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And now an oil massage on houseboats

C.J. Punnathara

Kochi , June 23

IT is an all-alluring tourist package: backwaters, houseboat and ayurveda, under the pounding force of monsoon rains.

Starting this season, traditional rice boats of Kerala, plying on the backwaters have begun to offer rejuvenating ayurveda facilities on board. Tomy Pulickattil, a houseboat owner, said: "This will be the first time in India that an ayurvedic houseboat is being launched.

This facility will be available to people who hire and cruise along the backwaters on houseboats. Similarly, the ayurveda houseboat will also travel to tourist resorts located along the backwaters and provide revitalising ayurvedic experiences."

The Pulickattil Tourism Group has eight houseboats, ranging from two to five bedroom boats, both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned. For the residents of these houseboats, the ayurveda package will be an add-on facility at no extra charge.

Like every other tourism related industry in the State, houseboats also confront booms and busts during seasons. There are times when the 160-odd houseboats berthed along the backwaters of Alappuzha have been found insufficient to meet the surging demand of the peak tourist season.

When the tourist season ends and the monsoons begin, the houseboat jetty adorns a forlorn look, with hardly any tourists calling and the employees of houseboats pursuing other employment avenues.

It is to combat this seasonal slump that the Pulickattil group has evolved the monsoon package - the monsoon mantra. The group has tied up with Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, and massages and other rejuvenation therapies will be executed by trained professional ayurvedic physicians. A 22-hour package for two, includes boarding on the houseboat, cruise along the backwaters and an add-on body and facial massages for women.

Houseboats are also increasingly becoming a destination for holding meetings and conferences. The group has a 150-seater conference boat with four air-conditioned bedrooms. During the last four months, this boat hosted 24 conferences for companies such as Indian Oil Corporation, Eicher Motors, Federal Bank, Finolex etc.

"We not only offer top-class service, ethnic cuisine, an inimitable ambience but we also offer a unique facility: floating on the wide expanse of the backwaters, there is no way that the participants can duck out for a coffee or quietly bunk a session," Pulickattil pointed out.

More Stories on : Tourism | Alternative Medicines | Kerala

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