Now we move from Kerala's Highlands to Lowlands.
Photo of cruising houseboat’s on Kerala’s backwaters.
One of the most tranquil and relaxing things you can do in Kerala is hire a Kerala houseboat (called kettuvallam) to explore the backwaters.
Freshly cooked Indian food and chilled beer make the experience even more enjoyable.
The lush green palm-fringed landscape, diverse wildlife, and houses and villages that line the backwaters make a journey along these waterways seem like a journey through another world.
Present day houseboats are huge, slow moving exotic barges used for leisure trips, and are in fact reworked version of kettuvallams of olden times. The original kettuvallams were used to carry tons of rice and spices.
The kettuvallam is held together with coir knots. Not even a single nail is used during the construction of the boat. 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 would be cooked on-board and supplemented with freshly cooked fish from the backwaters.
When the modern trucks replaced this system of transport, someone found a new way that would keep these boats, almost all of which were more than 100 years old, in the market. By constructing special rooms to accommodate travellers, these boats cruised forward from near-extinction to enjoy their present great popularity.
Today, the houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished, 3 to 5, bedrooms, modern toilets, cosy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony for angling. Parts of the curved roof of wood or plaited palm open out to provide shade and allow uninterrupted views. While most boats are poled by local oarsmen, some are powered by a 40 HP engine. Crew of three man, the Captain, the Cook and the Serviceman.
Boat-trains - formed by joining two or more houseboats together are also used by large groups of sightseers.
More about Kerala’s backwaters please refer to notes attached to my previous photographs.
Critiques | Translate
batalay (38821) 2013-11-04 21:41
Absolutely fantastic shot of the unusual houseboat, and by zooming in, you have not included any distracting elements. Your note is fascinating, especially the technique used in boat building. While visiting Dubai last April, I met a number of guest workers from Kerala, a city I have not visited in the past.
danos (97885) 2013-11-04 22:36
nice the view of the passing by houseboat as we can see a lot of details of it.I like the close up view as the dense backdrop with the lot of trees to 'decorate' perfect the whole scenery.Excellent the light and the colour management of the image.
pierrefonds (66500) 2013-11-05 4:36
The reflections on the water are assets to the composition. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the houseboat. The good luminosity is enhancing the colors. Have a nice day.
Nicou (142252) 2013-11-05 4:44
Le capitaine à la barre assi tout au bout du bâteau quelle iamge quel bâteau et compo fantastique captage et vue sueprbe.
Bravo et amitié
ikeharel (71525) 2013-11-05 5:31
The man at the helm was looking at you, Miro.
Beautiful river scenery, with the big boat crossing. It looks as a floating-house on a cruise.
Fabulous view, and the lavish green forest on the other bank is lovely.
Noel_Byrne (31136) 2013-11-05 7:04
Now that is a beautiful boat, or house boat to term it correctly. Your note creates a very vivid image of how enjoyable it would be to charter one of these vessels and spend some leisurely time cruising these waters, taking in the local culture and immersing yourself in the true side of the country. A beautiful angle to take this from too, giving a great appreciation for the size of the vessel. And of course a wonderful photo to illustrate it.
Thanks as always
holmertz (52820) 2013-11-05 7:39
I made an interesting tour through the backwaters in the 1980's but I travelled by a regular passenger boat, like a floating bus. I don't think there were any houseboats like this in those days. This one is curiously but very nicely shaped and it can probably provide a very pleasant journey. The lush green vegetation creates a very nice background to the photo.
Didi (60588) 2013-11-05 7:42
Very original houseboat made with bamboo
Nice use for traveling on river
cornejo (42389) 2013-11-05 8:30
Hi Miro, very good picture of this beautiful and interesting boat house, perfectly taken in this great picture with good sharpness, light and color. Excellent and interesting job perfectly done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work.
Good afternoon and happy week.
Warm greetings from southern Spain.
Cricri (119577) 2013-11-05 8:35
Merveilleuse idée d'avoir transformer ce bateau pour les touristes, de plus il sort de l'ordinaire, c'est très intéressant tout comme la note, belle présentation
jemaflor (97361) 2013-11-05 11:54
Nice traditionnal boat, good angle and perfect sharpness and light, tfs this interesting local house.
ourania (45554) 2013-11-05 12:07
a very lovely and interesting picture of this unique kind of boat. You captured the Kerala houseboat from a wonderful perspective that gives us a thorough impression of its shape, length, and external characteristics. I like very much the closeness, the details and the way the boat is set off by the surrounding colours. The textures are very fine and I also like that you have included the whole of the reflection. Picture and note are very inviting. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely evening,
jhm (153036) 2013-11-06 3:25
What a fantastic boat with the reed roof about the totally boat.
Excellent sharpness and clarity, we see almost all details, this is really so lovely.
Composition and presentation are pleasant to look at.
Very well done, TFS.
eldancer1 (36343) 2013-11-06 7:34
Wow! I wouldn't mind living in a houseboat like this. I like the green vegetation, reminds me of my old country the Philippines. Nicely captured with good lighting and sharp details. Well done, tfs.
fabbs99 (17167) 2013-11-08 21:47
Another shot from your Kerala trip.I love the strong colours in this fascinating image. This is a lovely backwater in Allepey.A very peaceful scene and a well taken photograph - TFS.
delpeoples (58082) 2013-11-09 2:02
Salut cher Miro
What I like best about this image are the golden light and reflections on the water. The boat is also very characteristic. Nice work, thanks for sharing.
Have a lovely Saturday
Miguel82 (27646) 2013-11-10 3:22
Thanks for that funny comment Miro, splendid Kettuvallam, you can sleep, eat on board, it's like a barge, in the bg the green scenery of the backwaters of Kerala, a must see area of the west coast, high resolution, good light and pleasant colors, I'll have a look at the link on Andalucia, all the best Miro, have a nice We
Fis2 (97739) 2013-11-10 6:24
A very curious boat.
Good frame and natural colors.
I like light and reflection.
abmdsudi (54107) 2013-11-10 7:02
That's mind-blowing scene a moment of peace looking at this houseboat! What an attractive slow moving floating hotel - and your attractive notes- love the green surrounding and especially the reflection, wonderful colours and reflection. A good realistic impression well shot, Congrats.
Tx to the latest Link
jacquest (18927) 2013-11-10 7:43
Impressive boat and instructive note. The POV shows the structure of the boat very well. The reflections on the water adds to the image which has well rendered colors and very good sharpness.
krzychu30 (15512) 2013-11-10 9:36
looks really original and picturesque!I don´t know how its living comfort of the boat,but would definitely want to try it out:)
Great and original approach to the India theme here on TE and additional appreciation for your interesting note.
PS.I´ve just looked at your internet site-you have really great pics there from your trips.
Have a good weeke ahead
npecanhuk (75476) 2013-11-11 9:46
Very interesting and unique boat!
Truly attractive picture!
Sharpness, exposure, colors, horizontal format, chosen pov and composition truly pleased me!
TFS - congrats,
kato (11630) 2013-11-14 3:59
You're capturing well this houseboat by a good composition and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see the big houseboat converted boat which were used to carry tons of rice and spices. And, it's also interesting yo hear that this houseboat is built with an environment-friendly tree and plant. Travelers wull be able to do a comfortable river trip enjoying surrounding rich nature, since cooking is also offered.
nikkitta (17066) 2013-11-14 16:01
How very interesting , informative note about the kettuvallam, did you write it now or while traveling?
The photo you show to illustrate the note is big , a way to full appreciate this good way to travel and being in close contact with the nature
Well done, enjoy reading and watching
Silvio1953 (143320) 2013-11-17 9:58
Ciao Miro, great view ol lovely boat, beautiful reflections, wonderful colors and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio
jmdias (64506) 2013-11-28 15:55
this kind of boat , used to show edges of rivers, is usual, but this one has a curious structure of straw that makes it different. excellent view with nice quality. TFS.
mcmtanyel (22728) 2013-11-30 20:40
What an interesting contraption! Did you take one of those houseboat tours? I looked up kettuvallam and found a website of a tour operator. Let me tell you, your photo is as nice as the ones that the website designers used. Congratulations & TFS!
papagolf21 (102064) 2013-12-05 3:21
Bonjour, cher Miro,
Excellente prise de vue de ce bateau aménagé. L'image est comme à l'accoutumée de qualité.
J'apprécie ce genre de prise de vue qui apprend beaucoup sur la vie quotidienne.
photoray (13981) 2013-12-11 18:02
Provocative large houseboat, unlike our modern American West houseboats, for the use of natural materials and large arched viewing windows. And interesting small scale floating hotel.
Nicely composed and created,
- Copyright: Miro Susta (mirosu) (16227)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2013-10-12
- Categories: Transportation
- Camera: Nikon D600, Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED AF VR, circular polarizer
- Exposure: f/9.0, 1/250 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Kerala [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2013-11-04 19:27