Vembanad Lake aka Vembanad Kayal, upon which the cluster of islands that form Kumarakom is situated, attracts any traveller with its picturesque beauty and pristine water body.
It holds the record of being the biggest lake in the state of Kerala and the longest lake in the country. The lake spans across several districts and is also known as Punnamada Kayal and Kochi Lake. The lake is globally famed for the annual boat race (Nehru Trophy Boat Race) conducted here during the Onam Season. Several boats from different regions participate in this historic boat race serving as a visual treat to the spectators.
Vembanad Lake is the spine of Kerala Backwater Tourism which attracts millions of tourists from across the world. Hundreds of houseboats jotted on the lake is a sight that is truly enchanting.
The eastern portions of the lake is home to a wide variety of migratory birds and houses Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, a prime tourist attraction.
Aruvikkuzhi Falls, a spectacular waterfall known for its scenic beauty, is located in proximity to Kumarakom. It can be reached from Kottayam town, which is situated at a distance of 18 km.
This popular tourist spot can be visited en route to Kumarakom, and the region is ideal for casual strolls and nature walks. Water cascades gushing down from a height of 100 ft through huge rocks is a splendid sight that would leave the traveler spellbound.
The waterfall is nestled among vast stretches of rubber plantations and is perfect for family picnics and pleasure trips. The pristine beauty of the region will delight nature lovers and photographers alike.
Aruvikkuzhi Falls is at a walking distance from Kumarakom town, and travellers can hear the waterfalls from miles away. Monsoon showers replenish the streams with crystal-clear water, and the falls is best visited soon after the showers till the beginning of summer (from September to February).
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary or Vembanad Bird Sanctuary is located on the eastern shore of Vembanad Lake. The sanctuary is set in the backdrop of the backwaters and is a truly mesmerizing locality.
It is a seasonal home to hundreds of migratory birds and serves as an absolute treat to birdwatchers and ornithologists. The sanctuary is spanned across an area of 14 acres and is birds fly to this place from as far as the Himalayas and Siberia.
The major bird species of the sanctuary include cuckoo, waterfowl, heron, cormorant, owl, teal, lark, egret, moorhen, Siberian crane, darter, Brahminy kite, parrot, and flycatcher.
A trek during the sunrise or sunset will delight birdwatchers for they get to watch flocks of birds flying across the scenic setting of the tranquil skies. Boats (both houseboats and motorboats) can be hired to enjoy bird watching and travelers can opt for a guided trek through the sanctuary.
Timing: 10 am to 6 pm
Charges: 5 INR (admission fee for Indians), 45 INR (admission fee foreigners)
For Guides: 100 – 200 INR
Boat Trip: 200 – 250 INR (for 2 hours)
Best Season: November – February
Best Time Of The Day: Early mornings, dawns
Pathiramannal, also known by the names Ananda Padmanabhan Thoppu and Pathira Thoppu, is a small scenic island in proximity to Kumarakom. This picturesque place is starched over 10 acres of land and is nestled on the Vembanad Lake.
Located on the border of Kottayam and Alleppey districts, this island can be reached from Kumarakom by means of ferry. The journey to this spot is a truly mesmerizing one through the backwaters of Kumarakom.
The island is a seasonal home to a wide variety of birds and about 50 different species of migratory birds and 91 species of local birds are recorded to have sighted here.
This emerald island will enchant visitors with its white sands, pristine beauty and tranquil ambience. This tiny uninhabited spot is an ideal location to unwind and enjoy the wonders of nature. Those who have an eye for photography will take an instant liking towards this beautiful piece of land surrounded by waters.
Bay Island Driftwood Museum is the only museum in India which has a collection of articles made of drift woods. The museum is unique, both its in nature and its collection for it is testimony of nature’s craftsmanship and man’s creativity.
One of the most impressive collections of the museum is the sculptures made from roots. Artifacts displayed in the museum are originally created by sea waves over a long period of time and are collected, polished and modified by the museum authorities.
The brain behind this unique and extraordinary museum is Mrs. Raji Punnoose, who is currently acting as the curator of the museum. The museum with its exceptional artistic value and uniqueness, bagged Kerala State Government’s The Most Innovative Tourism Project Award (2004).
Bay Island Driftwood Museum started in 2001 and has been listed in the Limca Book of Records. The articles exhibited in the museum are sure to amuse both an art lover and a casual backpacker.
Weekdays: 10 am to 1 pm and 1:30 pm to 6 pm
Sunday: 11:30 am to 6 pm
Closed on: Mondays
Kumarakom Backwaters is a major tourist spot and attracts millions of travellers from across the globe. The tranquility of the lagoons and the emerald stretches of vegetation contribute to the beauty of the backwaters, making it a much sought after destination.
The ideal way to enjoy the splendour of Kumarakom Backwaters is hiring a houseboat. Travellers can canoe through the intricate networks of canals, lake and lagoons and watch the manifestations of nature’s myriad wonders.
These houseboats are fully furnished luxury vessels and are available at different rates for picnicking families, honeymooning couples, adventurous youth and corporate meetings. There are a number of private agencies that arrange for houseboat packages that include full-day, over night and hourly tours on the backwaters.
Travellers get to enjoy all the amenities and the houseboats have a living room, bed rooms, kitchen, balcony, entertainment options and food. Trained staff will be available on the boat to help and guide the travellers.
Kumarakom Beach, one of the most enchanting beaches in Kerala, is a perfect location to unwind and relax. The long stretches of sandy shores make it a favorite spot to engage in leisurely activities.
The beach is located in a tranquil coastal line, undisturbed by commercial activities. The seaside activities to be carried out in this beach are many including swimming, volleyball, Frisbee, water skiing, para-sailing, wind surfing and water aerobics. Those who want a day or two away from the madness of cities can come here to enjoy the tranquility. This is a perfect spot where travellers can find harmony with themselves by engaging in leisurely activities, reading books, watching the sunset and sunbathing.
There are plenty of resorts and home-stays located close to the beach, and these resorts offer spa treatments and Ayurvedic massages. Travellers who come to this sandy paradise are sure to feel rejuvenated before they get back to their hectic routines.
Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple, a major religious centre near Kumarakom, is located at a distance of about 2 km from the town of Kottayam. The history of the temple dates back to 16th century, and it is believed to have been constructed by the raja of Thekkumkur. The temple attracts thousands of travellers with its splendid architecture.
The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, and it is frequented by devotees during the festival seasons. The major festival observed at this temple is the ten-day-long Phalguna Utsavam, which is held annually. Several folk dance forms, such as Kathakali and Velakali, are performed during this festival, offering a true visual treat to the spectators.
Apart from the traditional Kerala style of architecture, what attract art lovers to this temple are its mural paintings. The temple complex comprises of a Koothambalam (a stage where performances are held) and sub-shrines of Lord Ganesha.
Vaikom Mahadeva Temple gathers attention from all over the country for it is one of the oldest and most historic temples of Kerala. The temple is situated in the town of Vaikom, which lies on the sides of Vembanad Lake. The temple is unique for it is one of the few Shiva shrines which are worshipped by the Shaivites and the Vaishnavites alike.
The temple’s name is marked in golden letters in the modern history of Kerala as the notable event of Vaikom Satyagraha (a struggle against untouchability) occurred here in 1924. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva and the temple premises cover a stretch of about eight acres.
The chief festival observed in the temple is Vaikom Ashtami, which falls in the months of November and December. A stone-carved statue of Lord Ganesha and a sculpture of Nandi can be found in the temple complex. Vaikom Mahadeva Temple, located at a distance of about 22 km from Kumarakom and 32 km from Kottayam town, can be easily accessed by road.
Jama Masjid at Kumarakom is more popularly known as Thazhathangadi Mosque. It is located 12 km away from the town of Kumarakom and is one of the popular religious destinations in the region.
Situated on the banks of Meenachil River, this Masjid is frequented by devotees and travellers around the year. The Masjid has a history that dates back to over thousand years and is regarded as one of the oldest in the country.
The Jama Masjid is unique in its traditional architectural style. The word carvings in the mosque are absolutely spectacular and testify to the cultural grandeur of the bygone century. The mosque has an inner courtyard (known as Nalukettu) and a bathing area which are truly marvelous in style.
The Masjid is believed to have been constructed by Habib Dinar, son of Malik Dinar who brought the religion of Islam to Kerala. The mosque has been set apart by the government as a protected monument.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, a popular religious spot around Kumarakom, is located at a distance of about 10 km from Kottayam town. This is one of the oldest temples of Kerala which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The temple has a history that goes back to many centuries, and it attracts millions of devotees every year. The present structure of the temple is believed to have been renovated in 1542. The temple is best known for its mural paintings of which the most renowned one is a fresco named Pradosha Nritham (also known as Dance of Shiva).It is considered as one of the most outstanding wall paintings of the entire country.
The temple complex comprises of the sanctum sanctorum, the main idol, shrines dedicated to Lord Ganapathi and Lord Shasta, a golden flag staff and roofs covered with copper plates.
Arattu festival, celebrated during the months of February-March, is the chief festival of this temple. Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, one of the wealthiest temples of the state, is frequented by devotees who come here for a special ritual called Thulabharam Seva.
St. Mary's Church, one of the most frequented Christian worship centres near Kumarakom, is located at a distance of about 12 km from the heart of Kottayam. The church holds a history of many centuries and was built in the year of 1579. The church is a major religious centre for Malankara Orthodox Christians.
History goes that the church was constructed as a solution to a dispute that erupted between two groups of Christians, namely the Knanaya Christians and the Vadakkum Bhagar. Raja of Thekkumkur granted the Vadakkum Bhagar another piece of land to build a church. Thus, the church was constructed under the guidance of the king.
The church attracts travellers and art lovers with its unique architectural style. The architecture and the structure of the church testify to both Kerala and Portuguese techniques. The walls of the church are decorated with paintings that depict Christian as well as non-Christian themes. The major annual of this church is Vithukalude Perunnal (also known as the Festival of Seeds), which is celebrated on January 15.
St Mary's Forane Church at Athirampuzha is one of the most popular and oldest churches in Kerala. It is a much frequented pilgrim centre and attracts devotees from all over Kerala. The church has a history of that dates back to 835 AD. The church is dedicated to Virgin Mary, and it has an ancient statue of St Sebastian which is a major attraction for both devotees and travellers. According to history, the statue was brought to the church by a Portuguese navigator named Leonard D'Cruz, in the year 1687.
The church is located at a distance of about 10 km from Kottayam and is easily accessible by road. This church is believed to have influenced the cultural and religious history of the region in great degrees from the early nineteenth century.
The festivals of the church are celebrated with much fervour, and lot of people visit this church for its religious as well as historical significance.