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Home >> India >> Kerala >> Houseboats >>  Cosy Houseboats



Cosy Houseboat - Alleppey

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Cosy Houseboat


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Traditionally, the houseboat was called Kettuvallam, which means a boat made by tying together pieces of wood. Unbelievable as it may sound, not a single nail is used in the making of a Kettuvallam. Anjili tree (Botanical name: Artocarpus Hirsutus) 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 long crafts 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.

A cruise along the palm-fringed waterways of Kerala in a luxury houseboat is the most enchanting holiday experience in India today. In this world of simple pleasures, you will skim past ancient Chinese fishing nets, water lilies, lush paddy fields, coir villages, rustic homes, temples and coconut groves. A guided tour down the backwaters would provide you with a complete and most enchanting experience on the back waters of Kerala and will also reveal to you some interesting facts about the life of local village people. There is a Kerala that lives along these backwaters throbbing with its own unique culture .For you, as a visitor to Kerala it can be incredibly different experience just floating this backwaters in a country craft and absorbing unusual representation.

The Kerala houseboats / rice barges that cruise these emerald waterways are an improvisation on the large country barges which were an essential part of the land's ethos in days gone by. Modified to meet a novel concept of holidaying, the Kettuvallams ( houseboats ) are comfortably furnished with an open lounge, one or two bath attached bedrooms and a kitchenette, and are extremely eco friendly, merging smoothly into the panorama. Every houseboat / Kettuvallam is manned by a crew - usually a cook, guide and oarsman.

The houseboats of today - huge, slow moving, exotic barge used for leisure trips - are the reworked Kettuvallam of olden times. The original Kettuvallam were used to carry tones of rice and spices - a standard Kettuvallam can hold up to 30 tones - from Kuttanad to the Kochi port. Traditional Kerala houseboats, Kettuvallam, glide past, powered both by gondolier-like boatmen with poles and by sail. Kerala's houseboat cruising is not just restricted to the backwaters, you also get a chance to explore the wildlife and indulge in some water sports such as water skiing, water sailing and angling. The most popular backwater cruise is from Kollam to Alappuzha.


Front living area and bedrooms have a beautiful wooden ceiling with overlapping logs to give it a contemporary feel. The bedrooms of the Luxury A/c Houseboat have complete glass windows stretching across 3/4ths of the wall to offer the guests a complete and uninterrupted view of the backwaters while traveling Each bed in the Luxury A/c Houseboat is located at the exact height of the window, so the guest gets a good view even while lying on the bed.

Each room in the Luxury A/c Houseboat has a dressing mirror, writing table, attached bathrooms and air-conditioning Bathrooms in the Luxury A/c Kettuvallams have a shower area with WC . All fittings are of high quality.The wall next to the WC has a large picture window that offers the guest an ample view of the backwaters, similar to the one in the bedroom and it also offers a feeling of space and ample natural lighting. The exterior walls, i.e. the textured finished walls in the dining/living area and pathway have niches incorporated in them. The kitchen, at the rear of the boat, is complete with a modern equipment and ambience, even though it is for use for the staff only.

Even guests can use the kitchen facility for themselves if they so choose.Every toilet is equipped with shower areas and water heaters. Each room is Air-conditioned using proper split units & Lifesavers and safety jackets are available on board.Onboard game activities include - Chess, Caroms, Scrabble, Playing cards etc. Fishing rods, painting and sketch pads, & High-End music system.

Luxurious Room

Join for a cruise in the Super-Deluxe luxury Houseboats for an inspiring voyage through some of the picturesque backwater settings in Alappuzha. Known as the ‘ Venice of the East' it is a water world with lagoons, canals, rivers and lakes.

Here, amidst the backwaters of Alappuzha, your cruise will invariably come across some of the routine backwater life, where people of all age group could be seen having an inseparable relation with the backwater.

Vast stretches of paddy fields, quite and serene villages, rich avian life, coconut groves, old temples and churches, the chorus of the ducks….these are some of the sights, sounds and fragrances of Alappuzha backwaters that you are bound to experience.

The elegantly built Super-Deluxe Houseboats comes with luxury, comfort and hospitality that complements well with your backwater holidays in Kerala. The traditional Kettuvallom (rice barges) made of Jackfruit tree wood forms the physical base for the modern day houseboats
The boat house is well equipped with safety measures that include life jackets, life buoy and fire buckets, sprinkler and foam to prevent fire.

Super Deluxe

Eco-friendly measures are adopted onboard all the Super-Deluxe luxury houseboats. Toilets run on biodegradable system and the waste generated is brought to land and disposed properly on a daily basis.

Super-Deluxe houseboat features spacious entertainment hall (300 sq ft.) and two bathroom attached bedrooms (163 sq ft. each) with facility for both warm and cold water. There is enough stored municipal water for bathing and bottled mineral water for drinking and cooking.

The well-equipped kitchen has facilities for chilling, (for beverages, soft drinks etc.) and baking. The delightful spread of Super-Deluxe Houseboat menu comes from our master chef catering your requirements in Chinese, Continental, Indian and of course popular Kuttanandan dishes. Pearl spot (Karimeen) fry, traditional fish curry (mackerel or sardine) with tapioca (Kappa) comprises some of the ethnic food choices. You can also try toddy (Kallu) the natural beverage extracted from coconut tree. Prawns, lobsters and mussels are also served on request.

In the Super-deluxe luxury houseboats, you would enjoy courteous and meticulous services of experienced personnel. Well-experienced captain, engine driver and chef, trained to converse in Hindi and English from part of the cruise team.

While the crew strives to make each cruise a memorable one to our guests; they are pleasantly mannered and trained to handle any kind of emergency. Mobile connectivity ensures constant touch with the guest relations executive.



Kettuvallam, the stitched boats provide the best way to experience the colourful backwaters of Kerala. The Kettuvallam of Kerala are giant country crafts, measuring up to 80 feet in length. The traditional houseboat, the indispensable part of the picturesque backwaters of Kerala, was mainly used in Travancore and Kochi and in the Minicoy Islands in olden times. The wood commonly used to make Kettuvallams is 'Anjili', which is found in abundance in central Travancore area. Large planks are tied together using hand made coir ropes and beaten coconut fibers. This gives the Kettuvallams enough strength to withstand heavy waves in the sea. These long cargo boats are a familiar sight on the backwaters. These traditional Kerala houseboats undoubtedly form one of the most abiding images of the backwaters in Kerala.

Sight seeing

The hull is a series of wooden planks, long cut and carved by the expert hands of the carpenter, tied together using coir with coconut fibers stuffed in between. Kettuvallam is steered by two persons in deep waters by means of oars. Long bamboo poles or 'punts' are used to propel in shadow areas. Bamboo beams sprouting off on the sides are used as foot holds for the same a senior oarsman and a helper control the Kettuvallam by singing songs and chants for inspiration. A box of sand, a few bricks in interior facilitate cooking on lower racks, with storage on the upper ones. Food and necessary items are stored in shelves sleeping quarter is on the uppermost racks, which have the best ventilation and accessibility. The interior space can also be used for the same when there is no cargo. Fresh water is stored in earthenware pots.

Basically Kettuvallam was designed to transport cargo to various destinations in Kerala. When it was used for tourist purpose, there new problem cropped up like - No free movement was possible because the floor area of the hull was very less. The space below the hull was more compared to the space above. There were no openings, which provided enough of light, air or view towards outside. The tourist felt it difficult to walk through the length because the curved shape of the hull with Manikals coming across. The roof was made of thatch, which was not properly done so during rain leakage was likely. Due to the low head clearance of the Valapura it was only possible to sit on the padi of the hull. Since the Valapura was low, the airflow through the Vallam minimum. The hull is curved and for the beginners it was very difficult to balance when the vallam was in motion.

Body: Due to these difficulties it become necessary to make some changes in the form so that a comfortable cruise was possible. The body was redesigned and remodeled to adapt for the new demands and functions. Certain elements had to be added and others removed to make it good enough for comfortable cruise. Height of roof was increased to get sufficient headroom. A plank was laid all through the length to reduce the disadvantages of curved shape of the hull for walking and comfortable seating. Windows and other openings were provided for light, airflow and view. The entrance is provided in the center of the linear axis with a top hung panel, which was supported by poles on either ends of the Valapura. Most of the latest designs have incorporated 3 bedrooms with a common toilet, a living space and kitchen. Now some of them have come with lesser number of bedrooms but with large living space and may be a deck balcony at the roof level. The platforms that cantilever from the hull are used as balconies. For fixing the toilet seats, shower tray and ceramic floor finish a concrete slab is laid at the floor level. The soil outlet of the toilet seats are taken through the hull and let out to the following water beneath, The water is stored in a plastic tank kept at the top portion of the Valapura taking connection to the kitchen and toilets. The pipes, tank and other synthetic materials are covered with coir or panambu to maintain the aesthetic quality of the eco friendly materials. The air cylinders, which are of the metal body, are fixed to the underside of the cantilevered platforms at the entry points of Valapura. These cylinders helps to balance the structure on water reducing its tilting to the sides to a minimum. Since the circulation inside the Vallam is more in the new function more stability is required.

Colour and texture: The Colour of the Valapura is yellowish brown, which is the Colour of the natural materials like panambu, coir and bamboo. It is a warmer Colour comparing to the Colour of the surrounding atmosphere. This gives a nice feeling of being inside the Vallam.

Furnishing: The interior furniture are either of cane or wood, floor carpeted with coir mat and Valapura of panambu, mula and coir all colours matching each other but bring the depth and variations.

Lighting: Light and the patterns of light and darkness it creates can call our attention to one a rear of our room de-emphasize others and thereby create division of spaces. At night the traditional hurricane lamp is used to light the interiors. Usually each one is hung from the ridge of Valapura one at front, one at rear and one or two accordingly for the living spaces. And mostly for half of a month there will be moonlight, which gives enough light, reflected on water.

Roofing: Bamboo is used for the framework of the roof and splits of Bamboo are used for weaving mat for roofing. Bamboo poles are used for punting the Vallams. It is strong fiber and absorbs more carbon.

Today, the houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Parts of the curved roof of wood or plaited palm open out to provide shade and allow uninterrupted views. While most boats are poled by local oarsmen, some are powered by a 40 HP engine.


Features of Houseboats

· Each houseboat is of excellent construction and luxurious furnishing with exquisite flooring, hull and valavara (canopy). They are in top cruise worthy condition.
· Each houseboat is provided with a sun deck, spacious living / dining area.
· Each houseboat with attached toilets, separate toilets for crew.
· Spacious passage and a neat, classy kitchen.
· Kitchen is properly protected from hazards by fireproofing and fire extinguishers.
· Clean environment with a hygienic storage hold, free from insects And safe fuel storage facilities.
· Clean good quality linen, blankets, towels etc.
· Log books and tourist records are updated regularly and the boat has a valid license.
· The service of professional cooks are available on the boat.


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