Hi I am Going to Kerela in November/ December. And I would definitely want to go on a houseboat, can anyone here guide me or tell me a good link where I can inquire about prices and other relevant information? Are they too costly?
Officially, there are 200 licensed houseboats and about 400 unlicensed ones. Dozens of htem are lying idle because of poor tourist arrivals. So, you’ll certainly be able to get one and possibly beat down the prices with some haggling. However, the reputed ones, such as those operated by the Casino Group, are always in demand. Of course, they charge top dollar but also provide absolutely top quality service always. In addition, barring 15 houseboats all of them add to the pollution of the Vembanad Lake in and around Aleppey because they do not have on-board sewage treatment facilities, even according to the Government of Kerala. So, if you want to encourage responsible tourism, you might also want to consider going only in boats with biotoilets.
Hey I found this wirteup for IRCTC options on a blog site while searching for options on houseboats in kerela…thought might be of help 🙂
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Kerala Backwater Tours from IRCTC
7 hour backwater cruise through villages of Kerala
Daily Tour – Starts from Main Boat jetty, Ernakulam 8:30 hours and comes back at 17:30 hours (on a house boat and country boat with ethnic Kerala lunch. Pickup from hotel arranged)
Tour organised by – Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd
Programe – 30 minutes journey by coach/car to a nearby village. Four hours backwater cruise on a houseboat through wide canals and lagoons and 3 hours village cruise on country boat through the little canals of various villages,
Itinerary – See Traditional coir making, A rare chance to see medicinal plants. 30 minutes walk around the villages under the cool shady coconut palms. Hear and watch kingfishers and coromorants
Food – Ethnic kerala meals
About the village – the village lies 20 kms south-east of Cochin. Since there are no industries in the area, the village is free from sound/air pollution. The main occupation of teh villagers is rope making from the coconut fibre, straw mat weaving using pinepapple leaves, collecting sand from teh river bed, fishing and farming.
About the boats – The house boat converted from Kettuvalllam is made with the hardwood “Anjili” and is about 70 feet long and 13 feet wide. It has a spacious double room with a modern toilet and an open pavilion.
Price – Rs 550 per person which includes 7 hours backwater cruise, lunch and transportation.Free hotel pickup is also priovided
For reservatin contact
#40/1984, Salih Arcade
Tel: 91 484 2382991
Thiruvanthapyuram – 9447191846
Kottayam – 9495237383
Kochi – 9446579474
Aleppey – 9446513972
Mangalore – 9964318278
Coimbatore – 9952338653
Kozhikide – 9446539292
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range.
Kerala has over 900 km of interconnected waterways, rivers, lakes and inlets that make up the Kerala backwaters. The backwaters have a unique ecosystem – freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea.
There is a different Kerala along this Backwaters Tourism. Throbbing with its unique culture. The routes along this Backwaters Tourism are always breath-taking green, the skyline vanishing with a line of coconut trees on the banks and a lot of other attractions.
House Boats of Kerala
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.”
Kerala has a wide variety of options for backwater tourism and the house boats are available in various ranges and the ac and non-ac options are also available. Coconut Lagoon Kumarakom, Kumarakom Lake Resort, Whispering Palms Lake, Taj Malabar Cochin and Taj Residency Cochin are some of the Kerala backwater resorts.
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