Houseboat journey in Alappuzha
Boats in a variety of shapes and sizes have traditionally been the main means of transport of men and materials in the Kerala Backwaters since olden days. In particular, these boats (Kevuvallam) were used to ship rice and spices and other goods between Kuttanad and the Cochin port.
These boats even became comfortable living quarters for the workers. It was the important mode of transportation in coastal Kerala just because of its accessibility to the most remote areas. However, the scenario changed when new mode of transportations like lorries took over the sector. Many of the boats were remained unused and some were sold for cheap price. But when the idea of houseboats struck, the boats, which were used to transport goods, were taken a new attractive shape with all facilities. The price for the boats soared to Rs 10 to 15 lakh.
The house boats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel: well-furnished bedrooms with AC, modern hygienic toilets, cozy living rooms, a beautiful kitchen and in some cases even a balcony for angling or they use to incorporate a swimming pool too. Fresh food, cooked in inimitable Kuttanadan style is the rage of the tourists.
The houseboat journey begins from Punnamada jetty in Alappuzha. After the journey in daytime, the boats would be anchored in any beautiful shore in night. In many spots were the houseboats anchors; men would be waiting with small country boats. If any one interested, they can have a voyage in the country boats through the small canals. For an hour they charge Rs 200 for this journey, which is best to know the pulse of Kuttanadan life.
Tourists, both domestic and foreign are flocking for house boat journey. Most tourists prefer to stay overnight in a houseboat as it offers a holistic backwater experience.
The crew of a Kettuvallam comprises three perosns, two oarsmen and a cook.
Life jacket for each traveller and one life buoy for two travellers is a must.
Two fire extinguishers weighing 5 kgs, two fire buckets , two cubic feet sand box and first aid boxes are compulsory in the house boat.
The boat must have certificate from pollution control board, canal licence, fitness certificate and the attested copies of these must be shown in the boat.
As per the report of Pareedupillai commission, a board showing all these must be exhibited.
Things to be noted
The peak sessions are from December 15 to January 10. There would be heavy rush during New Year and Christmas. The rent would be high in these days.
The check in times is 11am, 12 noons and 1 pm and check out is next day 9 am. The boat is permitted to ride on the lake till 5.30 to 6 pm. The lake during night is for fishermen.
Food would be cooked in the boat itself and vegetarian and non-vegetarian food are available.
Before journey ensure what all mentioned in the package and the styles of journey.
The charge for single bedroom boat is from Rs 3500 to 5500/6000. For double bed room the charges are from Rs 6000. Five-bed room boats were available from Rs 15,000. Families can opt for such kind of boats.
Ensure that life jacket and first aid kit are available
When agents approach you with ride for less charge, before journey, the boat riding hours and facilities must be ensured.
It must be ensured that the boats are tidy and hygienic.
The rate recognized by House Boat Owners association is Rs 3500 for non-ac single bedroom and for AC Rs 5500. During season 25 % extra will be charged. During off seasons the rate would be reduced too due to intense competition.
In some boats AC would function only on night. There are boats available with 24 hour AC. Boats are available for daytime journey too, with a charge of Rs 2000 to 4000 per hour.
Approach only recognized tour agency
Keep mobile in pouches. Take photographs by hanging the camera strip in your neck.
Don't throw wastes, especially plastic to the water
Keep vigil on kids
Follow the instructions of boatmen.
The DTPC and SWTD Alappuzha and Kollam organize the trip. It's a daylong trip along the backwaters between Alappuzha and Kollam. The trip starts from Kollam boat jetty at 10.30 am and would reach Alappuzha by 6 pm. There are simultaneous trips from Alappuzha too.
When the boat reached Kavanad after covering Adventures Park and Thevallipalam, it was 11 am. Then the boat headed to Chavara covering Sambranikkodi, Dalavapuram Bridge and reached Chavara by 11.30 am. The boat reaches Kovilthottam by 12.10 at 12.20 it is in Panmana Jetty and by 12.25 Vattakkayal. Covering Cheriyazheekal Bridge, Kallumoottil Bridge, the boat reached Alum Kadavu by 12.45. It is the time for lunch break. The journey resumes by 1.30 pm and reached Amrithapuri by 2.pm. By 2.15 pm Ayiramthengu Bridge, 2.30 Kayamkulam lake. Two hours required to cover this lake. The boat reached Kayamkulam thermal power station by 4 pm. Kumaransan memorial situates here.
Tea break is at Thottapally at 4.25 pm. The journey resumes by 4.30 pm. 5.05 pm Illichira, 5.30 pm Karumadikuttan and when the boat reached Vembanattu lake, the time was 5.45 pm. The boat reached Punnamda at 6.30pm and reached Alappuzha jetty by 7 pm.
Earlier there were 84 boat jetties in the route. Rs 67 were the charge then. When the water transportation department stopped service that private players began service. The present charge is Rs 400 and water transport department Rs 300. Students below the age of 20 would get 15 % concession if they bring an attested certificate from their school head. The boats in which 75 persons can travel have pushback seats and upper deck facilities.
Chavara: Rs 50,
Thrikunnappuzha- Rs 200
Thottappally- Rs 250
Alappuzha to Thottappaly-Rs 50
Tickets can be booked in advance and otherwise it can be taken from Alappuzha and Kollam offices of Water Transportation department. The tickets are available in boats too.
DTPC Alappuzha-0477-2253308/ 2251796
Fare Rs 300 SWTD, RS 400 DTPC per head.