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While the ‘backwater experience’ has become undeniably popular here, the Village Ways take on it – as you might expect – offers something truly different and unique. The idea for this holiday came about through partnership with four small island communities – Vayalar, Chenganda, Perumbalam and Kodamthuruthu – who have formed a local committee known as the Kayal Gramodaya. This robust and eager group is a wonderful mix of fishermen, boatmen, canoe makers, coconut harvesters, traditional canopy makers, paddy farmers, coir-rope spinners and mussel collectors. The majority of them have – until now – had to seek work outside their own villages. Now, with the help and support of Village Ways, they have succeeded in building their very own houseboat – the Kayal Kettuvallam. Not only does the villagers’ boat allow them to use their backwaters to help sustain their local communities, it also allows guests – through its unique narrow design and shallow hull – to visit areas that have been thus far ‘off limits’ to the larger tourist vessels.
The Goodearth Kayal Kettuvallam
The Goodearth was constructed from local anjali wood, woven palm leaves and bamboo using time-honoured, traditional methods passed down from father to son over the centuries. As it cruises gently through the backwaters, all aspects of life play out before you: the washing of laundry, school classes, the harvesting of mussels and more.