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Authored by Sneha Marappa

A pinch of humidity, few spoons of fresh air, and a plate full of scenic views as far as the eye can see is Kerala for you. Between beaches, tea estates, paddy fields, mountains, rubber plantations, pepper, and beautiful backwaters, this Indian state has it all. It’s no wonder they call it God’s country.

And it’s possible to experience it all – to witness each of the stunning landscapes people flock to Kerala to see. You’ll just need to hop on a houseboat (there are many Kerala Tourism Packages which offer this).

50 years ago, houseboats in this region were setup to transfer goods from one place to another, as most of the state was not reachable by land. Though in recent decades the secret of Kerala’s beauty has got out, and these historic houseboats have been made accessible to the public as tourism takes hold.

A Day on a House Boat in Alleppey, Kerala

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Considering the history and the chance to travel via such an authentic mode of transportation, I have wanted to experience life on a Kerala boat house for some time. A few years ago, I watched a documentary which followed a group of locals who spend their lives on the water, and since then have been inspired to experience the same, if only for a day. So it was with excitement that this day finally came.

Houseboats in Kerala move at a very slow pace, allowing residents to enjoy and fully appreciate the real beauty of the landscapes. As I sat on my balcony looking out over the water, I took in palm trees bowing their heads by the shores, a clear blue sky, villagers fishing by the shores, fellow house boats waving as they passed, and school children arriving home on smaller boats!

Nature formed such beautiful pathway for us to explore, and time stood still as we passed through these stunning rural scenes. While the experience was fleeting, it felt as though I was locked amidst nature for many weeks.

India house boat Kerala

Kerala fisherman

Kerala houseboat sunset

Come sunset the sky began blushing. Our clear blue sky had turned orange, and the reflection of sky on the river had changed the color of the water. Only ripples could distinguish the difference between sky and water, which otherwise blended into each other.

Birds flew overhead back to their nests, villagers were packing up their fishing, and boats were setting to park in the side. As the pace of our houseboat reduced, it was time to wrap the day.

Houseboats in Kerala don’t move throughout the night, so we stopped to spend the evening by a set of paddy fields. It was an opportunity to explore the region as the sun set, to walk around the village and watch as kids played in the water, listen to a call for evening prayers from nearby houses, and take in the smell of home cooked dinners before it was time to say good night.

Kerala houseboat sunset

Kerala houseboat sunset

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Sneha is an Indian national who grew up in Bangalore in an orthodox family. She worked in a corporate job for 6+ years, until she realized her life should not be bound in a cubicle inhaling the air from AC ducts.

She recently quite her job and is now discovering a world where there are no boundaries, inhaling the fresh air, and feeding her wanderlust!

Follow her adventures on her blog, or connect on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

Photo credits: Featured image by Silver Blue. Kerala fisherman throws net by Luke Appleby. All other photos provided by Sneha Marappa.

    39 Comments

  1. i heard so much about doing this in Kerala, looks like a wonderful to really enjoy the landscape and slowly/

    • Absolutely Noel – I hope to get there myself after reading Sneha’s post 🙂

    • You should do this for sure when you are in Kerala the next time 🙂

  2. Lovely post. You made me recall our trip to Kumarakom, when we spent an entire day on the backwaters in a boat. The descriptions are lovely and I can feel what you mus have felt. The day just floats by so easily as one gets lost in absorbing the daily life around.

    • A day on the waters in Kumarakom sounds fabulous Punita! Really is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in the scenery and relax 🙂

    • Hey Punita, I did hear a lot about Kumarakom, Kumarakom is on my list when I visit Kerala the next time. I am glad you loved the descriptions and yes day just gets slower 😀

  3. Fantastic looking sunsets in this region of the sub-continent, slow travel are becoming very popular these days and houseboats are certainly slow travel. I can imagine how relaxing it must be to sit on the deck and take in the landscapes

    • We’ve been noting a big movement towards slow travel recently too Mark – and house boats definitely fit within this niche 🙂

    • Oh! The sunsets are definitely breathtaking Mark. Yes offcourse, houseboats & slow travel compliment each other 🙂

  4. I am from Kerala. Not from Alleppey though. Never been on a houseboat. Will try it someday.

    • Glad we could inspire you Gokul! Wishing you a wonderful day 🙂

    • You should definitely try them Gokul, good luck 🙂

  5. I’d say that this is not a bad way to spend a day. I’ve done something similar in the Loire Valley, but not for the entire day. Plus, it’s tough to compete with the view in Kerala.

    • Definitely tough to compete with the view … But I think the Loire Valley would probably come close!

    • I have not been to Loire Valley, nice to know that you could do something similar there; but I would 100% agree with you on the view in Kerala 🙂 they are stunning!

  6. Wow, absolutely stunning. I can only imagine taking a houseboat into the heart of darkness. 10 days of slow rolling up the river would be the trip of a lifetime. Did you have internet and electricity or was this 10 days off the grid entirely? We would definitely want to take this trip.

    • Hey Jenn & Ed, Thank You! We just went for a day & a night. But you can also stay there for 10 or even more, there is a limited reception on phone & so is the internet, there is also electricity all through the day.

  7. What an incredible experience! I just love the sky during the sunset – it’s so pink! So pretty. It’s great to sit back and take it all in at a slow pace. This is a very unique activity and I’m glad you got to experience it!

    • Off course this is one of the unique & an amazing experience I have had so far, yeah sunsets in backwaters & paddy fields are the best 🙂

  8. I’d absolutely love to spend a day this way!
    Seems relaxing, and let’s you slow down for a moment

    • Hope you have the chance to travel soon Monika – it’s such a beautiful corner of the world 🙂

    • You should consider visiting soon Monika!

  9. who can give me much more information, advices, etc. on my possible trip to kerala to next year ? I am alone and I will start from Mumbay.

    Thank you to the people who want to help me.
    Claudio from Italy

  10. Awesome article! thanks for sharing this article. I planning to visit Kerala Next June.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post – have a wonderful trip!

  11. As a part of a family get together I had been to The Raviz Resort at Ashtamudi, Kollam. The vicinity of the resort is beyond words to explain. The scenic beauty, the gorgeous migratory birds and the lush green surroundings all add to the unique ambience of the resort which is apt for couples. You can check out their website for other romantic holiday destinations as well. They not only have some great cuisines to offer but also has some interesting holiday packages like the houseboat cruise along the backwaters of Ashtamudi which was indeed a splendid experience. You can add in Ashtamudi to your bucket list as well.

    • Thanks for the recommendation James, glad to hear that you had a fabulous family holiday 🙂

  12. I am from Delhi. Never visit kerala and been on a houseboat. Will try it someday.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Disha! Enjoy your time in Kerala when you get there, hope you have the chance to visit sometime soon 🙂

  13. After reading this post Kerala is in my list a while now, waiting to visit Alleppey

    • I’m glad the post could inspire you to visit Kerala – I hope you have the chance to travel soon 🙂

  14. My mother in law lives in Kerala and she loves it. SO BEAUTIFUL.

    • Sounds like you have a great excuse to visit 🙂

  15. Beautiful work, one of the best place to be, pubar, kerala the place where backwater and sea meets together.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, I agree, a beautiful place indeed!

  16. After reading your blog, I have decided to visit Kerala in August. Is it Right time to visit……

    • So glad you enjoyed the post Leni 🙂 Kerala has high temperatures and a lot of rain in August. Temperatures can reach around 30°C so make sure that you drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.

      The nice thing being that this is low season, so there will be less crowds, and it should be cheaper. Also, August is the month when Kerala looks really beautiful. Monsoon season is almost over and the entire environment looks rejuvenated.

      Hope you have a fabulous time!

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