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.

Sightseeing in Kumarakom

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)

Things to do in Kumarakom

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.

Kumarakom has some world class Ayurvedic spas. Several of the reputable hotels have onsite spa facilities offering authentic Kerala Rejuvenation Massages.

How to reach Kumarakom

Nearest bus stations: Kottayam, 16 km from Kumarakom.
Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 16 km from Kumarakom.
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 90 from Kumarakom

Latitude: 9.617119, Longitude: 76.429482


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