These rice boats made from jack wood during ancient times were used for transportation of tons of rice and spices through the myriad sites in the Kerala backwaters
. Today most all of these rice boats have now been converted into exotic Kettuvallams
to cater to the ever rising demands of Tourism in these Backwaters. During the ancient days braided palm leaves, aracanut trees and coconut-husk mats marvelously coalesce to form the unique living quarters accommodating cozy bedrooms and modern day toilets. Today Houseboats in Kerala
are being well equipped with a superb living style to best accommodate the tourists during their vacation stay in this exquisite ‘Gods Own Country’
A houseboat during ancient times was a wooden long boat that had rooms for sleeping as well as a kitchen with an area to sit while a man rows the boat using a long pole. During the trip the boatman can float by many villages and watch fishermen doing fishing, some stooped along side the river during this process. You also can venture to follow the same routine as also take a look around, see water snakes snacking on fish, local people shopping (both selling and purchasing) vide boats etc.,. The sunset is naturally brilliant and appears to set neatly amidst the palm trees along the shore. During this perfect time you can watch the proceedings around, watch sunset or even play card games enjoying the same with local backwater people
The lighting within the boat is well set to match the environment during the trip across scenic locations. In some Kettuvallams / Houseboats, power is supplied by discreet solar panels hidden in the roof. In shallow waters the boat which is almost 50 feet long, is propelled from the bow and stern by the boatmen using the punting poles. This is a process which is followed as a routine as these boats require a depth of at least above 10 ft for the motor to function effectively (an outboard motor is sometimes used in deep waters on longer cruises).
Kerala's backwaters also receive the most incredible and heavy rains (monsoon - June & July) along with strong winds, lightning storms that you may have ever experienced. This utter excitement lingers in your mind reminding you that nature's fury isn’t always devastating and deadly. Sometimes it can be pure magic and is exquisite.