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Houseboats called `kettuvallom’ in the local language meaning 'knotted boat', the modern day houseboat is a reincarnation of the traditional canoe used to transport items of daily home use from the mainland to homes cut away by the winding waterways known as 'backwaters'.
The term backwaters are used to denote a network of canals and waterways stretching two hundred kilometers from Kollam in the south through Alleppey and Kumarakom in Central Kerala up to Kodungaloor.