DesiPundit, India & Around, Sports & Adventure, Travel
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A day (and night) on a houseboat

The weather was hot and balmy. It was our last day in Kerala and we were looking forward to spending the night on a houseboat.

On my previous trips to Kerala, I’ve only gotten within drooling distance of a houseboat. It’s a rather expensive proposition. There was one time when Steph was down from Switzerland and we did some sightseeing on a small boat, and then went around in a little canoe (that was fun!). But I hadn’t been on a big boat…

There are two things to look forward to once you’re on board. A lot of free time and delicious food if luck is on your side and you get a good cook.

We made ourselves comfortable just behind the captain as he veered us from the backwaters into the Vembanad lake. The pace is slow and leisurely and you do get drawn into a rather zombie-like state. I snoozed away. Woke up and sleepily took in the sights around : basically comprising of more boats of different sizes all cruising around in the endless lake. Life basically revolves around the water. People are washing clothes, performing daily rituals, bathing, scrubbing utensils, swimming : it’s a whole world of activities out there.

The cook whipped up some delicious veggies and fish cooked in Kerala style we were in foodie heaven. The one disadvantage to living on a houseboat is that there isn’t much scope for exercise so while you’re wolfing down all this food, there are passing moments when guilt strikes, but more food arrives and it passes.

Houseboats are usually built around a few bedrooms : they range from one to several. Ours had two. In the front area, there is the dining table and there is usually a television (for reasons beyond my ken). And then towards the front end is the captain’s seat and an area where you can relax. Some houseboats have an upper deck. Ours didn’t and my sister suffered from “houseboat envy” whenever a boat with a deck passed by.

We crossed quite a few houseboats : despite the heat the tourists seem to be keeping Alleppey and Kerala on their maps. We weren’t the only ones brave enough to take on the Kerala sun.

After lunch and more rest, we were back in the waters and sailing around the lake. Followed by tea time and more snacks. I apologise for talking so much about the food, but besides that there was little else we indulged in.

At around 6 pm we headed back to a village near Alleppey where the houseboat was moored again. This was where we would spend a night. Sis and I went for a short walk around the village. And then dinner and another round of gluttony. At around 930 pm or so, the folks switched on the air conditioning to keep us from getting totally frazzled in the heat.

In the morning, after a breakfast of omelettes, iddiappams and vegetable stew, it was time to head back to the shores and terra firma. And then onto a flight back to Bangalore. But now, at least whenever we talk about Kerala I can say, “There was this one time we sailed around Vembanad lake on a houseboat and feasted on some delicious local fare and…”

Well… you know the rest 🙂

Planning to visit Kerala? Try these links:
Houseboats Kerala
Bens Holidays (we went on one of their boats)


  1. When my hubby asked me to go to kerala with him for a couple of days, I agreed on the condition that he buy me a saree. But I think now it will change to a trip in a houseboat. 🙂

    If you are in Bangalore on 16th May, do come for the book launch of A Grasshopper’s Pilgrimage, my first novel. Most probably the venue will be the Crossword shop, at Garuda Mall, at 6:30 pm.

  2. I am so J!

    I go to Kerala every year, and I never ever have been to the houseboats 🙁 They are damn expensive, right?

    Now I got to do this one of these weekends 🙂

  3. ooooh houseboats! i’ve always wanted to ride in one. i never tire of the sights and sounds of kerala. good going! u’ve got something added to ur ‘bucket list’. 🙂

  4. But those day trips are not that expensive. I took one a couple of years back and had breakfast ,lunch and snacks…IT was, as you mentioned, a nice lovely and relaxed way to spend a day!!!

  5. It’s not that expensive if you choose to spend less time on the houseboat. And honestly, I got rather bored, even though I spent only about five hours. The scenery repetitive after a while.

    But the food, yes. Mouth-watering! Even for people who don’t eat fish, like me. And that special type of food is called Kuttanad food, I believe.

  6. I read this yday, left with envy 🙂 house boats, kerala and with sister.. lucky u. and then today a question suddenly popped up in mind.. u hv a kitten rite.. where does she stay when u are travelling.. from what i read here, i are away v often. how do u manage?

  7. Archana says

    Wow….Great Anitha!! Looks like you revelled in the house boat…I must envy you a lot now 🙁

  8. @ Grasshopper: you should definitely change it to a trip on a houseboat but in better weather! I will try to be there if I’m in town! Thanks for the invite and congrats on the book 🙂

    @ Aathira: well, you might get a good deal off season 😉

    @Shrinidhi: LOL! you can try 🙂

    @ madras eye: it’s quite an experience!

    @lostonthestreet: day trips are much more reasonable!

    @ Nikhil: hey! the fish was great!

    @ Jade: You got bored?!! I could do that for a few days on end I think 🙂

    @ Kapil: welcome!

    @ Tara: hey thanks! i do have a cat (not a kitten anymore). and i usually have a nice friend coming to look in on her!

    @ Yuva: you must!

    @ Archana: it was good. must do once!

  9. I’ve never been to Kerala! But if i ever do, i’m hitting those spots. Looks quite enticing… how did you ever remove yourself from the place. 🙂

  10. Ooh, I’m glad you got your houseboat night after all! I really hope to come over end 2009 early 2010, we’ll have to plan a girls’ getaway 😉

  11. @ eveline: it was easy 🙂 had to get back to civilisation and work!

    @ steph: waiting for your trip! come soon and we’ll plan something!!

    @ paavani: soon, i am sure 🙂

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