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Kerala Houseboats

The Houseboats of Kerala are converted Kettuvalloms. (In the Malayalam language "kettu" means tying and "vallam" means country boat - the two together make the local name "kettuvallam". Each houseboat is constructed using the ancient principles and techniques of boat building by the local carpenters using Anjali wood. Coir ropes are used for tying the wooden boards together.) In the past Kettuvaloms were the major method of cargo transportation in the backwaters of Kerala, especially rice from the highly fertile paddy fields to the major port of Alappuzha.

The Kettuvalloms were also used for general transport purposes, primarily in the Travancore and Kochi regions of Kerala. They were punted across the backwaters to the sea where the goods were offloaded. A trip from the Kuttanad to Cochin port was about three days of travel. A traditional boat might carry as much as 30 tons of goods which is the equivalent of three modern lorries. With the backwater area of Kerala so waterlogged, other forms of transport were both inefficient and difficult



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