Long years ago, people discovered the islands and connected from one island to the other either by swimming or by floating on the log of wood rowing with the sticks to reach the opposite land. It is said this led to the making of the small boats in their own way and technique using the stuffs from their day to day living. Some of the parts of Kerala are filled with island and in Ernakulam there are many islands where the usage of boats were more before the development of the roadways.
If the old people of Kerala especially the people living in the banks of the backwaters are asked they would tell the story of their experiences what they faced as their discoveries, sorrows etc. Earlier there was a tradition more of joint families and in any ceremonies, functions or occasions if the relations lived on the other side of the banks then the entire family will be taken in these boats in various turns. Nearly each house had their own vanji who lived at the banks of backwaters and was used for travelling, fishing, collecting mussels and removing (transporting) sand from the collection point etc.
Usually of 2, 3, 5 and 7 people can travel at a time depending on the sizes of the boat (vanji). Most of the people knew swimming and rowing some years ago as their major travel was either by walk or through the boating. At present very few people continue to use it as the source of transport but mostly found using for fishing and transporting of goods.
It is said that the craftsmen is working on the making of the traditional boat from about 10-20 years. Though his father is also a carpenter he learnt from an Asan (a teacher) of this place. Most of the people living in Chellanam, a village of Kochi in the Ernakulam district of the state of Kerala in India live by fishing. Chellanam is a village of about 10 km near to Thoppumpady which is filled with water bodies and paddy fields.
The name Chellanam itself says as the place where no one goes as previously it was the forest where nobody preferred to live. Most of the people of Chellanam lives by the fishing, making of boats and agriculture. They are basically referred to the shore side people who live with traditions and their day to day activities of fishing and cultivation. Chellanam is filled with the natural water bodies in between the fields where cultivation happens on both sides of the roadway. Coconut trees in between with different types of birds sitting and flying through them in search of their food. Anybody would admire the nature that is being maintained even today without much influence of the modern systems and world.