Video: The magic of Kerala's houseboats
As northern India sizzles in scorching summer, most of those bit by the travel bug are making a beeline for the southern tourist paradise, Kerala.
With its fleet of black-hulled houseboats, the backwaters of Kerala entice the tourists, both domestic and international, to God's Own Country.
Most of the domestic tourists arriving in Kerala are from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat, and West Bengal.
A typical backwater cruise takes tourists on a 40-km journey through the Vembanad Lake, India's longest, which is spread over 1,512 sq km. The cruises have packages tailored for all budgets with a one-night cruise costing from Rs3,000-25,000 as houseboats now come equipped with power showers in bio-toilets, LCD television sets, air-conditioners, AC-fitted lounges and even jacuzzis. They even have chefs onboard to prepare some of Kerala's culinary specials.
Meanwhile, the state Tourism Department has decided to extend these floating hotels beyond Alleppey, and plans to give licenses for operating houseboats in Ashtamudi Lake in nearby Kollam district as well.