Kumarakom is a popular tourism destination located near the city of
Kottayam (16 kilometres (10 mi)), in Kerala, India, famous for
its backwater tourism. It is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad
Lake, the largest lake in the state of Kerala.
7 Boat Race
8 Modes of access
9 Tourism sightseeing
10 Responsible Tourism
11 Taj Garden Retreat
12 In popular culture
Special Tourism Zone
14 Awards and Honours
16 External links
Kumarakom was within the jurisdiction of the king of
that kingdom existed, and it was usual to have fighting and
competitions among local kings. Small boats called chundan vallam and
veppu vallam were widely used among the local kings for their
lightning attacks and fighting in central Travancore. During those
Vembanad Lake was a dangerous area; therefore the king of
Thekkumcore kept soldiers in
Kumarakom and constructed a fort at the
entrance of Kottathodu in Kumarakom.
Soldiers were kept in certain areas of
Kumarakom for protection
against enemy attacks; some of those places still have "pada" (meaning
war) in their names, such as Padakkalam and Padanilam. The remains of
the fort's wall, six feet broad, can still be seen near the village
office of Kumarakom.
Kumarakom is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Sanctuary is a noted bird sanctuary where many species of migratory
birds visit. The
Vembanad Lake, the largest backwater in Kerala, is
habitat for many marine and freshwater fish species and it teems with
Pearl spot also known as Etroplus suratensis) shrimp
(Metapenaeus dobsonii) common name Poovalan chemeen. The bird
sanctuary extends over 14 acres (57,000 m²), and came into existence
following preservation efforts from the government. It is a major
Kumarakom has a moderate climate throughout the year. It is a balanced
tropical climate, which has two monsoons south west and north east.
The average rainfall is 1100 mm.
Fishing, agriculture and tourism are the major economic activities.
Kumarakom's perfectly balanced tropical climate is very conducive to
cultivation. The place has expanses of mangrove forests, paddy fields
and coconut groves. Fruits like Banana, Mango, Jackfruit, Ambazhanga,
Puli (Tamerind), Chaambenga, Peraycka (Guuva), Aathaycka and Pineapple
grow here. Also, cocoa and coffee, chena(yam) and chembu (colocasia),
grow well and were cultivated under the coconut trees. This rich
agricultural environment is mainly irrigated using interspersed
waterways and canals of the
Meenachil river. The smaller canals are
often lined by hibiscus plants which lean partly over the canals to
form a green canopy, from which hang the lovely hibiscus flowers.
In the olden days, when the bund separating the backwaters from the
sea was not yet built, the water in the canals moved in and out with
the sea tide and it was salty. After the Thanneermukkam bund was
constructed, the connection to the open sea was not free anymore, and
so the tidal movement of the water in the canals stopped. It stagnated
and then plenty of water hyacinths started growing densely in the
canals, forming lovely green carpets with pale lilac flowers carpets.
Main religions are Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. The 1000-year-old
Thazhathangady Juma Masjid, a mosque, is located nearby.
Fishing is mainly done using the small boats (vallams) and gill nets
(gear). The main catches are black clam (Villorita cyprinoides),
Pearl spot also known as Etroplus suratensis) and shrimp
Kumarakom has a wide variety of houseboats and is well known
throughout the world for houseboat experience. They are used only for
tourists these days. A separate boat known as Kettuvallam is used by
the people to go fishing or to transport goods. Apart from these,
there are elegant special boats like Kochu-odi Vallam, Odi-Vallam,
Iruttukutthi Vallam, Churulan Vallam and Chundan Vallam(Snake Boat),
which take part in the boat races around Onam time. More than 1000
oarsmen in boats of different sizes and shapes will participate in
this event. Even though Snake Boats participate in this race, the
importance is given here is for iruttukuthi, in which about 50 oarsmen
Kumarakom boat-race is conducted in the big canal in the
centre near the market. The Sree Narayana Ever Rolling Trophy will be
given to the winner at the end of the day. There is a private
sailing club in Kumarakom, located on the shore of the
Modes of access
Public Transport Boat service in Kerala
One can access
Kumarakom by many means:
By air: via Cochin International Airport approximately 80 kilometres
By rail: via Kottayam
By boat: From Muhamma (near Alappuzha) to
By road:KSRTC(16 kilometres) Buses and taxis are easily available at
all times of the day from Kottayam.
Traditional boats moored at a lagoon
Kumarakom largely revolves -around the backwaters of the
Vembanad Lake. Several luxury and budget resorts lined up on the
shores of the lake provide tourists with facilities for boating,
yachting and fishing, with panoramic views of the lake. The other
major attraction is the Bird Sanctuary, which is open from 6 am to 6
pm and can be visited by canoes arranged by local fishermen at the
entrance to the sanctuary. A two-hour rowing canoe trip is quite
cheap, and is best undertaken in the evening or early morning to avoid
the afternoon sun.
Furthermore, the Aruvikkuzhi Waterfall and its surrounding rubber
plantation are a photographer's delight. There is also the Bay Island
Drift Museum near the
Kumarakom beach for history lovers, open from 10
am – 5 pm on Tuesdays – Saturdays and from 11.30 am – 5 pm on
Kumarakom is the first destination in
India to Implement Responsible
Kerala Tourism was awarded for its path-breaking
'Responsible Tourism' project in Kumarakom, which has successfully
linked the local community with the hospitality industry and
government departments, thereby creating a model for empowerment and
development of the people in the area while sustaining eco-friendly
Taj Garden Retreat
Taj Garden Retreat the first modern tourist resort in
established in the Victorian two storeyed bungalow built by Alfred
George Baker in the year 1881 on huge pieces of Teak wood rafters
packed in mud as a base. This house on the lake at
Kumarakom was the
house of four generations of the Baker family, for over a hundred
years. The bird Sanctuary and the two storeyed Bungalow built by Mr.A
G Baker on the muddy land are places of interest for tourists from all
over the world. The bungalow still remains grand but silent reminder
of an age and people whose hard work cannot be erased by time.
In popular culture
The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things is set in Ayemenem or Aymanam
village, which adjoins Kumarakom. The explosive success of this novel
has given some added tourism impetus to this area. The Taj Garden
Retreat hotel complex is centered on a building that is called
"History House" in the novel; it was built by British missionary
Alfred George Baker, whom the locals called "Kari Saipu" (possibly an
elided form of "Baker Sahib"), as in the novel. Four generations of
Bakers lived in the house until 1962, speaking Malayalam, and even
wearing the mundu. The Baker Memorial School, Kottayam, was started by
a daughter of this family in 1925. The Baker family's house is in
ruins in the novel, as it was in reality before was developed into a
hotel and has been restored by the Taj group. The Ayemenem house,
Arundhati Roy spent part of her childhood (like the twins in the
story), can also be visited in the village, which can be reached by
boat along the
Meenachil river that figures prominently in the story.
Special Tourism Zone
Kumarakom has been declared a
Special Tourism Zone by the
Government, as legislated for by
Kerala Tourism Act, 2005.
Development in the area is therefore now controlled by the guidelines
written by the STZ committee, and published at
Awards and Honours
It had won top honours including the UNWTO Ulysses Award  for
Innovation in Public Policy and Governance. The
had earlier won the National Award for Best Responsible Tourism
Project and also the PATA Grand Award for Environment.
^ "Kumarakom: Backwater paradise". The Bangalore Mirror. 11 March
^ "Thazhathangady Juma Masjid".
^ Flyhigh. "
Kumarakom Homestay, Bed and breakfast-Backwater Heritage
KUMARAKOM ATTRACTIONS". www.backwaterheritage.com.
^ Template:GK book
^ PG Padmanabhan & assi (February 2005). "
Kumarakom - An Insider's
Introduction". Learners Book House. access-date= requires url=
^ Partha S Banerjee (February 2004). "Arundhati's Ayemenem". Archived
from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
^ "Tourism Act,
Kerala Tourism -
^ Probe Chandy’s role in 1992 Palmolein case UNWTO, January 22, 2014
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kumarakom.
Kumarakom travel guide from Wikivoyage
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