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Kumarakom
  • Overview
  • Hotels
  • Sight Seeing
  • Things to do
  • Directions
  • Travel Tools
  • Kumarakom, a well known bird sanctuary, 16 km away from Kottayam, is situated on the Vembanad Lake. A host of birds like parrots, egrets, herons, teal, larks, fly catchers, wood beetle and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. Every year hundreds of Siberian cranes come across from far away Siberia to roost and breed before going back. A cruise on the Vembanad Lake, gently rocked by the waves rippling to the rhythm of the swaying coconut palms on the distant banks could be truly exhilarating. Preserving the old style, the beautiful bungalow of Albert George Baker at Kumarakom has now been modified into 'Taj Garden Retreat', a hotel of Taj group with modern living facilities.
  • Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
  • Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist's paradise, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. Other common varieties like the woodpecker, skylark, crane, water hen and parrots can also be spotted here. A cruise along the Vembanad Lake is the best way to experience the sanctuary. Pathiramanal, an enchanting island on the lake, can be accessed by boat from here.
  • Thanneermukkam Bund
  • The major occupation in Kuttanadu is farming. Rice is the important agricultural product, giving Kuttanadu the monicker of "The Rice Bowl of Kerala". Three crops are grown every year now instead of the traditional two per year. Large farming areas near Vembanad Lake (Vembanadu Kayal) were actually reclaimed from the lake. The king decreed that whoever retains land can own it leading massive redemption of land from the lake. As the farming in the area increased farmers felt themselves constrained by the two cycles a year for rice cultivation. The reason for which is the availability of potable water in Kuttanadu.
  • During the monsoon seasons, the water from the mountains flow through the rivers to the sea, bringing potable water to Kuttanadu. But during summer, due to the low level of the region, seawater enters Kuttanadu and makes the salt content of the water high making it unpotable. During 1968, government of India proposed a project, in which a bundh (Dam) will be made across the river so that seawater will not be allowed to come inside Kuttanad during summer, allowing farmers to cultivate and extra cycle per year. The project was planned in three phases, the south side, the north side and another phase to join the two sections. The project was delayed and by the time the first two phases were complete the entire money alloted for the project ran out and left the final phase in limbo. The farmers who were expecting lots of financial benefits after the completion of the project decided to take matters into their own hands and one night in 1972, a large group of farmers filled the gap between the north and the south side with earth. To this day, the earth embankment between the two sections of the bundh remains.
  • Pathiramanal (Bird Sanctuary)
  • 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 made way for land to rise from below, thus creating the enchanting island, Pathiramanal (sands of midnight).
  • Vaikom Temple
  • Parasurama, the mythical founder of Kerala, is said to have built a temple here dedicated to Lord Shiva. Vaikom Temple is an important Hindu pilgrimage destination. Apart from its relgious significance, Vaikom temple holds a special place in the history books of Kasi. Offering of prathal, or food is a form of worship here. In ancient times, feasts used to be cooked and offered to all devotees; Vaikom Mahadever is also referred to as Annadaana Prabhu.
  • Devotees are allowed to perform rituals from 4 am in the morning to 12 pm in the afternoon and again 5 to 8 in the evening. According to the famous legend Maharishi Vyaghrapada had a vision of Lord Shiva at this holy place.
  • Thiruvizha Mahadeva Temple
  • A Lord Siva temple and a divine ayurvedic treatment centre where you can rejuvenate body & soul with the help of a special ayurvedic medicine and divine spirit.
  • Kokkamangalam St Thomas Church
  • St Thomas Church , situated at Cherthala in Alappuzha District, is an ancient place of worship. It is believed to have been built in the year 52 AD by Apostle St Thomas. This highly revered church contains an embellished altar containing the holy relics of the saintly figure. These relics were brought from Edessa, with the permission from His Holiness Late Pope John Paul II. The church observes an annual feast dedicated to St Thomas on the Sunday following Easter.
  • Coconut oil mill
  • Watch how the oil is extracted from coconut flesh using a 'Chuck' (Traditional machine made from wood to extract oil).
  • Coir manufacturing unit
  • See village women making coir ropes from coconut fibre using a 'charka' (Spinning machine)
  • Boating on Vembanad Lake
  • 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
  • Bird Watching
  • A 14-acre bird sanctuary is situated on the eastern banks of the Vembanad Lake. The sanctuary adds to the natural beauty of Kumarakom. Birds (waterfowl, water ducks, cuckoos, wild ducks etc.) nest and spend happy summers here. Birds like Siberian storks migrate here every year. At the water-bird sanctuary you can spot domestic birds like cuckoo, wild duck, egrets, darters, herons, teal, and waterfowl as well as migratory birds like the Siberian storks.
  • Seafood Dinner
  • With its backwater location you can enjoy the popular karimeen or pearl spotted fish plus a large variety of crustaceans including prawns, crabs and lobsters. The local Toddy Shop offers local cuisine cooked in pure coconut oil. The main restaurants are also famous for their mouth watering delicacies.
  • Ayurveda
  • Kumarakom has some world class Ayurvedic spas. Several of the reputable hotels have onsite spa facilities offering authentic Kerala Rejuvenation Massages.
  • Business Hours
  • Offices: 10:00 to 17:00, Monday to Saturday
    Banks: 10:00 to 14:00, Monday to Friday; 10:00 to 12:00, Saturday
    Post offices: 10:00 to 19:00, Monday to Friday
    Shops: 10:00 to 20:00, Monday to Saturday
  • Electricity
  • 240 volts AC, 50Hz.
  • Health
  • One of the main health problems that visitors to India often encounter is upset stomachs. Visitors are advised to seek the appropriate vaccinations and/or medication to avoid any health dangers before arrival to India. There are no specific vaccinations needed for India.
  • Emergency services
  • Police control room: 100
    Fire station: 101
    Ambulance: 102
  • Language
  • Malayalam is the dominant language in Kannur. English is widely spoken, particularly by those working in the tourist industry.
  • Currency
  • The Indian rupee is the currency of choice here. The lowest denomination is 1 rupee with 5, 10, 20 and 100 rupee notes the most commonly used. Changing larger sums like the 500 or 1000 rupee notes often proves difficult.
  • Currency Exchange
  • Few banks in Kannur will be able to change international currency. Travellers should make the US dollar the currency of choice when visiting the city, the next best being euros and British sterling. There are ATMs in Kannur and this is the best way to get rupees, with a good exchange rate. Just be sure your ATM card is accepted in India.
  • Customs
  • There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that visitors can bring. Adults 18 years and over can import 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco; 2 litres of alcohol; and 60ml of perfume.
  • Electronic equipment such as laptop and camera or video equipment requires filling out a Tourist Baggage Re-Export form. This is to protect you, as you may be asked to show the form when you leave India. Bringing in any livestock or pork products, live plants, or gold and silver bullion, is not permitted.
    • Visitors are expected to abide by local laws, customs and etiquettes.
    • Visitors to most Kerala houses leave their footwear outside before entering the house.
    • Behaviour demonstrating affection in public like hugging or kissing is not an accepted practice in Kerala.
    • Nudity is not allowed in Kerala
    • Footwear inside the temple and entry into the sanctum sanctorum is banned in all the temples.
    • Other customs and codes of conduct and dress in temples across the State vary from each other.
    • Some temples do not permit entry to non-Hindus, while some do. Shirts for men and pants are banned from some temples and allowed in some others. Where they are banned, men have to be in mundus and women, in saris, half-saris or long skirts.
    • At the table, main dishes are served in the middle, while each person takes individual spoons from each plate to their own dish in front of them. Eating is done with the right hand only, as the left is used for personal hygiene. Average tipping is 10%.
  • Visa and Passports
  • For entry into India, you must apply for a visa from your local Indian consulate or embassy before leaving home. You won’t even make it onto the airplane without a visa, so be sure to arrange one beforehand.
  • The majority of Western tourists will be eligible for a 6-month visa for visiting India, which is activated from the moment it is placed inside your passport.
  • Make sure you have at least one passport page free to receive the visa stamp and that your travel document is valid for at least 6 months after your intended departure from India.
  • Carry your visa for entry to India/Kerala on your holiday.
    For further clarifications, contact the Indian High Commission.
    For visa extension, contact Office of the Commissioner of Police,
    Thiruvananthapuram. Ph: 0471-2320579.
  • Tourist Information Offices
  • The Free Travel Information Service is one of the best in town for personal service and trustworthy advice on the area. The District Tourism Office and DTPC Information Centre also offer good services for various matters in Munnar. Ask at your hotel for contact details.
Bonjour Holidays: C.P.Ummer Cross Road, Cochin, Kerala-682 035, India, e-mail: info@leisurekerala.com, Mob: + 91 94477 84477
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