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Located 38 kms from Mannarkkad, the place consists of mostly hilly highland terrain, fed by the tributaries of the River Cauvery. An extensive mountain valley above the crest of the Ghat ranges with numerous rivulets of the Bhavani River, Attapady is inhabited mainly by tribes and some settlers from Tamil Nadu. A beautiful synthesis of mountains, rivers and forests, Attapaddy is of great interest to anthropologists, as this is the habitat of many tribes like the 'irolas' and 'mudugars'.
Floating Castle Houseboats
The Kettuvallam (houseboats in Kerala) was a large floating structure with high loading carrying capacity was a part of Kerala's culture and heritage over the past years. houseboats / Kettuvallam of Kerala 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 small cargo boats called Kettuvalloms are frequently used in the waterways for the above purpose. "Kettu" literally means to tie up and "Vallom" means " boats". The boats played a major role in the economic development of ancient Kerala, moving cargo and men from the very nook and corner of otherwise unreachable area, cutting across the length and breadth of the land.Fifty years ago, there were more than 5000 kettuvallom / houseboats in the backwaters of Kerala, mainly used for transporting goods.
Houseboats are olden day rice boats, which were used to carry the harvest from one part of the other place to go safely as eco friendly, no mechanized, centuries houseboats / Kettuvallam of Kerala have been roaming in the backwaters transporting men and materials to different destinations. Due to its sheer size and shape, Kettuvallam (houseboats) can carry load, which is more than thrice that of a cargo truck.It was the important mode of transportation in coastal Kerala just because of its accessibility to the most remote areas. As time passed, the scene changed gradually. Motorized road, rail and air transportation scored over the slow and staid country boat, with people opting for speed over charm. During the time when road and rail transportation was expensive or unavailable, traders used this as a form of main transportation in the inland waterways. The huseboats had enough facilities for cooking and sleeping for the boatmen. Sometimes boatmen's families also accompanied them. A standard houseboat, which could be about 100 feet long, can hold up to 30 tons, and that is as much as three big lorries can . For the royalty these houseboats even became comfortable living quarters. It was the important mode of transportation in coastal Kerala just because of its accessibility to the most remote areas. However, the scenario changed. Motorized road, rail and air transportation scored over the slow and staid country boat, with people opting for speed.
With Kerala becoming an increasing popular destination for tourists, houseboats / Kettuvallam in Kerala have been given a new lease of life. A cruise in the backwaters of Kerala with a houseboat 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. Now a days environment friendliness has become the yardstick gauging the efficiency of transportation.Houseboats in Kerala 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.
The tourist demand for an experience to get a feel of the Kerala shores brought the Kettuvallam in Kerala back to the waters in the restored form as houseboats. They were attracted by the simplicity and the originality of the form.
Houseboats Basic Structure
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 /Kettuvallom (Houseboats in Kerala) 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 houseboat 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.
Colour and texture of Houseboats
The colour of houseboats Valavara is yellowish brown, which is the colour of the natural materials like panambu, coir and bamboo. It is a warmer colour comparing to the colour of the surrounding atmosphere. This gives a nice feeling of being inside the Vallam. Bamboo is used for the framework of the roof and splits of Bamboo are used for weaving mat for roofing. Bamboo poles are used for punting the Vallams. It is strong fiber and absorbs more carbon. Latest houseboats have modern interiors.
Furnishings in houseboats
The interior furniture of houseboats are either of cane or wood, floor carpeted with coir mat or wood panels. Valavara of panambu, Bamboo and coir all colours matching each other but bring the depth and variations in vision.
Lighting inside the houseboats
Lights and the patterns of lights and darkness itcreates can call our attention to one a rear of our room de-emphasize others and thereby create division of spaces. At night the traditional hurricane lamp is used to light the interiors. Usually each one is hung from the ridge of Valavara one at front, one at rear and one or two accordingly for the living spaces. And mostly for half of a month there will be moonlight, which gives enough light, reflected on water. Modern houseboats uses Generator sets or Solar power to provide lighting and other power requirements inside the houseboats.
Our houseboats Keeping bio-septic tank (eco friendly toilets), tested and certified by the Central Research Laboratory (CRL), fitted to collect the effluents thereby avoiding pollution to the backwaters.
Cruising along the backwaters of Kerala will be an unforgettable experience in your life time. Meandering streams, chirpy birds, murmuring forests, and the slender breeze of gods own country makes you feel the heaven is here. Above all, spending a night in the lap of nature inhaling the serene environment will calm your body and soul makes your journey worthwhile.
The most exciting part of backwater cruising is the splendid journey through a fabulous houseboat (Kettuvallam).You can experience the magnificence of inland waterways of Kerala, enjoying the Kuttandau cuisines to soothe your appetite. You can feel the rain drops drizzling over the water ways, gentle sunlight percolate through the shady vegetations at the banks, even by sitting with your sweet pals inside your house boats.
Like hotels, houseboats vary in degree of luxury and have been accordingly graded by the Department of Tourism of Kerala. A luxury houseboat, like a luxury hotel has fine furniture, good carpets and modern bathroom fittings, while the D category (the lowest category) of houseboats, like low-budget hotels, is spartanly furnished. Like hotels too, houseboats vary widely in their locations. All houseboats, regardless of category, have highly personalized service. The cost per day of hiring a houseboat includes all meals and free rides from the houseboat to the nearest shore and back.
If you have not experienced it, here is a golden opportunity to do it at a fraction of its original cost. You could get in any houseboat of your liking, saunter down the cool placid waters of our world-famous backwaters, have a merry time and get back home after spending a night as well out floating around that too with the masters of houseboat cruise in Kerala.
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