ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

History of Houseboats in Kerala

Updated on November 26, 2018
jacobkuttyta profile image

The person has been working as a freelance writer since 2011 and graduated from Indira Gandhi National Open University in Delhi, India.

House boat

Luxury house boat in Kerala
Luxury house boat in Kerala

History of Houseboats in Kerala.

Origin: Kerala is blessed with back waters and rich with man-made and natural canals. Vembanad lake covering an area of 200 km and boarded by cities like Ernakulam (Cochin), Alappuzha (earlier it was known as Alleppey) and Kottayam. There was water route from Cochin to Kollam (Earlier it was known as Quilon) which is about 200 km long. Kettuvallams (boats depend on wind and bamboo poles) were used to transport goods in bulk quantity from city to city. It would take 15 days to a full month to complete the journey. These boats were mostly depend on wind. When there is no wind the boatman use long bamboo pols to move the boat. Normally there will be three to four boatman in a boat during the voyage. One stand in the front and the other in the back to push the boat forward. The other two will be preparing food and taking rest. Once the two get tired, the other two take charge and continue the voyage. If there is wind they put up the rig and open the canvas for sailing. This is a temporary arrangement and can be dismantle the same if there is no wind or if the wind is in opposite direction. There was no machine powered boats in that time. This mode of transportation was very cheap and convenient as most of the cities can be reached through canals.

Due to the development in the road and rail transport facilities, these traditional modes of water transportation came to an end. Big size boats were of no use and many employees lost their job as a boatman. Boat repairing men and boat builders were out of work and those who depended on these industries were in fear of losing their job. At this time someone came up with the idea of turning these boats into Houseboats. At first, it was in Alappuzha, the houseboat came into life. It gradually developed and the tourism in Kerala flourished.

Continuous development changed the interior of these boats. Presently the interiors of these boats are competent to five-star hotels. Now, these boats are equipped with a diesel-powered engine and generator to generate electricity. It turned to be a success and found more profitable than the traditional water transportation.

Many old boats which were useless once, now transformed into Houseboats. Many boat owners turned their boats into houseboats. Houseboat designers came with new designs like one bedroom, two bedrooms, and three bedrooms houseboats. Also the inside and outside of these houseboats modified to match the five-star hotel rooms to attract foreign tourists. Now it becomes one of the major business in the Alappuzha District. Many travel agents in and outside India earning good commission for promoting these Houseboats. Well trained cooks are getting jobs on these boats for preparing food for guests.

During the course of time it turned out to be a multi-million dollar business and many depend on this business for their livelihood. The rich backwaters, lakes, and canals in Kerala and the beauty of “God's own country” attract many foreign tourists for boating/cruise overnight in the backwaters.

Different types of house boats

Bamboo Pole pushed boat
Bamboo Pole pushed boat
House Boat outside view
House Boat outside view
House Boat outside view
House Boat outside view
House Boat outside view
House Boat outside view
House Boat outside view
House Boat outside view
House boat inside view
House boat inside view
Original cargo Kettuvallam
Original cargo Kettuvallam
Open cargo kettuvallam
Open cargo kettuvallam

Valavara Vallam

 Valavara Vallam (Covered Boat) is the earlier mode of transport in Kuttanad and were popular in early 1960's now very rarely seen in Kuttanad, Kerala.
Valavara Vallam (Covered Boat) is the earlier mode of transport in Kuttanad and were popular in early 1960's now very rarely seen in Kuttanad, Kerala.

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)