Kerala Houseboats - Tourism & Houseboat Cruise in Kerala
Among the many things that Kerala tourism offers, Houseboats and backwaters are the two major tourist attractions. Kumarakom, a small village in Kerala is famous for its houseboats and beautiful palm fringed backwaters. A cruise on these houseboats through these backwaters of Kumarakom is one of the most wonderful and unforgettable experience one can ever enjoy. The present day houseboats are highly modified version of the Kettuvalloms of yesteryears. Kettuvalloms were huge country boats which were used to transport bulk quantities of goods, especially rice, from interior parts of Alappuzha to Kochi port. With the improvement in road connectivity and the advent of better, faster modes of transportation Kettuvalloms slowly started leaving the arena. It was the growth of the tourism industry in Kerala that gave Kettuvalloms a fresh lease of life, not to mention, in a refurbished form. It may even be true to say that the houseboats and backwaters played a significant role in transforming Kerala into a sought after tourism hotspot.
Modern day house boats of Kerala are 60 to 70 feet vessels of floating luxury. They offer almost all comforts offered by a good hotel. The facilities offered by houseboats include one or two bath attached furnished bedrooms, cozy living rooms, kitchen, dining area, balcony etc... Even Air Conditioned (AC) houseboats are available.
Houseboats are manned by a crew of usually 3 people -a chef, driver and a cabin assistant. The chef will be an expert in preparing local dishes, especially freshly caught fish from the lake.
The beauty of a houseboat cruise lies in exploring the enticing rural Kerala, especially parts of Kuttanad where one can enjoy the lush greenery of paddy fields crisscrossed by small clear rivulets. Kuttanad is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.
With increase in the popularity of Kerala's Houseboat cruise, the number of tourists visiting Kerala to enjoy houseboat cruise increased. This caused a sudden increase in the number of Houseboats and Houseboat operators in Kerala, especially in Kumarakom. In order to maintain the quality of Kerala tourism as a brand and to ensure the safety and service standards of Houseboats, the Tourism department of the Government of Kerala has laid down certain criteria based on which houseboats in Kerala are now categorized as Gold Star Houseboats and Silver Star House boats.
A cruise on a houseboat sailing slowly along the calm waters of the enchanting backwaters of Kerala, soaking in the warmth of the afternoon sun, enjoying the sunset from its deck will leave a lasting impression on your mind and in your heart.