Kerala Houseboats were traditionally called as Kettuvallams (boat with knots), which means a boat made by tying of wood pieces together. Not a single nail is used in the making of these traditional huge rice boats. Each jack wood plank was joined to the next with coir ropes and then coated with a caustic black resin made from boiled cashew nut shells. The materials used in the boathouse are all local and Eco friendly bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats, coir carpets etc. With careful maintenance, these rice boats lasted for generations and formed an integral part of the ethos of this land. These traditional country boats were used as the mode of transport in the early times from the isolated interior villages to the towns. But these boat services have been laid off with the developments taken place in the road transport services in the recent past.
Today, these giant 80 ft. long goods carriers of a past era, have been adapted to make the most exciting tourism product in India – the luxuriously furnished houseboat. But recently there are lots of new developments adopted for making the new generation luxury Houseboats (not so traditional).
Houseboat vacation in Kerala is considered to be the highlight of Kerala visit. Honeymoon in Houseboat is also an interesting trend. Today, the houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy 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.