yesteryears. In Malayalam, ‘kettu’ means to tie and ‘vallom’ means boat. These boats were held together with rope and hence the name Kettuvallams were used for the transportation of goods like rice and spices from Kumarakom and areas of Kuttanad to neighbouring towns.

Traditionally, a houseboat was about 60 to 70 feet long and about 13 to 15 feet wide at the beam.  Some of the new luxurious houseboats have a length of more than 80 ft. Eco-friendly and easily available materials such as jackfruit tree wood, palm wood, coconut fibre, bamboo poles, ropes, bamboo mats etc are used for constructing these boats. The boat is made by tying together (rather than nailing) planks of wood, generally anjili (wood of the jackfruit tree) with coconut fibre. As a protective coat, black resin extracted from cashew nut shells is applied on the planks. The motors mainly run on kerosene or petrol.  Bamboo poles and palm leaves are used for constructing the roof

As published in one of the article in a newspaper The Hindu

“A cruise along the mirror-still lagoons, picture-book lakeside, palm-fringed canals and shimmering rivulets of `God’s Own Country’ is the most enchanting holidaying experience in the country. With a cruise along the palm-fringed waterways turning to be part and parcel of holidayers’ itinerary, the traditional kettuvallam has emerged as the mascot of Kerala Tourism”

The house boats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel: well-furnished bedrooms, modern hygienic toilets, cosy living rooms, a beautiful kitchen and in some cases even a balcony for angling.The houseboat is managed by two oarsmen and a cook.

Most of the houseboat operators provide a choice of Menu as per Indian and International standard.Else the best option is to taste the traditional kerala food during the cruise.

The Houseboats are categorized as 

  • Budget
  • Deluxe
  • Premium
  • Luxury
  • Suite

The tourist can choose the Houseboats according to their budget.If you are on a Honeymoon trip to Kerala the best choice is from Premium category and above.

There are other options of day cruise in speed boat, motor boat or Shikara trip.You will get a chance to float through the narrow canals and enjoy the beauty of Backwaters.

Check in at 11 Noon at Alleppey. Start cruising through the Punnamada Lake, venue of the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race. Enter the enchanting waters of the Vembanad Lake; enjoy the panoramic views and the glimpses of the life along the banks. Enter Marthandam Kayal , the High Points of the cruise are the visit to the Historic church which was made by a landlord for his laborers (Chithira church, which opens once in a year) . Proceed to R-block , Visit Chavara Bhavan-the old wooden house where the blessed Kuriakore Elias Chavara was born (if interested you can go for a village walk and visit Chavara Bhavan). Lunch in the House Boat. Start cruising towards Kuppapuram, Kannitta, Irumpanam Canal and finally anchor around 5 pm at Meenapally Kayal for night stay. If interested you can enjoy doing fishing.

Next day by 8 a.m start cruising through Irumpanam canal, Kannitta, Vilakkumaram Thodu , Thathampally Kayal (where you can see the snake boats occasionally ) & finally drop you back at the finishing point. Check out by 9.00 AM at Alleppey.

  • There are lot many photographs of Houseboat on Internet, it may not be the same expectation while you reach there as reality differs according to individual perspective.
  • The houseboat has limited facilities and resources. Do not compare with Hotels and Home.
  • The storage capacity of the water tank in the Houseboat is limited. So please do not waste water. Keep the water tap closed after use.
  • Please remember to switch off fans, lights while not in use. In a case of failure of electricity, water supply, A/C etc. please inform the crew immediately.
  • Please do not drop sanitary napkins, plastics and other insoluble things in the closet.
  • Air Condition would be facilitated in the Bedroom from 09:00 PM to 06:00 AM.
  • You can use A/C anytime required in PREMIUM / LUXURY Houseboats.
  • The A/C in the houseboat will not cool suddenly like in home and hotels. It will take 30 minutes to 1 hour to be in power.
  • Normally, only fixed menu consisting of Traditional Kerala cuisines will be available on the boat.
  • Swimming in the lakes is strictly prohibited.
  • Check in at 11:30 AM and Houseboat will start by 12:00 Noon. Check out is at 09:00 AM next day for the overnight cruise. Also, there will be a lunch break for about 1 hour.
  • The Houseboat will anchor by 5:30 PM for the night stay and will retain the cruise the very next morning at 08:00 AM. There is no cruising in the lake allowed in the evening hours or late night.
  • To help to maintain the privacy of the Backwater culture, guest are requested to retire for the night by 10:00 PM.
  • Breakage, destruction of any property of the Houseboat would solely be the responsibility of the guest and would be charged for the same.
  • Do take care of your personal belonging and baggage before you leave from the Houseboat.
  • The presence of flies, small insects are the Natural Habitat in Backwater. It cannot be 100% eliminated. The presence will be there at night in lights.
  • There will only limited access to TV, DVD Players, Music System (The collection of the DVD is less or limited)
  • Kindly cooperate with the crew, so that they can serve you better.
  • Do not forget to leave your valuable comments and suggestions.

This is a common question received by me during the inquiry.In simple line take precaution while visiting an unknown place or new destination.

  • There are many visitors who are not good swimmers, they should take care not hang on the edge of houseboats , drink heavily and loose control.
  • Be polite while interacting with local villagers due to language bariers.
  • Take precaution while taking selfie..
  • Solo or ladies ,don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re not happy!
Below 12 years
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