The Kettuvallam (House Boat in Kerala) is a large floating structure with high loading carrying capacity was a part of Kerala’s culture and heritage over the past years. Kettuvallam could sail harnessing wild energy. A journey through the lagoon is interesting, passing through sleepy villages, busy boat jetties and vibrant celebrations. The boat glides across the shimmering blue waters with gorgeous green and fringed edges.
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.
With Kerala becoming an increasing popular destination for tourists, Kettuvallam have been given a new lease of life. A cruise in the backwaters of Kerala is a remarkable experience, an opportunity to enjoy and contain an unhurried pace of life. Floating along on cool tranquil water one can experience at hand the unusual representation of Kerala life. Nowadays environment friendliness has become the yardstick gauging the efficiency of transportation. Kettuvallam is not only economical but also non-polluting and environment friendly. It thus became imperative that this mode of transportation be developed further and encouraged.