Cruise through houseboat in keralaPresent day houseboats are huge, slow moving exotic barges used for leisure trips, and are in fact a reworked version of the Kettuvallams of olden times. The original Kettuvallams were used to carry tons of rice and spices. A standard Kettuvallam can hold up to 30 tons of goods from Kuttanad to the Kochi port.
In Malayalam language Kettu refers to 'dwelling structures' 'Vallam' means boat. These are boats with a thatched roof cover over wooden hulls. The boat is made of planks of jack-wood joined together with coir. This is then coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew kernels. With careful maintenance, a Kettuvallam can last for generations.
A portion of the Kettuvallam was covered with bamboo and coir to serve as a restroom and kitchen for the crew. Meals were cooked onboard and supplemented with freshly cooked fish from the backwaters.