Kerala is a region
endowed with a beauty that is magical. The blessings of nature on this land are
galore. The sobriquet, “God’s own country” does not appear farfetched. With its
attractions like virgin beaches, mist veiled hill stations, winding backwaters,
enchanting wilds, verdant landscape and spectacular art forms, Kerala shines as
a prime tourism destination.
Out of all attractions,
Backwaters is the phenomenon unique to Kerala. Similar occurrence is nowhere
else in the world to be found. Backwater is the complex network formed by
canals and inlets which are both manmade and natural, branches of rivers and
lakes. Backwaters make for exquisite landscape with shores adorned by
attractive monuments, rustic abodes, swaying coconut trees, emerald flora and
lush green paddy fields, fishing nets and various activities of life; and
backwaters embellished with water flowers especially water lilies. The fame of
this elegant setting has spread far and wide and Kerala
Backwater tours are a hot item in global tourism parlance.
About nine hundred
kilometers of waterways known as backwaters are navigable and they were used as
transportation media by local people. They also depended on backwaters for
means of sustenance like fishing and agriculture. Thus backwaters had
significance in Kerala economy. Now also backwaters are playing a strong
economic role by contributing substantially through tourism.
Alleppey, Kochi, Kollam
and Kumarakom are the epicenters of backwater tourism for now. Surely more
competition are to be ensued. Cruises through backwaters are the main items and
of the various ways, Houseboats are the most popular way of cruising.
Houseboats are modeled
on erstwhile “Kettuvallams”. Houseboat
Kerala is constructed in such a way that the luxury demands of modern
day tourists are not compromised and traditional design and milieu are kept
intact. Kettuvallams once upon a time reined backwaters. These extra large
barges with heavy carrying capacity meandering majestically through the
backwaters rowed by one or two men with bamboo poles were a sight to behold. They
were used to transport rice, coconut and other essential goods from the
isolated backwater villages to towns like Alleppey, Kochi and Kollam. But with
the advent of modern amenities like bridges, roads and ferries, they slowly
faded out of use. Now tourism has given a new lease of life to Kettuvallams, as
they are reincarnated as houseboats which carry excited tourists on luxurious
cruises through backwaters. Kettuvallams had thatched roofs over wooden hulls
to offer protection from elements of nature. Although the form remains largely
unaltered, houseboats are two to three storied affairs with one to five
bedrooms included. Apart from bedrooms, dining space and sit out open on all
sides are allotted. From this sit out tourists can savor the exquisite beauty
The houseboats in houseboat packages Kerala are adjoined
with generators providing for air conditioning. A crew including a cook
accompanies guests. The menu is usually indigenous variety with local fish
included. Houseboats are run in a meandering pace though motorized letting
guests drink the charm of backwaters fully.
Kumarakom is a small
village blessed with all the bounties of a backwater village. Kumarakom also
homes a bird sanctuary frequented by migratory birds including Siberian Crane.
While cruising on Kumarakom houseboats
you can enjoy the exquisite landscape and music from this sanctuary as bonus.
Spending a night in
houseboats docked in backwaters is a heavenly affair.
Rajesh Raj is an eminent analyst and writer in Travel & Tours
related topics. He has authored many books on Alleppey
Houseboat & Kumarakom
Houseboat. Find more information related to Kerala
backwater houseboats log on http://www.keralabackwaterhouseboats.com
Kerala Houseboats – Heavenly affairs in Backwaters