Kumarakom is a popular tourism destination located near the city of Kottayam in Kerla.
A labyrinth of backwaters with shimmering water, the brilliant green of mangrove forests, coconut palms lining the embankments, blue skies, flocks of migratory birds skimming the water – that is Kumarakom, a veritable dreamland!
Every year, more than seven million tourists visit Kerala, a place that the National Geographic Magazine has described as one of the must-see places in a lifetime. Kumarakom is an important stopover for a majority of these tourists. This famous tourist backwater hub is a cluster of islands on the eastern banks of Lake Vembanad. The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teals, waterfowls, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian Stork visit here in flocks and are a fascinate the visitors.
An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options. Boating and fishing facilities, living in a House Boat etc..
What To See
It’s one of the most scenic lakes where you'll come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes. The fresh water of the lake runs into the mainland making a labyrinth of lagoons, brooks, canals and waterways. The backwater houses a variety of species of both fauna and flora. They are rich with marine life namely the exclusive 'Kumarakom Karimeen' (pearl spotted fish), Konju (tiger prawns), Njandu (crabs), Chemeen (prawns) and many more.
As the monsoon winds bring rain to the shores of Vembanad Lake, the Kumarakom is transformed into a rich fertile land. The streams, lagoons, brooks break their banks and provide nourishment to springs and shrubs that sprout from every available space.
Water birds, migratory birds, mangrove shores and the renowned bird sanctuary form their niche. The resorts nearby offer comfortable accommodation and exclusive leisure options like an Ayurvedic massage, yoga, meditation, boating, fishing and swimming. The adventurous could indulge in water sports such as windsailing and waterskiing. You could even take a canoe out into the quite lakes and armed with a fishing rod, catch your own supper. Make sure you do not miss out on Karimeen and fresh toddy, the favourite fresh water food and the local wine.
Pathiramanal is an island on the Vembanad Lake and is hardly 10 acres in size. The island is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world and is a must visit when in Kumarakom.
Pay a visit to the picturesque Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls Located 18km from Kottayam town, 2 km down a mud lane from Kumarkom this is a beautiful picnic spot where streams tinkle as they make their way through the landscape and waters roar as they cascade down the mountains from a height of 100 ft. Pathiramanal (sands of midnight), an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat fromhere. This 10 acre island on the backwaters is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. According to mythology a young Brahmin dived into the Vembanad Lake to perform his evening ablutions and the water madeway for the land to rise from below. The island can be accessed only by boat. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary.
Kottayam is an ancient town famous for its churches, especially the 700 years-old churches, the Cheria palli ('small church') with exceptionally lovely paintings over the altar and the Valia palli('Big Church') perched on a picturesque hillock over a small cluster of houses. In the St.Mary's Church Kuravilangad built in 355 AD there is an old bell which bears a hitherto undeciphered inscription. The mortal remains of the blessed Alphonsa and the Blessed Father Chavara are entombed at the St.Mary's Church at Bharananganam and the St.Joseph's Monastery Church at Mannanam respectively. Thousands gather at these holy shrines during festive occasions. Pala town and Kanjirappally, nourished by the Meenachil and Manimala rivers respectively are centers of rubber plantations. The Ettumanoor Shiva Temple 12 km north of town, has exceptionally beautiful wall paintings and sculptures inside the temple. In the heart of Kottayam town is the much venerated Thirunakkara Mahadeva temple.
This is an important pilgrim centre for the Hindus and Muslims. Sree Dharmasastha Temple here is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Pilgrims going to Sabarimala alight here.
50km from Kottayam, Aranmula is the site of the splendid Onam festival boat races, usually in early September. These races unlike the more sporting ones like at Alappuzha in August are essentially religious, based on a temple festival. Caparisoned elephants with beaded umbrellas, processions of decorated floats, and highly ornate boats make this a lovely event to witness. Aranmula is also the centre of bell metal mirror crafts.
Vagamon, 64 km from Kottayam and 34 km from Pala, situated at an elevation of 1100 meters above sea level is a trekker's paradise. It is an ideal tourist spot surrounded by the greenery of tea gardens, beautiful meadows and valleys. Other attractions: Thangal Para, Indo-Swiss project, Kurisumala Ashram.
Elaveezha Poonchira is yet another picnic spot accessible from Pala and located in the midst of beautiful hills.
40km from Kottayam, famous for the Shiva Temple. The festival in November-December, last for 12 days and the 'Panchavadyam' is an important musical performance.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is one of the most popular bird sanctuaries in the region. With migratory birds from Siberia, you’re likely to see bird species like Egrets, Darters, Herons, Teals, Waterfowls, Cuckoos, and Wild Ducks. This sanctuary has been declared as one of the most important wetlands in India by the Ramsar Convention and is a must visit.
How To Reach
Located 85 kilometres away, the Cochin International Airport is the closest to Kumarakom. The airport is well connected to major cities in India as well as across the world. You can hire private cabs or taxis from the airport to reach Kumarakom.
Travelling by bus is the most inexpensive way to reach Kumarakom from nearby cities within Kerala. There are numerous Kerala State Run Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses plying from Kottayam to Kumarakom. Kottayam is well connected to all major cities around Kerala through KSRTC buses. Private air-conditioned buses play a major role in connecting Kottayam to other major cities of South India such as Bangalore, Chennai and Mangalore.
The nearest railway station to Kumarakom is the Kottayam railway station, located 16 kilometers away. You can hire private cabs or taxis from the railway station to reach Kumarakom.
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