Kerala is one of the most beautiful places in the world. No, I am not saying that as a biased Indian. It really does live up to its image of being ‘God’s Own Country’ with its serene beaches along its long shoreline, lush hill stations brimming with exotic wildlife and my personal favourite; the beautiful emerald backwaters that makes Kerala like no other place on Earth. I went back home to India in December (which seems so long ago already) and my mum had a great little surprise planned for the family. She had arranged for us to spend Boxing Day exploring the backwaters of Kerala on a houseboat. Thanks Mum! I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Boxing Day!
These houseboats or kettuvallam as they are called here, are as luxurious as it gets. They come equipped with anything between one and ten en-suite bedrooms, cozy living rooms complete with creature comforts like televisions, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Not bad eh? Our kettuvallam came with two bedrooms and a lovely local team of four people to look after us. These exotic moving barges aren’t new to the backwaters of Kerala as one might imagine. They are infact, reworked versions of the ketuvallams of the olden times which were used to carry up to thirty tons of rice and spices from Kuttanad to the Kochi port.
The backwaters of Kerala are absolutely stunning and I can’t recommend visiting them enough. Where else can you fish for your supper and get your on-board chef to prepare it just the way you like it as you cruise along palm-fringed picturesque waterways? I absolutely loved people watching as our kettuvallam past through numerous villages. Watching the farmers working away in their paddy-fields and fishermen doing their daily rounds of the water was such a surreal experience. I cannot wait to come back and visit ‘God’s Own Country’.