Situated on Vembanad Lake, along with the scenic backwaters of Kerala, is Kumarakom, a rather laidback village that has grown to become one of the most popular tourist destinations of the state. Whether it’s for the splendid views all around or to experience the culture of God’s Own Country, there’s plenty in this lakeside village to attract tourists and travellers from all over the country and even the globe! Wondering where to go while here? We’ve picked out the top things to do and places to visit in Kumarakom for your next trip to the beautiful place.
Going around the lake in a houseboat is one of the top things to do when in Kumarakom. Houseboats are a major tourist attraction in the area and a must-try experience while here. Suitable for couples, groups or families, houseboats let you kick back while enjoying the panoramic views around you. Delicious Kerala dishes, particularly seafood, and rustic vibes are other highlights of a houseboat trip. While houseboats have a history of their own, having been used as a form of transport and trade, the boats today include even luxury versions that come with spacious bedrooms and living rooms. Each boat has its own staff including a chef, oarsman, and a guide.
An expansive lagoon lake, Vembanad Lake is the second largest lagoon in the country. Known by different names in the different villages it covers, the water body includes small islands like Vypin and Willingdon Island. Sit back here to get a glimpse of daily life and local activities. Whether it’s the houseboats against the azure sky or fishermen casting their nets into the distance, the place is bound to give you plenty of sights to gape at. Another event here that you mustn’t miss would be the Vallam Kali (boat race) that is conducted every year between August and September. With expertly crafted chundan vallams (snake boats), led by deft paddlers, racing towards the finish line, the race is spellbinding and quite a sight to behold.
Bay Island Driftwood Museum
A basic interest and hobby were what led to the foundation of this museum. A woman during her learning tenure in the islands of Andaman and Nicobar used to pick up pieces of driftwood from the shoreline. These pieces were weathered and had travelled miles in the Bay of Bengal. Trimming these pieces and roots to resemble animals, birds and other familiar beings or objects, the woman’s efforts eventually led to this museum, supposedly the only one of its kind in the country. Perfect to spend a lazy afternoon while here, the museum is one of the top places to visit in Kumarakom.
A small island on the backwaters of Alleppey, Pathiramanal is surrounded by Vembanad Lake. IWith its name that literally translates to ‘sands of night’, the spot is a popular option among places to visit in Kumarakom. Home to several species of birds, including migratory birds, the place is perfect for birdwatching enthusiasts. While speedboats might be expensive, opt for a ferry for a dose of sightseeing. The boats plying the Muhamma-Kumarakom route are a popular option.
This construction over the Vembanad Lake is also known as Thanneermukkom Salt Water Barrier. The project was part of the Kuttanad Development Scheme. The purpose of this bund was to prevent the incoming of salt water into the low lands in the area around Kuttanad. Thus, a bund was constructed and it divides the lake into two distinct water areas. One area is filled with brackish water while the other half has fresh water that comes from the rivers draining into the lake. Owing to the great views and tranquil vibes of the place, Thanneermukkom bund is often considered among the top places to visit in Kumarakom.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Spread over 14 acres of land, this is a paradise for birdwatchers, whether amateurs or professionals. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the coast of Vembanad Lake and is also known as the Vembanad Bird Sanctuary. Overlooking the beautiful backwaters, the place is home to many migratory birds. Managed by the State Tourism Board, the sanctuary includes trails you can follow. If you’re lucky, you might get to spot Siberian cranes, lark, teal, cormorant and even the brahminy kite.
Surrounded by rubber plantations and exuding a charming beauty, this scenic waterfall is located in Kottayam. A popular picnic spot and trekking destination, Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls makes for a spellbinding sight with its majestic cascade down the hill.
An ancient system of medicine that is still widely in practice in Kerala, Ayurveda is known for keeping alive the art of healing. Many modern-day spas in Kerala and individual spa centres practice Ayurveda. Make sure to experience a rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatment while you’re in Kumarakom. Whether it’s a relaxing foot massage, herbal massage or complete body treatment, an Ayurvedic experience is bound to leave you feeling reinvigorated and renewed. The technique involves the usage of herbs and natural elements to make various oils and pastes. All the ingredients are handpicked and the products are handmade with careful measurements.
A form of classical Indian dance that falls under the ‘story play’ genre, Kathakali is probably an iconic part of Kerala’s culture. Incorporating movements from ancient Indian martial arts, the art form goes beyond just music, hand gestures and facial expressions. With stories from myths and legends forming the theme in most performances, a Kathakali show gives you a peek into the state’s rich traditions and heritage. Which is why it makes for a unique experience which shouldn’t be missed while you’re in God’s Own Country. Check with your hotel staff or locals about where you can catch the nearest Kathakali performance.
Next time you head to this popular tourist destination, make sure to tick off these things to do and places to visit in Kumarakom.