Mirror lakes, lush greenery, cool breeze gushing through your hair as you binge on lip-smacking local culinary delights — this, and much more, is what encapsulates the experience of cruising in a houseboat along serene backwaters. The monsoon season is just about settling in at various places in India, infusing life into flora and fauna.
If you fancy slow travel, enjoying every little detail of Nature’s bounty, then this is the experience to indulge in. With tropical lands in abundance, extending the lengths and breadths of India, houseboating is accessible to everyone. From Kashmir to Kerala, you can choose any destination based on your personal sensibility and preference. While the latter is considered a paradise for backwater cruising on a houseboat, there are other locations too that are slowly and steadily gaining prominence in this space. Read on.
Think houseboats and one can’t help but remember Kerala. From small cosy houseboats to lavish double-deck ones, options are aplenty, depending on whether you prefer a short day trip or an overnight stay. The popular locations are Alappuzha, Kumarakom and Kollam.
Things to do: One can relish fresh seafood delicacies, get a glimpse of paddy fields and the lives of local communities.
Price: ₹6,500 onwards for two people (overnight stay)
Houseboats that cruise along Swarna River near Udupi closely resemble those of Kerala. The route usually covers cultural villages, coconut farms and fields, among other scenic locations. Most of the houseboats in Karnataka are also loaded with amenities and luxury facilities. However, the facilities offered vary based on the budget.
Things to do: One can catch a splendid sight of the setting sun while relishing coastal flavours.
Price: ₹2,500 onwards per room (double occupancy) for an overnight stay
The summer capital of the country, Srinagar, offers picturesque views of snow-clad mountains, as one cruises along Dal Lake on a houseboat or shikara, made with unique wood and delicate carvings, offering Kashmiri-style rooms and suites. Though they look traditional, they are equipped with modern amenities for both short and long stays.
Things to do: Explore local floating markets while aboard a traditional shikara
Price: ₹2,300 onwards per night for two people
Houseboat rides in Puducherry, hailed as Paris of the East, will take you on a tour of the city life, its cobbled streets and give a glimpse of French culture. It is perfect for couples to spend some quality time in each other’s company. Most of the houseboats here boast of French-influenced design and décor.
Things to do: Enjoy a spread that brings together French and local Tamil flavours. One can also opt for water sports and adventures.
Price: ₹7,000 onwards per couple for an overnight stay
Apart from its buzzing beaches and water sports, Goa is also known for houseboat adventures along River Chapora. Generally, houseboat itineraries are coupled with water activities. The route covers fishermen villages, coconut farms, forts, etc.
Things to do: Try your luck with fishing, and you might be able to enjoy a Goan meal with the catch of the day! One can also enjoy a barbecue dinner at sunset.
Price: ₹2,800 onwards per person for three hours