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Kumarakom is a tourist village in Kerala in India. It is a cluster of small islands on the Vembanad backwaters. It houses the popular Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.



Kumarakom is on man-made land reclaimed from the vast Vembanad Lake. The name Kumarakom was derived from the deity of its oldest temple Kumaran. Kumaran's Akam or place became Kumarakom. The place was fertile and most suitable for cultivation of rice and coconut trees. This village was part of Vadakkancore kingdom. But in 1750 Marthanda Varma the King of Travacore conquered and annexed it to Travancore. The first Christian Church was built here in the year 1769 in the land granted by the King of Travancore.

The modern history of this exotic backwater village started with the arrival of the English farmer Alfred George Baker in 1847. He reclaimed 500 acres of Vembanad Lake and made garden land and paddy fields. He built the Baker House (also known as the History House). Mr.Baker was the beloved Kari Saipu (possibly an elision from Baker Sahib) of the locals. Four generations of Bakers lived in the house until 1962. It is reported that they spoke Malayalam, the local language, and even wore the "mundu", which is the traditional formal wear of the people of Kerala (a plain white dhoti, with golden silk lining). The Baker Memorial School in Kottayam, was started around 1825, by members of the same family. The Baker House itself was in ruins, until it was taken over by the Taj Group and restored into a luxury heritage hotel. (For an elaborate stdy visit ,P.G.Padmanabhan- Kumarakom-An Insider's Introduction)


Situated in the Kottayam district of Kerala, which is already known for its lush greenery, this exotic backwater village adds more than a sparkle to it. The landscape basically consists of a cluster of island villages in and around the large "Vembanad Kayal" backwater body (which is also, incidentally the largest in Kerala), with a plethora of branched bodies all lined by beautiful, thick, lush and peaceful greenery. A large number of coconut trees line the horizon to add the perfect tropical touch to the landscape.

With the onset of the monsoon rains, some time around June, the little streams and lagoons break their flow beds and irrigate the fertile land to an overwhelming cover of green. Shrubs, grass and bushes cover every available inch of land to provide a fantastic treat to the eyes with the morning dew and surface mist on the water bodies, spotted in colors with blooms of algae and lillies.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Kumarakom is home to a wide variety of tropical flora and fauna. An important point of interest is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, where a significant number of bird species are known to make migratory visits. The park area covers around 15 acres and functions under the aegis of the government of Kerala. Originally, developed as a rubber estate by the English colonial enterpreneurs, it was formerly known as the Baker estate. One of the important migratory species is the Siberian crane. Other tropical species such as the egret, heron, waterfoul, ducks, moorhens and kingfisher are commonly found.

The Vembanad Lake, is home to many marine and freshwater fish. Varieties of shrimp, prawn and fresh water fish are boutiful. The "Pearl spot" fish is found in relatively lower numbers, and is a local delicacy.

There are a lots of tortoises but unfortunately the authority don't share this information with the tourist since the authority is not aware of this.Unfortunately some villagers are hunting those tortoises.


Kumarakom enjoys a well-balanced tropical climate.The lowest and highest temperatures recorded are 60.8 F and 100 F. There is always a cool, fresh breeze, which makes even the warmest weather readily agreeable after sundown. The South West monsoon is from early June to early August. However, slight drizzles persist till early November. Average rainfall is 1100 mm per year.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Drive down to Kochi on the NH47 (Salem-Kanyakumari) till Cherthala, turn left se the SH- 40 towards Thannermukkam bund and then turn right towards Kottayam and head to south via NH-42 to reach Kumarakom. Approx journey time from from Cochin International Airport is 2 hours.

By bus[edit]

Buses and taxis are easily available at all times of the day from Kottayam and Cochin.

By train[edit]

via Kottayam (16km)

There is a taxi stand right outside the exit of Kottayam station. One way fare to Kumarakom costs Rs 700 ( small/sedan, Air conditioned ) or Rs 1000 (Innova, 7 seater, air-conditioned) and the 14km trip takes about 30 minutes.

By plane[edit]

via Cochin International Airport (75 km)

By boat[edit]

Public ferry by SWTD (Govt. of Kerala) to and from Muhamma (near Alappuzha) to Kumarakom Jetty. Public ferry is also available from Cheepunkal jetty located 5KM apart. Once can avail a public ferry and return back to same spot in about 1.5 hours at cheap rate of Rs 20 on Kumarakom-Muhamma--Kumarakom route (across Vempanad lake). Also one can choose Cheepunkal-Maniaparambu-Cheepunkal to see Kuttanad like topography, agriculture, life along the river. Ferry Timings:

Ferry Services from / to Kumarakom & Cheepunkal
Source Departure Destination Return Service

Arrival Back at Source

Kumarakom 06:30 Muhamma 08:00 Across Vempanad Lake
Cheepunkal 06:30 Maniaparambu 08:00 Paddy fields of Upper Kuttanad
Kumarakom 07:15 Muhamma 09:00 Across Vempanad Lake
Kumarakom 08:00 Muhamma 09:45 Across Vempanad Lake
Cheepunkal 08:00 Maniaparambu 09:30 Paddy fields of Upper Kuttanad
Kumarakom 09:00 Muhamma 10:45 Across Vempanad Lake
Cheepunkal 09:30 Muhamma 11:30 Across Vempanad Lake
Kumarakom 10:00 Muhamma 11:45 Across Vempanad Lake
Kumarakom 11:00 Muhamma 12:30 Across Vempanad Lake
Cheepunkal 11:30 Maniaparambu 13:45 Paddy fields of Upper Kuttanad
Kumarakom 11:45 Muhamma 13:45 Across Vempanad Lake
Kumarakom 13:00 Muhamma 14:30 Across Vempanad Lake
Kumarakom 13:45 Muhamma 15:30 Across Vempanad Lake
Cheepunkal 14:15 Maniaparambu 15:45 Paddy fields of Upper Kuttanad
Kumarakom 14:45 Muhamma 16:15 Across Vempanad Lake
Kumarakom 15:30 Muhamma 17:15 Across Vempanad Lake
Cheepunkal 15:45 Kannankara 16:45 Across Vempanad Lake
Kumarakom 16:15 Muhamma 18:00 Across Vempanad Lake
Cheepunkal 16:45 Maniaparambu 18:15 Paddy fields of Upper Kuttanad
Kumarakom 17:15 Muhamma 19:00 Across Vempanad Lake
Kumarakom 18:00 Muhamma 19:45 Across Vempanad Lake
Cheepunkal 18:15 Maniaparambu 19:45 Paddy fields of Upper Kuttanad
Kumarakom 19:00 Muhamma No return Service across Vempanad Lake
Cheepunkal 19:45 Kannankara No return service across Vempanad Lake
Kumarakom 20:00 Muhamma No return Service across Vempanad Lake

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • Bird Sanctuary. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary) is situated at Kumarakom in Kottayam district in the Indian state of Kerala, on the banks of Vembanad Lake. Set in the Kerala Backwaters the bird sanctuary is an ornithologist's paradise and a favourite haunt of migratory birds. There are a lots of tortoises but unfortunately the authority don't share this information with the tourist since the authority is not aware of this.Unfortunately some villagers are hunting those tortoises.  edit
  • Bay Island Driftwood Museum (Driftwood arts kerala), [1].  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

The destination is most popular for its backwater boathouse rides. Rentals are relatively expensive, but well worth every penny if you can also get a good chef on board, who is well versed in exotic local cuisine. It would be well worth to research on reliable service companies and demand for a good chef, while making your booking. Main Tourist Destinations in Kumarakom

The quality of the boats can vary significantly. Be sure to check photos of the boat in advance if possible. A "luxury" boat may well have very old furniture, basic bathroom facilities with questionable water quality. However thsre is usually aiconditioning in the bedrooms, and some boats also have it in the dining room and sitting area.

Tourists usually have two options:

  1. Day Cruise: Stay at a hotel and take a day cruise of the backwaters on the houseboat and return to your hotel in the evening. A day cruise will be much cheaper than the overnight cruise, and will cover most if not all the sights of the overnight cruise. The difference in cost may actually cover a night's stay, so consider opting for the day cruise and staying at a hotel or resort, instead of being stuck in the room on the boat.
  2. Overnight stay on the boat: The boat will come with three men (a captain, a cook and a general assistant/waiter). You will board the boat at about noon, have lunch prepared on board, cruise the lake and backwaters, make a stop to buy fresh catch from the lake to be cooked for dinner if you wish. The boat will then dock by the land from around 5:30pm till the next morning. The boats are not allowed to ply on the waters after 6pm. The area where the boats dock for the night will be dark and desolate. You will largely be unable to step off the boat. Any needs such as buying beer will require the waiter's assistance, and you will be overcharged for it. You will be confined to staying in the room and you won't have a view from the room on the boat as it's dark outside, nor would you want to be on the deck as there tend to be bugs and mosquitoes. The men will stay on the boat through the night. The next morning you will be served breakfast and the tour will end at about 10am. The food is always local specialties and usually quite delicious.

Boats can be smaller with just one bedroom, or larger boats with two or three bedrooms. Some of the larger boats may have an upper deck so you have some privacy when sitting out and taking in the view, as compared to the single level boats where you need to sit up front with the captain.

If you stay at one of the resorts near the lake which have their own boat jetty (e.g. Zuri, Taj, Kumarakom lake resort, etc.), you can arrange for the houseboat to pick you up and drop you off directly at the hotel's jetty, both for day cruises and well as overnight stays. This will save you the trouble of figuring out a way to get to the houseboat owner's pickup point, which is usually not in a convenient location.

An overnight stay on a "luxury" houseboat as described above would cost about these prices (Sep 2019): One bed room: 18000 INR Two bedrooms: 23000 INR Three bedrooms: 26000 INR If you book the boat through your hotel, prices will be a few thousand higher.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

The local cuisine of Kerala is a large variety of lesser known delicacies of the most exotic genre. It is markedly different from cuisines from other parts of india, in its emphasis on non-vegetarian culinary and liberal use of a wide variety of spices. It is heavily influenced by the Syrian Christian taste buds. The local saying goes "If thou are in the land of rat snake stew, thou shalt choose the thickest piece". So do not hesitate to try even more exotic menus like frog legs, crane fry, which can be found in some of the more elaborate local toddy shops.

Some of the popular items are listed below:

  • Appam - A local bread prepared with fermented rice and coconut dough. It is slightly sweet and is an excellent combination with meat dishes (beef, pork or chicken) or stew.
  • Kappa - This is the local name for tapioca (a tuber). It is boiled with rock salt and then sauteed with grated coconut, onion, red chilly and curry leaves to make a solid meal commonly eaten with spicy fish or beef curries or roast.
  • Karimeen - Otherwise known as "Pearl Spot", this is probably the most exotic freshwater fish of them all. With its rich flavors, it is a culinary delight. Common dishes are "Karimeen Pollichathu" (a Kerala version of grilled fish, prepared with rich spices, wrapped in a banana leaf on burning coal), fry and curry (prepared either in chilly paste with a special kind of tamarind or with coconut milk or paste).
  • Seafood - The state of Kerala itself is popular for the large varieties of seafood including shrimp, prawn, crab and squid amongst others. It is difficult to find such varieties of spicy and exotic preparations of seafood anywhere else in the world.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sip tender coconut. Refresh yourself with a sip of cool tender coconut and a scoop of its soft white flesh. Ask your tour guide to arrange for fresh madhura kallu (sweet toddy extracted from the coconut palm) and have it the Kerala way with exotic karimeen pollichathu (coal baked fresh water fish), spicy pickles or kappa (cassava) and fish curry. Optionally, a visit to a toddy shop (locally known as a kallu shappu) can be a good experience. Toddy shops across the state are known to serve excellent spicy seafood, fish and all kinds of meat with matured alcoholic kallu.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Without a doubt, the best option is hiring a houseboat for the true experience. A large number of companies offer board and tour on houseboats. Again, good research can save you bucks and a word of caution to insist on getting a good chef, for the true exotic kerala cuisine experience. There is almost no equal to the peaceful boathouse ride in this piece of tropical paradise. The lazy morning glory sipping authentic kerala tea, that one can experience is simply beyond words, of course, followed by a sumptuous breakfast, to venture into a busy day of doing nothing at all. If we may, it would be a wonderful day to start your day with appam and chicken stew.

  • Club Mahindra Kumarakom, Near Chakrampady Bus Stand, Kumarakom North, Kumarakom - 686563, [2]. Where better to rekindle ties with nature than at a place where land, sky and water meet in the purest forms? Fringed by the lush green coconut groves on the sides and the endless stretch of clear, blue skies above, a cruise down the backwaters of Kumarakom is a holiday experience like no other  edit
  • Backwater Ripples, Kumarakom PO, Kumarakom 686563, India, 91-481-2565404, [3]. checkin: 1 pm; checkout: 12 pm. Located in 10 acres of beautifully landscaped ground, Backwater Ripples offers spellbinding encounters with nature. Relish a psychedelic sunset on a montage of clouds, or the flying flurry of evening birds, or just relax and enjoy the cool afternoon breeze  edit
  • The Zuri Kumarakom, V-235, A1-A54, Karottukayal, Kumarakom 686563, +91 481 252 7272, [4]. If heaven was a place on earth, it would be on the banks of a breathtaking Vembanad Lake that spreads serenely over 205 square kilometres of picture perfect beauty. And it is. Set in 18 verdant acres on the shores of the Vembanad Lake and just 2 hours from the Cochin International Airport, The Zuri Kumarakom Kerala, Resort & Spa is a five–star deluxe spa resort in Kumarakom, set at the heart of the beautiful Southern state of Kerala–fondly referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’. Standing directly beside the Lake, this Kerala resort offers spacious living–dining rooms, traditional Indian–style bedrooms and individual gardens with private plunge pools.  edit
  • Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kottayam 686 566, Kerala, India, +91 481 2524900, [5]. The Kumarakom Lake Resort is a beautiful luxury resort in the district of Kottayam. Options range from pavilion rooms to villas with private pools to staying overnight on a traditional houseboat. One of the greatest attractions is the meandering pool, which runs throughout the entire resort and looks like a river. The resort has numerous attractions, from a traditional Kerala teashop to fishing in one of the lakes to feeding the rabbits on one of the small islands in the many lakes on the property to pottery or weaving. Albeit expensive, the resort offers a very luxurious stay in Kumarakom.  edit
  • Kumarakom Homestay, [6]. checkin: 12:00 noon; checkout: 11 am. This homestay is situated very close to the famous Kumarakom Lake and bird sanctuary. Winner of the kerala state tourism award 2009-2010 for the best homestay in kerala, it is a good option for those looking for reliable accommodation and an authentic Kerala experience. The homestay also has its own traditional houseboat. 48 USD.  edit
  • Abad Whipering palms Lake resort (kumarakom resorts), New Nazarath Road, Konchumada, Kumarakom, Kerala 686563, 0481 252 3824, [7].  edit
  • ILLIKKALAM Lakeside Cottages, New Nazarath Road, Kumarakom PO Kottayam,Kerala- 686563, +91 481 2524234, [8]. Cottages are just 30 feet from the Lake.Cottages located on the banks of Vembanad Lake, at Kumarakom offers sweeping views of the lake and surrounding greenery at Budget pricing.  edit
  • Kumarakom Houseboats (Houseboats), Cheepunkal Jetty, Kumarakom, Kerala-686563, +91 9447533330, [9]. Kumarakom is considered as must see destination in the map of world tourism.  edit
  • Backwater Routes Houseboats (Houseboats), # 47/IV, Opp. RARS Kavanattinkara, Kumarakom - 686563, +918086522101, [10]. checkin: 11:30 am; checkout: 09:00 am. ₹ 6999/-.  edit

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