In Kerala there are many backwaters and one can find many houseboats in these beautiful backwaters. The houseboats take the tourists for a journey through the lagoons, lakes and the rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. People have a leisure time travelling in the houseboats and they can enjoy the beauty of Kerala and the coconut trees that border these rivers. Vembanad Lake is the largest backwater in Kerala and it expends up to 3 districts. One of the main factors that attract the tourists towards backwaters is the houseboats. Houseboats are the replica of the Kettuvallom of the ancient times. These were used mainly for carrying goods like rice and spices in large quantities. Houseboats may be huge and exotic and are used mainly for leisure trips.
The word meaning of Kettuvallom is boat with knots. It is made by joining wooden pieces together. It is interesting to note that the boat is held together with coir knots and that nails are not used for holding the parts together. The wood is joined together with the help of coir which is then coated with black resin that are prepared by boiling cashew nut shells. Even though it is made in such a way it can last for many years. But now these Kettuvalloms are not used much and so they have been modified into what are called as the houseboats which are a major tourist attraction. There are several rooms in these houseboats that can accommodate many tourists. For the construction of certain parts of the houseboats such as the roofing, flooring, beds etc natural products are used. This includes bamboo mats, wood of Arecanut tree, coir mats, coconut tree wood, coir for bed etc. The lighting is provided by the solar panels. Besides these there will be terracotta lamps with candles to provide lighting. In Alappey district alone there are about 120 houseboats.
These houseboats may be about 80 feet long and are considered as giant craftworks. It requires great skill for constructing this houseboat and is made by several skilled artisans. Inside the houseboat is fully furnished with an open lounge, bathroom attached bedrooms, kitchen etc. There will be a person to handle this houseboat probably a cook and a captain. The cook prepares good traditional foods and the availability of fish from these backwaters makes it easier to prepare special fish dishes. The cook will be professionally expert and the food prepared will be of high standard and hygiene. These are houseboats which are air conditioned. The bedrooms with air condition facility have windows that give the guests a complete view of the backwater while on their journey. The other furniture in the room includes dressing mirror and table, wardrobe, luggage compartments etc. The houseboats with all facilities are classified as luxury houseboats.