The Queen of the Backwaters

Lounging on a  deck chair, moving gently, immersed in a  rippling , scented silence. Can there be better ways to explore a new world than this? Once, these  houseboats were barges,  transporting rice along the large and intricate network of lakes and canals that cover the central part of the state of Kerala.

 

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With  a few tweaks to the hull, partitioned bedrooms and all the modern conveniences added, we've converted these  'Kettuvalloms' as they are called, into elegant floating homes that cruise the inland sea 

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of the Vembanad near our Coconut Lagoon property. Made completely from natural materials, the boats are powered by solar energy and vegetable oil. Canopies of cane and rattan blend into  coir-matted decks creating a warm, natural ambience that's almost entirely hand-crafted.

 

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With it's cane and rope awnings flying rakishly, its silent hull gliding past as if on wings of air, a houseboat  seems to do more than just belong to this world of palms and water. It seems to have been birthed from it.

Backwater Life

A video feature on the world of the backwaters and their famous icon, the kettuvallom.

On the Waterfront

Women gather coconut fronds for drying

Women gather coconut fronds for drying

A boatman carries fresh cut grass to the village for  use as thatch

A boatman carries fresh cut grass to the village for use as thatch

Natural building materials from walls to fences to gates

Natural building materials from walls to fences to gates

Panorama: the Kavanar River
The Spice Coast One pauses for breath at the mouth of the Kavanar River, one of the many that feed the mighty Vembanad Lake.


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"Pushing out of the shallow water with bamboo poles, the crew punts us toward the centre of the lake, where the captain turns on the quiet engine. He sits at the point of the bow, navigating by memory rather than charts, and we stretch out behind him on the forward deck on pillows and padded mats, enjoying the sun and the serene setting.”  

Cheryl and Bill Jamison



 

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