October 31, 2022: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the OYO Ekta houseboat in the vicinity of the Statue of Unity in Gujarat’s Ekta Nagar district on the occasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel birth anniversary. Gujarat’s first houseboat is an attempt to support Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Government of Gujarat’s vision to establish Statue of Unity as one of the world’s most popular
True to its name, the houseboat offers a rich and a culturally diverse confluence of craftsmanship. The exteriors are inspired by Kashmiri culture with carvings and wooden finish whereas the interior of the boat is inspired by the rich and diverse Gujarati culture and art. The main entrance door of the boat has exterior face inspired by Moroccan pattern and interior face inspired by Ahmedabadi Deli design. It took
more than 90 days and a team of 30+ carpenters and painters to flawlessly execute the intricate carvings on the houseboat.
Explaining the intent behind launching the houseboat, Ritesh Agarwal, Group Chief Executive Officer, OYO said “We are humbled to be a part of this unique initiative by the Honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and the Government of Gujarat to boost tourist activities around the world’s tallest statue – Statue of Unity. This statue symbolises unity in diversity which is the hallmark of Indian culture. Our houseboat, too, represents the same. Its design is inspired by the houseboats in Srinagar which are known globally for their unique experience. There are visible signs of Moraccan and Gujarati cultures in the designing of the houseboats. With Rajwadi & Sankheda furniture and lots of delectable food, the houseboat creates a true Gujarati experience.”
OYO has also displayed its commitment to government’s vocal for local initiative. The entire logistics, including grocery and staples, is sourced locally from various villages around Ekta Nagar. The existing vendor network has been roped in for linen and other hotel supplies ensuring business growth and social-economic development of the people in the region.
More than 10,000 tourists visit Statue of Unity on week days and on weekends the figure goes beyond 18,000. The houseboat is all set to become a top attraction for these tourists who visit Ekta Nagar for multiple travel experiences such as jungle safari, river rafting, cruise ride, dinosaurs trail, cactus garden, valley of flowers and a laser light and sound show, among others. Online bookings can be made through OYO’s App or their website www.oyorooms.com.
The hull of the houseboat is made of marine grade steel to ensure that it is capable of withstanding any pressure or load. The houseboat overlooks the seaplane runway of the Sardar Sarovar Dam with a view of the Sardar Patel statue in the distance.
The houseboat is 90 ft long and 20 ft wide with two well-appointed bedrooms, one dining room, one drawing room, one kitchen, a front deck and an upper observation deck. There are huge windows on both sides of the houseboat offering a spellbinding view of the natural beauty around the Statue of Unity.
There are special arrangements made on the houseboat for corporate events. The dining room is adorned with a 50” TV, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth compatible mics and standing speakers to organise MICE events such as Conference-In-Boat. In addition to this, drawing and dining room are separated by a folding partition which can be opened and entire space utilized for party, event or corporate function.
The upper deck of the houseboat is a 700+ sq ft offers a stunning view of the sunrise and a glimpse of the Statue of Unity. In order to make the whole experience more convenient and memorable, there is a traditional Sankheda Jhula (swing) along with tables and chairs. The boat has DRDO approved bio-digester equipped with aero waste discharge technology which is used for sewage waste.
A team of OYO officials had visited Srinagar to study the designing of houseboats on Dal Lake. They also received important tips from Tariq Ahmed Patloo, a houeboat owner in Srinagar who was lauded by the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi for turning his houseboat into a floating ambulance.
The houseboat is a part of OYO’s attempt to encourage indigenous tourism experiences in the region. It also has a homestay program in Ekta Nagar, earlier known as Kevadia to create micro-entrepreneurship opportunities and bring local art and culture to the tourists. There are more than 30 homestays which are currently operational in the region. Earlier, It had also partnered with Jammu and Kashmir government to start a homestay program in the offbeat destinations in the state. There are more than 70 such homestays offering a unique experience to the tourists.