Places to Visit in Kumarakom

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Kumarakom is a popular tourist destination located near Kottayam, in Kerala, India.

It is famous place to visit among the tourist destinations for its backwater tourism. Kumarakom is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake, the largest lake Places to visit in the state of Kerala. One can enjoy the rich diversity of hills, forest, rivers, plains, sea, and ghats all in the various tourist spots at Kumarakom.

Migratory birds soar over the Vembanad Lake in the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Tourists have a time of their life watching birds from the deck of the houseboats while they visit this place in Kumarakom.

The Juma Masjid, Thazhathangadi Valiapalli and the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple are some of the places to visit in Kumarkom and attract major tourists round the year.

Photo of Kumarakom, Kerala, India by Jaiveer Yadav

In Kumarakom, you may choose to stay either at a Seaside Hotel on Kumarakom beach or a riverside resort. You can hang around in a hill facing bungalow or in a tiny cottage in Pathiramanal Island. If you don't want any of these, you can float across the backwaters in a Kuttuvallom. Kumarakom has an answer to all your needs.

How to Reach Kumarakom

Kumarakom is just 16 km from the nearest city, Kottayam. To reach Kumarakom from anywhere outside India, you can fly to Mumbai (Bombay) or Chennai (Madras). From there, fly to Kerala where, you have a choice of three international airports as entry point - Kochi (Cochin), Kozhikode (Calicut) and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum).

By Air

The nearest Airport to Kumarakom is the Cochin International Airport, about 70 km away from the Muhamma boat jetty. The second nearest airport is at Trivandrum, 171 km away.

By Rail

The railway station is at Kottayam, 16 km away. Kottayam Railway station is well connected with all major cities in Kerala and India with several trains plying regularly from here.

By Road

Kottayam is about 16 km from Kumarakom, and is well connected with the rest of the country by both State highway and National Highway.

By Water

From Trivandrum International Airport, you can come to Quilon by road or rail, and thereafter, take the regular ferry service through the enchanting backwaters, to reach Alleppey. Kumarakom can be reached by a short ride from Alleppey.

Some of the Best Places to Visit in Kumarakom:

1. Kumarakom Backwaters

Majority of the backwaters of Kerala lie in the Kottayam district. The mesh of lagoons, rivers, and canals open up to the Vembanad Lake. All these offer a panoramic view of the splendid beauty of the God's own country. The backwaters is one of the most sought after places to see in Kumarakom and attract major tourists amongst all the Kumarakom tourist places. It is because of its sheer brilliance of placid green water, green hills, and Coconut groves. The Chinese fishing nets in the backdrop add to its splendor.

There are opulent resorts on the banks which make for a great idyllic and revitalizing stay. No one would want to miss the best of Ayurvedic massage and authentic Kerala Seafood. Spend a day at the backwaters with fun-filled activities like fishing, canoeing, kayaking. You will have a time of life while visiting this place.

If you are an early morning person, do observe dew drops gleaming like pearls on the foliage. The mist formed over the surface of the backwaters and the freshness in the air feels so wholesome that you would want to explore the place for hours. One can even choose for House Boats to live in instead of hotels to experience the little pleasures of the beautiful backwaters.

Location: 16 km from Kottayam town on Vembanad Lake.

Timings: Sunrise to sunset.

2. Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

It is the most revered ancient Shiva temple at Vaikom. That is why it among one of the places to visit in Kumarakom. The temple takes pride in the golden flagstaff and the inner roof which has sculpted narration of the Ramayana. Premises of the 8-acre courtyard revels with river sand. The compound walls and four gopuras guard the temple on either side.

The most important Prasada is the Bhasma or the Vibhoothi, these are ashes taken from the fireplace of the kitchen where Sri Vaikkathappan is believed to work in the disguise of a Brahmin. The most popular festival is the Vaikkath Ashtami which is celebrated with pomp and joy.

Even if you are an atheist, you must visit this place.

Location: Vazhamana Rd, Vaikom, Kottayam.

Timings: 3.30 am to 12 pm and 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm

3. St Mary’s Church, Cheriapally

The oldest, yet well preserved Orthodox Church in India was built in 1579 with a fusion of typical Persian and Kerala style of architecture. It belongs to Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church.

The walls of the Church are adorned with murals which have been designed in Western and Oriental style. The altar of the Church is decked with embellishments in gold which glitters in the presence of a congregation. The galleries, pillars, cornices and the windows talk tons about an era bygone.

Everybody from any religious background is free to worship the Lord here while visiting this place. The annual festival of this church, Vithukalude Perunnal attracts a lot of locals and tourists. It is celebrated on the 15th of January which is also known as the Festival of Seeds.

Note: The midnight mass on Christmas Eve is spectacular here. Exquisite lightings and cheerful fanfare make it a memorable experience. Be a part of it if you visit this place during Christmas time.

Location: Cheriapally Junction, Kottayam

Timings: 7.30 am to 12.30 pm every day

4. Juma Masjid

If you want to see the mixed and all accommodative cultural heritage of Kerala, this is one of the places to visit.

This 1,000-year-old Mosque also known as the Thazhathangady Juma Masjid. It is said that the mosque was constructed by Malik Dinar’s son Habib Dinar. Malik Dinar was the key person to introduce Islam in Kerala.

It stands tall with its magnificent architecture and mind-blowing ornate wood carvings. The carved wooden gabled roof, the soulful inner courtyard, latticed windows and doors with intricate woodwork and the traditional bath area reflect the craftsmanship of skilled artisans.

The oldest Mosque in Kerala is on the banks of River Meenachil providing a gentle breeze enveloping the place with tranquillity. Men wearing Munda, their traditional outfit worship at this holy place with faith and utmost diligence.

Location: Thazhatangady, Juma Masjid, Kumarakom, Kottayam.

Timings: 12 noon to 12 am every day.

5. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is also popularly known as the Vembanad Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuary was initially developed in a rubber plantation, and looked after by an Englishman who named it as the Baker's Estate.

To all the nature lovers, this is one of the best places to visit in Kumarakom.

The 14 acres of lush greenery is nestled over the Southern bank of Kavanar River and is a Birder’s delight. A scheme of pathways leads one to the different sections of the sanctuary to unleash the rich diversity of its flora and fauna.

If you are a photography enthusiast, this is one place to visit. Migratory birds like the Siberian Crane, teal, flycatcher and a few local birds like the moorhen, Brahmini kite and Cormorant are frequent visitors here.

The native Kingfisher in psychedelic colors, golden back woodpeckers, doleful parrots, owls, and egrets can leave even the best of the Ornithologists amazed.

A trip to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is thus a must while in Kerala, to explore and unravel the hidden treasures and gifts of the Earth.

The Pathiramanal Island aka Sand of Midnight is also accessible from this sanctuary via a 10-minute boat ride.

Location: Boat ride from Vembanad Lake or Kavanar River.

Timings: 6.30am – 5.00pm every day.

Entry Fees: Rs.50/- to Rs.100/- per head.

6. Kumarakom Beach

The immaculate aquamarine water of the beach is one of the tourist places to visit in Kumarakom. It can steal the day-long tiredness as you watch the gentle waves lashing against yellow sand. You can also choose to stay at the many Resorts lined on the shorelines. It will provide for the perfect sunrise and sunset over the mighty sea. Perform Yoga on the beach for a celestial connect. Sit and meditate late in the evening on the seashore for a transcendental feel.

Many adventure sports like Parasailing, water skiing and other beach activities are organized here to give the visitors an adrenaline rush. Do not forget to dine at the shacks lined on the shore as sumptuous Seafood is cooked and served in local style. Mind you, the fresh- catches are hard to resist.

Location: Kumarakom, Kottayam.

Timings: Sunrise to Sunset.

7. Vembanad Lake

The pulse of Kerala can be felt at the Vembanad lake, which is a confluence of ten rivers. This lake is a labyrinth of several groups of small islands, lagoons, canals, and estuaries presenting an overwhelming display of nature’s glory.

It is also known as Vembanad Kayal.

It is a tourist attraction exclusively for backwaters. Therefore, one may find over five hundred Kettuvallams, either plying or anchored to the banks. A Kettuvallam is a traditional houseboat.

The Kumarakom Bird sanctuary is on the banks of Vembanad. Hundreds of migratory and local birds show their flamboyance in this sanctuary.

Book your tickets for Kerala in August, as the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race takes place in the Vembanad Lake every year.

Location: 16 km from Kottayam.

Timings: Sunrise to Sunset.

8. Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple

This ancient Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a must visit place in Kumarakom because of its traditional style architecture and murals. They elaborately display tales of the mythological era. This 500-year-old temple constructed by the then king, Thekkumkoor is the pride of Kottayam.

The temple premise has a six-inches long Shiva Linga with Goddess Parvati standing on its left. Koothambalam is the main arena in the center which serves a stage for cultural performances during festivals and ceremonies.

The 10-day long annual festival, Phalguna Utsavam, falls in the March/April. This attracts ritualistic arattu and also displays a procession of caparisoned elephants. Various temple arts and cultural programmes are put on the show as part of the festival. The other two festivals of the temple fall in the month of October/November

Location: Temple Rd, Thirunakara, Kottayam.

Timings: 4.00 am to 11.00 am and 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm every day.

9. Thazhathangadi Valiapalli

Built-in 1550 AD, this Church belongs to the Knanaya Orthodox Syrian Community. Godavarma Raja of the Thekkumkoor royal family contributed land for this grand Church.

The church has gained popularity for a few things. One among them is the Persian cross which is believed to be one of the seven crosses carried by St. Thomas. The apostle came to southern Kerala in AD 52. Inscriptions in Pahlavi language, a language of ancient Persia, can be seen on the cross

If exploring the history of religions excites you, this is the place to visit.

The intricate paintings on the altar and the ceiling seek attention from a lot of tourists. Several cryptographers have been trying to decipher the Pahlavi inscription for the past few centuries. But, the mystery still continues. A superlative serenity surrounds when you stand in front of the Holy Virgin Mary Church which is beyond expression.

Location: 2 km West of Kottayam.

Timing: 7.00 am – 6.00 pm every day.

10. Thanneermukkom Bund

The Thanneermukkom bund was constructed to prevent tidal action and intrusion of saltwater. It is one of the places to visit in Kumarakom as it is the largest mud-regulator in India.

It has distinctive shades of green and blue. This is because the barrier divides the lake into two parts. One half is the brackish water and the other half is the fresh water fed by the rivers draining into the lake.

The Thanneermukkom saltwater barrier connects the two districts of Kottayam and Alapuzzha with Vechoor villages lined on either side of the bund.

It is an outstanding sight to watch the open blue sky, bluish-green water and distant olive green trees all merging somewhere in the in-accessible horizon. For a better view of the picturesque surrounds, drive through the road parallel to the bund or hire a boat to navigate at leisure.

Location: Kuttanad, across Lake Vembanad.

Timings: 12 pm to 12 am every day.

11. Jatayu Rock

If Jatayu reminds you of mythological character from Ramayana, then you are right. This rock theme garden is indeed dedicated to him. It is one of the tourist spots which can’t be missed, if you are visiting Kumarakom.

The rock is located in the sprawling Jatayu park spread across 65 acres of land.

The sculpture of Jatayu has been positioned at a place where the mighty bird took his last breath. The Jatayu Earth’s center also plans to have a 6D theatre and an audio-visual based light museum housed inside along with an adventure zone with 20 games.

Location: Chadayamangalam, Kollam.

Timings: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm every day.

Entry Fees: Rs.400/- per person.

12. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

Legends have in it that Pandavas and Sage Vyasa had visited this place in Kumarakom to worship here.

The multi-tiered gate greets you to a divine space where the heart and soul are in complete bliss. The erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore donated the famous Nataraj statue situated inside the temple.

The eternal lamp, alight throughout the year is placed right in the middle of the temple.

Plan your visit to this place in February to be a part of the 10 days long affair known as the “Celebration of Light”. The temple is also popular for the annual Ezharaponnana procession.

'Ezhara' means seven-and-half and 'Ponnana' means a golden elephant. Each of the seven elephants is two feet high and the eighth one is of one foot only. Hence they are together called seven-and-half elephants covered in gold.

Location: Ettumanoor Temple Road, Kottayam, Ettumanoor.

Timings: 4.00am to 12noon and 5.00pm to 8.30pm every day.

13. Toddy Shops

Toddy is a local alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of Coconut palm tree. Toddy making is an art by itself as the process of toddy tapping is a feast for the eyes. Strong healthy men climb towering trees to extract sap from the cut flowers which is collected with dexterity. It is then allowed to ferment for a day to yield toddy. Within a matter of a couple of hours, it turns aromatic with alcoholic properties.

Toddy with local Kerala cuisine is the best combination to treat yourself if you are foody. One can find plenty of genuine toddy serving shops across Kumarakom.

Toddy shops are the best places to visit for everyone from kids to the old ones.

14. Pathiramanal Island

This little island in Muhamma, Alappuzha on Vembanad Lake has won the hearts of many. Pathiramanal Island is a place to visit, as it attracts a host of migratory birds across geographies. So, it ranks top among the lists of sightseeing places to visit.

One of the best experiences to approach the island is to hire a boat on rent from Kayippuram jetty. This will take you through a green stretch where the greens of the land merge with emerald green water. It is home to approximately 140 species of local and migratory birds, thus be ready with your binoculars and camera to shoot the right moments.

Places to see: Pathiramanal Biopark, and a mysterious temple hidden in the dense bushes.

Location: 4 km from Kumarakom towards North-east and 1.5km from the Muhamma boat jetty.

Timings: Sunrise to sunset.

15. Aruvikkuzhi Waterfall

Aruvikkuzhi Waterfall is located 18 km from Kottayam. This waterfall is over 100 feet and is a famous tourist spot. It falls in five steps and it is an ideal location to be photographed.

Aruvikkuzhi is a waterfall which is active only during the monsoons of Kerala. It is all dried up during summers. The place attracts a lot of visitors during the weekends as it is a popular place to visit due to its natural surroundings. The meandering natural pathways take you to the cascading water falling over rocks.

It is enveloped by thick rubber plantations providing a serene and idyllic setup. As the sunlight gleams on the descending water, it changes color and warmth with every hour. Children have unlimited fun bathing under the waterfall for hours. The elders sit gleefully absorbing every moment of nature’s bounty.

You can also trek to the top of the waterfall to reach the St Mary’s Church, one of the top religious places to visit in Kumarakom.

Location: Oravakkal Koorali Road (2 km from Pallickathode)

Timings: 6.00 am to 7.00 pm every day.

Entry: Free

So, does the list excite you? If yes, then pack your bags and explore this natural masterpiece. Don’t forget to share your experiences with me.

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