On the shores of Lake Vembanad, Kumarakom is where time slows to a crawl as you travel through the narrow backwater channels. Silence rules. Only birdcalls and the click of the shutter break it.
The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and this small water world is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres is a favorite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live There in flocks are a fascination for visitors. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands.
An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options. Boating and fishing facilities are available at Kumarakom. Holiday packages on the houseboats, traditional Kettuvalloms, are an out-of-this-world experience at Kumarakom.
An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with while lillies - this is Kumarakom
A picturesque world of backwaters, thatched houseboats, Cormorants, Chinese fishing nets and swaying palms - An ideal getaway.
Other than the hotel eateries and restaurant cuisine, which cater to guests from around the world, there are few dining options from which to choose. However the town of Kottayam situated some 15km from Kumarakom has quite a good selection of dining out options from which to choose, such as Continental, Chinese, American and European eateries.
Local Cuisine Rice is the staple food of the people. The Nair, Ezhavas and such other castes are not generally vegetarian but as in much of South India, there is a tendency towards vegetarian food. There is no great difference in the dietary habits of the Christians and Muslims and favoured dishes include Dosai, Iddali, Poori, Chappathi and Uppuma. Poori , Chappathi and Uppuma are also popular. Owing to the poor cattle wealth of the district, milk is used only by richer sections of the community. Pickles of mango, cherunaranga (lime fruit ), nellikka (the fruit of phyllanthus emblica), etc ., are popular. The condiments generally used are turmeric, pepper, ginger, cardamom, cloves, spices, chilli, mustard, onion, garlic etc.
While here try `Sadya' which is a Kerala feast served on a banana leaf, consisting of a sumptuous spread of rice and more than 14 vegetable dishes, followed by `payasam', the delicious sweet dessert cooked in milk.
There are many restaurants serving great seafood such as prawn curry in coconut gravy which is exceptionally good and is usually eaten with plain steamed rice.
Almost every dish prepared in Kerala has coconut and spices to flavour the local cuisine giving it a sharp pungency that is heightened with the use of tamarind, while coconut gives it its richness, absorbing some of the tongue-teasing, pepper-hot flavours. Tender coconut water is a refreshing nutritious thirst quencher and certainly cools the throat when eating anything a little on the spicy side. The crunchy papadam, banana and jackfruit chips can give French fries a run for their money as well and deserve trying while here.
Alcohol Tip Toddy is tapped from coconut trees and is a favourite drink among the rural men folk as well as visiting tourists. 'Kappa'(Tapioca) and fish curry, served with toddy make a unique combination.
The main shopping stores are on M G Road on the mainland, including emporia and private showrooms. There's the huge GCDA shopping complex on Marine Drive, which should be explored at leisure. Items worth taking home include rosewood artefacts, coir floor coverings and tablemats, old dowry boxes from Travancore, gold jewellery exclusive to the South, cotton saris, traditional khadi attire and antiques from Jewtown.
Flower Show and Food Fest Third week of January.
Erumeli Petta Thullal January Highlights - Chandanakkudam at Vavarambalam, Petta thullal at the Sastha Temple, grand elephant pageants, band music, nadaswara melam, other musical ensembles and cultural programs.
Ettumanoor Ezharapponnana February/March Highlights include the Arattu ritual a procession of the ezharapponnana, elephant pageant and cultural performances.
Thrissur Pooram Festival April /May is a mammoth spectacle with arrays of caparisoned elephants bedecked with gold ornaments. Each elephant is ridden by three mahouts holding projects symbolizing royalty. As the elephants line up facing each other in two straight rows, still in their disciplined dignity, the ancient resonance of Panchavadyam, the five instruments of conch, cymbals, trumpets and two kinds of drums build up a crescendo creating an amazing spectacle.
Onam August/September is the most popular festival in the area. It is a harvest festival that runs for ten day and includes singing, dancing ,feasting and religious ceremonies. The most exciting feature of the festival however, are the snake boat races held at several places on the palm-fringed lagoons.
Boat Races August/September These races are held in connection with Onam, a harvest festival and make up the largest team sport in the world, and are preceded by colourful water parades. Scores of long snake boats and other smaller craft participate and thousands of people crowd the water's edge to cheer the craft as they slice through the waters to a spectacular finish. The oldest of these events have curious legends and myths attached to their origin which are closely linked to the rustic people and their beliefs.
Payippad Jelotsavam August/September held in memory for the Prathista ceremony of Haripad Subramanya temple and therefore has a religious significance. This festival is celeberated for three days commencing from the Onam festival day. Snake boat processions are taken out on the first two days and competitive boat race take place on the third day.
Navarathri September/October this festival is in praise of mother Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and music.
Deepavali October/November the happiest and the festival of lights is held through out India. In the night countless oil lamps are lit followed by bursting crackers.
Vaikathashtami November/December Highlights - 12 day festival, Ashtami day most auspicious, elephant processions, musical ensembles, fireworks, Kathakali, Ottamthullal, Pathakam, Velakali and other music - dance performances.
Christmas December is celebrated here at the local churches and is a 'family' occasion celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Puthenpalli Chandanakkudam December This 2 day festival begins on Christmas day. The Chandanakudam procession of five to seven tuskers begins from the Puthurpalli Mosque. Highlights: Cultural performances, musical ensembles, firework displays.
Ponadu Chootu Padayani This is the annual festival at the ancient Bhagavathy Temple in Meenachil taluk. Bunches of dry palm fronds (chootu) are lit and carried in procession around the temple before the performances. Padayani performers then hit each other with the burning chootu.
The nearest airport to Kumarakom is Kochi (Cochin), which is 110 km away.
The closest railhead is at Kottayam, which is 14 km away. .
The city of Kochi is 78 km away.
You can also cruise down to Kumarakom in your houseboat from either Alappuzha or Kochi.
Temperatures in Kumarakom range from a maximum of 37?C in summer to a minimum of 16?C in winter. There is generally a cool breeze blowing in from Lake Vembanad. The monsoons are from early June to September, but rainfall is not unexpected even in October and early November. The peak tourist season lasts from November to March.
A trip to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary what you shouldn't miss. The best time for this is between November and March, when a range of migratory birds from Siberia make it their winter home. Some of the species include the Snake bird, Little Cormorant, Crow Pheasant, White-branded water Hen and Tree pie. Occasionally you can catch the native kingfishers setting the waters ablaze in a psychedelic flash of colours. The night herons, the Golden-backed woodpeckers are added delights.At the fourteen-acre bird sanctuary one can glimpse many a rare bird ? some of which, sadly, may not be around forever
The backwaters of Kerala - endless miles of snaking waterways flanked on either side by emerald palms. Tranquil and alluring, they offer you the experience of a lifetime. While Kumarakom the boat races, houseboat cruise, canoeing and fishing are something not to be missed. A stay at the houseboat, called Kettuvallom is an unparallel and unique experience. The scintillating beauty of nature and the simplicity of the people will not fail to touch you at Kumarakom.
Kottayam is a vast network of rivers and canals, which empty into the great expanse of water called the Vembanad Lake. The lake, an enchanting picnic spot and a fast developing backwater tourism destination, provides boating, fishing and sightseeing experiences that are truly exhilarating.
Located 18 km from Kottayam town, is this 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. Tourists can also enjoy the shade of the rubber plantations here.