I heard and read about houseboat a lot but I don’t have an desire to experience the Houseboat. Because I actually afraid about the houseboat as it is floating over water. Moreover I don’t know swimming also. I just simply discarded houseboat whenever I visit Kerala. I always mention my Kerala tour operators to not include house boat activity in the itinerary. One of my friend from Mumbai visited Kerala along with his family and had a one day experience in houseboat. He explained me his experience in detail and forced me experience that. He iterated the houseboat ride on the backwaters of Kerala will be life time experience and he guaranteed also. So I Decided to include cursing and one day stay over houseboat in my next Kerala Holiday Package .
I contacted my kerala tour operator , great indian holidays for my next kerala visit. There are many holiday packages available with many tour operators. I choose 6 day 5 night Munnar – Thekkady – Kumarakom Kerala Package from Great Indian Holidays. In this Kerala holiday package included a day and night in houseboat in the backwaters of Kumarakom.
Another friend mine who regularly visit kerala from Delhi insisted me to spent only day time in house boat and stay overnight in any of the resorts or hotels in kerala. The night stay in a houseboat would not be safe and not as good as your night stay in a hotel. But I decided to stay overnight in houseboat.
According to the itinerary house boat was the last part of our kerala holiday packages. After having our breakfast from a resort in Thekkady at around 7.30 AM we headed towards Kumarakom where houseboat is waiting for us.
We reached Kumarakon in the banks of Aymanam river. Aymanam become very famous place after Arundhati Roy’s book “The God of small things” the book won the Booker prize. This is book is about Ayamanam and the childhood experience of fraternal twins. This book tell how small things greatly and deeply affects peoples life. When I drive through the roads of Aymanam , I remember the Estha, Ammachi, Rahel and Baba of “God of small things”. I was with the God of small things. And the Car stopped. One of team member of Great Indian holidays opened the door and told the houseoat is ready for us. I saw a beautifully decorated 1 bedroom houseboat is parked there.
Great Indian holidays team welcomed me in ti the house boat with a welcome drink. That was fresh tender coconut. I have never tasted such a sweet and fresh tender coconut from anywhere . I asked the team how it was so sweet and fresh. They told this was just plucked from the coconut tree a few minutes before.
I look around the houseboat, this houseboat have all the facilities sufficient for one night stay. This houseboat is owned by one of the reputed and budgeted houseboat service in the Kumarakom Backwaters. As the boat started moving, the guide shown our rooms. We kept our luggage in the room and came out the open space to see the sight-seeing.
As the boat move forward, cruised along the narrow canals, we saw the beauty and life of inner Kerala villages. Many of the houses in Kuttanad region don’t have road access so they depend on canoes ( small Boat) to transport between their homes and main land. It is surprising that most of the houses in Kuttanad and Kumarakom area has such types of small boats and all the family member know how to row the boats. Even we can see children were going school in canoes rowing themselves
It was an amazing experience for me as I was coming from Delihi. We also passed by other houseboats. The guests from other houseboats were greeted and we great each other. They also come under Kerala holiday package.
Before the houseboat moving towards the lake our guide stopped in front a small toddy shop. We decided to have our lunch. We had our lunch with Kerala style lunch with tapioca, fish curry, Karimeen fry and obviously toddy.. This was the first time I am experiencing toddy. Toddy was cooled and it was just like tender coconut water. We enjoyed the toddy with fish curry and tapioca. After finishing our lunch we moved to the huge lake. From the narrow canal to the vast lake was totally different experience.
Our houseboat start roaming through the lake. We enjoy the breath taking experience. As we can see many other houseboats also in the lake. Some are very big with 5 to 6 rooms and balcony others are small like one room. Some houseboats are decorated beautifully. Even every houseboat is built with bamboo and wood.
We cruised through the lake and in the evening enjoyed the sunset from the houseboat . That was an amazing experience for us. We saw the sun was going deep in to the lake. The ambiance were become golden in colour. By around 6.30 the houseboat were docked near one of the resort. All the boats usually will have the regular parking slot. By 8 Pm the dinner were server. Those who would like to have liquor can also opt for that. We had a small party enjoying with Beer and fish fry. We hit the bed by 11 PM. Sleeping in the houseboat over the night was an exiting experience. Really it was very different. We feel completely safe as the care taker of the boat always with houseboat. If we need anything he will at our service.
I really enjoyed the day and night experience in houseboat. The monsoon season spike up my experience to the peak
We got up hearing the sounds of birds and song from the nearby temple. We peep through the windows of the bed room. Saw villagers doing their daily activity like washing cloths children are playing, selling milk. Etc. by 8 Am we had our breakfast and left the boat by around 9 Am. That was the end of our houseboat experience.
Few things every one cruising on the houseboat have in mind
- Don’t have too much expectation by seeing the photos on the internet. As the houseboat is travelling over the water and don’t expect as much comfort as hotel rooms.
- Make sure your bedrooms windows and doors should be closed before 5 pm otherwise mosquitoes will disturb your sleep.
- Check your houseboat is clean, if not inform your crew to make it cleaned.
- Try to maintain a good relation with the crew.