Day1: Our stay at houseboat at Kumarakom in Kerala
The houseboat is perhaps the most exciting tourism product of the state of Kerala in India which is popular the world over as ‘God’s own country’. A houseboat usually have one or two bath attached air conditioned bed rooms, an open lounge, deck kitchenette and a crew comprising oarsmen, a cook and a guide. The houseboat that we reserved for the cruise had the above amenities. There are even four and five bed room houseboats.
The House Boat
The ‘Kettuvalloms’ or giant country boats were the main mode of transport and trade during ancient days and the present day house boats are an evolved form of these country boats. As per the house boat guide there are more than four hundred houseboats plying in the Vembanad Lake in Alappuzha and Kumarakom.
We had a lovely, relaxing time, well away from the other houseboats. The most memorable part was the three man crew, who looked after us as very nicely.
Slowly our boat moved from the parking area in a small canal to the main Vembanad Lake. We passed by the floating weeds hyacinths which had a nice shape to their floating succulent leaves and small nice coloured flowers. The views were amazing.
Once in the Vembanad Lake there was infinite water on our right side and shore on the left side.
Cruising in the houseboat
We asked the crew member to drive the near neat the shore so that we can have a look at the wildlife, people and buildings around. There are lots of resorts you can see on the river side including Radisson resorts. After travelling for around two hours the crew parked the house boat at a lonely place to have lunch. the lunch duration was one hour. The cook produced fabulous and varied food, delicious Kerala home cooking. As we are vegetarians we had requested for vegetarian meals only. The cook was well articulated and laid the food on the dining table in an impressive way. After the food we had a small stroll on the river side and started our onward journey.
For the next three hours we passed through many canals and had views of vast paddy fields spread across. The surrounds seemed all natural with small isolated hutments and all green cover.
At around six in the evening the crew members anchored the houseboat in a midway isolated location with no people around. W were scared a little initially but after some time we were able to see few other house boats also parked a a distance with guest in them.
From 6 PM to 8 AM in the morning local fishermen put there nets for fishing and boating is not allowed. All house boats have a similar timings. The AC was switched on at 7 PM at our request. We cane to know that the boats switch the AC only at 9 PM. we decided to keep the windows of the bed room closed as there were lots of mosquitoes and different types of insects around. as the dining table was in the open it was full of them, we decided to have dinner in the bedroom itself.
The best part was we saw the sunset on our right side in the paddy fields and sunrise in the morning in the on the left side in the water.
The crew was ready at 8:00 for the onward journey in the morning. By 10:00 we are there at the parking area where Deepu was waiting for us.
We had a memorable time on the houseboat.
Take binoculars – the bird life is abundant, and the whole area is a bird sanctuary with thousands of migratory birds at times of the year. The backwaters and wetlands are host to thousands of migrant Teals, Ducks and Cormorants every year that travel to reach this pristine aqua refuge.
Check for a satellite TV on the boat, if you like to have some TV in the cool evening on a boat. Our house boat was lacking this.
Non A/c houseboat is not recommended by me because inside the room there is no ventilation and if you open the window than you will get lots of mosquitoes inside your room free of cost. Humidity levels are high and you will need the AC art night, as the boat is also parked and breeze also stops