A true reflection of the term “God’s own country” is what Kumarakom is all about. If you are on a serious plan to experience a backwater village lifestyle, then Kumarakom is the place that you would need to have in your itinerary. On the way to Kumarakom from Cherthala you could feel the abundance of water as you come close to the Thaneermukkam bund. The vast expanse of the back waters with the soothing breeze reminds you that you are in some place of your dreams. Further towards kumarakom you could see a lot of paddy fields, coconut grooves, small concreted and hatched houses and lots of small bridges over the canals. Kumarakom is on the sea level and has a tropical weather most of the time except during monsoons. The country side ambience and the closeness to the nature distinguishes Kumarakom and isolates it from the busy world.
Being a backwater destination on the opposite banks of Alleppey, houseboats could be seen here and there. You could find these in Kumarakom, but kumarakom is actually not a houseboat destination like Alleppey. You could find a lot of resorts on the banks of the backwaters with amazing views. Most of these resorts are up market resorts, CGH earth introduced the first resort in kumarakom named the Coconut lagoon. Later, many resorts have come up and most of them fall under the list of luxury resorts. Most resorts are Responsible tourism certified and the villagers in a way, indirectly benefit from tourism in Kumarakom.
Kumarakom bird sanctuary
An Englishman named Henry baker started farming and rubber plantation by extending land into the Vembanad backwaters. He had kept around 15 acres of land near his rubber plantations for birds, which led to the development of the Kumarakom bird sanctuary. Today it is a nationally recognized bird sanctuary where you could find migratory birds like siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. The house constructed by the Baker family still exists and is converted into a hotel run by the Taj group of Hotels. The hotel is named as Vivanta by Taj Kumarakom.
There are houseboats available at Kumarakom. All resorts own one or two boats. You can hire a houseboat and explore the backwaters and stay overnight with all the food served on board. Most houseboat crew men are locals. A boat will have 3 staffs, a navigator, a cook and a helper. Kumarakom to Alleppey is 1.5 hours on a houseboat, so the routing from Kumarakom to Alleppey will be a good experience, where you could go through the canals and other small water channel and experience the backwater lifestyle.
There are many activities like going around villages, shopping crafts, participate in spinning coir, navigating a houseboat, fishing, hearding the ducks and rowing a country boat. This is all possible in Kumarakom. Witnessing the real village lifestyle is altogether an exciting experience. You, almost are one among the villagers for a while and can directly buy things from them. Kumarakom is the first destination in Kerala which has implemented responsible tourism.
Written by Benjamin John