Just 12 km west of Kottayam on the Vembanadu Lake, Kumarakom is a rich tapestry of serene canals woven between lush paddy fields and stately palmgroves.
From Cochin, a 90-minute drive takes you to Thannirmukkam. Another 30 minutes of waterborne travel fromThannirmukkam, and you are in one of the finest tourist destinations in the world.
You can also access Kumarakom directly by boat from Cochin.
Expeditions along an intricate network of canals, through backwater countrysides take you to the very heart of Kerala's traditional village life. Time here seems to stand still, the pace of life is quiet and unhurried, the people simple and warm-hearted. You'll pass by stretches of paddy fields, while on the broader canals, the regular traffic of ferries, traditional Kettuvaloms and cargo boats carry on with their business. These crafts transport from pier to pier various agricultural products like coir, copra, coconuts, paddy, spices, fish and other produce, as they have been doing for centuries. Low-slung canoes gently ply the waters, poled along by men and women clad in crisp cool cottons.
Kettuvalloms - luxury apartments on the move
Kettuvaloms are authentic cocoon-shaped houseboats cleverly adapted to make a comfortable and elegant apartment that stay afloat or glide around in the water, as you please. Many of these houseboats offer ethnic luxury at its best, with experienced crew, tourist guides, chefs and valets at your service.
As you drift across the undulating waters of the Vembanadu Lake, you are soothed by the fresh clean sea-breeze, much more refreshing than modern air-conditioning. In the hinterland are large tracts of virgin forests. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary The sanctuary is set on 14 acres of land on the eastern banks of the Vembanadu Lake. It enhances the natural beauty of the entire surroundings. Kumarakom plays host to a large variety of birds - both native and migratory. The species usually include waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, water duck, tern, cormorant, darter, goose, gull, heron and Siberian stork. Do your own thing Kumarakom offers plenty of leisure-time activities. There are many resorts in Kumarakom that combine traditional Simplicity and elegant comfort. Major among these resorts are KTDC's Kumarakom Tourist Complex, TajRetreat, Coconut Lagoon and Golden Waters.
Besides the use of their own swimming pools, health centres and recreation facilities, they provide other diversions like fishing, boating, trekking, diving, bird watching and snakeboat races. Performances of Kathakali, Kalaripayattu and other traditional art forms are also regularly staged. You may even simply loll in a hammock under the somnolent shade of cool palm trees and shut out the world for as long as you like. Perhaps you would like to take time off the beaten track, and experience something exotic and exclusive. If so, try some tribal food. These ethnic delicacies are prepared exactly in the age-old tribal way. No artificial ingredients or cooking methods are used. In short, Kumarakom is the proverbial shot in the arm that most of us caught up in the crossfire of urban life so desperately need.