Nature and humanity meet in delightful ways at Kumarakom. This cluster of small islands located on the eastern bank of Vembanad is as picturesque as a postcard. With its canals, lakes, lagoons, vast swathes of paddy fields and coconut groves, this scenic spot has been receiving travellers from around the world. The people of Kumarakom live in tune with nature and are exposed to various cultures, thanks to tourism. An ideal weekend getaway spot, Kumarakom gives you the time and pace to unwind.
Also known as the Netherlands of Kerala, Kumarakom is known for its houseboat cruises. The journey affords views of spectacular sunsets, quaint waterfront temples, resorts, greenery and churches that dot the landscape.
Another major attraction is the sea of bright pink water lilies that bloom from August to February on the waters. One can also take a ride on a canoe to get a closer view of the lilies. An early morning visit would be ideal, as the day progresses, the lilies would wilt.
If you are in no mood to explore the beauty of Kumarakom in a day, you can stay back at a backwater resort KTDC Waterscapes. It is the only resort located inside a bird sanctuary. Spread over 14 acres, the sanctuary is considered an ideal spot for bird watching. Formerly known as ‘Bakers Estate’, the place is a mini-forest covered by a canopy of trees. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t spot any birds, because they appear at their own appointed hours. You can expect to see rare migrant birds such as the Siberian stork from atop a watch tower located within the sanctuary.
The Lord Subramanyaswamy temple, built around 8,000 years ago, has significance in how Kumarakom got its name. Lord Subramanya is also known as ‘Kumaran’. So the house of Lord Subramanya came to be known as Kumarakom (kumara+akom).
Another must-visit spot is the Bay Island driftwood museum. This largest driftwood and fossil museum run by Raji Punnoose has a huge collection of root sculptures of various designs and shapes. The pieces are the deposits picked up from the Andaman seashores.
If you are a fan of culture and heritage, check out the 120-year-old colonial Baker’s Bungalow built by George Alfred Baker. This two-storeyed structure is built according to Kerala architecture style on teak wood rafters.
An evening stroll on the roads can give a glimpse of the livelihood of people. On the way, stop by the famed Kilikkoodu toddy shop to taste toddy and local delicacies.
How to reach?
By rail: 16 Km from Kottayam Railway Station
By boat: From Muhamma (near Alappuzha) to Kumarakom Jetty.
By road: Buses and taxis are easily available
What to eat?
Treat yourself to traditional local cuisine, including chemmeen (prawns), shrimp, and karimeen pollichathu.
Where to stay?
Houseboats, homestays and resorts are available