Kettuvalloms or houseboats are typical Keralan boats that were used in the early days for the transport of rice and spices from the villages to the ports. Literally, it means ‘boat of knots’ because the boat was held together with knots of coir without the aid of a single nail. A portion of the kettuvallom covered by a bamboo shelter was used as a rest room and kitchen for the crew. Meals were prepared on board and supplemented with fresh seafood from the backwaters. They were phased out with the introduction of more modern ferries, better roads and bridges. They have now been re-furbished and re-introduced as slow moving luxurious and exotic barges to draw tourists.
The houseboats have all the comforts of a good hotel including fully furnished single, double, triple and five bedrooms with modern toilets, a sundeck and a private balcony for angling. Great care is taken to use only natural products while converting a ketuvallom to a houseboat. It is made of jackfruit wood planks joined together with coir. It is then coated with black resin of boiled cashew kernels.
Each houseboat will necessarily have three staff – a chef, driver and a cabin assistant. Cruise down the cool and tranquil backwaters in a kettuvallom for a lifetime of an experience. Glide past rustic villages, other houseboats, water life, fishermen, paddy fields, water lilies, Chinese fishing nets, temples and churches, truly the most amazing and unforgettable experience and undoubtedly the best way to explore Kerala.