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Kumarakom, Queen of Vembanad

by on September 17, 2007

kerala_kumarakom1.jpegIt is the perfect backwater village of Kumarakom which lies on the bank of Vembanad Lake, 15 km west of Kottayam. My biggest dream of seeing the backwaters of Kerala came live when I went there. It is the best weekend destination or weekend getaway of the people of Kerala. Kumarakom is a perfect resort destination for the honeymooners, couples and the backwaters lover. It is a tiny village on the edge of Vembanad Lake which was practically unknown till Henry Baker purchased the land from the erstwhile Raja of Travancore to build himself a grand home. When they left India, Taj hotels stepped in to turn it into a fancy resort, changing the fortunes of the once quiet fishing hamlet. But today when I see it, it is a maze of modern resorts and heritage homes cum hotels spilling over the island banks.

I started experiencing the Vembanad backwaters slowly and leisurely. I hired a kettuvallom, the traditional rice boat turned houseboat. There are many floating hotels range from tiny canoes to houseboats capped by elaborate superstructures of bamboo and rosewood, paneled with mats of screwpine. There are scores of motorboats available to take a ride on Vembanad Lake. I saw the past paddy and coconut groves, mangroves, along fresh water canals and rivers that debouch into Vembanad Lake. Around Onam the waters of Vembanad at Kumarakom come alive with boat races such as the Kumarakom Arpookara Vanitha Jalmela and the Kavanthikara Boat Race. I also came to know that I can even fish in these waters and some of the resorts also offered water skiing and wind sailing.

The next day my plan was to view the bird sanctuary of Kumarakom which is spread across 14 acres on the eastern banks of Vembanad Lake. It is best to visit the sanctuary on foot by a 1 ½ km long walking track, where I spot heron, darters, storks, teals and common egrets. I also took the boat ride and came across waders like waterfall and ducks and some filers like parrots, larks and flycatchers. And I went in mid November last year which is the time when the sanctuary turns into a transit lounge for migratory birds. The entry fees was only Rs. 5 however the guide took Rs. 100 from me and the timings were 6 am to 6.30 pm which meant I had to go back soon to reach the starting point of the sanctuary.

My third and the last day were to relax on my houseboat and view the Museum of Vembanad Lake. On the Kumarakom jetty itself a distinctive building with its pillared verandah and sloping tiled roof at the Market junction is the Bay Island Driftwood Museum. It displays the art of the sea chiseled driftwood gathered from the beaches of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It was unique as I haven’t seen any museum displaying these things before. Raji Punnoose, a retired teacher were chiseled by him into shapes that vary from a crocodile found off Port Blair’s Wandoor Beach to a sculpture Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose I also purchased few sculptures here to gift them to my family and friends. And my last night in Kumarakom Lake Resort which also offered ayurvedic centre, backwater cruises, gift shop, Jacuzzi and water sports, I though of enjoying few of them.

There are many Kumarakom Holiday Packages available now. For Driving Directions from Kochi to Kumarakom check this out.

One Comment
  1. Hi,

    Good review. I had been there too! But I liked my stay at Alleppy better!

    Both the places were great nonetheless!

    Vikas Sharma

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