How Kettuvallams Originated in Kerala?

April 25, 2018
Kettuvallams known as Kerala Houseboats is highly popular in Kerala, the land of backwaters.Kettuvallams contribute immensely to the economy of the state and one can enjoy thrilling and relaxing rides on them in the backwaters of the state.
Kettuvallams is a combination of two Malayalam words ‘Kettu’ and ‘Vallam’, ‘Kettu’ means tied with ropes and ‘Vallam’ means boat.Ropes made out of coconut fiber itself have great significance in the economy of Kerala. Each houseboat is constructed by the application of ancient techniques and principles and the base of every Kettuvallams is constructed by tightening huge planks using ropes.

History of Kettuvallams

The origin of Kettuvallams dates back to 3000 BC. In olden days, they were used to transport men and merchandise from one place to another. Rice and spices were most transported items and they were mostly carried between Kuttanad and Cochin Port. Those days Kettuvallams moved slowly and an average kettuvallam was hundred feet long and could carry more than 30 tones at a time. It was the popular mode of travel in those days as it was easily available even in the remotest villages. Kettuvallam have undergone a lot of changes and today we have most modern Kerala Houseboats with all the modern facilities to cruise and enjoy.

Construction of Kettuvallams

Houseboats today are constructed with fusion of ancient and modern techniques. An in the olden days, nails are not used in constructing a houseboat. The main body of this boat is made of long planks tightened with coconut fiber ropes known as coir. The body of Kettuvallams was polished with cashew nuts grease providing shining and amazing look and feel. These polishing also worked as waterproofing techniques in those days. Hence, planks were protected from being rotted. These Kettuvallams were moved and directed using huge bamboo poles in olden days. The roof of the Kettuvallams was constructed using coconut fiber, bamboo and panambu – a sheet made out of bamboo.
Today, Kerala Houseboats are constructed on the same principles but with a combination of modern techniques and construction ideas. Now houseboats are not used as means of transport as earlier days and now we use modern houseboats to enjoy the rich backwaters of Kerala. The interior of houseboats are designed using almost same materials to provide luxury, comfort and tranquil ambience for the travelers. The idea of travelling through the backwaters on Kettuvallams for pleasure and enjoyment is not a new concept. It has been there from the very beginning of Kettuvallams and now it has become part and parcel of Kerala Tourism. If nobles and affluence society used houseboats to float around in olden days, today it is affordable to everyone and is an unavoidable variety in most of the tour programs. Basically used for moving cargo and people in olden days, Kettuvallams are transformed into modern houseboats today to enjoy the shimmering backwaters of Kerala. Welcome to Kerala backwaters to enjoy lagoons, lakes and tranquil beauty of aquamarine water on Kettuvallams. Plan a trip to this elegant state with full of beauty and wonder to have a memorable travel through backwaters.

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