Xandari Riverscapes ~ Kerala

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Welcome Aboard!

Watch the day unfold as you sail past the life of backwater country: Local families on the shores going about their daily routines. Kingfishers and cormorants going about theirs.

From the viewing deck or your bedroom’s window you will see life on the backwaters, and the result is immediate: slow down, de-stress, rejuvenate. The waterways of Kuttanad district weave through the area’s unique below-sea-level method of paddy cultivation.

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The experience

Life on the backwaters has a different set of rules. First, since there are no roads we depend on canals, rivers and lakes for our travel routes. Most families have a boat of their own. Children often learn to swim at least as early as they learn to walk, and you are likely to see kids splashing in the local equivalent of a playground. Their school buses float, as do the postal vessels delivering to homes here. Even the supermarket floats!

Xandari Riverscapes provides an experience of the backwaters of Kerala in a vessel whose history harkens back to the ancient rice trade of this region, while also providing modern comforts. These vessels are designed to balance authenticity and innovation.

They are engineered to balance comfort and environmental responsibility – we pioneered the technology now considered the gold standard of emissions reduction. Most importantly they are staffed by members of the local community who are proud to showcase their corner of God’s Own Country to visitors.

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The kettuvallams - as the houseboats are locally known - are a testament to the ancient rice trade of this region and uphold a tradition pre-dating industrial engineering techniques. Hand stitched by local craftsmen with coir and strengthened with fish oil, they are built using jack-wood; an indigenous variety of hardwood commonly used in local construction. The staff provide local knowledge and homespun interpretation of local culture.

Facilities

  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom with 24 hours hot / cold water
  • Open air living room
  • Mini-bar
  • Fully equipped kitchen and qualified staff
  • Guest supplies
  • Air-conditioning

Community

The concept of our houseboats is quite simple. Start with beautiful floating accommodation. Take the most picturesque route in the backwaters. Most important, several men from the local villages are trained to pilot that boat through those waters at a leisurely pace, stopping for meals along the way, and sharing their local knowledge about the locale. 

The backwater communities are only accessible by boat, and having members of those communities as your guides ensures an authentic local experience—but in the comfort of a state of the art houseboat.

Rooms 

One bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom houseboats are available. All offer seamless panorama of life on the backwaters, with staff providing local knowledge and homespun interpretation of local culture.

Each air conditioned 14 sqm bedroom has an en suite bathroom, large picture window and either double or 2 single beds. For a tranquil backwater experience our boats are television free zones.

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Photo Gallery

Click on any picture to enter the full photo gallery

Dining

Meals are an essential part of the Xandari Riverscapes experience. With your backwater excursion beginning at noon, sit down to a delectable lunch of classic Kerala cuisine cooked on board. Dinner comes calling under starlit skies at the spot where your boat rests, to watch the day close out.

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Collaboration

The daily rituals of life on the backwaters, including on our houseboats, include many shared responsibilities due to the special considerations of living surrounded by water. Some of the most interesting scenes are of the local “school bus” for children, which is in the form of a long motorised boat; or the grocery store, which is a converted barge that floats from one community to the next selling the same typical items that other Keralites can find in their local market.

Conservation

About those houseboats. They are designed along the lines of traditional rice barges, or kettuvallam in the local language. The hulls are made using jack fruit tree wood, with no nails—all the wood is stitched together and sealed with a natural waterproofing substance made from fish oil. Within the hull, under the main deck is all the equipment that makes our boats ecologically responsible, including efficient engines, fresh water holding tanks, and other specialty fittings that we will be happy to show you if you are interested.

Activities

Canoeing
Glide through the centuries’ old traditions of Alleppey village life in this one hour wooden canoe excursion through backwater canals.

Traditional fishing
Watching the staff demonstrate traditional net fishing is a lovely experience. Trying your hand using a bamboo fishing rod during the evening halt only adds to the entertainment.

Home entertainment
A home theatre music system allows guests to enjoy a music-filled experience.

Village Walk
Guests are encouraged to partake in a sinuous walk through the village. Visits include famous temples, churches, and other historical places during the course of the cruise.

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