Kumarakom, Kerala

Kumarakom is located 14 kms from Kottayam and around Kuttanad region lies Kumarakom popularly known as the rice bowl of Kerala. A huddle of tiny islets on the Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom is a pictorial, unsoiled village. An incredibly stunning ecstasy of mangrove forests, pea green paddy meadows and coconut coppices intermingled with enthralling waterways and canals. Kumarakom, located on the Southern coast of India enjoys a proportionate tropical weather. Nature has poised its magic to perfection here. Copious luxuriant coconut palms lining the rivers bow to look at its likeness on the shimmering rivers. Ubiquitously, nature is unsurpassed.

The flourishing pastures and the countryside life are interspersed with the beautiful Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. Stretched across 14 acres, the bird sanctuary is a desired haven of migratory birds and a bird lover's paradise. Teals, egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live there in teems are an enthrallment for guests. The finest way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islets 16 km west of Kottayam on the Vembanad lake. The Sanctuary teems with local waterfowls and over wintering migratory birds such as the Siberian storks. Boats are available for backwater cruises in the lake.

The Backwaters
The Kerala Backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India . Local people call it Kayals The backwaters of Kerala- twisty inland lakes networked by canals - extend to over 1900km.. Vembanad lake is the largest of the lakes, covering an area of 200 sq km, and bordered by Alappuzha (Alleppey), Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts. Just 12 km from Kottayam, this exclusive backwater destination sited on the banks of the Vembanad lake is considered the gateway to the backwaters of Kuttanad. The port of Kochi ( Cochin ) is located at the lake's outlet to the Arabian Sea . Alleppey, populariy known as " Venice of the East" has a network of canals that meander through the town. Boating across these soothing stretches is an experience exclusive to Kerala.

Large Kettuvalloms (traditional country crafts over 60ft. in length) have been renewed into luxury houseboats for these cruises The Vallam Kali (the Snake Boat Race) held every year in August is a major attraction. 12km from Kottayam, this unique backwater destination situated on the banks of the Vembanad lake is considered the gateway to the backwaters of Kuttanad.

The birds sanctuary
Inhabiting an islet on the Vembanad Lake at a distance of 12 kilometers from Kottayam in Kerala, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is an enjoyment for the bird lover. Showcasing a mystifying collection of unique birds among the pantheon of general bird population it is an ideal place for tourists to enjoy the serene loveliness of the environs. The solitary tones that can be heard at this point are that of placid flow of water and smooth calls of the birds. Tourists can chill out here for a while if they are worn out of leading a swift existence. A visit to this sanctuary will endow with them a peep into the astounding work of the natural world. The main attractions are local birds like the waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck, as well as the migratory Siberian cranes.

PATHIRAMANAL
PATHIRAMANAL (Sands of Midnight) 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. Surrounded by the Vembanad Lake , stretching from Alappuzha to Kochi , Pathiramanal is accessible only by boat. The green island thus forms an ideal place for a break in the journey while on a backwater cruise.

PILGRIM CETRES
Siva Temple , Thalikkotta. Approx 12 kms from Kumarakom, it is the place of worship of the erstwhile Thekkumkoor Royal family.
Thazhathangadi Valiapalli (12 kms from Kumarakom). Built in 1579 by Thekkumkoor Maharajah, this church displays outstanding architecture, which is a blend of Kerala and Portuguese styles. The walls are adorned with beautiful murals made in oriental and western styles on biblical and non-biblical themes.

Jama Masjid Thazhathangadi Approx 12 kms from Kumarakom this ancient mosque on the banks of the Meenachil River is believed to be 1000 yrs old. It is one of the oldest in India .

Thirunakkara Mahadevar Temple In the heart of Kottayam town is this 500 year old temple built by the Thekkumkoor Maharajah. This temple built in the Kerala style of architecture has colorful murals on its walls, which are worth exploring. The Koothambalam, the special building in the temple premises used for cultural purposes, is one of the best in Kerala.

Mahadevar Temple , Ettumanoor 15 kms from this temple it is famous for its murals, especially the panting of Nataraja in the gopuram and ezharaponnana.

St Mary's Church, Cheriapalli 12kms from Kottayam built in 1579 by Thekkumkoor Maharajah, this church displays outstanding architecture which is a blend of Kerala and Portuguese styles. The walls are adorned with beautiful murals mad in oriental and western styles on biblical and non biblical themes.

Vaikom Mahadever Temple 8 kms from Kumarakom, associated with the legendary Parasurama, this temple is a typical example of the Kerala style of temple architecture. More popular as the Kasi of the South, this temple is famous for its elephant pageant and traditional art performances.

BIRD SANCTUARY
Inhabiting an islet on the Vembanad Lake at a distance of 12 kilometers from Kottayam in Kerala, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is an enjoyment for the bird lover. Showcasing a mystifying collection of unique birds among the pantheon of general bird population it is an ideal place for tourists to enjoy the serene loveliness of the environs. The solitary tones that can be heard at this point are that of placid flow of water and smooth calls of the birds. Tourists can chill out here for a while if they are worn out of leading a swift existence. A visit to this sanctuary will endow with them a peep into the astounding work of the natural world. The main attractions are local birds like the waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck, as well as the migratory Siberian cranes.

Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. The best time to watch migratory birds from October to February. A travel tour to Kumarakom bird sanctuary would show that it is a place located and the main draws of the bird sanctuary happen to be the waterfowls and Siberian cranes. Migratory birds happen to be the major attractions of the bird sanctuary with the most appropriate time to visit being from November to February. The centrally located place in the Kumarakom bird sanctuary being the much popular, "Baker's Mansion" which happens to a 50 year old construction and once a Kerala tourism development corporation's hotel used to run in it.

ARUVIKKUZHI WATERFALLS
Make a trip to the pictorial Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls situated 18 km from Kottayam town, 2 km along a sludge track from Kumarakom is this striking picnic spot where brooks chime as they flow through the scenery and waters growl as they gush down the mountains from an altitude of 100 ft.

HOW TO REACH KUMARAKOM
By Air: The nearest airport

By Rail: Kochi is the nearest railway station, which is connected to all the major cities in India. However there are trains connected to alleppey

By Road: Kumarakom is accessible by road from most of the cities and town in Kerala.You can also reach Kumarakom from cochin by 2 hrs. Kochi is 64 km away from Kumarakom. Trivandrum is 152 kms away from Kumarakom