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 www.kumarakomvillage.com ,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
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.
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.
Buses and taxis are easily available at all times of the day from Kottayam and Cochin.
via Kottayam (16km)
via Cochin International Airport (75 km)
From Muhamma (near Alappuzha) to Kumarakom Jetty.
- 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.
- Bay Island Driftwood Museum (Driftwood arts kerala), .
- KUMARAKOM BACKWATERS (Backwater Cruising), Kumarakom, Illikkalam Building, Kumarakom South, Kottayam, Kerala 686563, ☎ 81388 51427, . Kumarakom is a wonderland of Kerala which is known for its enchanting backwaters. This village retreat nestled in the small islets at the heart of Vembanad Lake has to be seen to be believed. This beautiful backwaters destination is enthralling to be at, with the blue backwaters on the surface of Vembanad Lake reflecting the azure sky. Ranked as one of the top 50 destinations of a lifetime by the National Geographic Traveler Kumarakom backwaters make for a massive irrigation system of canal-linked lagoons and lakes. These majestic backwaters are framed by lush golden bowls of ripe paddy fields, deep green fronds of palm trees along with the quaint fishing villages lining the canal banks. All of this and more make Kumarakom a popular holiday destination amongst the discerning luxury travelers and nature lovers. Kumarakom village is centralized ferry ride away from the districts of Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Kottayam all of which are distinctively beautiful for their own allures and charms. The Vembanad Lake traversing Kumarakom town not only makes for the prime source of irrigation for the low-lying Kuttanad paddy fields but is also popular for its shores being home to one of the largest water-fowl population. Cruising on the Kumarakom backwaters is one of the best ways to explore the water-logged beauty encased in this area. While cruising enjoy a close view of the Gods own country’s panoramic backwaters stretches. Enjoy the scenic sites of lush paddy surroundings and exotic village life from close quarters while you sail through a network of canals and rivers empty into the large expanse of water of the Vembanad Lake.
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 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.
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.
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, . 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
- Backwater Ripples, Kumarakom PO, Kumarakom 686563, India, ☎ 91-481-2565404, . 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
- The Zuri Kumarakom, V-235, A1-A54, Karottukayal, Kumarakom 686563, ☎ +91 481 252 7272, . 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.
- Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kottayam 686 566, Kerala, India, ☎ +91 481 2524900, . 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.
- Kumarakom Homestay, . 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.
- Abad Whipering palms Lake resort (kumarakom resorts), New Nazarath Road, Konchumada, Kumarakom, Kerala 686563, ☎ 0481 252 3824, .
- Kumarakom Houseboats (Houseboats), Cheepunkal Jetty, Kumarakom, Kerala-686563, ☎ +91 9447533330, . Kumarakom is considered as must see destination in the map of world tourism.
- Backwater Routes Houseboats (Houseboats), # 47/IV, Opp. RARS Kavanattinkara, Kumarakom - 686563, ☎ +918086522101, . checkin: 11:30 am; checkout: 09:00 am. Backwater Routes - Fostering all genre of travelers to a slow paced blissful cruise on exotic backwaters of Kerala onboard Luxury houseboats canoes & shikkaras to experience rural retreats of Vembanad lake. Backwater Routes strive to showcase the natural beauty of Kerala backwaters in its virgin stage to Travelers and encourage the traveler and explorer in you to discover everything the great backwaters has to offer at Kumarakom, Vaikom and Alleppey of Kerala. The blue Lagoons fulfills every wanderlust with rural retreats like experiencing the spectacular countryside with canals, coconut grooves, paddy fields,churches, temples and connects to the village life, history and the people. Also are one of the major promoters of Village life experience and canoe cruises in Kerala and we assure you that the service we provide would be at par with global standards ₹ 6999/-.