The Spice Coast cruise on the Kavannar River. Kerala, South India.
Lounging on a deck chair, moving gently, immersed in a rippling , scented silence. Can there be better ways to explore a new world than this? Once, these houseboats were barges, transporting rice along the large and intricate network of lakes and canals that cover the central part of the state of Kerala. With a few tweaks to the hull, partitioned bedrooms and all the modern conveniences added, these 'Kettuvalloms' as they are called, are converted into elegant floating homes that cruise the inland sea of the Vembanad. Made completely from natural materials, the boats are powered by solar energy and vegetable oil. Canopies of cane and rattan blend into coir-matted decks creating a warm, natural ambience that's almost entirely hand-crafted. With it's cane and rope awnings flying rakishly, its silent hull gliding past as if on wings of air, a houseboat seems to do more than just belong to this world of palms and water. It seems to have been birthed from it. Kerala , India.