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The popularity of Kettuvalloms has returned in the function as major tourist attractions. Many find the Kettuvallom an ideal means of exploring the beauty of the Kerala backwaters.
The houseboats in Kerala, south India, are huge, slow-moving, exotic barges used for leisure trips. They are a reworked model of Kettuvallams (in the Malayalam language, Kettu means "tied with ropes", and vallam means "boat"), which, in earlier times, were used to carry rice and spices from Kuttanad to the Kochi port. Kerala houseboats were considered a convenient means of transportation.
Such a houseboat is about 60 to 70 feet (about 18 to 21 meters) long and about 15 feet (about 5 m) wide at the middle. The hull is made of wooden planks that are held together by ropes of coconut fiber; the usual wood is 'Anjili'. The roof is made of bamboo poles and palm leaves. The exterior of the boat is painted with protective coats of cashew nut oil.
Unbelievable as it may sound, not a single nail is used in the making of a Kettuvallam. Jack wood planks are joined together with coir rope and then coated with black resin made from boiled cashew nut shells. The materials that go into the making are all local and Eco friendly bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats, coir carpets etc. These traditional country boats were used as the mode of transport in the early times from the isolated interior villages to the towns.
But these boat services have been laid off with the developments taken place in the transport services in the recent past. Today these giant 80-foot watercrafts have been adapted into luxuriously furnished houseboats.
A Kettuvallam usually has one or two bath attached rooms, an open lounge, deck, kitchenette and a crew comprising two oarsmen and a cook. Traditional lanterns are used as lights. Your holiday in this tranquil world is the comfortably furnished houseboats. Come, check into a houseboat for a memorable cruise along the backwaters of Kerala.
The Hindu wrote, “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.”
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