Imagine waking up to the shade of dense coconut groves, rocking on a boat on a lagoon? Sounds mesmerizing, doesn’t it? But this could be your reality. This summer, why not head to the interiors of Kerala and spend a few days on the backwaters of Kumarakom?
About 16 KM from the city of Kottayam, on the backwaters of Vembanad Lake, you will find the exotic locale of Kumarakom.
Kumarakom is well connected to major cities and towns in Kerala and neighboring states, by rail, road and air routes. You can fly down to the nearest airport is Kochi, at a distance of about 53 KM. If you book Trivandrum outstation cabs, it takes about an hour or so. You can also take the train till Kottayam, which the nearest railway station. From Kottayam, you would need to hire a car or taxi to reach Kumarakom.
Things to see
You would most likely want to let your hair down in such a scenic place and simply admire the natural beauty and serenity of the backwaters. But in case you want to explore a little more and head out into the open, make use of the great sightseeing Kumarakom has to offer.
Flora and Fauna
The location of Kumarakom makes for abundant biodiversity. The backwaters juxtaposed with lagoons, this homestead is a habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, have been developed as a conservatory for wild and exotic species of birds and is a major tourist attraction. A bird watcher’s paradise, this natural enclave houses egrets, heron, teals, waterfowls, wild ducks and plenty of migratory birds in winter. If you want to explore this sanctuary, spread across 14 acres of land and standing water, you can hire a canoe guided by local fishermen and go around. The sanctuary is open from 6am to 6pm.
Fishing is a key activity of not only this village but of most backwater regions.
Notably, the Vembanad Lake, which is the largest lake of Kerala is the breeding ground for both saltwater and freshwater fishes. Right from the daybreak, you can spot fishermen out of a small boat with their gill nets, ready to prey on the aquatic treasures. On a regular day, if you catch a fisherman vying for a good catch, you might end up seeing boatloads of Karimeen, black clams, and shrimps, at the end of the exercise. You could also join a local fishing team to try your hands at this special art.
The Vembanad Lake offers ample opportunities for water sports and activities like boating, canoeing, yachting and of course fishing. You can rent a canoe for a nominal fee and ride along the backwaters, under the shaded foliage of marshy vegetation and palm trees. The best time for a boat/canoe ride is early morning or early evenings.
On the other side, if you simply want to be a witness to the skill of boating, visit during Onam (traditional harvest festival). This is the time when local rowers take part in a regatta (boat race). The sight of thousands of oarsmen in boats of different shapes and sizes, rushing at lightning speed, is simply exciting. You can be an audience of the Kumarakom Boat Race at the big canal near the town center.
If you want to explore the typical Kerala natural life and vegetation, a visit to a plantation is a must. Kumarakom has dense rubber plantations, for touring and commercial activities. The limelight of this rubber plantation is the Aruvikkuzhi Waterfall that makes the area more photogenic.
If you like to dig into the past, there’s also the Bay Island Drift Museum, which has been preserving the history of Kumarakom for years. For a complete trip around this quaint backwater town, book Kochi to Kumarakom cabs.
Kumarakom can treat your senses with its charm and tranquility so you go back rejuvenated and bask in the bliss of God’d own country for many days to come.